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Wedding Proposal Tips and Ideas. - How to Propose to Your Girlfriend

How To Propose To Your Girlfriend

You know, back in 5th grade all this seemed sooo much easier. You just threw some gum in her hair…or made fun of her glasses… or put a live frog from the science room into her backpack. And voila! Just like that, you had brilliantly and eloquently professed your undying love to your secret crush. Now, however, “what to say” and “how to say it” have never been so daunting. You may have known you wanted to spend the rest of your life with this girl since you first laid eyes on her… but asking her to spend the rest of her life with you has got you absolutely terrified. First of all, breathe. If you’ve been together long enough to know she loves you, and you definitely love her (hence all the nerves and longing for the days of science class frogs), the rest just requires some thinking, a plan, and, oh yeah…a ring. 

Figure out your budget – Yes, you love her. You’d love to give her a rock so big and shiny she could ice skate on it. But let’s be real. You have a definite budget. While there’s no “right amount” to spend on an engagement ring, the good news is that you can purchase a ring on a payment plan (not a credit card) these days, which lets you get a little more bang out of your buck. If you do plan on paying in full though, you will need to determine how long you will need to gather the necessary funds, then plan the proposal date around that.

Find the ring – First, you need to know a little something about your girlfriend’s taste in jewelry (please tell us you pay attention at least a little bit?) If you’re drawing a blank, take a look at what she wears every day, or what she wears when she goes out. Every day jewelry is a good indicator of her preference of style. If she doesn’t wear much every day jewelry, “going out” jewelry will give you the “maximum-bling factor” (do not pick out a ring that has more bling than what she opts for when she’s really dressed up).

Once you have a handle on the style she’d like, it’s time to get down to specifics. If you’ve heard of “the 4 C’s of diamond rings” before, you’re ahead of the game (even if you think the C’s stand for “confused,” “clueless,” “crazed,” and “crying when you see the price”). They actually stand for cut, clarity, carat, and color of the diamond. Your budget will determine most of these, but there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Picking out a diamond and a setting separately will help you have more control over what you’re spending your money on. For instance, platinum is nice, but it’s also the most expensive. Why pay extra there, when 14 KT white gold will be just as comparable in terms of looks and quality?
  • For the most part, the “clarity” will determine the price of the diamond. Here, you can consider a diamond with slight inclusions (inclusions = “flaws”). Honestly, most inclusions can only be seen with a magnification of 10x, so unless your girlfriend is one of those “I’m going to get this under a magnifying glass ASAP” types, you should be okay choosing a diamond slightly lower on the clarity scale (which will translate into slightly more on the carat size, which, in turn, might make your girlfriend happy).
  • Consider a reputable online retailer. Yes, a bricks-and-mortar retailer is great, since it allows you to actually go and see the ring/diamond/setting in person. But the online retailer doesn’t have that overhead, so you may be able to find a better deal.

If, on the other hand, you and your girl have already discussed rings, or gone ring shopping…well…1) you’re lucky to not have the pressure of picking a “forever” ring resting solely on your shoulders, and 2) you just wasted 2 minutes of your life reading this section (which makes all the guys who do have the pressure of picking a “forever” ring resting solely on their shoulders a just a wee bit happier).

Find out her ring size – Here begins your subterfuge (if it makes you feel better, you can don a well-tailored suit, pour a dry martini, shaken not stirred, and play the James Bond theme on a loop). Sure, you can buy the ring and worry about sizing it after the question is popped, but, to score extra “my guy is the most amazing guy ever” points, have the ring perfectly sized beforehand. You can take one of her rings to a jeweler and they can size it. But, she might notice it missing, so you can request a sizer from a jeweler and have them send it so you can size one of her rings yourself. Or you can also consider asking her BFF or mom if they know her ring size…but then that will bring more people into the plot too soon, which might not be great for this whole “subterfuge” thing.

Buy the ring (and keep it secret) – Part 2 of the subterfuge. If you don’t share accounts with your girlfriend, then you don’t have many worries here. She’ll be none-the-wiser to a withdrawal of a few thousand bucks. However, if you do share accounts, this might get tricky. Once you’ve made the decision to take the plunge, you can set up a separate checking/savings “ring” account without her name on it, that way there will be no paper trail. If you buy the ring on a credit card and you’re living together, make sure she doesn’t open your mail. If she does open your mail…don’t buy the ring on a credit card (duh). And once you have the ring, make sure to hide it in a safe, girlfriend-proof area. Safety deposit box? Your parents’ house? Buried in the back yard? The possibilities are endless…just don’t make the hiding place so good that even you will forget where it is in a few months.

