Well groom-ed: How to keep your honey happy

So it's happening. The proposal was accepted.

(Don't hold her to remembering the actual words. Sure, you sweated over them for weeks, and now she just says, "It was a joyful blur." That's okay, get used to it. There will be more joyful blurs.)

And now the planning has begun.

Yes, the planning, the very idea of which makes you think, "How are the e-savers to Greenland looking these days?" or "Would anyone notice if I dyed my hair, grew a beard, and headed for the Yucatan?"

Whatever fears you have, gentlemen, they're all real! Get out while you can. Stop reading The Hook! Fly to Bali!

Okay, if you're still reading, then you're getting married for the right reasons: Lots of gifts!

 Jokes aside, you're getting married because you've been graced with the greatest gift humans can offer one another– unconditional love. And because of this gift, your strategy during the upcoming months should be reciprocating that same unconditional love.

With this in mind, here are a few fundamentals that every groom should know:

1) This is your wedding. It is not your parents' wedding, your friend's wedding, or anyone else's. Do it the way you want. Granted, parents may be helping financially. Respect that, but create some boundaries. It's more important for you and your bride to make the wedding uniquely yours then it is to satisfy your parents' lifelong desire to sing you a duet of an Air Supply song. Refocus your parents' energy– otherwise, pass out earplugs to your guests.

2) Try not to "check out" on any part of the planning. Your top priority is to be emotionally present day in and day out. There will be times when you can't be physically present for a meeting with one of your wedding vendors, but you can always be emotionally present. Yes, gentlemen, it's time to get in touch with that– dare I say– feminine side.

3) Expect not to have an opinion on everything. That's okay. Try to establish from the start that there will be things you don't have an opinion on (i.e. should the tables have a pink or white underlay?). This does not mean you don't care. You do care. Make that clear. But also make it clear you are perfectly happy with any of the options.

4) Plan some memories ahead of time. Get creative! Prepare a toast for your wife at the reception, or take the initiative of seeking out some dance lessons for the two of you, maybe even choreograph your first dance. Caution here: Dance instructors may flirt with your wife. Don't take anything personally– even if they say to your wife "Stop that or I'll spank you." They mean no harm– it's part of the gig.

5) Your wedding day will go fast. Enjoy the multitude of moments. Laugh often. Eat the food you took a whole day to pick out. Take extra pieces of cake. Have a drink. Dance.

6) Finally, thank your wife. She likely put a lot more time and effort into the planning than you did. Seriously acknowledge this.

If you stick to these fundamentals, you will have done everything that can be classified as "under your control." There are, of course, those things that aren't under your control. And, unfortunately, those things will happen. When they do, remember this: You're in the business of making a marriage work. The wedding is one day in your marriage. Your marriage will not be defined by your wedding day, but rather by the thousands of days that lie ahead.


Anthony DeBenedet and his wife, Anna, at their June 14, 2003 wedding reception at Ash Lawn.