Following the correct etiquette is important when you are getting married. While most brides will page through Emily Post or Miss Manners a few times along the way to planning a wedding, very few grooms pay attention to the finer points of wedding etiquette. This is not to say that the men are excused from knowing the proper way to do things. These are some basic rules of wedding etiquette which every groom should know.
The first thing that a groom should know actually comes before the engagement. A true gentleman will ask the bride’s father for her hand in marriage before proposing. These days, it is a mere formality, since most women will make their own decision about whom to marry, nonetheless, it is a charming custom. A more contemporary version of this custom would be to ask the bride’s father for his blessing, if not specifically for his permission. The main reason to speak to the bride’s father in modern times is because it shows respect. It will do wonders for the groom’s status as a worthy match in the eyes of the bride’s parents.
There is etiquette regarding engagement rings which men should also learn. First of all, know that you can be formally engaged without a ring. All that is required is an accepted proposal. So while most women do wear engagement rings, it is not mandatory if finances or some other reason make it impractical. Grooms who do opt to purchase an engagement ring should know that they do not have to pick out the ring in secret to surprise their girlfriends when they pop the question. It would be in very poor taste for a woman to exchange an engagement ring, so any man who does not feel confident picking out a style can consider shopping for the ring together after his proposal has been accepted. By the way, in the unlikely event that an engagement is broken, custom says that the woman must return the engagement ring if she broke things off, but that she may keep it if the man ended the engagement. The same rule applies for any other wedding jewelry gifts which have been exchanged.
Wedding attire for grooms follows a straightforward format, in keeping with etiquette. A formal evening wedding calls for black tie; the daytime equivalent is called a morning suit. With a tuxedo, you will wear either a vest or cummberbund, but never both together. The most formal type of wedding attire is white tie, which is reserved for winter weddings which begin at 7pm or later. Semi-formal wedding attire for grooms consists of a suit and tie, while informal attire could range from khakis with a blazer to a shirt and tie with no jacket. While it is nice for the groom to discreetly express his personal style in the form of a subtle pattern on his socks or tie, a wedding is no place for apparel like a tuxedo printed t-shirt (actually, there is no occasion for which that should be worn!). The bride-to-be may give the groom wedding jewelry gifts like a pocketwatch or cufflinks which he can wear for the wedding.
Grooms should also know the customs involving their attendants. Most men will have at least a best man, and often a few groomsmen stand up with them at the wedding ceremony. The best man can be whomever the groom feels closest to, such as his brother or best friend from college. There is also a custom of having the father of the groom serve as best man. As for the groomsmen, the general rule is to pick your closest friends, keeping in mind that they need to be able to comport themselves appropriately for the wedding. You do not need to have the exact same number of groomsmen as bridesmaids. The groom is responsible for giving groomsmen gifts to show his appreciation to his attendants. Classic choices include pocketknives, cufflinks, watches, and the like.
While it is customary for the bride’s parents to pay for most of the wedding expenses, the groom does have several traditional responsibilities. These include the bride’s bouquets, the groomsmen gifts, the bride’s wedding ring, and the honeymoon. In modern weddings, it is no longer as common for the bride’s family to bear most of the financial burden, so the groom should definitely feel free to pay for more of the expenses if he can. Now that you know the basic etiquette for grooms, you will be ready to get married!