Ask permission – This is where the subterfuge gets tricky. Yes, the more people who know, the greater the chance she will find out before this particular stew has come to full boil, but, if your girlfriend’s father means a great deal to her, you know what needs to be done. On the plus side, most dads will keep the secret, as long as you plan to propose within a reasonable amount of time. You tell them you plan to propose in two years, well, there might just be an expiration date on their silence. Your situation is a bit trickier if your girlfriend no longer has her father, or if the relationship is strained. Good news is that these days, it’s acceptable to ask one, either, or both parents. And if none of these are options, you could consider asking another close relative.

Pick your words – If you’re the “winging it” kind of guy, more power to you. But, by in large, this is not really the best time to “wing it.” She’s going to remember this moment forever. She’s going to relive it. She’s going to tell her friends and family. Given all that, you might wanna jot some words down. It’s not a test, so relax. You love her...so tell her that. Tell her why you love her. Tell her why you want to spend the rest of your life with her. And then, ask her to marry you. It’s not a proposal without those words, so say them.

Pick a spot – There are so many possible options here, it might be a little overwhelming. But again, just relax, and think about each:

  • A place that’s meaningful to her, or to both of you. It could be where you met, where you went on your first date, or her favorite place to go and spend time.
  • A quiet evening at home, candles, with a special dinner cooked by you.
  • In front of family and/or friends
  • Romantic restaurant…but be sure to do it early in the meal, before you both get stuffed to Willy Wonka/Violet Beauregarde proportions and can only thinking about going home and lying down until sometime next week.
  • Walk along the beach…just be sure not to drop it into the sea/sand/a rock crevasse filled with seaweed and eels.
  • Hot-air balloon ride…again…DO NOT DROP IT.
  • A romantic weekend away. A proposal would knock this little getaway out of the park, but unless the getaway was already planned, involving it into the proposal does add a lot to the budget.

DO NOT DO THESE:

  • Propose on a Jumbotron at a sports event
  • Tie the ring to an animal
  • Drop the ring into food/drink (hello…choking hazard?)
  • Involve the proposal with a prank in any way, shape, or form (even if Practical Jokers is her favorite show)

Kneel down, you fool! – Okay. It all comes down to this. This question. This moment. No pressure at all then, right? Seriously though… she is the love of your life… the ONE. You have the ring, you’re at the perfect spot, you know what you’re going to say (more or less)… so, when the moment comes…do it right. Get down on one knee, look up into her eyes, take her hand (or hold the ring), and ask her to marry you. (Trust us, you will be able to live off the “most amazing and romantic guy in the history of amazing and romantic guys” points you earn here for months!)

Groom's Wedding Checklist and To Do List

Groom's Wedding Planning Checklist

Well, congratulations on making several of the biggest decisions of your life thus far: you found the right girl, dropped a suitably impressive amount of cash on a shiny-ring-thingy, and asked her to spend the rest of her life with you.

Not too shabby. Think you can just kick back now? Think your fiancée will do all the heavy lifting and you can just show up, best buddies (technically called “Groomsmen”) in tow on the big day, wearing tuxedos that magically appeared at your doorstep, nursing a truly epic hangover from what had to be the world’s BEST…BACHELOR…PARTY…EVER?  Ohhhh… think again, Grasshopper.

Even if your Bride-to-be is one of those girls who has been planning her wedding day ever since she was 5 years old, rehearsing vows with her Barbie and Ken dolls…NEWS FLASH: You actually have a pretty important To Do list for the big day. And guess what? YOU actually have TO DO it.

What’s the worst thing that could happen from you not completing your “To Do” list, you ask? Oh, just you ruining the single most important day for the love of your life. Oh, just you making a complete jerk out of yourself in front of all of her family, your family, and every cousin, friend, and weird uncle in between. If those don’t exactly sound like things you’d like to live down for roughly the next 50 to 60 years, then suit up, kid. Time to get in the game.

