The Gentleman's Guide to Better "Grooming"

By: Amber Elise Taylor

So you've finally done it. Congratulations! Getting engaged is one of the milestone events in a man's life. And all stale jokes aside, there's nothing finer in life than a good marriage.

But take a deep breath. In the next few months you'll find there's no limit to the number of details you and your new fiancé will encounter. Planning a wedding is an ambitious undertaking, and unfortunately tradition and American culture combine to put a world of stress on your bride. You can help, though, and at the same put your own signature on your final wedding plans.

Above all else, you want to support your bride's decisions without coming off as a rubber stamp. Many women have planned their wedding for years – which means while you were daydreaming about pitching for the Yankees or fronting for Van Halen, she was imagining what your upcoming wedding day would look like. So stand by your woman. You don't have to agree with every decision, and remember there's plenty of room for polite dissent. Remember too that you'll probably be called upon to act as the voice of reason. That's not her fault – confronted with so much, it's easy for anyone to lose perspective. Roll with it, help her to regain her balance, and then you can both move forward.

You can also help her as much as possible with the details – shopping for caterers, florists, the DJ or band, et- cetera. Take an active role in sorting out the nagging little details, and rescue her from wedding meltdown by doing a lot of the "grunt work" such as gathering estimates and mailing deposit checks. Don't be offended if she fusses over you, either. Nerves can get pretty frayed when the threat of failure looms as large as it does over a wedding, so remember to take any short-tempered squalls in stride.

Another important way you can help with the wedding is to run interference. Your parents will be calling, her parents will be calling, and you'll probably get a few hundred (or it'll just feel like that many) phone calls from friends and other guests. Make the effort to represent your upcoming wedding to both your families and friends, so that she doesn't have to deal with everyone else on top of everything else. If that feels like a time crunch to you too, try to do as much communication by email as possible, and encourage everyone else to the same.

Besides getting to wear a tuxedo and stand at the altar, you also get to choose a best man and groomsmen. You can choose as many groomsmen as you like, but the number you pick should match her number of bridesmaids, to make an orderly march down the aisle. As a graceful gesture, you might also invite her brother to be a groomsmen. It's a sweet gesture, and one her whole family – who are also your brand new in-laws - is sure to appreciate.

Finally, remember you can play a big part in keeping the whole lead-up to the wedding romantic and fun. Take her out on dates. Help out with addressing the invitations. Send her flowers or a gift the day before the wedding. Little gestures always mean a lot when anyone is caught in a whirlwind of stress, and you need to be there for her. She's going to be your wife, but you can still win her heart all over again.
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