Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dodging Bachelor Bullets


So there you are dodgy pellets of paint, laughing hysterically and wondering why you’ve never tried this before.

Every groom’s last days of freedom should be something to remember and choosing your best man can have a huge impact on your bachelor party. Not to mention the big day itself.

Picking your Best Man is a difficult task. You’ve worked through a (very) shortlist of those least likely to embarrass you on the day. Also you have to weigh up the considerations of who can not only give you a bachelor party to remember but also won’t give you one you wish you could forget. You don’t want to wake up 30 miles out in the Nevada Desert with “Big John Was Here” tattooed on your buttocks dressed in only your socks and a Burger King napkin.

But spare some thought for your Best Man too. It’s a difficult task, not only does he have to organise your last days of freedom with military precision, make sure you are prepared for the big day, not lose the rings, or let you lose your cool. He has to deliver that speech. The comedy roast that will delight but not offend all those attending your big day. That will entertain and inform every one of the crazy guy you were and the great husband you’re going to be. It’s a lot of pressure and he might need a little guidance.

You’re already struggling to keep your head above water just trying to keep the bride-to-be from meltdown every time a decision has to be made or supplier doesn’t meet her exacting demands so steer him in the direction of some considered and informed advice while you concentrate on keeping the bride calm collected and just this side of sane.

So the best advice we can give when picking your Best Man is to think of all your closest friends in a line up, which one do you think will make you laugh hardest during his speech? Who would you most want to turn to when the wedding plans are starting to go a little bit crazy? And who would you most want beside you when the paintball pellets start flying?

And if you do end up in Vegas for your bachelor party…. Keep an eye out for “Big John”.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wedding Trends of 2013 from the Groom’s Perspective Part 1: The Reception Lounge


Normally, we speak the phrase wedding trends and the Grooms in the area flee, screeching like small girls and tearing out their hair. We feel you. Planning a wedding would be the perfect way to get political prisoners and terrorists to talk, if it didn’t take several lifetimes (estimated; wedding planning has a time dilation effect similar to a black hole’s Event Horizon) to get through. But not all wedding trends were invented in the offices of various chick-centric magazines – some were invented in the offices of guy-centric magazines, and some of these new trends we actually approve of.

The best one we’ve heard so far is simple in its audacity: The Reception Lounge.

The Reception Lounge is hot in 2013, and if you’re a Groom theoretically involved in the planning of your wedding, we’d strongly suggest you use every bit of your political capital to get one included in your wedding. Don’t worry about the future – you were never going to use that capital anyway, be honest, and at least this way your wedding gets to be epic in ways that don’t involve her dress, the bridesmaids dresses, or anyone dresses.

The Reception lounge is basically a bar/club area set up away from the dance floor and tables. You stock a bar, get some comfy chairs and maybe some tables, and if you’re going all out get a bartender and some waiters/waitresses. Different music and a different vibe, a casual, quieter place to go where you won’t be pressured into any Chicken Dances or conga lines. But the best way to think of the Reception Lounge is that it your Shadow Reception. You get to hold the reception you want inside your Bride’s mainstream reception. It’s genius.

We’re only slightly exaggerating when we say the Reception Lounge is the greatest idea we’ve ever heard of.

The best part of this idea is that it doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. It can be complicated, of course – you’ll have to poll your budget and your energy to decide just how spectacular it should be. But even a few couches and a makeshift bar will be enough. People get tired at weddings. It’s hours and hours of ceremony, forced socializing, and dancing. Your one problem will be when your Reception Lounge fills up with men fleeing the dance floor and then their women come and burn your lounge to the ground.

You can always have a second, secret lounge area for you and your close friends and family. But if you get caught doing that, we’ll deny knowing anything about it. In that case, you’re on your own.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The REAL Duties of a Best Man


Hey, you’ve been asked to be your buddy’s Best Man at his wedding! Congratulations, it’s a thankless job and you’ll be miserable. Whether you’re his oldest friend, his brother, or someone the bride’s family forced upon him, you probably think your job is to look good in a tuxedo, carry some rings around, and try not to vomit all over everyone at the ceremony after spending the night before in some vague debauchery you’re already imagining.

