A Groom’s Guide to Weddings

When I was engaged, there was a lot of talk about what it takes to be a great husband. It was useful, but late last year, before I married, I also needed advice on being a great groom. Here, as a recent groom, I offer one important tip to the wedding’s most important man: Participate.

The cliché is every little girl fantasizes about her dream wedding, and guess what? She decided her dream wedding included you when she said, “Yes.” Therefore, your opinion counts — most of the time.

Another important tip: There’s a proper way to participate. For example, I love Air Jordan basketball shoes. I have 15 pairs in my collection. For weeks, I tried to convince my then-fiancée Jordan to let me wear my tux with Air Jordans. It was such a male idea of wedding bliss. We found a compromise: dress shoes for the church, Air Jordans for the reception.

From this discussion, though, we learned the wedding is a reflection of us — a united pair, not two individuals — and we needed to discuss details together. Be open with communication such as the atmosphere of the wedding. We wanted a rustic feel. We scoured antique shops and found most decorations secondhand such as lace tablecloths from Riverside Antique Mall, an old Underwood typewriter from Antiques & Vintage Collectibles, and a silver and turquoise brooch for my bride Jordan’s hair from Memories Past & Present in Henderson, Ky. Mismatched antique furniture pieces were perfect for the old farmhouse where the reception was held. It also reflected a sense of who we are — or aspire to be — a down-to-earth couple with classic taste.

I’ve been to plenty of weddings, and as a guest, some are torturously long. My wedding was over so quickly that it felt like a dream, and that’s why we invested in a photographer who we thought shot images that reflect our viewpoint. Find a photographer that mirrors your style. Daniel Knight of Studio B Photography, for example, has a detail-oriented style, while photographer Nicole Neff has an offbeat, edgy style. I feel like every time I look through our wedding pictures, I learn something new.

The morning of my wedding day was cold and rainy, and I felt too nervous to eat breakfast. Thinking about the gloomy weather on an empty stomach affected my brain; I forgot the marriage license, delaying the wedding almost an hour.

Your plans will not go off without a hitch, either, and you will survive. To lessen the potential for problems, eat. Also, don’t worry. It may not be a beautiful day, but it’s your day. Mother Nature can’t take it from you. (Bonus: Playing in the rain makes for great memories and pictures.)

I remember little from the day’s events except Jordan’s face at the altar, walking out of the church to our friends and family, and the first dance. At these important moments, look around. Nothing needs to be said. Those are the moments for you.

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