Just because your bride’s been planning this moment for decades and has a colour-coded excel spreadsheet covering all eventualities doesn’t mean you’re off the hook – grooms should start preparing early too.
In fact, maybe you want to?
But whether you’re a groomzilla-in-waiting or secretly wishing your partner would just sort it all out, you really need to take on your fair share of the load. And we’re afraid that includes collating the RSVPs, as well as the ‘good jobs’ like deciding on the pudding.
Here’s a timeline of the things you need to do in the run up to getting hitched…
2 Yrs (Yes, We Know!) to 9 Mths
VENUE HUNTING – It seems blooming ridiculous but the wedding industry is unlike any other. People really do start planning years in advance.
And if you or your bride have your heart set on a swanky venue, you’ll have to get your date booked in sharp-ish.
But, before you do, check with the important people. Check the parents haven’t got holidays or any big plans already.
It can be quite fun picking the wedding venue so give yourself plenty of research time (or, sampling-the-wine-menu-time). Of course, if you want to get married in a Church and just hold the reception at the venue, then you need to allocate more prep time as syncing the available dates may be tricky.
And, if you are getting married in a Church (or equivalent), remember you need to factor in time to meet with your vicar and get your banns read. Generally, this takes a minimum of a month, not including any wedding prep chats the vicar wants to have with you in advance!
SAVE THE DATE– As soon as you get the date sorted, send out that crucial Save The Date cards. You don’t want any of your mates saying they’re getting married on the same date and stealing your crowd!
GUEST LIST – Obviously, one thing you must do as a couple is create the guest list. Agreeing on this calls for serious teamwork and can be a source of stress.
Try and see the guestlist process as an opportunity to remind yourselves how lucky you are to have so many people who love you!?! Or, just drink a lot of wine and somehow get through it!
12-9 Months Before
SELECT YOUR BEST BUDS – This is the time to pick your best man. He’ll be organising your stag do and delivering the crucial Best Man Speech – so choose wisely. Agree a date and the vague parameters of the stag do now.
Decide on a list of groomsmen together. These can be lifelong mates, your brother or brother-in-law, grown up kids – any of your crew that it will feel great having close-by on the day.
BOOK YOUR PRODUCTION TEAM – Book a wedding photographer and a videographer if you want one. A lot get booked a year in advance.
6-8 Months Before
Now it gets busy…
INVITES – Send out the invites or invite people to your wedding website (this, by the way, takes way longer than you would expect to set up. Lots of debates about the best photos and stories to share!)
HONEYMOON –Time to start planning your honeymoon. Traditionally, weirdly, back in the 50s this was still something the groom could just book and surprise his new spouse with on the night of their wedding. Not these days Mr! Honeymoon planning will be a joint effort and is unlikely to result in a Las Vagas gambling weekend.
TRANSPORT – Still very much left to the blokes. Consider matching your transport with the theme of your wedding. Going full Peaky Blinders? You might want to splash out on a Bentley. Or how about a classic VW camper, brimming with character for a retro wedding.
ENTERTAINMENT & MUSIC– Now, time to meet the service providers and choose your entertainment. Divvy up your ‘to dos’ and try not to be overly sexist about it. Ok, so your bride may have a better sense of the flowers and styling but get involved in the overall style you’re wanting to go for (traditional, boho, neon, retro?).
Music is a biggie – DJ or live band? First dance – casual swagger around the dance floor together or are you wanting to do the whole learn-a-dance-routine thing? If it’s the latter option, time to book in!
GIFTLIST – Register a wedding giftlist or, if like many modern couples you already have everything you need, consider asking guests to contribute to the honeymoon fund.
3-6 Months Before
SORT YOUR SUIT– Six months to go? Choose wedding suits for yourself, your best man and groomsmen – The Black Tux is your go-to option for outfit inspiration.
Give yourself enough time to ensure you get the measurements and colours right. All eyes will be on you, so make sure your moves are on point. Just to be clear, we don’t mean ‘en pointe’.
ORDER YOUR RINGS – Now is also the time to start thinking about the wedding rings. Once you start researching them, there’s a surprising amount of choice but there’s lots of great wedding band advice out there too.
If in doubt, go for platinum.
TABLE PLANNING– About 3-2 months before the wedding date, collate the RSVPs and confirm your table plan. This is a modern day form of torture but you will get through it!
SPEECH PLANNING– At least two months before the wedding you need to start thinking about your Groom Speech. It’s time to gather your best stories and insights.
Writing your speech can be stressful – but it needn’t be. Yes, you have to entertian a crowd, accru brownie points with the in-laws and make your wife love you even more – but writing a speech can be fun. Honestly.
One piece of advice we give the grooms we work with is to think about the things you like about her, as opposed to love. There’s just something more meaningful about it. Be specific – if her record collection or her taste in Ikea furniture floats your boat, tell her in your speech.
Don’t be afraid to point out her more questionable attributes and why they somehow make you keep falling for her. We’re talking about her putting a few mls of milk back in the fridge so she doesn’t have to be the one to buy more, or her weirdly accurate Tom Hanks impression.
6-8 Weeks Before
BE NICE– Lots of grooms buy their bride a little gift to open on the morning of the wedding.
Your groomsmen and best man have hopefully played a role in helping you plan for the wedding (ie made you wear an adult baby costume and got you drinking shots for 48 hours in a foreign city). Feel free to give them gifts as a ‘token of your appreciation’. Seriously though, personalised cufflinks or wallets from Groomsmen Gift Ideas would be very much appreciated.
SURVIVE THE STAG DO – We’d advise scheduling your stag do at least six weeks before the wedding. Allow A LOT of recovery time!
SORT YOURSELF OUT – Start to go hardcore down the gym – so you’re looking and feeling your best on the big day. Consider cutting down on the takeaways for a couple of months and get those coffee stains off your teeth so your bride is treated to a beaming smile when you get that first look (and you’re fully insta-ready!)
PICK UP THE RINGS – Pick up the wedding rings and remember to check that the engraving is done correctly.
One Month Before
WRITE YOUR SPEECH– If you’re still struggling with a first draft after reading our speech advice, how about drafting in the pros?
A good speechwriter will put you at ease right away and be intuitive enough to master the tone you’re going for. Once you’ve had an initial chat, you can sit back and relax, knowing you’ll be adding an extraordinary moment at the top table.
Speechy’s services range from affordable templates, to bespoke speechwriting and TEDx-approved delivery coaching.
1 Week Before
GET ROMANTIC– Now’s the time to slow down as you look forward to the most important day of your life.
Do something romantic and chilled out with your wife-to-be. It’s amazing how easily the love can be overlooked in the run up to a wedding!
CHECK EVERYTHING!– Confirm all the logistics for the big day – transportation, honeymoon flights, practice your vows and speech.
FINAL TOUCHES – Get your hair cut at least a couple of days before the wedding. Groom your nails and sort your beard out while you’re at it!
Think about writing a love letter to your bride to open on the morning of the wedding. It seems old school but it will start her day in the most amazing way possible.
The Night Before
You may be about to have the ultimate boys’ sleepover but avoid (too much) alcohol and catch some quality sleep so that you’re fresh and energised for the next day.
Now the planning’s taken care of, prepare to soak up every moment of making it official with the love of your life!