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Five Tips For My Fellow Grooms

January 7, 2009 - John Whittaker
My first post, some nine months ago, dealt with my wonderful fiance and the planning for our upcoming wedding.
I think I've posted twice more on that subject -- which should tell you two things. 1. I'm an idiot. 2. It's easy to lose focus on a wedding when you've got 15 months to plan it.
Now, five months away from the magic day, that to-do list has way too few check marks on it -- so the News Gal and the Whitless Wonder have to get on the stick and get this thing planned.
Since I said the wedding plans and the experience would be a recurring feature of this blog, let me start by saying that grooms really can be forgotten in this process. For example, the News Gal has about 100 wedding magazines with little tips and hints for helping put together the big day.
Does anyone have a rough idea how many such magazines there are for grooms?
I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with hero and starts with a z.
There is no real guidebook for a groom to follow -- at least, no guidebook that a self-respecting man wants to be caught reading by anyone other than his wife-to-be. With that in mind, as a public service to my fellow grooms (and soon-to-be grooms), here is a quick list of five things to do (or not to do) to help keep your fiance sane during the wedding planning process.

Teddy Wins Fat Guy Trophy By One Game

First of all, congratulations to Teddy for eking out a 1-game victory over Sir Cumference in the 2008 Fat Guy Trophy contest.

It ended up being tougher than expected, but Teddy mounted a furious comeback in the last six weeks to overtake the competition with a 310-148 record. Sir Cumference and Finn finished tied for second with 309-149 records, the Whitless Wonder finished 305-153 while Simon was 271-187.

Here are a few of the things this contest should teach you:

1. If you know anything about football, you should be able to correctly pick about 65 percent of games correctly without point spreads involved. I'd be interested to see how the picks would have changed with the spreads, and that's an experiment for another day. I'd say the guys who participated in this contest, though, are knowledgeable about football and didn't put in a ton of time on their picks each week, yet were able to pick pretty successfully. For four people to be within five games of each other, while picking some 450-plus games, is statistically impressive.

2. Overthinking will kill you when you're picking games. I would have easily won this contest had I not overthought several games -- so-and-so quarterback will shred so-and-such's defense, only to have the opposite happen; or so and such will run through Team X's defensive line, and then the team shuts down the run and wins by 15 points. And, there were times I got the game right, but my reasons for picking the game were incredibly wrong (see, Week 17, Bills-Patriots). Going with your gut and not thinking about the specifics of the game will help you win more often than not.

3. Watch as many games as possible, or that your wife/fiance will allow you to watch. The eye test is key to being able to pick games. Anyone who had seen Arizona saw their December swoon coming a mile away. Anyone who saw Denver against the Bills knew that neither team was going to the playoffs this year. If you had seen Baltimore-Pittsburgh, you knew the Dolphins had no chance against the Ravens defense. And, teams change over the course of the season. Don't overvalue early season results.


1. Give your input when asked. If there is any one thing that ticks the News Gal off, it's when she asks my opinion on something wedding-related and I reply, "Whatever you want.' If you want to see what your fiance really wants to do with that 2-by-4 she's holding, just spout that reply when she asks you, "What color tuxedo do you want to wear?' or "Should we have ushers or have the groomsmen seat people?' Just prepare to be looking at the ceiling with a big welt on the back of your head when you do. You probably don't want to second-guess everything your fiance wants to do, and you probably don't want to give her 19 options when two or three will do. But, when she asks, give her thoughtful, insightful answers -- or prepare to see stars.
2. Take care of the big stuff early. I'm speaking from experience on this one -- nail down the church, reception hall, photographer and disc jockey early. I mean, really early. Some of these places start booking an entire year in advance, and if you want to save your fiance that anguished, discouraging "Um, baby, the hall you have your sights set on is booked already' talk, then get it on paper early.
3. Don't take a break. Again, speaking from experience, it's easy to get the big stuff out of the way and then want to take a break for the Yankees stretch run, then get distracted by the Patriots and BOOM, you're right in the middle of college basketball season and you've done very little to advance the wedding planning. When you get off to a good start, keep going. We picked off the big stuff early, but, because of the aforementioned break, it's five months before the wedding and the invitations haven't been ordered, there's still a lot of stuff to be paid for, flowers have to be taken care of, tuxedo fittings, a menu for the reception and a ton of other stuff that the News Gal has a better handle of than I do. Trust me, when you think you're doing well, you're not. Stay on it.
4. Surprise your fiance by asking, once in a while, "So, what can I pick off tonight for the wedding?' Trust me, you have no idea how happy she'll be that you're taking an interest, and that you're trying to take some of the load off of her. I've been a bit deficient in this regard, I admit, so learn from my mistakes, loyal readers. Little things are also a big deal. Has it been a while since you bought your woman flowers? Our pastor told this great story during one of our counseling sessions. He was on the road, a common occurrence during his previous job, with a couple of other people who worked for his company. At one of their stops, the store had carnations for sale. He grabbed one for 50 cents and took it home to his wife, who loved the thought behind the 50 cent flower. He's made a living out of 50 cent flowers during his 50 plus years of marriage. Just because your fiance's wearing a ring, no matter how expensive it is, doesn't mean you can get away with flopping in front of the game at night. The News Gal is nodding knowingly as she reads this (I guess that means someone gets flowers this week….).
5. Sweat the little details. It's amazing how similar most weddings can be. The difference, and the way your wedding can actually be different from others, is in the little things. As a guy, small details like these can be really easy to overlook in the middle of making sure the big things (pastor, church, reception hall, rings) are taken care of. But, your fiance is focusing on the tiny details that will set her day apart from the 720 million other weddings that will take place this year. Be excited when those decisions are made, because those are the decisions that she'll remember 20 years from now when she's talking to your daughter about planning a wedding.
Next week, I'm taking a week off, though I promise I'll try to post at least one update, if not two updates. And one of the things I really want to do is take some of the pressure off of the News Gal -- run some errands while she's at work, take care of some of this wedding business so it's not all falling on her shoulders, and just generally be more engaged with the planning process.
There's still time for her to take back that whole "yes' thing, you know.


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