You are: So very wrong. Well, okay, half wrong. Because you must do all of those things, plus a few other unsexy things like helping the Groom to organize the tuxedo fittings and the toasts and such. But that’s just the tip of this iceberg. Getting married is serious business and you’ve just been handed a huge checklist of things to accomplish before the big day:

1. Therapy. The Groom is going to have, on average, fifty or sixty existential crises. These are not always the same. Aside from the old standby anxiety about being with the same woman for the rest of his life, there’s also: Insecurity about whether or not the bride’s family likes him, stage fright regarding having to dance in front of everyone, body image issues after that first tuxedo fitting, and possibly remorse over huge and complex lies he’s told his bride-to-be, possibly regarding secret identities, previous marriages, and love children.

2. Image Control. Whether your Groom is a wild man-child who spends the months leading up to his wedding barely escaping arrest or a pensive and serious young man who spends hours staring out of windows as if he imagines he’s being filmed, your job as Best Man includes making him look good. This might involve a few muscle relaxants and some pancake makeup on the Wedding Day, it might involve copping to crimes you didn’t actually commit, or it might involve outright lying to people’s faces.

3. Dance Lessons. You think you’re the first Best Man asked to help a Groom learn steps in order to surprise his wife with his dancing ability? You poor, innocent fool.

4. Wedding Party Control. The Groom has other problems, and the Maid of Honor is going to be spending a lot of time locked in rooms with the Bride, so crowd control falls to you. You’ll be the General of the Wedding Party, which means you get to organize everything and relay messages from the Groom.

5. Speeches. There are a lot of speeches involved with being a Best Man. You can go exactly two ways with your speeches: Emotional or Funny. There is no Third Way, unless you count a hybrid of emotional and funny, which is acceptable but very difficult as you don’t want to be perceive as laughing about that time the Groom got hit by a car. Do not try for Philosophical. For god’s sake don’t let your own opinions about marriage invade your speech. Make them cry or make them laugh, and get the hell out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Groom's Guide to Getting Married on a Beach

 
We’re all supposed to be rugged individualists in America, so it’s sometimes amazing to me how similar most weddings are. Granted, there’s tradition at work here, which is understandable; people like to see their new family linked backwards in time to their old family, and the traditions employed at most weddings serve that purpose. Still, it gets a little numbing sometimes when you’ve been to dozens of weddings and they each follow the same basic template.

One side effect of this, however, is that as a Groom you know exactly what to expect when you get married. Your role is pretty clear even if you’ve never spent a single second thinking about your own wedding. Most men can cruise through their wedding without paying much attention. But what do you do if your wedding is one of the few non-standard ones? Say, you and your bride decide to get hitched on a beach instead of in a church? Here’s a few pointers:

1. Resist pants. No one looks formal or serious in shorts. It is impossible. The second you put on shorts, you regress in age, dignity, and social status. So expect your bride to try to get you to wear pants to your beach wedding. She will tell you that they will be lightweight pants, linen, perhaps. She will tell you they will “breathe” and be cool. Do not believe her. Cling to your shorts as if your life depends on them. If the temperature is going to crack ninety, it probably does.

2. Have a backup plan. Hey, did you know it rains on the beach?

3. Be prepared for witnesses. Even if you have access to a private beach, most beaches are only private in the mysterious legal sense that does absolutely nothing to stop weirdos and vagrants from wandering onto them. When I got married on a beach in Hawaii a homeless man sleeping in a tent at the tree line kept wandering out and drunkenly shouting “Congratulations!” at the top of his voice. You have to roll with stuff like that.

4. Pick the right beach. That said, do some research and pick a spot where there won’t be too many people. It’s one thing to have a few curious onlookers, it’s quite another to be hit in the head by a Frisbee just as your putting the ring on her finger, and then you have to spend the next six hours searching the sand for the ring.

