Q: Recently, my bride-to-be and I attended a wedding and the groom was particularly emotional which then set off everyone else in the church. I’m now really nervous as I know I will be emotional on the day but is there any way of holding back the tears?
A: Wedding days are always very emotional and your own will be more so. You are beginning a whole new chapter in your life and it’s Ok to get emotional about this. People are shedding tears because they are happy for you and you bride. We are all human so if you feel that you need to express your emotions, don’t feel shy and embarrassed about it.
Q: I have been doing a lot of research on the internet about grooms attire and I can’t decide whether to wear a morning suit, a tux or a normal black suit to my wedding. We have decided to marry in a church and our reception will be held in a converted barn, so I do want to look formal, but I also want to appear more casual for the reception.
A: Weddings are a formal occasion and it is likely that most of your guests will be arriving in smart attire. If you would rather feel more comfortable at the reception, take your jacket off and just keep your shirt and tie on underneath so that you still look smart. A morning suit is often the most common option for daytime weddings whereas a tuxedo is commonly worn to an evening wedding. If your bride is choosing not to have an especially formal dress then go for a less formal suit so that at least you are equally dressed.
Q: I’m not a particularly great dancer and I don’t enjoy it much so I’m starting to get really nervous about our reception. I know that the bride and groom should traditionally have the first dance but I am doing my utmost to avoid going on the dance floor for the entire night! My bride will be really cross if I don’t make and effort but I really, truly don’t want to. How can I get around this?
A: Ok, you have three options here. Firstly, grin and bear it, secondly, take a dance course or finally, rearrange the day’s events so that you can avoid the ‘first dance’ situation. Dance courses are available in many places and if you take them with your partner and after about 5 lessons, they should be able to help you choreograph a routine that will impress all your guests. Changing the course of the day to avoid the first dance will take a lot of organising but can work. If neither of the options is appealing to you, we suggest just taking the plunge and spending a few evenings practicing with your fiancé before the wedding day arrives. You might end up enjoying yourself!
Q: I’m getting married at the end of the summer and I am ridiculously nervous about making my groom’s speech. There is plenty advice available for the best man speech, but as a groom, I’m completely lost about where to begin, how long it should be or even what to say. Could you give me some advice on how I start thinking about my speech as a groom?
A: Everyone is nervous when it comes to making a speech. Writing it is just the beginning but if you do some research and spend a little time alone, it can often be much easier that you think. The length of your speech is completely up to you. Providing it contains the essentials, a few minutes can be acceptable. Ensure you have everything pre-written and although you may have memorised it, we do still advise keeping a written copy to hand, just in case you forget a few lines. Read a few example speeches and you could get some useful inspiration. For example, the hitched.ie website has plenty of real speeches available for you to gather some information. Many grooms and best men say after they have given their speech that whilst they were terrified prior to making their speech, once they stand and begin to talk, they actually start to really enjoy themselves and are sad when their speech has to end!
Q: I grew up in a group of 6 other blokes. We have spent a lot of time together over the past years and we have a million happy memories together. I want all of them to be a part of my wedding and this would mean have one best man and 5 ushers. However, my fiancé has decided to have just 3 bridesmaids. Should the numbers for bridesmaids and ushers be even? Or is it not particularly important?
A: This is your big day and that means you can bend the rules as much as you like. As far as etiquette is concerned, yes it is nice to have an usher for every bridesmaid and vice versa. However, considering you have chosen different numbers, it might be nice for your additional ushers to walk down the aisle beside any single sisters or cousins that your bride may have. There are no rules to say that you absolutely need the same amount of bridesmaids to ushers.
Q: I really want to avoid making a speech at the wedding. Is it essential for the groom to make a speech or could I get away with not speaking? I just think the nerves would get the better of me.
A: The groom should really say a few words at the reception. If you are particularly worried about writing your speech, there are many resources available online and thousands of books dedicated to wedding speeches and toasts. When it comes to your nerves, by the time you have eaten your wedding breakfast and walked down the aisle, you should be so happy at being a newly-wed that all nerves have vanished and you will be positively excited about saying a few words. Even if it is just to thank your guests for coming, your parents for raising you and to compliment your beautiful new wife.
Q: Due to my fiancés insistence, there are quite a few children coming to our wedding. I do love kids but I am not particularly keen on having them whining or crying during our ceremony or the reception. I am also nervous enough about having to make a speech, without the added danger of children crying and distracting me. I don’t think we can get around inviting children but is there any way of keeping them quiet?
A: Whether or not to invite children to a wedding is a touchy subject. Although you want all friends and family to be present at your special day, you wouldn’t want it to be ruined by the reasons you mentioned above. Many churches often have a play room for children which will have an adult watching them the entire time. As far as the reception is concerned, it would be a good idea to hire a babysitter to keep the children entertained and out of trouble. It is also nice, at the wedding breakfast, to give the children a small gift to amuse them during the meal and for the rest of the day.
