If you and your guys know how to surf and live near the ocean, just grab your wetsuits, take a road trip to a prime beach, and jump on in. If you’re surf-impaired, why not arrange some group lessons to learn to ride the waves?
If hanging 10 isn’t exciting enough for you guys, why not try hang gliding? There are plenty of schools around the country where you can learn the finer points of coasting through the sky.
Take the Plunge
Does hang gliding seem a little too leisurely? Try free falling toward the earth at over 100 mph. Convince the guys to step out of a perfectly good airplane and take the groom skydiving. Taking a literal plunge seems fitting before you take the figurative plunge into marriage.
Push those images from Deliverance out of your head — white-water rafting is the perfect macho bachelor party activity. Plan a weekend of navigating the rapids by day and camping under the stars at night.
Day of Thunder
Have a hankering for some serious speed? Treat the groom to a day at race-car driving school. He’ll be able to let out a little nervous energy by tearing around the track, and you won’t have to worry about pesky cops shooting radar.
Looking to give the big leaguers a run for their money? Head to the batting cages armed with a few rolls of quarters (buddies, make sure you bring some extras for the groom). And what to do after such hard work in the sun (or shade)? Mosey over to your local pub to drink a few brews and catch the game on TV.
Deep Sea Fishing
Can there be a better way to bond than fishing? Charter a deep-sea fishing boat and hope the groom gets to spend the better part of an afternoon wrestling with a marlin.
You guys don’t even need to be near the ocean to learn to scuba dive. Any large body of water will do. If you’d rather dive in the ocean, why not swim with the sharks? Hornby Island in British Columbia might be your cup of Joe.
Do You Rock?
Is “Go climb a rock” the groom’s mantra? Take him out to climb a doozy. Most cities have indoor climbing wall options, but if you can get to the big outdoors, go for it. If you’re lacking experience, don’t risk a difficult climb; go bouldering (scrambling over big rocks) instead.
Take a Hike
From a day hike to a weekend car-camping, beer-around-the-campfire extravaganza, just being in the great outdoors is a great bachelor party option — and you don’t even have to learn any new or dangerous sports.
Wedding planning is all about picking your battles. The key is knowing when to have an opinion, when to help and when to walk away. Millions of men get married every year and have lived to share the survival tactics we’ve laid out here.
Welcome to the madness of wedding planning. You probably have some questions: Wait, we’re spending $600 on a cake, which is made with flour and eggs? Why does my fiancee — the intelligent, amazing woman I love — now talk about things like “calla lilies” and “tussy mussy” bouquets? And most important: What do *I* need to do? It’s easy to lose perspective, it’s easy to get confused, and it’s easy to get lured into debates, fights or even teary meltdowns that make no sense. (Who cares if peonies are out-of-season and roses have to be subbed in? Wait, did I just say that? What is a peony anyway?)
Your Game Plan
So what’s important — and what do you actually need to do? Between now and D-Day, stick to this game plan and you’ll be set.
Pitch In For The Big Three: You know the 80/20 rule, right? Basically, 80 percent of your wedding’s costs will come from 20 percent of the decisions. So the trick is to help your fiancee with the right 20 percent. That means pitching in on the Big Three: the guest list, the date and the venue. For these, you need to do more than just say, “Sure, honey, that sounds fine.” Here’s the drill: The guest list Deciding who’s in, who’s out and how to divvy up the spots with your families essentially requires you to rank everyone you’ve ever known in order of importance. She can’t do this without you — her DNA makes it impossible. The fastest way to cut down the list with minimal tears? Adopt a policy of no kids, no coworkers and no dates (unless you know them). The date Be the voice of guy reason here: For the sake of your guests, don’t schedule the wedding during a hard holiday, March Madness, the World Series, the Super Bowl…or any NFL playoff weekend, really. The venue This fancy term for party spot drives most of the costs. Ask if you can bring your own booze, use your own caterer and how they handle parking. Ask these three questions and — BOOM! — you’ll earn instant credibility with your fiancee, and you can doze off for the rest.