5. Fear the sun. Hey, did you know that standing for long periods of time in the hot sun can be uncomfortable and dangerous?

One of the great things about a nonstandard wedding, though, is the fact that not every single detail has been preplanned for you by the Ghosts of Brides Past. There’s a lot of fun wiggle room for the wedding overall and for you, the Groom, specifically. It’s Thunderdome out there; there are no rules. If you’ve won the battle for No Pants mentioned above, you’re standing on a beach in a pair of comfortable shorts and bare feet, after all, so be a little flexible with what the Bride wants. In a very real way, you’ve already won.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

THE WEDDING STRATEGIST: Nutrition and the Swinging Groomsman


When invited to a wedding as either a member of the bridal party or simply a guest, there are plenty of details to go around. If you’re single, there’s the question of a date. If you’re a member of the bridal party, there’s the fittings and gatherings and gifts, perhaps a speech, or a stress-inducing Dance Moment. Even a guest has to worry about what to wear, what to buy as a gift, the sleeping arrangements, whether ‘The Robot’ has come back into style yet. One thing no one considers, however, is dinner.

If you think that since your attendance at the reception includes a meal dinner is solved, think again. There are numerous other things to worry over. One, any reception worth going to starts with cocktails, and if you’ve been sweltering away in an ill-fitting suit or tuxedo for the last few hours you’re more than likely drinking on an empty stomach. Two, reception dinners may vary in quality and appeal, but even the best reception meal you’ve ever seen is going to arrive at your table lukewarm and inconsistently seasoned, and God help you if you have a custom order. Finally, dinner arrives in the middle of the reception for some reason, completely destroying the flow of the evening. If you went to a club or a great party, would you pause after two hours, return glumly to your table, and consume half a pound of prime rib, only to return to the dance floor bloated and sweating freely? Of course you wouldn’t.

On the other hand, you can’t spend your evening drinking, dancing, and photobombing the other tables without eating something. The answer is right in front of you: The Cocktail Hour.

Cocktail Hours vary, of course. I’ve been to cocktail hours with more food than a Jersey Diner, and I’ve been to cocktail hours where you have to hunt the waiters like a Terminator in order to get a handful of cheese puffs. In either scenario, the Cocktail Hour is where you can eat some delicious grub before you’re too drunk and/or exhausted from doing The Robot to think straight. Grab a drink and get in line for that carving station, start stalking the waiters, and sample those Swedish Meatballs. This way, by the time you have a tiny numbered card in your hand and you’re searching for your table, you’re already sated. It’s ideal because you then spend some time sitting, making your introductions, and digesting. By the time everyone is invited to join the bride and groom on the dance floor, you’re ready to spend the next few hours celebrating instead of struggling to identify the vegetables on your plate.

Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that most people don’t follow this advice, so be wary of being the only person on the dance floor while every other guest is eating dinner. If you suddenly look up and everyone is staring in horror as you do The Robot, solo, it might be time to go take a breather.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

THE WEDDING STRATEGIST: The Politics of Dancing


Many men, when invited to or planning a wedding, come up against the fact that they will be expected or at the very least strongly urged to dance. I once worked with a curmudgeonly old man who gruffly advised me that real men never danced. He was proud to say he had danced only once in his life, at his own wedding. Most of us, however, lack this kind of internal fortitude. We will, someday, have to dance in order to please our partners.

Some men, of course, enjoy dancing, and are even good at it. More power to them. They remain, as far as I can tell, a minority in the world, perhaps the next step in evolution. For the rest of us, we must arm ourselves with a clearheaded strategy for events such as weddings. Here then, are some guidelines for groomsmen and wedding guests as the event approaches.

First off, resign yourself to the fact that you will, indeed, have to dance. Trust me, you will find your manhood and/or maturity challenged if you refuse, so be prepared. This means, wear comfortable shoes. This means, drink heavily as soon as it is socially acceptable to do so. This means, above all, choose your moment.

