Most guys only have the very vaguest idea of what wedding planning entails. You proposed. She accepted. There’s going to be a big party and you’ll do your best to turn up on time and say your vows. Then you go off and have an amazing holiday before spending the rest of your life together. That’s about it, right?
Well, yes. But let’s go back to that big party. There’s a little bit more to it, and if you didn’t realize that before, you’ll certainly know it by the time it happens. Because while for you it might just be a party, for your fiancé, it has to be the greatest and most important day of her life.
Everything has to be planned down to the finest detail to make sure that it lives up to the fantasy wedding day that she’s been dreaming of ever since she was a child. Not only that, but she’s had a lifetime’s worth of magazines, TV shows, blogs and adverts emphasizing the importance of the flowers, the centerpiece, the catering, the bridesmaids’ shoes… basically, nothing can be left to chance. And if you worry that the lovely intelligent woman you proposed to is not-so-gradually turning into Bridezilla, then it’s time for you to man up, step in and get involved.
Help choose the guests
This sounds easy, until you realize that it’s basically about deciding who can’t come. Every guest is an extra mouth to feed and water, and the last thing you should do is invite all of your old college buddies while bumping her aunts, girlfriends and significant ex’s off the list. Keep it at least fifty-fifty, your friends/family and her friends/family, and in fact skew it just a little bit more towards her side. Why? Because it’s her big day, and because she probably knows more nice, well-behaved people than you do. Remember: family is essential, close friends are desirable, everyone else is expendable. The last thing you want is a room full of drunken freeloaders turning your wedding into Animal House. Seriously, you don’t want that.
Decide the date and venue
Don’t let it seem as if you’re choosing your wedding date based on not missing crucial NFL games, but at the same time you don’t want to clash with any major sports events, for obvious reasons. This is where guy knowledge comes into its own. Choose a venue that’s the right size and has the right feel. Ask about parking. Arrange your own catering separately. Ask if you can provide your own bar. Do not just book the courthouse and the nearest branch of Hooters.
Buy or hire a tux and make sure your groomsmen do the same. In fact, make sure they get their outfits from the same place. Keep it simple, stylish and classic, and make sure it’s in keeping with your bride’s wedding dress. This is not the time to try to be whacky or original; take a look at this #fail site for proof of wedding dress fails.
Plan the registry
Two points here: first, get used to the idea that most of the items on your wedding gift list will be for her, or will at least be the kind of useful household items that you’ll take for granted but would never consider asking for. Secondly, make sure that there are at least a few things on the list that you can use. Register at several retail outlets and suggest the odd tool set or useful gadget alongside the porcelain and bed linen. It’s a fine balance to strike, but remember: you will need something to eat off and sleep in when you’re married, so make sure you get good quality, tasteful items in this area. After all, you’re going to be flat broke for the next decade, so make the most of the registry while you can.
Keep her happy
This is the last but most important point. Inevitably, your bride-to-be will be doing 90% of the planning. Show her you appreciate this, not just by pitching in but also by random acts of kindness. So as well as planning a wedding breakfast and helping to select the music by adding in all of those special songs that bring back shared memories, take her out to dinner, send her flowers and give her a massage. Also, get in shape, get your hair cut, and take dancing lessons. Going the extra mile will pay off, not just on your honeymoon, but for the rest of your lives together as well.