Draft and Manage Your Team: Choosing your groomsmen is like the ultimate fantasy football draft. You have a first-round pick (the best man), and then you fill out the roster with the rest of your best buds. A few guidelines: Even if you’re not close, include your brother (and hers — seriously). There’s no law that says you must have the same number of friends, as long as the final count isn’t you: 1; her: 12. When in doubt, friendship trumps etiquette. The latter is fungible; the former isn’t.
Pick the Music: This is an important one: The music can make or break the party, and if it’s bad, it can undo $30,000 worth of planning. Give the DJ a do-not-play list that includes “Like a Virgin,” “I Will Always Love You” and “Lady in Red.” Not only is that last one a cliché, but your bride won’t be in red. Awkward.
Salvage the Registry: Gravy boats. Teacups. Extra sets of towels. These will be your punishment if you neglect the registry. Your fiancee will (probably) want to register at the traditional shops like Pottery Barn, Macy’s and Useless Pewter — and that’s fine. But you can also register at places like Amazon.com or Target (where you can ask for aaaannnything), or for honeymoon funds.
Choose Your Ring: How much cash have you blown on TVs, watches, Doritos or laptops? Those items are perishable (well, the Doritos are questionable). Your wedding ring is not. Make it a good one.
Write Your Vows: Do it only if she insists. Use basic words, speak honestly and focus on the four Fs: forever, fidelity, falling in love and freaking out. Maybe it’s the three Fs….
Get Fit: You’ll be photographed more on this day than on every other day in your life combined. The next week, you’ll be naked more than any other time in your life. ’Nuff said.
Finda a Tux: Get a good tailor, opt for timeless over trendy, skip the cummerbund, go easy on the colors, avoid pleats, stick with a simple collar (turndown or spread) and think long and hard about whether you really want to wear a bow tie. As for your groomsmen? Your bride will have some thoughts on how to coordinate with the bridesmaids…defer to her.
Plan the Honeymoon Take the lead on this job — it’s a winner. Unlike wedding planning, there’s no etiquette, no formalities, no nagging moms who bicker about appetizers. Book waaaaay in advance and consider a half ’n’ half (where half the trip is adventure and half’s on the beach).
Buy Groomsmen Gifts: No flasks. It’s cliché and they probably already have seven. Also avoid pens, shot glasses and money clips (it’s presumptuous to overhaul someone’s cash-storing methodology). Better bets: knives, cuff links, golf crap and — my personal pick — a nice weekend bag.
YOUR “DO NOT TOUCH” LIST
For both your sakes, dodge all the bride-y stuff. Highlights include:
The invitations: See George Costanza. When grooms get too involved with picking out the stationery, people die.
Coordinating the bridesmaid dresses and flowers: If you have an opinion on this, be sure to coordinate the flowers to your dress too.
Her dress: You should help her with her dress the day you let her draft your fantasy football team. She’ll put a gun to your head.
The cake: You’re the taster, not the decider. This is one of the all-time best deals that men have in life, right up there with not having to wear heels and being able to pee standing up.
The flowers: Cymbidium orchid, peony, geranium, Chinese lantern and Japanese lantern — those mean nothing to you? Good. That means you’re a groom.
YOUR EXTRA CREDIT
For when she’s super-stressed and you want to get back on her good side.
Surprise Her With A Massage: Or flowers. Or dinner. Not because you need to, or it’s a special occasion. Just…because.
Practice the First Dance: Dancing is like a piña colada: As men, we’re not supposed to like it, but under the right circumstances, it’s fun. And this is the right circumstance. Take lessons with your fiancee (everyone does it). Own it.
Be A Buffer: So you have an overactive mother who wants to chime in on every decision, insisting that the cake is vanilla? Your mom, your problem.
Don’t Boff the Stripper: Your most important job was to propose. Your second-most-important job: avoiding jail time, a new son and herpes. Play by her rules. This is not a battle you want to fight.