Q: I have a bit of an awkward middle name and I am really worried that the vicar is going to miss-pronounce it. I have told him several times how to correctly pronounce it but he can’t seem to quite grasp it. I really don’t want to have an awkward moment at the altar. Can you suggest anything?
A: Don’t stress about this too much. Unless it is a name which you are commonly known by, its not crucial that it is pronounced exactly right. However, if you are really concerned, have a quick word with the vicar just before the ceremony is due to start. Or even write down the phonetic pronunciation and give it to him to learn a few weeks before so he has time to learn it properly. If all else fails, you can at least make a joke about it when it is mispronounced. Making an awkward moment into a funny one can be a great ice breaker and will amuse you audience. It is also extra material to use in your speech afterwards.
Q: We have been together for 9 years this year. How can I make sure that she is completely blown away when she sees me on our big day?
A: She has chosen to marry you and has been preparing for this day since she was about 13 years old. This means she is most certainly in love with you and is undoubtedly very excited about seeing you waiting for her at the altar. Many people, in fact most of them, worry about whether they are really going to leave their partner in awe on the big day. A good idea to make sure you get the ‘wow’ factor is to think about what your ‘wife to be’ first saw in you when you began your relationship. Were you clean shaven? Thinner? Had a six pack and amazing muscles in your arms? Now is it practical for you to recreate that look? Sometimes the smallest of changes can make a big difference.
Q: My fiancé has done a lot of travelling and has many friends from different parts of the world. We composed our guest list and it worked out that 75% of people were from her side. I’m not particularly bothered that it is not exactly equal, but I would rather the wedding wasn’t focused around her side. Are there any ways of evening things out?
A: This is quite a common question. You could perhaps have an arrangement with your ushers in the church so that people are sat randomly rather than having her side seated on the left and yours on the right. For the wedding breakfast, consider dividing up your guests to ensure that all friends are mingled together. Alternatively, perhaps you could reduce the number of guests attending the wedding and breakfast to make sure that the numbers for this part of the day are even. In the evening, it shouldn’t be so much of a problem because after all, it is a party and quite often, the more the merrier!
Q: What is the general etiquette for the bar at the wedding? I have attended a few weddings whereby wine served with the dinner and the champagne for toasting if free but for the rest of the evening, drinks at the bar are charged. Although there have been other times where the drinks flowed freely the entire night. I wouldn’t want my family and friends to think I’m tight but I also don’t want to break the bank on the bar bill.
A: The decision is entirely your own on this one. Every wedding has a different budget and there are several options towards the bar so it really is up to you on what you decide to do. Some couples prefer to put a set amount of money behind the bar so that once the budget has gone; it is down to your guests to start paying for their own drinks. Another idea is to provide drink vouchers on the tables. An open bar can be appropriate for some weddings but you should not feel obliged to follow any of these suggestions. It is perfectly acceptable to have a pay bar.
Q: I’m really concerned that my best man is going to bring up something really bad from my past during his speech. I don’t mind my bride hearing anything because she knows me so well, but I am worried that my image will be somewhat tarnished in her parents eyes after all this time. Is it something I should be worried about?
A: It is doubtful that you would have chosen him to be your best man if you didn’t trust him implicitly. You are just going to have to accept that he will be looking for ways to laugh at your expense as this is part of the tradition of the best man speech. Relax and enjoy the moment, it will all be over relatively quickly anyway!
Q: I have invited quite a few friends to my wedding who are single and all know one another. Do you think I should seat them on the same table? Or should I spread them out a bit over all the tables to mingle with other friends and family?
A: Well this really does depend on whether you think that seating your friends separately will benefit those other guests that are perhaps a little quieter. You could sit your friends together in a group if you think they would have a bit more fun together. It is customary to sit your guests in a male, female, male, female sequence, stick to this and your tables will look fine.
Q: I am a completely useless dancer and so I am paranoid about dancing at the reception. My fiancé is constantly reminding me about our first dance together and even though it will be a slow song, I’m still really nervous about having all eyes on us. Do you have any suggestions about how I can get rid of my nerves?
A: There are so many people who have written in to us about something like this. Thousands of men feel just the same as you when it comes to embarrassing themselves on the dance floor. Have you considered taking a few dance lessons? Even for just an hour a week, you know that the person teaching is a professional and so could offer some very useful tips. Once you have improved a bit, begin having lessons with your bride-to-be as a couple and learn a few new moves to wow your guests with. If you would rather not pay out for dance lessons, just relax on the day. By the time it reaches the first dance, all the important parts of the day will be over with and you can just enjoy the rest of the evening. Look into your bride’s eyes and just dance the night away.