The Groom’s check list

Countdown to the big day!
Planning a wedding needs all the skill of a military operation. With dozens of crucial appointments and people to remember, it can seem like a daunting task. This checklist will ensure you don’t forget anything.

12 months to go
• Propose to your wife

• Do it in style, down on bended knee. She’s sure to shed a tear or two. It’s quite normal nowadays to propose with a dress ring. You can then choose the real engagement ring together a few days later.

• Tell the parents

• Long gone are the days when you had to request a girl’s hand in marriage from her father. But you need to tell each set of parents – in person – of your decision.

• Book the engagement party

• This is your chance to officially announce the wedding to all your friends and family.

• Buy the engagement ring

• If you’re both choosing this together, expect to spend a lot of time (and ultimately money) in jewellery shops. You don’t want to rush this very important purchase.

11 months to go
• Appoint your best man

• It’s not quite as nerve-wracking as going on bended knee and asking for your girlfriend’s hand in marriage, but appointing your best man takes guts all the same. • • • What if he rejects you? At least you don’t have to buy him an engagement ring.

• Introduce the parents

• If the in-laws haven’t met yet, now is the time to introduce them. Let’s hope this works better than it did for Ben Stiller in Meet The Parents.

• Book time off work

• Not only is there the honeymoon to think about, but the busy days leading up to the wedding as well. It’s a good idea to book at least four days off before the big day.

• Book the venue for the ceremony and the reception

• Want to get married on a Saturday in June? Even 11 months’ notice may not be enough for this.

• Book the caterers

• The same goes for wedding caterers.

10 months to go
• Make a guest list, send out invitations

• Write down the names of everyone you know. Then cut it in half. What with random relatives and old school friends you haven’t seen in ages, you’re going to have to be ruthless.

• Choose the wedding list

• Make it easier on yourselves and enlist the help of a department store or a specialist wedding list service.

9 months to go
• Hold the engagement party

• Everyone will be starting to get a little excited by now.

6 months to go
• Meet the minister or organise the registrar’s certificate

• Book the honeymoon

• Whether it’s Barbados or Bournemouth, the honeymoon suites always get booked up early.

• Check passports, visas, jabs

• Malaria and honeymoons do not mix.

5 months to go
• Appoint your ushers

• Organise the stag party with your best man

• You may not get much control over what happens on the actual night, but you should choose the destination.

• Book the wedding transport

• Bentley, Ferrari, horse and carriage?

• Book the band and DJ

• Book the photographer

3 months to go
• Start writing your speech

• Fortunately you’re not expected to talk for long, nor to be particularly funny. But it’s the groom who normally makes the first speech.

• Buy or get fitted for your hire suits

• Tails, top hat, cravat… whatever you choose, make sure you look the business. If you’re hiring, it’s a good idea to bring all the ushers and the best man with you.

• Buy the wedding ring

• In all the excitement over the engagement ring, it’s easy to forget that you need a wedding band, too.

2 months to go
• Finalise plans for the stag party

• Keep practising your speech

• Perhaps get a friend to film you so that you can improve your intonation, stance and style.

• Choose your first song

• That first dance with your wife is one of the key – and most romantic – moments of the whole day. How gutted would you be if the DJ didn’t have your special song on his playlist so double check?

• Buy a present for your wife

• Buy presents for best man and ushers

• Order your marriage licence

• This can be ordered up to 12 months before the wedding day. If you aren’t getting married in the registry office where you gave notice, you will need to collect your certificate of authority, or have it posted to you.

1 month to go
• Survive the stag party

• One month means there’s time for the wounds to heal and the hair to grow back.

• Attend church for reading of banns.

• Book the florist

2 weeks to go
• Brief the best man and ushers on their duties.

• Finalise the seating plan

• So complicated are wedding seating plans that software companies have now designed computer programmes to alleviate the strain. Even with this help, it will take hours to work out ideal places for everyone so allow time.

• Finalise your speech

• Now is the time to put the finishing touches to your masterpiece.

• Order currency for the honeymoon

1 week to go
• Attend the wedding rehearsal

• Ideally you’ll get the best man and chief bridesmaid along, too.

• Final reading of the banns.

• Finalise the wedding schedule

• Then email it out to everyone in the wedding party

5 days to go
• Pick up the Hire suits

• Most hire shops will allow you to keep the suit for at least a week.

2 days to go
• Haircut

• Pack for the honeymoon

• Check the route to the wedding venue

1 day to go
• Your last supper

• Some grooms now invite the entire wedding party. But it’s considered unlucky to see your wife the day before you marry. So why not have a last supper with just your best man and the ushers?

• Charge up your mobile

• And while you’re at it, fill the car up with petrol. You’ll be busy enough the following morning.

• Polish shoes

• Fill your wallet with emergency cash

• Check you have the ring