Curb the Sarcasm:I know, trust me, I know — it’s hard not to laugh at all this. Your fiancee will be quoting articles like “900+ New Centerpieces!” (That’s not an exaggeration. This article exists.) But remember: Even though it seems silly, it’s hard work. While you have it easy, she has a new part-time job. At least pretend to be excited about the flowers or cake, and be thankful that she’s handling so much of the dirty work.
Buy Her a Bridal Gift: Don’t make the classic rookie mistake of getting caught empty-handed when she gives you a gift at the rehearsal dinner. Safe options include jewelry, a framed photo (it better be a damn good frame — and photo) or a gift her mom or best friend helped you pick out.
1. Have an Opinion
This is your wedding too, so get in on the planning. Pick a few things that interest you (food? the wedding music? photos?). You don’t have to wax poetic on the difference between lilies and daisies for the bridesmaid bouquets, but give your opinion on the major planning points; it’ll let your fiance know she’s not in this alone. And wouldn’t it be nice to know a little something about your wedding before you attend it?
2. Relish Your Wedding Registry
It may seem like a tedious task, but think about it: You get to wander around a store, picking things you want that someone most likely will buy you — you can’t beat that. Better yet, it’s now common to shop beyond the kitchen department. Consider home electronics, power tools, and camping gear. Can’t justify shelling out for a plasma screen yourself? Throw it on your wedding registry, and a group of friends might buy it for you!
3. Don’t Be a Pushover — Really
She wants to register for a yellow comforter with little pink flowers, and you don’t want to have to stash your bedspread in the closet every time your friends come over. See if you can meet her halfway: Tell her the floral patterns are a bit much, but you’re fine with yellow, maybe in another style. You’ll make her happy and salvage your manhood.
4. Give Her a Break
If she’s doing the majority of the planning for your wedding, she’s probably bordering on wedding overload. You need to make sure she doesn’t have an ulcer (or a grudge!) by the time she walks down the aisle. Give her a night to relax and cook her dinner, do the dishes, rent her favorite movie (yes, even a chick flick), and remind her why wedding planning is worth the stress.
5. Be a Buffer
If your mom is calling your fiance every hour to talk about the wedding, you run the risk of major family conflict, with you stuck in the middle. Your mission: Keep the peace. Call your mom and let her know that while you appreciate her interest and excitement, it’s your wedding and she needs to give you two some planning space. Take responsibility for communicating with your family so that you can filter out petty worries from legitimate concerns.
6. Get Some Help
Has your fiance really hit the wall? Suggest hiring a planner for the day of your wedding. (Use our local resources to find a great day-of wedding planner in your area.) Your consultant will handle all the little details that neither you nor your bride will want to deal with, and it’ll be a relief to have a professional on hand to fix any little mix-ups.
7. Don’t Add Insult
Your fiance may complain about her mom who’s being a control freak, or about her uncle who wants to bring his new girlfriend, or her cousin who wants to bring all four of her kids. Don’t join in on the family bashing. Hear her out, agree with her, but don’t take this opportunity to tell her the things about her family that annoys you. Her bad mood will pass, but your careless comments may stick.
8. Arrange the Attire
Send out detailed emails to all your groomsmen filling them in on the relevant info for the formalwear — let them know when and where to get fitted for their tuxes, and remind them to return the suits the day after the wedding to avoid annoying late fees. Loop your fiance in on the emails to prove that you’ve got everything under control. The more info you can share, the better. Got directions to the tux place? Include them. Don’t assume they’ll know anything about this stuff. Did you before you got engaged?
9. Manage Your Men
Know your friend who loses his car keys at least once a week? Probably better not to make him responsible for bringing your ring to the ceremony. And your buddy who tends to drink too much? Make sure one of your more reliable (or sober) groomsmen keeps him from flirting with your fiance’s mom at the rehearsal dinner. Your guys don’t have to be saints, but they will have responsibilities, and it’s your job to make sure they know what they are.