1. Pick your crew (Best Man, Groomsmen)Pick your Groomsmen 

This could either be the easiest box to tick off from your entire list, or, depending upon the maturity level of some of your “buds,” this could be a major recurring Sit down with your fiancée and choose (realistically) how many Bridesmaids/Groomsmen you will each have. You will also need to pick your Best Man. This guy is going to have almost as much responsibility as you do with planning that this whole wedding goes off without a hitch, so choose wisely. If your closest bud is one of those play-Xbox-all-day, barely-maintain-a-part-time-job-to-keep-the-power-on-so-he-can-play-Xbox-all-day type of guy, well, we know you love him, but he may not be the one to shoulder this kind of accountability (help choose the tuxes, arrange for fittings, keep track of scheduling, organize a Groom’s gift from the Groomsmen, and yes, planning and pulling off the Bachelor party). And quite frankly, once you clue your best buddy in on all those things, he might just take a pass and opt for being just one of the Groomsmen (which would allow for more time on FIFA 16). Time frame: As early as possible after setting the date for the wedding.

 

2) Find Wedding bands

Once you and your fiancée pick out your wedding bands, you will arrange for them to be sized. That just leaves picking them up and paying for them. Once you have them in-hand, they are given to the Best Man the day of the ceremony (See? This is where that much-needed responsibility factor comes in). Time frame: At least 5-6 months before the wedding (you will hold onto them until the day-of, when you will give them to the Best Man).

3) Plan the Honeymoon

Think of this as your reward for all the stress and checklists and headaches that you will have put in as a Groom-to-Be. This is where you and the Mrs. will get to relax, have fun, and yes, have sex… hopefully, lots and lots of sex. You need to plan when the trip will be, how long it will be, where you will go, any excursions/adventures you will have while there, necessary travel documents (passports, visas, etc.), travel insurance (always a good idea), travel money (it’s advised to travel with a bit of extra cash in the currency of your destination, which you can actually order online to be delivered to your home before you leave), booking (airfare, hotels, car rental), etc. Oh, and a few little surprises for the Bride will go a looooong way in that “lots and lots of sex” part of the Honeymoon (you should be able to arrange for flowers and champagne to be waiting for her in the hotel room, for starters). Time frame: 5-6 months before the wedding (the earlier the better, especially for your bank account, since you might need to place deposits on things).

4) Presents for the Best Man, Groomsmen, and Mother-In-Law 

The Best Man and your Groomsmen have stuck by you through up or down, thin or flush, drunk or sober… so it’s customary for you to have small gifts of thanks which you normally give to them at the Bachelor Party or the Rehearsal Dinner (which would probably be a safer bet than the Bachelor Party). While you might like to believe that the best gift your Mother-In-Law could get is you being married to her daughter, it’s still customary to get her a little gift, to be given either at the Rehearsal Dinner or at the Reception. There are literally hundreds of Groomsmen gift ideas online, and they usually involve buying multiple of the same gift, so that should be easy. The gift for the Best Man is more meaningful and personalized, and is given whenever you two have some alone time, possibly even the day of the wedding. As for the Mother-In-Law gift, if you don’t know her well, it’s best to ask your fiancée for suggestions (even if you do know her well, you might want to run your ideas past the fiancée, just in case). Time frame: 3-4 months before the wedding (you will most likely be ordering one or more gifts to be engraved, so order well in advance).

5) Pick out and get fit for tuxedos

Your fiancée will have already picked out the colors for the ceremony, and she may or may not have given you guidelines on what she’d like for your tuxes to look like. If so, your work is mostly done with this one. If not, you and your Best Man will want to schedule a day to look over the possibilities at a formal wear shop. Time frame: Pick them out at least 3 months before the wedding, go back to be fitted 1 month – 3 weeks before the wedding.

6) Arrange transport to the ceremony for the entire wedding party

Yes, yes…a monster truck that blows flames from the 8 foot tall exhaust pipes would indeed be cool… but let’s come back to reality, shall we? A limo is a safe and classy bet to be the best mode of transport for the Bridal party the day-of. If you and your crew would also like to make a bit of an entrance, a limo would work for you as well, but most Grooms and Groomsmen opt for their regular cars as means of transporting themselves. You’ll be there earlier that most of the guests, so no need to add Pomp and Circumstance (unless you want to, of course). Time frame: 2-3 months before the wedding.

