6 Wedding Survival Tips for Dudes
If you are anything like I was, a thirty-three year old guy getting married for the first time, you have no idea what you’re doing and you have nowhere to get good advice. The wedding magazine on your coffee table is almost entirely geared toward women, your married guy friends barely remember enough about the process because they either let the bride handle everything or they were so drunk they forgot the key details, and your dad got married so long ago that most of his advice is dated and irrelevant. While there are countless resources for brides, there are virtually zero resources for grooms when it comes to wedding planning and the big day itself. Some blogs do offer tips for grooms, but the ones I’ve read appear to have been written by people who have recently stopped taking their mood stabilizers. One blog suggested writing an endearing note to your father and mother-in-law, thanking them for everything they’ve done, and especially for creating the most amazing woman in the world. If you are a man and that sounds like a great idea to you, you might as well just cut up your man card, put the sharp plastic clippings in a flat rate USPS box and ship them to your in-laws.
When Be Minked asked if I would like to write a piece for them, the idea of a “by dudes, for dudes” list of wedding related tips immediately came to mind, because it would have made my life a hell of a lot easier if there was something like that available when I was preparing to get married.
Pick your groomsmen based on merit, not on how long you’ve known them.
Look, I know you’ve known Jimmy “The Maniac” O’Houlihan your entire life and you’ve both done some crazy stuff together, but he might not be a good fit for a groomsman. As hard as it may be, you have to treat this part of the planning like you’re a business owner hiring an employee. Write down a list of potential candidates, including their strengths and weaknesses. Jimmy might be a super good friend of yours, but on paper he looks like a “yo, I can’t find the ring, dog” wedding disaster waiting to happen. Conversely, you’re just as close with your buddy Richie, who is always on time and can manage to hold off being inappropriately wasted until the reception. Richie is your man.
Make sure your shoes are comfortable.
I can’t stress this enough. Whether you’re going in for a tux rental measurement or you’re buying, spend extra time picking out your shoes. You’re going to be standing all day long, and the right set of footwear is the difference between having a great time and having to cut your dance floor mayhem short because you feel like you stuffed your throbbing feet into Barbie shoes. You can even go the extra mile and retrofit your shoes with some comfortable insoles and be gellin’ like a Magellan sellin’ Melons to felons named Helen.
Understand your role as the emotional anchor.
From the moment you propose to your girlfriend all the way to the day you marry her, your fiancé is clinically insane. She has been dreaming about what her wedding day is going to be like since she was a little girl, setting up a long, winding line of dominos along the way to womanhood; each domino representing a different detail she’s always wanted to be a part of her big day. You dropping to one knee sent her first domino toppling, and before very long, she is going to be sucked into a whirling vortex of ideas, details, plans and emotions.
Unless you are some kind of carnival hypnotist, you aren’t going to be able to stop wedding induced insanity from happening. The smartest thing you can do to help ease her mind, as well as to maintain your own sanity, is to assume your role as the “emotional anchor”. If she’s the little raft being tossed on the waves of an angry ocean, you should be the hunk of metal attached to a long chain keeping her from being swept away. Do your best to reassure her when she gets stressed out about the planning. Listen to her when she complains about the catering menu. When it looks like one particular facet of the wedding planning is turning her into a family-sized bucket of KFC Extra Tasty Crazy, get her to take a break. Do something fun with her. It sounds like common sense, but this wasn’t something I really picked up on until maybe halfway through the process. Why? Because I’m a dude, and dudes aren’t always tuned into the inner-workings of a woman’s emotional turmoil as well as they should be. Had I been told about this from the get go, I would have been much better off.
Don’t leave all the planning up to your future wife.
This topic could have been tied into number three, but I wanted to separate and highlight it in an attempt to drill it into your brain. That’s how important it is.
It’s been my experience that planning for the wedding is infinitely more stressful than the actual wedding. The actual wedding, for better or for worse, ends up being a blur for most brides and grooms because they’re so busy doing things and talking to people while riding that heart-thumping wave of matrimonial adrenaline. Planning is the opposite of that. At first it’s fun, but quickly becomes slow, tedious and frustrating and you’ll remember every stupid second of it. Dealing with catty bridal shop employees, haggling with incompetent vendor contacts, sweating over the seating chart; it’s enough to drive anyone nuts.
I know you want to watch the game at the bar or play Call of Duty or get hammered and videotape your friends doing the cinnamon challenge, but don’t leave all the planning up to your fiancé. Take an active role in helping to knock down the list of things to do before the big day. If you don’t, you’ll be on the train to ArgumentVille faster than you can say “I don’t know, honey. Whatever you like works for me.”
For the love of Christ, eat breakfast the morning of the big day.
You are going to be drinking. A lot. You’ll probably have a flask or two while you’re getting your tux on. You’ll be slugging back a beer while trying to hold back tears during your best man’s speech. You’ll be spilling Champagne all over the dance floor while you’re twerking to that Silverchair song you forced the DJ to play. Your guests are going to buy you 9,293 shots and you’re going to down all of them. That little filet mignon and four spears of asparagus aren’t going to soak up the swimming pool worth of booze you end up dumping down your neck hole. Eat a hearty breakfast and thank me later.
Roll with the punches.
This is the most important thing I’m going to tell you, so listen up. Adhering to this list isn’t going to guarantee you a stress-free wedding planning process or an incident-free wedding. Despite what the bubbly bloggers of mainstream wedding media outlets love to tell you, there is no such thing as a perfect wedding. No matter how much you plan, how much you spend or how far down to the cuticle you’ve chewed your nails down, life is full of variables you can’t account for. Someone will be late, a table will be missing a chair and a guest is going to complain about their meal. Your uncle will get super drunk, your friend and his date will get into a fight in the parking lot and your Great Aunt Esmeralda is going to fart during the vows. Accept the fact that you’ve done the best you possibly can, learn to laugh at the things that do go wrong and remember why everybody has gathered together in the first place – to watch you and the love of your life get hitched. When you think about it like that, any bloopers are going to seem insignificant.
Except for Great Aunt Esmerelda farting. That shit is hilarious.