10. Get Sentimental
The day of your wedding, send her a gift, flowers, or a sweet note to read while she’s getting ready. Or, at the reception, pull the videographer aside and tape a special message to her. She’ll see it later and we promise, she’ll love you all the more.
To Rent or to Buy?
Money is the main factor in your wedding formalwear decision. Renting will cost about 10% to 30% of the price of a new tuxedo, and tuxedo prices begin in the $300 to $500 range. If you attend three or four formal events per year, buying a tux may be worthwhile. Look at it as an investment — you can wear it for years and it will never go out of style. But if you’d rather slather your body in hot tar than hit a black-tie benefit, go for the tux rental. It’s definitely the easiest, cheapest option for you.
Rental-minded types should keep the following tidbits in mind when choosing a groom’s wedding ensemble:
- Choose a formalwear store that updates its tuxedo inventory regularly. (If you see powder blue and ruffles, run.)
- A good formalwear dealer will know how to measure you properly (inseam, waist, jacket size) and give you a tuxedo fitting in advance of the wedding.
- The dealer should listen to you. If you’re of the fashionable persuasion and want a dark blue, five-button mandarin collar tux, but the dealer’s praising a silver tux with tails, you’ll know you’ve come to the wrong shop. Politely say thanks but no thanks and look elsewhere.
- The store should be able to supply you with all the tuxedo accessories you’ll need: bow tie, cummerbund, cufflinks, suspenders, even shoes.
- Finally, have all your groomsmen get their monkey suits at the same shop, so you’ll match perfectly. (The store may even extend you a discount as a result). If they live in various parts of the country, ask them to get measured by a local tailor and send their measurements to your shop. Reserve their wedding tuxedos at least three months in advance.
You’ve never had so many pictures taken of you in your life, so make sure you look great. Keep these tips in mind for choosing the suit that best becomes you.
Tall and Thin
Congratulations. You can wear just about any tuxedo, from contemporary styles — like single-breasted four-button jackets — to a more classic, double-breasted tuxedo with broad shoulders. The choice is yours. If you’re extremely thin and want to look bulkier, opt for the latter; it will pad your chest slightly and fill out your torso. One caveat: Make sure your trouser legs and jacket arms are long enough.
Tall and Husky, or Muscular
Go for a smooth, clean look without a lot of frills. A shawl collar (a more rounded lapel than a peak collar) will create an elegant line that will make you seem less bulky. Avoid double-breasted jackets and pleated shirts, which add volume. If you have a large waist, consider wearing a vest instead of a cummerbund, since cummerbunds draw attention to the waist, while vests conceal girth. Keep in mind that black has a slimming effect, which makes the classic tux perfect for you. You’ll probably find that white suits, light-colored suits (such as tan or seersucker), morning suits, and tails are not your most flattering looks. And if you’re extremely muscular, be aware of sizing, especially around your neck. You don’t want to feel like your bow tie is strangling you.
Short and Slim
Avoid styles that look too large on your frame. Steer clear of double-breasted jackets. Instead, go for a two- or three-button jacket with a low-button stance (it elongates the body), paired with classic tuxedo pants or pleated trousers. If you want to look a bit broader, ask your tailor for extra shoulder padding. When sizing your tux or suit, make sure everything fits precisely so you don’t end up swimming in yards of extra material.
Short and Broad
Stick with a single-breasted jacket. Go for a classic two- or one-button jacket with a low-button stance and a shawl collar, which will keep your look streamlined and slim. Also, choose a jacket with a natural shoulder line, and avoid the more broad European styles. If you have a heavy waist, choose a vest rather than a cummerbund to draw attention away from your waistline and up toward your face. And once again, remember that black has a slimming effect, which makes the classic tux perfect for you. When it comes to sizing, make sure your jacket and trousers fit well. When you button your jacket, the material near the buttons shouldn’t pull. Your trousers should fit comfortably around your waist.
