Today, we have a guest blog post from Colin Duffett….. a seasoned Groomsman (at least 8 times!!!), a Newfoundland native and the guy that puts up with my sister Meghan. This guy is the guy every Groom calls. Like Katherine Hegel in 27 Dresses, Colin has seen and done it all.
Here Colin shares his top tips on how to be a great Groomsman, how to plan a good wedding for your Bridal Party and other simple wedding planning tips for a wedding day people will remember. ~HM
Being a top Groomsman…
1. Be prepared! Remember what went down during the rehearsal. Especially if you are the best man. You are the go-between for the bride and groom that day, so make sure everything is getting sorted.
- For example, make sure you have the rings if you’ve been given them, along with some tissues in your pocket to hand out at the alter in case anyone needs them.
- If it’s an outdoor wedding in warm weather, gold bond does wonders.
- There’s also this blue cream that you can get to matte your face when sweating and taking pictures. It really came in handy in the Dominican Republic this year.
- If it’s cold or raining, an extra rain jacket or umbrella for the bridesmaid you’re paired up with will be appreciated.
2. If you have to speak, get your speech together beforehand and practice it! I like to save a draft email (to nobody) in my gmail account so it’s available for editing no matter where I am (or use Google Docs, Evernote, etc.). I find it’s always random places when the right words will come to me. Always compliment the bridesmaids in your speech too.
3. Get to know the bridesmaids before the wedding if you don’t already. This could be just an email or Facebook message, but at least introduce yourself. They are as important to the bride as you are to the groom. There is usually a get together for the wedding party before the big day, which is a good time to get to know each other as well.
4. The groom will likely give a little talk before the ceremony starts, thanking you for being there for him, etc. It’s nice to say a little something back. Might seem obvious but have something in mind to say anyway.
5. If you are asked to do a photo slideshow, get the pictures well in advance from family members and friends of the bride and groom. You can’t have too many pictures, and the ones you don’t use you can put into a scrapbook to give the couple as a wedding gift. Make sure you test out the video on the equipment you’re using on that day, and make sure it all works. 8-10 minutes is usually long enough for the show.
What NOT to do as a Groomsman…
Definitely don’t have too much to drink until after the speeches are over. Mimosas are a good drink to toast with in the morning to take the edge off before you head to the ceremony, and it’s great to have a few beers while you’re driving around getting pictures taken all day, but try and keep it to a dull roar until the party really starts. You’ll be up at the altar in the wedding, in front of a camera all day, and at the head table all night, so there will always be eyes on you. Once the talking is done and the music starts you can put the place on wheels.
Don’t wing a speech. Be prepared to talk if you’ve been asked in advance.
Dressing the Wedding Party…
For all of the weddings I’ve been in, we usually show up somewhere that morning to get dressed; it’s never been in the evening. Again, I’d say to make sure you show up early. Sometimes it’s at the groom’s house/parents house, which is nice because his mom and dad are there and you get to have a laugh while you’re getting ready. Also, if there are moms or sisters around, they can help with you boutonnieres; we’ve also had the photographers do it for us though. Somehow they are always better at it!
For one of the weddings, the groom got us really nice ties from Hugo Boss with a matching handkerchief. He also ordered us all different funky socks from Happy Socks. It was really fun getting dressed and seeing everyone’s outfits and made for really great pictures. Little things like that are pretty cool and nice to keep as wedding favors. One groom gave us all really nice watches that matched what we were wearing.
Have a party bus/limo bus for the wedding party on the day. That’s the absolute best way to do it in my opinion; the weddings I’ve been in have had those and it takes so much hassle out of the day. Plus, the whole wedding party is together all day having fun. I’d imagine it’s easier on the photographer as well.
I’ve seen really good photographers for all the weddings I’ve been in, thankfully. Some are very creative, while some will just be open to whatever you throw at them. It’s mostly up to the bride and groom what/where you take pictures, but definitely listen to any creative input the photographer has to say, especially for inclement weather or the like. They are the professional and the couple hired them for a reason.
It’s always great to have the photographer show up in the morning while you’re preparing to go the ceremony and it’s just the boys hanging out. A lot of emphasis is on the bride and her friends, but it’s good to get some of the fellas as well!
Some good pictures we’ve taken were when we were trying to throw rocks through ice on a frozen lake (it was winter in Newfoundland after all). The last wedding I was in, the photographer came to the Dominican Republic with us and brought waterproof cameras to take down at the beach or by the pool. He even got a few of me snorkeling and free diving!
A big thing these days are photobooths at weddings. They are really fun, and I’ve seen them done different ways.
- The first is having props set up around the reception area and have the photographer grab pictures when people are wearing the funny hats/glasses. This is alright but it involves a lot of running around by the photographer and you don’t want him/her missing out on pictures somewhere else.
- The second is an actual booth set up. This was really fun, as you get the classic picture strips to take with you, but you don’t have digital copies for later (sometimes the company does scan them). It’s a good way to make a guest book collage though, everyone can sign the pictures and pin them to a board set up at reception.
- The third way I have seen was a sectioned off part of the reception with a backdrop, lots of props, and a second photographer to take the pictures. This was by far the best as not only did you get funny pictures that you could keep, you also didn’t distract the main photographer. It may be a bit cost prohibitive to do it in some instances, but maybe the photographer can have an assistant/intern or someone available on the cheap.
I hope that helps a bit. I guess the #1 thing I’d say as being a groomsman would be to have fun! Try and make sure the bride and groom don’t stress out too much and enjoy the party!