Q: I recently went to a wedding with my bride-to-be, and the groom at the wedding was very emotional which set everyone else in the church off. This has now made me really nervous and really hit a soft spot. I know I’m going to be emotional on the day, but is there anything you can recommend to hold back the tears?
A: Wedding days are always emotional, especially your own. You are entering into a brand new chapter of life. It’s OK to get emotional. People are shedding tears of happiness for YOU and your bride, and let’s face it, we are all human, so if you feel that you need to express your emotions you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or shy about it.
Q: I have read a lot of articles and been surfing the internet regarding grooms attire, and I cannot decide whether or not to wear a morning suit, a tux, or a normal black suit to my wedding. We are being married in a church and having our reception in a converted barn, so I want to look formal, but then be able to appear more casual at the reception.
A: Weddings generally tend to be a formal occasion, and it is more than likely that your guests will arrive in smart attire. If you wanted to feel a little more comfortable at the reception you could always take your jacket off and just keep your shirt and tie on underneath but still look smart. A morning suit is probably the most common option for a daytime wedding, where as a tuxedo would be more of the evening wedding option. Either way, wear what you feel comfortable in. If your bride is not having such a formal dress then maybe go for a less formal suit so that you are equally dressed.
Q: I am a useless dancer, I don’t enjoy it, and I am getting really nervous about our reception. I know that traditionally the bride and groom have the first dance but I am trying my best to avoid doing this, and actually stepping foot on the dance floor the whole night. My bride will go mad if I don’t make an effort, but I seriously don’t want to. What can I do about this?
A: Being no ‘John Travolta’ myself, this is a question I can really relate to! You have 3 options… Grin and bear it, take a dance course or rearrange the day’s events to avoid the ‘first dance’ situation. Dance courses are widely available and if you were to take them with your partner, over the course of about 5 lessons they will help you choreograph a routine that will ‘wow’ your guest’s . If you choose to change the format of the day to avoid having to perform a first dance, this will take some organising but can be effective. Alternatively you can quite simply decide that you are going to take the plunge and spend a couple of evenings practicing with your fiancé before your big day. You might surprise yourself, you may even like it.
Q: I am due to get married at the end of the summer, and the part I am most nervous about as a groom is making my speech. I can find lots of advice for ‘best men’ but as the groom, I don’t know where to even begin writing my master piece, how long it should be, or what to say. Please can you recommend how I begin to think about my speech as a groom?
A: Virtually everyone is nervous when they have to make a speech. Writing it is just the beginning but with a little research and quiet time alone, believe it or not, it isn’t that difficult. The length of your speech can be up to you and as long as it contains the ‘essential lines’ a few minutes is perfectly acceptable. Make sure you have everything pre-written and even if you have memorised it, keep a written copy of it to hand in case you forget your lines under pressure. Reading some example speeches might give you some ideas of the different routes you can go down. The hitched.co.uk website holds 1000’s of real speeches to gather your information. Interestingly, many grooms and best men say afterwards that whilst they were scared to death prior to making their speech, once they stand and begin talking, they really begin to enjoy themselves and don’t want to stop!
Q: I grew up with a group of 6 other guys. We have spent so much time together through out the years and have hundreds of happy memories together. I would like them to all be part of my wedding, so that would mean having 1 best man and 5 ushers, but my fiancée is only having 3 bridesmaids. Should the numbers be even for bridesmaids and ushers/best man, or does it not matter?
A: It’s your wedding day and you can bend the rules as much as you like. In terms of etiquette, it is nice to have a an usher for every bridesmaid and vice versa, but if you have chosen different numbers then maybe your additional ushers could walk back down the aisle with any single sisters that your bride may have, or a lone aunty or grandparent. There is no ‘rule’ to say that you need to have the exact same amount of bridesmaids to ushers and so on.
Q: I do not want to make a speech at the wedding. Is it mandatory for the groom to speak or do you think I could get away with not saying anything. I just don’t think I can face the nerves.
A: It is important for the groom to say a few words at the reception. If you are worried about creating your speech you will be able to find a numerous resources available online and in books dedicated to wedding speeches and toasts. As far as your nerves are concerned, by the time you have actually walked up the aisle and eaten your wedding breakfast you should be so ecstatic that all the nerves would have disappeared and you will be more than happy to say a few words, even if it is just to thank your parents, compliment your beautiful bride, and welcome guests that have come from near and far to congratulate you.
Q: At my fiancée’s insistence, we are having quite a few children come to our wedding. Even though I love kids, I am not fond of any wining or crying in the church during our ceremony, or during the reception for that matter. What’s more, I a nervous enough about making a speech without the danger of children crying during it and distracting me and the audience. We can’t avoid inviting children, but what can we do to keep them quiet?