7) Prepare your speech for the Reception

If you hate public speaking, we’re not gonna lie…you’re really going to hate this. But the good news is, you will be speaking on one of the happiest occasions in your life, in front of your gorgeous Bride and a whole bunch of people who love you both (and who will most likely be neck-deep in a pretty good buzz by this time), so it won’t exactly be like that truly mortifying speech you gave on Ben Franklin when you were in 8th This speech will be a little bit of humor, a little bit of seriousness, and a whole lotta thanking…thank your wife, your families, your friends, your 8th grade Speech teacher, everyone who helped make the day the tremendous success it was. Time frame: 2-3 months before the wedding.

8) Present for the Bride

No, the gift of YOU is NOT Just think…she will be putting up with you for at least 40-50 years or more, so she deserves a thoughtful and, yes, romantic gift from you on the day of her wedding. In all seriousness though, the Bride/Groom gift exchange is tradition, and a good one at that. The gift doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive…just thoughtful. A gift given and opened in private, it could be something to be worn during the ceremony or the Reception, something for the Honeymoon, or something as simple as a nicely-framed, meaningful picture of the two of you. These gifts are typically exchanged the night before the wedding, the morning of, or once the merriments are over and done with. Time frame: 2-3 months before the wedding (earlier if engraving is needed).

9) Write your vows

If your fiancée and/or wedding ceremony is leaning toward the traditional side, you might luck-out here and not have to write your own vows. If, on the other hand, personalized vows are in your near future, then it’s time to buckle down. You remember all those late-night cram sessions in college, trying to jam as much information into your caffeine-and-beer-soaked brain as possible 12 hours before final exams? Yeah. Now is not the time to do that. Relax, take a deep breath. Think about this logically. You are telling the love of your life all the reasons why she is the love of your life… why you know the two of you belong together… why she is the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Even if you aren’t Robbie Romance, you already know all the answers to those things. Now it’s just a matter of writing it down on paper. So, take some time to yourself, turn off the cell phone, the computer (you’ll be too tempted to check SportsCenter if you write it on the computer), the TV, and Spotify. Just you, a pen, and a piece of paper. You can do this. After all, you love this girl. The rest should come naturally. Time frame: 1-2 months before the wedding.

10) Plan the Rehearsal Dinner

This one should be fairly cut and dry. You have the location for the wedding right? Well, look at restaurants in the area (if the actual venue, such as a hotel, doesn’t have a restaurant available) and pick one able to host your entire bridal party (plus a few extras). It’s not rocket science … now is not the time to book a party of 25 at the local sports bar. Pick a nice restaurant, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, but one without peanut shells on the floor would be a big plus. There is also usually a toast, so be sure to take a moment to thank all those present and raise a glass to the excitement of the day to come. Time frame: At least 1 month before the wedding, depending on the venue you’ve chosen for the dinner (fancier places might require more notice for larger parties).

    Step-By-Step Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

    Step-By-Step Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

    You’ve with the woman of your dreams. She’s the most special person you’ve ever met. You never thought you’d settle till that moment when you were watching her from afar and the words “this is it” washed over you slowly.

    Congratulations, you found yourself a real catch! And though you know that marriage will have its ups and downs, you’re ready for this brave new step in your journey and want to begin it with the perfect proposal and the perfect ring.

    And you’re at your first hurdle already…

    Buying an engagement ring can seem like the most alien undertaking for a man. You may have already tried to go to a jeweler’s only to sit there in utter confusion as they asked you what shape, carat and color your sweetie would prefer. 

    But we got your back. We’ll take you step by step through the labyrinth of diamond shopping and you’ll come out ready to make the big leap.

    Why Diamonds?

    Contrary to what most think, the diamond engagement ring is not a practice from time immemorial. It’s actually a trend-turned-tradition when it comes to wedding customs.

    And around the world till now, many people stick to older traditions of gold anklets and bracelets. But the diamond trend is catching on globally, mainly thanks to Hollywood movies and celebrity gossip.

    Still, it’s easy to understand why diamonds make such perfect engagement rings. Being the hardest substance on earth while looking so beautiful and fragile makes for an almost poetic combination.

    The way the light flickers off of their crystal formations, the elegant transparent depth that dazzles, and, of course, the symbolism of lasting forever.

    See? It just takes a shift in perspective to get you in the right frame of mind for this first, and very important, step in your proposal.

