Some tips for the Groom
The wedding day does, and I think rightly so, focus a lot on the Bride and her party of maids. My next blog will be all about the Brides in particular. In this one, however, I'm going to focus on the guys: the Groom and his men (or women).
I often hear, oh the Groom only has to have a quick shower and shove a suit on, that'll take about 10 minutes. Compare that to the girls. But in reality, there is a lot of preparation time for the guys too. Yes, they may well leave it to the last minute to get ready, but they are often involved in last-minute setup and alterations to the wedding venue. These moments can make great photographs and help tell the full story of your day.
I do more and more weddings when Groom preparation is requested to be photographed alongside Bride preparation. For this, I generally use a second photographer who will work to capture what the Groom is up to and will then stay with me until the end of the ceremony. The exception being when Groom and Bride are getting ready either in the same location - obviously not the same room - or where the venue may have multiple cottages on-site and the guys are ensconced in one and the Bride in another. In this case, I am more than happy to go back and forth and capture everything on my own. If you are unsure which options you'd like then chat to me about it at the initial consultation.
I want to share a few tips and thoughts with you from my experience of shooting weddings over the past eight years, specific to the Groom.
You have the stag do at least a month before the wedding day - don't you?. But what about the night before the wedding. Sure, why not get the guys together, after all, it is quite a nervous time the night before your big day. Please don't however make it into The Stag II. A few drinks, with food, and a good laugh will fit the bill nicely. Not wanting to sound like your mum here but try not to stay up too late or drink too much - it will show the next morning, and it will definitely show in the photographs. So drink plenty of water, get to bed at a reasonable time and get up at a reasonable time.
Take your time with morning preparations, if you have any setup to finish off at the venue or the church, then get that done first. But perhaps, most importantly, start your day off well with a good breakfast.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get back to your room, showered, shaved, preened and then enough time into your suite. You have practised how to tie that tie in a windsor knot, haven't you? Oh and you are an expert at attaching buttonholes, aren't you? (by the way it goes on the left). Give it a practice well ahead of time to save precious time and potential tantrums on the day. Your day job then starts, time to greet your guests.
If you are having a civil ceremony, you will be meeting the registrar half an hour before the service is about to begin. Don't be late and listen to your wedding coordinator, who will be keeping an eye on you and making sure you are there on time.
Wear something that looks sharp, but that is also comfortable. You'll be in your suite all day and all evening. If it's going to be a hot day then perhaps that tweed or wool suit would be better as a three-piece so you can still take your jacket off and look smart? Do the trousers have to be that tight, really? They may look cool, and I know skinny is all the rage, but think about some of those new materials which are more giving and comfortable so you can look sharp but also bend over or sit down.
I love to take a shot of the Groom and his men before the ceremony, usually, after you've greeted most of your guests but well before you are due to visit the registrar or for a church wedding when you are waiting expectedly. Just a few quick shots of you guys looking crisp, natural and all sparky and ready to go. I don't do awkward posing - promise.
Looking good all day; The ladies will be touching up makeup and hair throughout the day to look fabulous in all the photographs. Guys, you can do the same - perhaps not makeup - although it is becoming a thing. But have some hair product handy, retouch your hair, if you are getting a bit shiny and hot, then a cold flannel will work wonders. Keep them handy either in your room or in one of the bathrooms. When it comes to your suite, you will be discarding that jacket as the evening gets underway - maybe even the tie. That is fine, but you may need to pop them back on again for photographs towards the end of the night. I like to do my last couple shots just before I leave at 10 pm. It will be much more relaxed and look much better if you haven't scrunched your jacket and tie under a table but, instead, hung it up nicely somewhere or at the very least hung it neatly over the back of a chair.
Group shots, I'll ask you ahead of the wedding day for a list of family groups that you'd like on the day. We usually do these photographs shortly after the ceremony. You'll be asked to nominate someone - typically ushers, to gather the groups for us and bring people to me so I can arrange everyone. Using a gatherer allows us to get through the groups more quickly so you can get back to enjoying your guests, along with a few drinks and canapés.
The speeches, a bit nerve-wracking? Well, yes, they can be. However, there is lots of advice out there on google land about how to write and give the perfect speech. This blog isn't one of them. What I will say is don't drink too much before your speech and again do try to look smart. Jacket off is fine, but the untucked shirt and crooked or half undone tie don't look great in the photos, and the speeches will definitely be photographed.
Helping your new wife, this is a crucial duty, you are just married to the love of your life and yet the number of times I see Grooms not helping their wives with her heavy, cumbersome, uncomfortable and costly dress beggars belief. I'll be taking you away for couple shots, and it would be great if you could help your wife with holding up the dress while we are walking between locations - failing that bring a bridesmaid along.
Those were just a few pointers to help you look your best on your big day. The main thing is of course to enjoy yourself, but with just a few little bits of preparation ahead of time, you can feel and look your best all day. You'll - probably - thank me for it.
If you have any questions at all about any aspect of your wedding day, then please get in touch. If you've found this useful or if you have further tips or suggestions for the Groom, please let me know, and I'll include them here.
Above all, have a beautiful day and afterwards, enjoy your photographs, they will tell the story of your day for generations to come.
"Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen closely."