Professional bridesmaid Jen Glantz drops some crucial wedding day knowledge in this FA-Q&A for the groom.
It’s a simple, sad fact that there aren’t a lot of resources for learning how to be a groom—like the world assumes you’ll figure out how to handle wedding day drama on your own, or “just know” how you to beat a case of cold feet. Sure, you can ask a married friend or turn to your parents for advice, but you’re bound to get a lot of generic and cliché tips like “live in the moment” or “save the vodka shots for after your first dance.” (Thanks, drunk Mom.)
Before you blindfold yourself and cross your fingers like you’re walking the plank, follow the advice below for managing your emotions (including fear) on your wedding day.
Q: What do I have to do?
A: Several things, so keep an itinerary in your pocket.
More specifically, you need to show up on time, put your wedding suit or tux (or whatever you’re wearing) on correctly, bring the rings, read your vows, hit up the dance floor, shake some hands, and kiss some cheeks, all while making sure your partner is feeling groovy and stress-free. Speaking of your partner, you should also prepare a handwritten note and gift, and have someone deliver it to them.
This might not sound like a lot, but for most of these to-do’s you’ll want to be well rested, a little sober, and very prepared. Best thing you can do is print out the itinerary for the day and keep it in your pocket. That way, you’ll know exactly where to be and when so that you’ll never be late or confused.
Q: What should I bring with me?
A: Pack your bags a few days before it’s actually showtime.
Make sure you have the obvious wedding day essentials: your clothes and shoes, toiletries (hair, fragrance, etc.), the rings, and your vows. It also couldn’t hurt to pack a survival kit for you and your groomsmen—especially if you don’t have a day-of wedding coordinator. Think Advil, tissues, a few bottles of water, bandages, and floss.
If you have to be at your venue early, a few entertainment options would be wise—a portable speaker, playing cards, and a reasonable amount of booze. If gaming is your thing, check and see if there’s a TV in the room where you’ll be getting ready. A Madden tournament is better than pacing around for 3 hours.
Q: Can I toss a few back?
A: Yes, but try to hold off before noon.
The wedding morning usually involves you and your guys kicking back and wasting a few hours before the ceremony. While Irish coffee is kind of amazing, go easy in the morning. Your partner won’t be thrilled if you’re stumbling down the aisle, reeking of alcohol, or hung over before it’s time to say “I do”—pretty much a guarantee if you start working your way through a bottle at breakfast.
Instead, nurse a beer while you get ready or have a toast before you start photos. And bring a toothbrush and gum.
Q: How can I keep my partner chill?
A: Make a plan together.
Stress levels are high at weddings, so if your partner gets flustered, ends up in tears, or has a panic attack, you need to be ready to calm them down. Discuss a game plan with your partner, so that you both know how to deal if either one of you has a freak out moment. Decide on a secret hiding place for a wedding break or a quick chat so that you can both be on the same page and push away any wedding drama that stands in the way of fun.
Q: What if I want to bail?
A: Step away (don’t run away).
If you get nervous about how marriage is going to change your life, you’re not alone. “Cold feet” happens, but that doesn’t mean you have to call off the wedding. Take a drive somewhere and clear your mind. If it helps, do an activity to you love to shake the nerves.
Do this, and you’ll figure out pretty quickly whether you’re feeling relationship regret or just wedding day nerves. If it’s pre-wedding jitters, those will fade as the wedding day goes on. If you’re feeling like you’re about marry the wrong person, talk to someone you trust—a parent, brother, or your best man.