So, you’ve popped the question? Agreed to be the best man? Given your blessing for your daughter’s marriage? Pah, that was the easy bit. In that moment, you unwittingly committed yourself to a mammoth task of organisation and planning that’s likely to consume hours, days and weeks of your life in the coming months.
Whatever your role, there are many things you’ll need to do to ensure the smooth running of the big day and make sure you’re not the one in trouble. Panic not though, because this wedding planner countdown for blokes should see you right. If you’re struggling with anything, get onto the forum and we’ll sort it out.
- G = groom
- BM = best man
- FOTB = father-of-the-bride
T-12 MONTHS (OR MORE)
G: Work out if you’re going to be all traditional and ask for her father’s permission. Seal that deal, work out what engagement ring to buy (or pick a nice placeholder ring) and then book the engagement weekend.
G: Get the all-important “yes”. Without that you’re on the wrong website.
G: Work out who’s going to be paying for the wedding and how much you’ve got to spend. If the pot’s looking a little empty, work out how you can boost the fund. If you need to save up, work out how long it will take as this might impact on the wedding date. And if you’re going cap-in-hand to parents and future parents-in-law, do spend some time buttering them up first.
G: Work out a realistic wedding budget incorporating all the necessary purchases, from venue to dress and everything in between. Research prices online, but the bottom line is that everything’s going to cost more than you think – welcome to the Wedding Industry.
G: Think about attending a wedding fair. It’s not going to be as much fun as a day at Alton Towers, but you might pick up some ideas.
G: Feign interest in the wedding magazines you’re being shown. If you’re being flash get a subscription for your Mrs-to-be. Wedding Ideas is the best one and every time a copy drops through the door – you get Brownie Points.
G: If you’re thinking of hiring a wedding planner (and you should because the good ones will save you hassle and money), now’s the time to get them involved in order to take maximum advantage of their services. Staggered can even get you one for free if you’re quick.
G: Start a wedding file to keep all wedding-related documents and contracts in. It might just help you stay sane further down the line.
G, FOTB: Decide how many guests you’d like and work out a rough guestlist. Ask the families if there are any people they’d like you to invite.
G: If you’re planning a church wedding, book your chosen church as early as possible. If you aren’t regular churchgoers, you may need to become considerably more religious – so cancel your Sunday morning footie engagements for the foreseeable. If you’re going for a non-churchy wedding, start looking into possible venues, and consider doing the service and reception in the same place.
G: Book reception venue and caterers. Check the cancellation/refund policies before stumping up the cash, and make sure you have the policies in writing. If you’re spending a lot on the day then think about getting wedding insurance in place that will cover you if anyone’s ill or jilted…
G: When you’ve decided on the where, work out the when. More than likely it’s the availability of your venue that will decide the wedding date, but do remember that some dates are better than others, so check with our wedding dates to avoid list to miss football finals, etc.
Be realistic and give yourself enough time to plan the wedding properly – a glance down this list should remind you just how much work you have to do. When you’re sure of the details, send out ‘save the date’ cards (or a Save The Date video if you’re being all new media about things) to the guests you definitely want to see at the ceremony.
G: Book entertainment for the reception if you’re having any. If you’re going for a DJ, go by personal recommendation where possible.
G: Name the best man and ushers and enjoy a guilt-free celebratory booze-up. Do NOT throw this opportunity away lightly, make your wife-to-be understand that this is emotional man stuff and you want to do this right and make a weekend of it. You’ve proposed, now it’s time to bropose.
G, BM, FOTD: …But don’t hit the sauce too hard – you need to start getting in shape now unless you want to look like the Pilsbury Dough Boy in a suit.
G: The finer details are being put in place. If you’re set on marrying in Elvis Jumpsuits, now’s the time to pipe up and wait for the horrified response. Incidentally, if you’re already finding yourself faced with a Bridezilla situation then you need to start putting your foot down now before the wedding gets out of control.
G: Book the wedding cars. You probably don’t need to pretend to be interested in this one, but do consider whether a Lambo really is practical.
G: Book photographer and/or videographer.
BM: Start thinking about the stag weekend. Remember to plan big. Go for the stag-do classics by all means but originality is always welcomed and that needs extra planning.
G: Order the cake and flowers, book hotel rooms for the wedding and start planning your honeymoon. Remember to tell the boss you’ll need time off.
G: Buy the wedding rings.
G, BM: If you’re thinking of having an engagement party and haven’t yet, now’s the time. It’s another great excuse for a piss-up, so why not? It’s also a good chance to get material for the speech and practice what it’ll be like to make your wedding speech by making a toast.
