Man to Man ~ Planning the Wedding

Every once in a while I stumble upon one of those remarkable grooms that is planning their wedding… you heard me right, PLANNING the wedding. I consider them gold mines for a view into the mind of men who actually care about the details. I basically snatch them up and beg them to share their thoughts with you, the readers.
So today we have an extra special treat! A groom who dove right into wedding planning because his bride was busy pursuing dreams that couldn’t be set aside. Although the planning is still under way, see what you think of his insightful and interesting view on what “Planning a Wedding” really entails.

Tips from a Brave Groom

After graduating from college, a considerable amount of my friends/classmates began to get married. I was actually lucky enough to be able to attend some of them and after interacting with some of the brides and their friends I was amazed at learning that many women have planned out their wedding in their minds many years advance, in a great deal of instances, even before they knew who they wanted to share their lives with. I met this discovery with a strong sense of bewilderment, “How could this be? How could these ladies know what they want when they don’t even know who they even want to celebrate it with?” It wasn’t until at least year later that I began to gain some clarity on their perspective.

From the moment Rachael and I met we both knew it was meant to be. I remember as vividly as if it was yesterday the moment I asked her if she’d marry me. The interesting part is, as soon as we began planning our wedding in earnest, I realized that somehow I had my own vision of what my wedding would be like, even though I had never sat down with myself previously and actively pondered it. When I closed my eyes, I saw how many people were there, the garden setting for the ceremony, etc. From that point on I began to understand and appreciate those ladies’ viewpoint increasingly more with each passing day, but not because of the aforementioned story, but the interesting twist in our situation…

Just a few short months after we first became engaged, Rachael left to fulfill a Fullbright Scholarship to the Middle East. The grant lasted fifteen months, meaning our wedding date was only two months after her return. I was to be the primary planner for our wedding since I was the one who was stateside. Even though Rachael and I enjoyed the luxury of skype calls and gchats, and we communicated thoroughly about what wanted for our wedding, the process was no less daunting. I’ll tell you something, I have a newly founded respect for people who plan their own weddings and those that plan others’ as well. The amount of activities to be booked, and reservations to be made, while coordinating it ALL to sync with the vision of the wedding is considerable, even for smaller weddings.

While we are still seven months away from that special day I have learned so much already. Here are just a few of the things I have learned:

1. Have a detailed, step-by-step checklist to prioritize every reservation and coordination that must be made. Especially as the date draws nearer. Things are going to become more hectic, not less, and there are many helpful website to help you find some sort of order out of the chaos.

2. Have a set budget in stone (don’t forget the honeymoon!) that includes every foreseeable expense from cakes to corsages. Again there are plenty of websites that help you construct and revise your budget allocations to each purchase so you can stay within your limits. Otherwise you’ll feel like you’re flying blind when you’re trying to book a photographer, if you don’t know how much you can actually spend on one.

3. For weddings with a high number of out-of-town guests, consider the location of the wedding in greater detail. In the very least it will help you prepare your guests for what to plan for (i.e. do they need to rent car? How will they get back from the reception?) Also take into consideration any other unrelated events in the town/city you’re in that might affect your travelers. For example, Rachael and I booked our wedding for the third week of March until after about a month, we realized that falls smack in the middle of the biggest festival in Austin and consequently the hardest time to get flights into Austin and find hotel rooms. When we attempted to block off rooms, they literally told us “good luck finding any, because most of us are booked at least 12 months in advance for that festival.” Needless to say, we rescheduled our date shortly after this discovery.

4. While I was admittedly a bit intimidated at first, going to wedding/bridal expos was probably the single best thing I’ve done. I was able to set up appointments to visit venues, discover caterers, photographers, you name it – all in one spot. Even this far through the process, I still make it a point to make every expo I can.

5. Did I mention how important it is to have a checklist? I can’t stress enough how much of my sanity has been preserved due to being able to focus on one or two things and complete them instead of juggling 500 balls in the air at once and hoping not to drop one. I really give heed to the cliche, “If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” Trust me, the checklist will be your best friend.

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Filed under For the Groom, Wedding Planning Advice

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