A: Inviting children to a wedding is always a tricky situation because even though you want everyone to be present on your special day, you don’t want to have it spoiled as you mentioned above. At the church there is sometimes a room dedicated specifically as a play room for children, which will have an adult watching them the whole time. At a reception it is a good idea to hire a babysitter or have someone specific around to entertain the children and keep them out of trouble. It is sometimes nice at the wedding breakfast to give the children a small gift, favour or something to amuse them during the meal and for the rest of the event.
Q: I have a really awkward middle name, and I am worried that the vicar will miss-pronounce it during the vows. I have already told him the correct pronunciation several times, but he cannot quite grasp it. I don’t want to have an awkward moment at the altar. What do you suggest?
A: I would not worry about this at all. Unless it is a name you are known by, I really do not feel it is imperative that it is pronounced perfectly. If you are very concerned, maybe have another word with the vicar right before the ceremony begins. Or even better write the phonetic pronunciation down for him a few weeks before so he has time to memorise it. If all fails, try and make a joke out of the name when and if it is mispronounced or read aloud. Twisting an awkward moment in to a funny one is usually a good ice breaker and will not only amuse your audience but it will also keep them interested. It might also be a good source to refer to for a joke later during your wedding speech.
Q: We’ve been together for 9 years this year. How can I make sure that she’s blown away when she sees me on our wedding day?
A: The fact that she has chosen to marry you and has been preparing for her wedding day probably since she was about 12, means that she is definitely ‘in love’ and no doubt will be very excited about seeing you at the other end of the aisle. Most people go through the worry of whether or not they are going to ‘wow’ their partner on the big day. One idea to add a little ‘wow’ to the moment is to think about what your ‘wife to be’ first saw in you. Were you thinner? Clean shaven? Six pack? Beautiful white teethy smile? Would it be practical to recreate that look? Whether you have been together for one year or ten years, the smallest of changes can often make the biggest difference.
Q: My fiancée has travelled extensively and has friends from all around the world. When we put our guest list together about 75% of the guests were from her side. I don’t mind that its not equal numbers, but I don’t want the whole wedding to be focused around her side. Any suggests on how we can even things up?
A: This is not an uncommon question. A wedding is a celebration and who ever attends will be happy for you both. To even things up you may want to have an arrangement with your ushers in the church to just seat people randomly rather than have her side on the left and yours on the right. Also, maybe for the wedding breakfast, you can divide up your guests nicely so that all your friends are mingled together. One other idea is perhaps to reduce the number of guests at the wedding and breakfast and ensure numbers for this part of the day are even. Then in the evening, don’t worry about the numbers being even because it is a party and more often than not, the more the merrier!
Q: What is the etiquette for the bar at a wedding? Sometimes I attend weddings where the wine with dinner and the toasting champagne is free, but the rest of the bar for the evening is charged. Then other times the drinks flow freely through out the night. I don’t want to appear tight, but at the same time I don’t want to spend a fortune on the bar bill.
A: Quite simply, the choice is yours. There are several options towards the bar, and every wedding has a different budget, so it’s really up to you as to what you decide to do. Some people like to put a set amount of money behind the bar and then once the budget has gone then it’s up to your guests to purchase their own drinks. Alternatively you could provide drink vouchers on the tables. Occasionally an open bar is appropriate for a wedding, but do not feel obliged to go with any of these suggestions. It is more than fine to have a pay bar too.
Q: I am really worried that my best man is going to bring something up from my past during his speech. I don’t actually mind my bride hearing everything because we know each other so well, but I don’t want her parents to think badly of me after all this time. Do you think this is something I should worry about?
A: You probably wouldn’t have chosen him to be your best man if you didn’t trust him, so you just have to accept that he is going to be looking for laughs at your expense. It is traditional for a best man to make a witty speech, so just sit back, relax, and enjoy the moment.
Q: I am inviting a lot of my friends to our wedding who are single and all know each other. Should I seat them all on the same table, or do you think they would enjoy it more if they spread out over the tables to mingle with our other friends and family?
A: The answer to this question really depends on whether or not you feel that seating your friends separately will add value to the meal and benefit the other guests that might be a little quieter. Alternatively you could sit your friends in a group if you feel they would have more fun together. It is also custom to sit your guests in a male, female, male, female sequence, so if you stick to that rotation your tables will look fine.
Q: I can’t dance. I have no rhythm and I am really worried about dancing at the reception. My fiancée keeps talking about our first dance, and even though this is going to be a slow song, I am going to be really nervous because all eyes will be on us. Any suggestions on how to loose the nerves?
A: You are not the only person who has written in with this question. There are hundreds upon thousands of men who feel the same as you do when it comes to embarrassing dance moves. Have you thought about taking a dance lesson? Even if it is just for an hour, the teacher will be a professional and give you some helpful hints and tips on what you should be doing. You can have a lesson as a couple and you can learn some new moves that will impress your guests. Then the eyes really will be all on you. If you decide against the lessons then just go with the flow on the day. By that time the most important parts of the day will be over and you have the rest of the evening to enjoy. So relax, look at your bride, and dance the night away.