G, BM, FOTB: Discuss moving the speeches to the beginning of the wedding breakfast, or even to the beginning of the day if you’re feeling really nervous about the speeches. Yes, it’s tradition to do it after the meal – but what’s the point of paying £30 for some food you’re not going to be able to enjoy?
G, BM: Buy suits or arrange wedding suit hire for the best man and ushers. Have the discussion about whether you can pull off a top hat or not and then discuss your other style accessory options
G: Order the wedding invitations and stationary.
G: Finalise details with the venue and confirm the menu and catering details with the caterer. Check, check and double-check.
BM: Understand that your mate has gone into the wedding planning underworld where his life consists of looking at swatches of material and wondering what on earth he’s supposed to be picking out. Take him for a weekly squash game to take his mind of things, then fill him full of beer and take the blame from his Mrs.
G: Set up your wedding list. Contemplate whether you really can put an X-Box 360 on there among the matching towels. Remember to include items to suit all budgets. Don’t think you have to go with a department store there are loads of great options for gift lists now – everything from Amazon Wishlists, to Wishpot and Buy Our Honeymoon.
G: Buy bitty bits like wedding favours if you’re having them, and a wedding book for guests to sign.
G: Choose music, readings and vows for the ceremony.
G: Honeymoon decision time. Are you booking it together, or are you surprising her? Either way you need to get it booked and start working out how to pay for it. Don’t forget honeymoons are all about the details, so get planning about how to make it extra special.
G: Meet and confirm details with the minister or registar.
BM: Finalise plans for the stag do. Don’t tell the bride. While you think of it though – email her to ask for any ideas/material that she may have to add into your speech.
BM: Start an email list/private Facebook group to keep all the Stags in regular contact before the day.
G: Consider any elements you might have forgotten, like glassware for the reception.
G: Send out wedding invitations. A Facebook event invite will not suffice. Remember to include maps, directions, chosen local hotels/B+Bs to the ceremony and reception.
BM: Sort out the Stag-do t-shirts. Book them early to get the best price. Make any final arrangements for the stag-do.
G: Buy presents for the best man and ushers, bridesmaids and parents. DO NOT FORGET TO BUY THE BRIDE A GIFT. It sounds crazy but it’s tradition and you’ll get skinned if you forget. Make it something saucy for the honeymoon and it works for both of you.
BM: If you haven’t had the stag-do yet, now’s the time. The next fortnight is going to be manic. Be extra smooth and book the groom something to help him recover. Even if it’s just a pack of Rennie wrapped in a bow. Use the stag-do as a chance to get stories about the groom off all the people who know him.
BM: Follow up the stag-do by circulating any good pictures through the email list or Facebook group. The aim is to keep people in touch so they remember each other again by the wedding.
FoB, BM, G: Write wedding speeches.
G: Chase any late RSVPs and think about the seating plan. Once done, advise caterers or the reception venue of final numbers.
BM: Distribute order of service sheets to the minister and ushers.
BM: Organise a contact list for the wedding with all the numbers you’ll need (ushers, reception, vicar and so on). That way you can sort out any issues on the day.
G: Finalise seating plan and write placecards.
G, BM, FOTB: Get yourselves shipshape. Have haircuts, get a back, sack and crack wax and attack the mono-brow with tweezers. WARNING: Don’t do anything drastic without letting her know you’re going for a Mr T.
G: Pack for your honeymoon if you’re setting off straight after the wedding.
BM: Pick up any hired outfits.
FoB, BM, G: Wear in your wedding shoes so you don’t end the day with corns. Some dress shoes have polished soles, which do not go well with stone church floors. Get a cobbler to set a strip of rubber on the sole if you’re worried about it affecting your dance moves.
BM: Check all is in order with the suits. Offer to return them for the groom and ushers – he’s going to have enough on his mind and it’s another thing off his to do list.
G: Give the best man a list of duties for the day, plus cash to pay suppliers and the rings.
BM: DON’T lose the rings. DON’T even pretend to lose the rings.
G, BM, FOTD: Get a good night’s sleep. Or at least intend to.
BM: Check the reception venue as early as possible to make sure there are no disasters.
BM, G, FOTB: Eat breakfast, and beware early boozing.
G: Say ‘I do’ and ‘I will’ in all the right places.
G, BM, FOTB: Stand up. Give Speeches. Enjoy applause.
G, BM, FOTB: Relax. You’ve earned it.