The worst thing you can do is be cajoled onto the dance floor when everyone, including you, is still sober. Don’t be the sad soul who is forced to shuffle awkwardly and bite his lower lip, sweating freely, aware of all the judgmental male eyes on your back. Wait, friend, until everyone is sufficiently lubricated to regard just about anything as a good idea. You will know the moment: The band or DJ plays the Chicken Dance and/or The Electric Slide, and more than half the guests rush to the floor. This is your moment: From this point on no one will remark on anything you do. Or, possibly, remember it.

Finally, be aware of the Three Types of Dancing Men you will encounter at weddings, and avoid them at all costs:

1. The Lesson Takers: There’s one couple at every wedding who have spent years of their lives taking Dance Lessons – Ballroom, Swing or, god help you, Disco. Identify these folks quickly and stay off the dance floor when they’re out there, burning the place down with their sexiness. You will never look good dancing next to them.

2. The Box Steppers: Usually an older couple, these folks cannot actually dance in a technical sense, but they can walk each other around in a stiff-armed box forever, circling the floor in grim, robotic motion. Although they will make you look good in comparison, the chances of whacking them in the head with your flailing limbs is high.

3. Children: At some point at every wedding reception the kids figure out that they can do anything on the dance floor and it is regarded with amusement and tolerance. It quickly becomes Lord of the Flies out there. Stay seated and don’t make eye contact.

There you go. Follow these simple guidelines and dancing need never be a worry to you again. And for heaven’s sake resist the temptation to do The Robot.

- Groomsday

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 Gadgets that Help Grooms Prepare for the Big Day

It'll be the biggest day of your life, and all eyes are on you. Nothing can go wrong - with the average US wedding costing $27,021, according to Reuters, it'd be a catastrophe if it didn't go to plan. Luckily, there are a range of gadgets and apps that can make sure you get everything done, and save you from that famed Bridezilla fury...



1. iWedding - for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch This is a complete wedding binder, saved on your phone. Note down everything from who you have invited to each stage of the competition, who has confirmed, and everything you have left to do. There are preset lists containing everything you'd expect, including picking out the wedding dress, the typical fitting dates, picking the menu and reserving the photographer, or you can make your own. It's ideal for organizing stag nights, and making sure you've got everything your Bride-to-be will expect, from the ring to a cute wedding-day present.

2. Wedding Snaps - for iPhone, iPad or Online You are sure to want some reminders of your special day, and Wedding Snaps gives you access to them all in one place. Distribute the details to your guests, and any photographs will be automatically updated to your folder. It's your very own complete wedding album - and you can even set up a "real-time" presentation to watch them as they are uploaded. Just make sure the folder's private before uploading any racy honeymoon shots…

3. BRIDES Wedding Genius - for iPhone, Android Make your life easy by downloading this free app for your fiancé. It includes an area for uploading inspiration, recording details and allows you to note down your vows - and even shows you where to get items in your local area. More importantly, it will let your wife-to-be assign tasks to you, and your phone will remind you to complete them. Ideal for preventing pre-wedding arguments!

4. Personalized iPad Case - Give your iPad a sleek new look and woo your fiancé at the same time with a personalized iPad case. She's sure to love a wedding-related engraving, and the strong case will keep your gadget safe on the flight. If you haven't yet planned your honeymoon, check out Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Guide - an iPad app that will help you choose a honeymoon hotel in a number of top locations. There's amazing pictures, contact details and availability, so all you need to do is pay. Honeymoons made easy!

5. Deluxe Grooming Station - Start your wedding as you mean to go on - looking good. This grooming station comes with a variety of attachments for hair, facial hair and all over body usage, and is designed to be easy to use. Test it out a few weeks before the wedding, to make sure any mistakes aren't forever recorded in the wedding album, and then wow her with your pristine appearance when she's coming down the aisle.

Extra - Ultrabook The iPad isn’t the only computer device allowed to have any fun around here. Sometimes a tablet just won’t cut it. The Ultrabook laptop will give you the same lightweight ease, while providing a few more amenities. And when’s a better time for amenities than your wedding?! Now all you need to do is remember to turn up with the rings, and have a great night. You'll remember it forever!