How to win at good grooming… get your man to read this excellent etiquette guide for the guys from an ex-groom himself…
Picture the scene: A husband-to-be – nervous and deferentially like the little lost schoolboy he is – sitting on his hands and looking up at his bride at his first official Let’s Start The Wedding Planning Discussions Now Sweetie (aka The Conference). He’s desperate to win at good grooming. He wants to get this right but it’s all starting to sound a little… foreign. Silently drinking in the scene with an impending sense of something approaching awe-stricken fear, his beautiful fiancée – the love of his life; that sunbeam of joy – suddenly turns into The Devil Wears Prada’s, Miranda Priestly’s more demanding little sister. Unexpectedly, there’s a pause in conversation (well, whatever that blast of incomprehensible words in quick succession was). It’s now clear he’s expected to respond. She’s looking for his input, his advice, his loving care and attention; his recognition and appreciation for all the careful thought she has given this. He can’t remember the question. He takes a stab at it and says… ‘Um… white?’
Gentlemen, this need not be you. We’re not expecting miracles, boys; we get this probably isn’t your gig. But let us agree that in terms of the (let’s face it) probably year-long (at least) planning you’ll be doing alongside your bride-to-be, the ‘standing at the back looking silly’ vibe isn’t one you want to cultivate. You’re better than that. And you’re a better feminist than that. Sure, this is traditionally a ‘female’ thing but you’re about to become her mate for life, so step it up. Be a mate. Do this together. Share it, surprise her, engage with the details, learn about tulle. You’ll only do this once and who knows? You might just love it…
So get your guy to read these excellent top tips from a man who’s seriously in the know; a man so in love with one woman – the woman – that three children and almost 35 years later, he’s married her four times now and counting (it’s a long story, ladies. Oh, but it’s a long story…). How to be a fantastic groom by Dan Beard (and you can tell this one’s a romantic: check out his number 3 and 4)….
OK, you won’t have much of a say about fare for the Wedding Breakfast (unless you’re Rick Stein) and you certainly won’t get a look in regarding details of the cake, but you could offer to arrange a Hog Roast to arrive somewhere close to midnight. Everyone’s favourite for its no-nonsense style, your guests have been drinking all day and most of them have been dancing long into the night; give them a very welcome break before they start thinking about wending their way home. Bring on the Hog Roast!
Apart from ensuring that the wedding goes well on the day, here is an opportunity to have so much fun discussing and trialling the wine beforehand. On the day, make sure there’s some decent craft ale on draught for the aficionados but also select a carefully chosen, seriously-decent wine list. Stake your claim to this job long before the wedding. Arrange tasting parties with your mates and don’t forget to invite the older male members of the families – let’s face it, they know a thing or two (plus, if you’re lucky enough they might offer to contribute to the alcohol costs as part of their wedding present to you). The bonding sessions can form lifelong friendships!
3. NAMING OF TABLES
You won’t be able to interfere with the ‘who sits where and with whom’: this is women’s work, gentlemen (they’re likely not to let you near the seating plan, in fact. And thank goodness… you do not want that job) but you could show you are entering into the spirit of things by naming the tables. You could even make this part of the agenda whilst you are attending to point 2 above. Most Legendary Sportsmen and Women of All Time? Famous Couples From History? Idyllic Honeymoon Locations Around The World? If you’re really feeling romantic, flush and cool, why not choose one of those exotic locations and announce your chosen destination just before the speeches (making sure it is top secret even from your bride!).
4. DO SOMETHING FOR THE LADIES (always a winner)
Have all the men at the wedding party stand up and give three cheers for all the ladies present. Invite every man to plant a kiss on the cheek of a lady he did not arrive with (partners can sort out the fallout later over that excellent wine and beer you have ordered). Perhaps the single flowers put in front of every man’s table setting have been placed there in order for the chaps to present them to the ladies sitting next to them. Make sure the grannies are given the warmest of welcomes (and make it loud because they won’t hear otherwise). And make sure that great granny Hilda has a personalised pint of guinness or schooner of Harveys Bristol Cream or a fat cigar (or whatever it is she particularly enjoys).
Prime all the speakers – unless they are genuinely witty, confident and experienced – to apply the SIX-MINUTE RULE. That is, no speech should last longer than six minutes. And there should be no cheap, offensive or crude jokes or references (outrageously rude jokes are, obviously, completely fine).
REMEMBER CHAPS – your job: treat all the women in your life and on the day as bone fide princesses (and gentlemen… just one more thing… get used to that one).