How do you know if your tux jacket fits right? The bottom hem should cover the butt and the vent shouldn’t pull open, and the collar should lie flat on your neck without any gaps or bulges.
Rule 1: His suit or tux should fit the formality
At the most basic level, his attire should be appropriate for your venue and fit with the overall vibe of the wedding. If your wedding is in the daytime or outdoors, it can be a bit more casual (think: lighter-colored suits made of fabrics like seersucker or khaki). If it’s an evening affair in a ballroom or swanky hotel, go with either a dark, well-tailored suit or for black-tie attire (a tux). Need to step it up one more notch? Suited for an extra-luxe venue, white-tie is the ultimate in formalwear. This means a black tailcoat, white shirt and white bow tie.
Rule 2: His attire should coordinate with yours
Another fairly obvious one, but it has to be said: Remember, your wedding is your first opportunity to show off your couple style, so make it a joint effort. While you may not actually want to try on the gown in front of him and compare styles before the wedding, you’ll want to be sure your styles work together. So if your dress is a bedazzled ball gown, you won’t want him wearing a lightweight linen suit; you’ll want him in a classic black tux. Other combos that work: a rustic lace gown paired with a tailored tan suit, or a streamlined city-chic gown with a slim-cut gray suit.
Rule 3: His body type should dictate the suit
The key to looking sharp is dressing for your body type. If he’s tall and thin, lucky you: Most tuxedos and suits will look good on his frame. To add bulk, try a double-breasted suit, which will make him look broader. To slim down, try a fitted suit with a little bit of a nip in the waist to give the impression of a leaner silhouette. Skip lighter-colored suits since darker hues are slimming. Shorter grooms should look for a two or threebutton jacket with a lowbutton stance to elongate the body.
Rule 4: His fit should be perfect
Even the most expensive tux on the rack will look and feel awful if it doesn’t fit right. He should be able to move around easily — have him do lots of twists, turns and arm raises to make sure there’s plenty of mobility. Regardless of whether he’s renting or buying, most shops will custom tailor the purchase. Here are a few basic tailoring rules:
- The jacket sleeve hem should fall at the wristbone with about one-fourth to one half inch of the shirt cuff showing below.
- The bottom hem of the jacket should cover the butt and the vent shouldn’t pull open. If it does, that means it’s too tight.
- The collar should lie flat on the back and sides of the neck without any gaps or bulges.
- Pants should fit comfortably when standing and sitting and break across the top of the shoes so that they cover the top one-third.
- A bow tie should fit snugly around the collar.
Rule 5: His look should match your bridal party
Traditionally, the groomsmen wear attire that’s the same as or similar to that of the groom — but it’s up to you and your guy. Even if you aren’t planning for all the men in your bridal party to show up in the same suit or tux, it’s important that their outfits match in style and feel (it will look a little bit off if your fiance is up there in a tux while his buddies are wearing casual khaki suits). Matching doesn’t just end with the guys either; you’ll want your whole party to have a cohesive style. To achieve this, aim to pair your groom and groomsmen style to that of the bridesmaids — for instance, if the bridesmaids are rocking a vintage vibe, the guys can don retro three-piece suits.
Rule 6: His accessories should set him apart
Now that everyone is matching and coordinated, it’s time to pick your groom’s extras so he can stand out from the crowd. To achieve a totally unique look, it’s all in the details. Spice things up and have your guy wear a special boutonniere or a bow tie, vest, tie, cummerbund or cuff links in a different color or style. If your wedding palette has two colors, he can wear one of the shades while the rest of the guys wear the other. For a luxe affair, have the groomsmen each wear a tux with a black bow tie and black vest, while your groom dons the fancy version with a white tie and white vest. Also, encourage your groom to inject his personality into his outfit and show off that special something you fell in love with. If he’s musical, add a treble clef to his boutonniere; if he’s a lovable sci-fi nerd, gift him with Star Wars cuff links.