    Shopping Solo or Together?

    There are pros and cons to both choices.

    Buying the ring yourself and proposing out of the blue can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. Seeing the look of surprise and recognition on her face as she realizes what’s happening; watching her light up when you open the box; putting the ring on her finger as she tearfully says “yes!” to being your wife.

    Those are moments that will last a lifetime.

    But if you’re really unsure of her taste in jewelry, this might not be the best way to go. You can sacrifice a little bit of the magic in order ensure you get her exactly what she wants.

    If that’s the case, what you could do is propose to her with a novelty or zirconium ring, let her know that it’s temporary and that you’d love to take her ring shopping over the weekend. You can then plan to make a day of it.

    Either way, it’s really important to master the art of diamond quality analysis so that you’re well prepared even if she’s not.

    Now let’s get right to it.

    The 4 C’s

    This is where we get real diamond-y. Diamonds are categorized by 4 C’s: color, clarity, carat and cut.

     

    The 4C's ChartClick image for larger version

     

     

    Color

    You might have heard of pink or blue diamonds. These can be very attractive and are usually more expensive than regular white diamonds. But unless you’re sure your lady really wants one of those, always go for white (colorless) stones. They’re classy, beautiful, and go with everything.

    White diamonds also have their own color range, from the purest to slightly yellow. The range is divided into letters from D to Z, with D being totally colorless and Z being the one with the darkest tint of yellow.

    The price range slides accordingly as well, with totally colorless being the most expensive.

    Try to buy a diamond in the D to J range.

    Our advice: when checking the diamond’s color, put it against a white background instead of a black one. This way, the color will show more easily. On a black background, even yellow tones will appear clear.

    Clarity

    Clarity denotes the number of blemishes on a diamond and the number of inclusions within it. Inclusions are impurities inside the crystal lattice itself that show up as spots or marks.

    The clarity range goes like this:

    IF – Internally Flawless

    VVS – Very Very Slightly Included

    VS – Very Slightly Included

    SL1 – Slightly Included

    SL2 – Slightly Included

    I1 – Included

    I2 – Included

    I3 – Included

    Our advice: inspect a diamond with the naked eye first; if you can see imperfections, it’s not a good choice. If you can’t see anything with the naked eye, use a 10-power magnifier to inspect it. Most jewelers will have a device like this on-hand.

    Carat

    Carat is the measurement of a diamond’s weight. Carats have 100 points each (points being subunits of carats), like millimeters in a centimeter. A carat equals 0.2 grams.

    This is probably the factor that will be the most “fixed” for you. Women usually have a good idea of what size rock they want, and the other C’s can then be adjusted according to the rest of your budget.

    But there’s still room to manoeuver here…

    The bulk of the price tag comes from the carat, and diamond prices jump considerably along certain “carat lines”.  The reason being the bigger the diamond, the more rare it is. And price increases not only overall, but also in price-per-carat.

    Our advice: A diamond just under one carat, like 0.95 for example, is significantly less expensive than a diamond that is slightly over one carat. But placed next to each other, the difference is hardly noticeable. So that’s another way you can save money and put it towards getting better clarity, color or cut.

    Cut

    The cut is not the same as the shape. We’ll discuss shape later, but just know that the cut has a much bigger effect on quality than shape does.

    The cut defines the depth and width of a diamond - its symmetry, polish and proportions. A very wide yet shallow cut will make a diamond appear bigger but less bright and sparkly. A very narrow yet deep cut will make the diamond look small even though its weight may be substantial. Both the shallow and deep cuts leak light out instead of reflect it back up.

    The perfect cut is in-between and will allow the crystal to reflect light in angles that make it look brilliant and shiny.

    Our advice: invest more in a better cut than a better color. If you have a choice between a one-carat diamond with a D color but a bad cut and a one-carat diamond with a perfect cut but a color of I-J, go for the latter. The brilliance of a better cut will outshine the color and even the clarity, assuming you’re still in good range.

    The Shape and the Ring

    Diamonds come in several different shapes; some go in and out of fashion.

    There’s the round brilliant, the oval, the princess, the pear, the heart, the emerald, the marquise, the radiant and more...

    Our advice: when in doubt, go with the classic round brilliant. It’s the most popular shape for a reason - it never goes out of style and never gets boring.

