Pity the poor groom without whom there can be no wedding but whose importance in the proceedings, and particularly the planning, can often be overlooked.
Apart from the obvious however, he does have an important part to play in the arrangements so a little guidance may not come amiss:
It should be the groom who books the church or other place where the wedding is to take place, and should make appointments to meet the clergyman, registrar or other officiator.
Though where the choice of venue for the ceremony is concerned, a groom would ignore the wishes of his bride-to-be and maybe even her mother at his peril!
Traditionally, the bride’s father pays for the bulk of the wedding costs, the groom however has his share of financial responsibilities.
All official fees attached to the marriage, including church and clergyman’s fees, plus the costs of choir, organist, bell ringers and any other officials required to be present, fall to him.
He should pay for the church or register office flowers and any special bouquets presented to the respective mothers at the reception.
He is also responsible for providing corsages for the respective mothers and buttonholes for the guests. Most important of all, he pays for bride’s bouquet and those of her attendants although he has no say in their arrangement.
The official bits
The groom should provide all the information necessary for the marriage application to be accepted. He must ensure all necessary documentation, licences and certificates are ready for presentation to the officiator of the wedding.
In the case of an Anglican church wedding, if he doesn’t live in the same parish as the bride, it is his responsibility to co-ordinate the reading of the bans in both churches.
If the wedding is to take place abroad he must be doubly careful to see that all legal requirements are taken care of. The local registrar will usually advise.
Picking his team
Having dealt with the financial and legal sides he must also appoint his best man and ushers.
The choice of best man is his and his alone and if it doesn’t suit the rest of the family it’s just too bad. The ushers are usually made up from a selection of the younger male relatives from both sides of the family however if the groom chooses to select only his own friends or relatives, again that’s his prerogative.
If the wedding is to be very formal and morning suits, or kilts, are required, the groom must be prepared to arrange for the hire and delivery.
Finding the rings
The groom pays for the engagement and bride’s wedding ring. Traditionally he may choose these though these days it is more often than not, a joint decision with the bride.
He must also arrange for transport to take his bride and himself to the reception afterwards.
His best man has other responsibilities and should provide his own transport to the reception.
Speeches and presents
The groom must make a speech at the reception which he should write himself. He cannot get out of this as it is a formal “thank you” for the wedding itself, to the bride’s parents, to the guests for coming, to his retinue for their efficiency, and to the bride for marrying him. It need not be long and rambling, a crisp, short and apposite statement of gratefulness for the whole occasion is quite sufficient.
His final official duty at the reception is to present the bridesmaids and other attendants, ushers and best man with small gifts of appreciation for their attendance.