Q: How can we make our ceremony personal and unique?
A: One great way is to add cultural touches. Add a tea ceremony, an ethnic dance, a reading done in the language of your ancestors, or a set of songs that have been influential in your life. Cultural influences add a personal touch to your ceremony and reception, and they can be a special treat for your parents and grandparents. See our Groom 101- Plan Your Ceremony section for more ideas.
Q: What if my vows sound lame?
A: No worries, authentic words of love are never lame, and people at weddings are supportive, not judgmental. What’s important is that you speak from your heart directly to her as if there was no audience, and stay true to yourself. Check with your fiancé along the way to be sure you’re on the right track, and check with the person you have chosen to officiate before you begin writing to be sure that personal vows will be allowed in your ceremony.
Q: Should my bride and I see each other before our ceremony?
A: It’s totally up to the two of you. Depending on how your day is scheduled, seeing each other before can be a big plus- you get all your family photos taken, you get time together to talk, plus lots of couples say it helps them feel more relaxed and present during their ceremony. If you decide to go this route, have your photographer help you choose a place for your first look and make it special.
If it feels more romantic to you to wait until she comes down the aisle, just be sure the schedule works for both of you. If you’re getting married at sunset, and your reception is immediately after, you might miss out on natural light photos and part of your cocktail hour.
Q: My fiancée just showed me her wedding day schedule and starts it 9 hours before our ceremony! I think I need some help making with my to-do list for our big day.
A: Okay, first of all determine if she needs your assistance. Then other than getting to your ceremony on time with the rings in your best man’s pocket and your marriage license in hand, here’s how you can make the most of your pre-wedding hours.
• Eat a big breakfast: Make reservations for you and the guys at a nearby restaurant or have room service deliver something hearty. You’re going to need all the energy you can get to make it through the day with plenty left to spare for your wedding night, and getting together with everyone over breakfast makes it easy to check in with your groomsmen about the day’s activities.
• Have fun socializing: If you have time, play nine holes of golf, take a short hike, or go for a swim. If your gang isn’t athletic, play some poker (no stakes today, okay?) shoot some pool, or indulge your goofy side and have a competitive Rock Band throw-down.
• Lean on your Best Man: Give your cell phone to your best man and have him field your calls. Ask him to be sure you drink enough water (and not too much scotch.) Get him to confirm your transportation arrangements, pass out checks to vendors, and keep you on schedule.
• Give out gifts: If you didn't already do it at your rehearsal dinner, now is the pass out gifts to the guys in your wedding party. If you have something for your bride like jewelry or a special poem, have your Best Man deliver it to her while she’s getting ready.
• Dress to kill: At the end of the day you’ll be the subject of thousands of pictures, so get ready to impress. Shine your shoes, wear new socks, touch up your shave, and don’t leave your room until you’ve checked your outfit out from head to toe. Pack a comb, breath mints, and your favorite cologne and carry a handkerchief to offer to her when she needs one. See our Men’s Fashion section for inspiration!
• Share your gratitude: People are just itching to connect with you on your wedding day so make it easy for them. Be sure you mention all the major players in your toast, and use the words, thank you, over and over again to your families, your guests, and the professionals helping you. Watch eyes light up and service go the extra mile!
• Prepare to tie the knot: Get to your ceremony early, with the rings in your best man’s pocket and your marriage license in hand.