    As for the ring itself, there are tons of designs and materials - from gold to platinum to silver to stainless steel, to a combination of two or more metals. The possibilities are many. Some are intricately designed, with tiny gems imbedded throughout, and some are very simple plain bands that give the mounted diamond the entire spotlight.

    This is really all about preference. You can take a look at your fiancée’s jewelry for inspiration, or, if you’re unsure, just have her pick out what she likes. There are also jewelers who can create a custom-design for you.

    Our advice: if you’ve chosen a diamond with a bit of a yellow tint, choose a yellow gold setting to offset the color in the diamond. The yellow in the diamond will show up more with a white gold or platinum band.

    Certification, Warranty and Guarantee

    Though most jewelers, including online retailers, are trustworthy and wouldn’t want their reputation ruined by a bad review, never take the risk anyway.

    Make sure that you get a certificate from a well-established gemological institution, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), that confirms the cut, color, carat and clarity of the diamond you’re buying. This is called a Diamond Grading Report and it’s a must!

    And if you really want to go deep, this report will include information other than the 4 C’s, such as fluorescence and finishing, with their own grading.

    You can also do a little research on the jeweler or retailer you’re buying from to check out their reviews and make sure they have no lawsuits or pending investigations against them. A great resource that can help you with this is the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org).

    You should also get a warranty for your engagement ring, and perhaps also a money-back guarantee within a certain time period. Most jewelers will also offer a free cleaning service.

    This way you know that you’ve got a high-quality ring from someone you can trust.

    Online or In-Store?

    That’s a great question, and each option has its pros and cons, of course.

    In-store you get to see and inspect the diamond, watch how the light reflects off of it and imagine how it will look on her finger. And if you’re going to take her along for the shopping, she can try on different rings to see what looks best on her.

    But there might be a higher price tag due to the expenses physical stores incur. And the variety of options is not as large as online.

    With online shopping, you can find a few retailers that are trustworthy and offer all the certifications and warranties you need to feel safe with your purchase. Their websites are secure and they provide photos and videos, sometimes in 360-degree angles, so you can get a great feel for what you’re buying.

    Of course it is not the same as seeing the diamond live and you run the risk of not getting exactly what you wanted and having to mail it back.

    Again, with either choice, make sure you read reviews and do a little research to check if the retailers have any legal issues. And also make sure you are 100% clear on their return policies and the warranties they offer.

    Budget and Pricing

    The most important thing to know is what your budget is. Don’t buy into the arbitrary standard of spending a month or three’s salary on the ring.

    You determine your budget yourself, according to your own financial situation as well as your fiancée’s preferences. There are women who prefer big bling and others who want something pretty but practical.

    Make sure you know your girl.

    Our advice: if your budget is limited, consider a ring with three small diamonds rather than trying to get the biggest diamond for the same price. The price of diamonds increases exponentially with size, so you can get more carats in total by buying a three-piece that looks beautiful rather than a one-piece that might look a bit too small. But make sure that your fiancée prefers this option first!

    The other thing to keep in mind is that you can always buy her another ring later down the line if your budget won’t allow for too much right now. Your woman loves you and understands that you’re doing your best, so she won’t demand something that will leave you broke.

    Now that you know your budget, it’s time to make the most out of it. Get the best quality you can for your money. And don’t be afraid to negotiate!

     

    Groom's Speech Tips and Ideas

    Groom's Speech Tips and Ideas

    Best Man Speech Tips

    Writing a speech is an art form. And like any good artist, you need to nail the basics first, follow a few tried and true guidelines, and then infuse your personality and emotions into your speech in order to make it yours.

    That’s what separates good artists from great artists. Good artists are good, but their work is forgettable. Great artists inspire and move you, and that’s what makes them easy to remember. It’s all in the way you make people feel, and since this is a sentimental subject for everyone, that won’t be too hard to pull off if you just speak from the heart.

    Actually, communicating from the heart is the most important piece of advice for writing your vows too. If you need some inspiration for those, check out our guide on How To Write Heart-Felt Wedding Vows.

    Speaking of which, you might want to think about how you’re going to differentiate the tone of your speech from that of your vows. Although you want to keep both of them within the realm of your style and personality, you also don’t want to just repeat your vows in your speech.

    Now that you have that in mind, get a pen and paper (or your computer) ready and jot down your ideas as you read each of these best man speech tips.

