Every little girl dreams about her wedding day.
She’s been planning out every detail since before she got to middle school. By graduation, she’s already got her dream dress picked out. Years before you even started dating, she’d already decided how she wanted you to propose.
Or at least that’s the stereotype. It might not always be true, but that doesn’t stop a lot of dudes from acting like they can just sit the planning phase out.
If you want to keep your bride-to-be happy (and here’s a hint: you absolutely do), you can’t have even an ounce of that attitude.
You’re going to have to carry your own weight.
But if you’re looking at your fiancee furiously running around like a madwoman and don’t know where you can help out, we’ve got you covered.
Here are nine things you can do to make your wedding special.
Choose the Groomsmen
Choosing a wedding party can set the mod for your entire wedding.
While choosing your four or five best friends might seem like an easy enough task, choosing the wrong combination can cause unnecessary drama.
Consider personal history between your groomsmen, your wife, and her bridesmaids. If there are any ex-romantic partners in the mix, you could be facing an awkward reception.
You also want to make sure that you choose friends who are trustworthy and reliable. If your best friend has a habit of showing up late and putting his foot in his mouth, he might not be the best choice for best man.
Hire the Entertainment
What’s a wedding reception without music? To throw a kicking party, you need more than a great playlist. You need some live entertainment.
You and your bride-to-be will likely make the decision between a DJ and a live band. But after that, choosing a specific act is often left to the groom.
People will remember the entertainment at your reception for years to come-especially if it’s bad. So you have to make sure that you vet them properly.
It’s not enough to just hear a demo online. See them in person and make sure that they aren’t sloppy live. See how they act between songs.
And if there are any songs on your do-not-play list, make sure that that’s clearly communicated-and that they actually pay attention.
Buy the Rings
A lot goes into planning a wedding. Choosing a location, booking a caterer, finding a florist, choosing decorations, finding an officiant…
And in most cases, the bride will carry the bulk of those duties. But that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t appreciate some groom help whenever she could get it.
The two of you will choose your wedding rings together, but the actual acquiring of the rings typically falls on the groom.
Book the Honeymoon
In a lot of ways, your honeymoon is just as important as the wedding-maybe even more. It gives you and your partner a chance to destress after all of the wedding planning and just enjoy each other.
Planning the honeymoon isn’t just a nice way for the groom to help his bride: it’s traditionally the groom’s responsibility.
Talk over your dream destinations with your fiancee and set a budget. After that, take it upon yourself to book flights, hotels, and rental cars.
Make sure that you consider your spouse’s vacation style when you make your plans. Does she need a minute-to-minute itinerary or tours and activities? Or does she prefer to wander around aimlessly and see what you stumble into?
Forcing a free spirit to follow a schedule can make her feel stifled. Going into a vacation with a planner with no schedule can make her feel bored and frustrated.
Talk with your bride about her vacation style, then plan accordingly.
Organize the Rehearsal Dinner
In order for a wedding to go smoothly, every member of your bridal party, the officiant, the ushers, your parents and hers, any musicians, and anyone else involved need to know the flow of the service.
To make sure that happens, you’re going to need to have a rehearsal.
As the groom, coordinating the rehearsal dinner can be a great way to help with the wedding planning.
Coordinate with your venue or find stand-in venue to walk through the ceremony. Coordinate with your wedding planner, officiant, bridal party, and anyone else with a role at the wedding. Determine the guest list.
And don’t forget about the dinner part.
The rehearsal dinner is a great time for everyone involved with the wedding to get to know each other over a meal. Often, it’s the first time your family and your bride’s family will spend meaningful time together.
Obtain the Marriage License
You can have the most lavish ceremony in the world, but it won’t mean a thing without one particular piece of paper: the marriage license.
While your bride is running around calling florists, bakers, caterers, and everyone else, a trip to the county clerk’s office for the marriage license can be a terrible inconvenience.
Making the trip yourself can help lift the burden off of her and ease her mind considerably.
Just make sure you don’t lose it before the ceremony.
Manage Your Family
Thankfully, the old stereotype about not getting along with in-laws isn’t always true. But a stressful event-like planning a wedding can make conflict inevitable.
Your fiancee isn’t the only woman who’s been dreaming about your wedding day: your mother has had her own ideas about her little boy’s wedding since the day you were born.
And sometimes, those ideas can collide with each other in the worst ways.
No matter how well your mom and your bride get along, these collisions can make things stressful for everyone.
Set yourself as a buffer between your future wife and your family. They’ll handle standoffishness from you a lot more readily than your fiancee, who they don’t know yet.
This goes double for any hard-to-handle uncles you might have.
Don’t Shirk Your Groom Responsibilities
Most weddings are decidedly bride-centric. But that doesn’t mean that the planning has to be.
By taking on these groom responsibilities, you can make sure that your wedding has a bit of yourself in it-and that your fiancee doesn’t get so stressed that she can’t enjoy it.
Want to get to the wedding in style? Check out our guide to choosing the best wedding car!