    #1 Keep It Simple and Short

    Think about the last work presentation you sat through when someone went on for what seemed like forever. Even if the topic was important, were you really able to follow along the whole time? Didn’t you kind of drift off once in a while?

    That’s the thing most of us need to accept right now: it’s pretty rare to be so compelling that you hold an audience’s attention for long stretches of time. Even the best stand-ups and TED Talks can lose your focus for a while. And these guys have this art form down to a T.

    So, for grooms, we recommend not going over five minutes. Otherwise you run the risk of forgetting your lines, getting long-winded, losing everyone’s focus (including your own) and adding too many details that take away from the sentiment.

    It also needs to be easy for others to understand and easy for you to deliver. Don’t create a complicated storyboard with characters and plot lines. Though infusing a story here or there is a great idea, and we’ll get into how to do that in a minute, you still want the speech to be something anyone listening will get.

    #2 Keep It True To You

    Are you a funny guy? OK, so then you’re allowed to consider adding a little joke in there. But, please, for the love of all things good, don’t turn the whole speech into a comedy show! Your job is not to entertain; it’s to convey a heart-felt message. So, if you feel confident that your joke will not embarrass anyone (especially your wife), then go for it.

    The point is to make sure you are staying true to who you are. If you’re not the funny guy, then don’t feel like you need to go down that path. Maybe you’re the silent and serious one. In that case, you will convey your message in a more succinct and serious tone.

    If you’re not sure how to go about this, you can take an inventory of your main values and personality traits. Think about how you can let those shine in a genuine, uncontrived way.

    #3 Start With A Story

    This is where we hit the ground running. Starting strong is the best way to ensure you can finish strong. And, in our opinion, the best groom speeches are the ones that start with a personal story that grabs attention.

    But, it’s also important to choose the story wisely. First of all, it has to be something that doesn’t have inside jokes that no one but you and one other person get. It needs to be a story that can be easily felt and understood even by your cousin’s date.

    It also needs to be free of any potential misunderstandings. This is crucial. Please do not take the risk of spilling a secret or crossing the boundary of anyone’s privacy – especially your bride. We don’t need to tell you how many times this blunder has wreaked havoc on special occasions.

    Stumped? Just come up with three stories that tell of the moments your lady really moved you. Perhaps the moment you really knew she was the one. Or the time you realized how kind and generous she was. Which brings us to the next, very important, tip.

    #4 Be Mindful Of Your Bride

    With all due respect, at the end of the day, no one listening to this speech really matters as much as the woman you’re marrying. Uncle Eddie will laugh at your joke and then forget about it the next day. Your brother-in-law will feel proud of the story you told about how great his sister is, but he’s not coming home with you guys tonight.

    This is your chance to connect with her without the formality of ceremony and vows. This is your chance to relay to her, in a casual moment, why you’re the luckiest guy in the world right now.

    So other than avoiding things that might hurt or embarrass her, think of how you can tell her she’s special.

    Calling her beautiful is of course a great idea, but it should not be the only compliment. So, make a list of your favorite qualities about this woman. What makes her stand out? What makes her so adorable? What are some of her hidden, wonderful traits or accomplishments that she is too humble to show off?

    Now, choose a couple of them to weave into your speech. Make eye contact, give her a wink or a smile, and raise your glass to her.

    #5 Give A Shout-Out To Family And Friends

    This one can get a little tricky. For starters, you can mention your parents and her parents and that would be enough. But if you feel like you really want to include brothers, sisters, cousins, best friends or anyone else, you will need to keep a balance.

    How do you include some without upsetting others?

    Now, to answer the next question that might pop up for some: what if a parent is deceased, or only one set of parents are in attendance, or there’s some tension between you and one of the parents?

    This is where you need to employ delicacy. If a parent is deceased, it’s actually very sweet to include them. If there is tension between you and one of the parents on either side, just keep it to simple “thank yous” or focus on the one positive thing you both share. If only one set of parents are in attendance, perhaps due to some family quarrel, you will need to discuss this with your wife.

    #6 Are You Going To Add Media?

    This can be a hit or miss, depending on how you use it. If you’re thinking of using slides, videos, music or props (like memorabilia), it needs to be tight. What that means is: no fluff and nothing too weird.

    Do not include photos that are unflattering to the people in them, don’t add a video of something only somewhat relevant, music needs to be subtle and the volume shouldn’t be too loud, and keep props tasteful.

    In our opinion though, this is better left to the best man in his speech. His speech can be the funny/crazy one. We’ve even seen groomsmen do fun games and quizzes as part of the entertainment. But if you really want to add media, keep it simple, on point and, once again, nothing that could embarrass anyone.

    #7 The Practical Matters

    We recommend that you section the time you’ve decided on for your speech into one or two minute themes. For example, the first minute is the story, then you get into how lovely you think your wife is, then maybe get into some of the hopes and dreams you have for your future together, then you get into the shout-outs for the family and friends.

    Short, sweet and easy to remember.

    As for rehearsing, that’s a given. You need to rehearse, and please do so with a voice recorder, or better yet, a video camera. There is a reason why most professional actors and speakers do this, it’s because when you hear and see yourself played back to you, you will notice things that you could never have noticed by rehearsing just in front of a mirror.

    When you’ve got it down, rehearse it again, this time in front of a friend – an honest friend who will give you honest feedback.

    And finally, please use notes. You should actually make sure you have notes on you even if you memorized the speech. Spotlights can sometimes make people forget even the sincerest and dearest things. So, make some easy-to-read notes and good luck!

    Everything ready to go with speeches? Grab your custom Groomsmen Gifts

     

    A Wedding Proposal at Your Wedding? Here’s What To Do.

    A Wedding Proposal at Your Wedding? Here’s What To Do.

     

    You’re really excited about your upcoming wedding. You’ve been brainstorming, researching, budgeting and planning it so that it’s perfect. You’ve read articles, watched videos, talked to other couples and maybe created a Pinterest board to help you collect all your ideas.

    You also told your friends and family about it, sent out “save the day” emails or notifications, and perhaps even picked out your groomsmen and brides maids.

    And then one of your friends casually asks you if it’s okay with you if he proposes to his girlfriend at your wedding. It’s going to be a romantic day and love will be in the air. It’s the perfect occasion for multiplying the happiness!

    Or is it?

    Here’s the thing: maybe at first it seems like a wonderful idea. You want the joy to spread and to make your friend happy. Maybe you think it will make your wedding even more special. And you’re not wrong. It could be beautiful.

    But even if your fiancée feels exactly the same way - which is highly unlikely considering it’s a bit like stealing her thunder - you still need to think about it carefully so there’s no room for embarrassment or resentment on either side.

    To help you out, we’ve outlined three scenarios for you in case you find yourself in that possibly awkward situation.

    Situation A

    You’ve told your friend you’ll have to get back to him after you consult your fiancée and now you have to tell him it’s not possible.

    The reason this is awkward is not just that you have to let him down, but it will also seem like you were okay with it and it was your fiancée that didn’t agree. She might not like coming off as the bad guy and you don’t want your friend to think that she is.

    The first thing you have to realize is that it’s actually your friend’s responsibility to have anticipated a “no” for such an uncommon request. He’s not wrong for trying, but the expectation should not be an automatic “yes” and he knows that.

    So no one is going to look bad or cruel for saying no. What you can do, however, is ensure that he sees it was a joint decision between you and your future wife. You could use “I” or “we” statements to tell your friend that he can’t do his proposal at your wedding.

    Situation B

    You originally agreed but then after talking about it with your fiancée, or after thinking about it further, you want to change your mind.

    This is similar to Situation A but a little trickier. Still it’s not that big of a deal. You just have to prepare your talk beforehand and you can come up with a few ideas for an alternative proposal you can help him with.

    In fact, coming up with some ideas for his proposal is a helpful thing to do in the previous and coming scenarios as well.

    You start out by apologizing to him, letting him know you kind of jumped the gun before thinking about it, and that you would prefer it if he didn’t propose to his girlfriend at your wedding. You do not need to give a lot of excuses or reasons, the less the better. But if you feel you have to, just make it short and simple: "I realized that our families may not appreciate it if we shared this special occasion in that way and I want to respect them.”

    Situation C

    You and your fiancée agree to let him propose at your wedding, and you think it might actually be really cute. But you also don’t want to give him the green light to do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

    You should discuss the big no no’s first. For example:

    • Not proposing before you have completed your vows
    • Not proposing as part of a toast or speech
    • Not using a microphone, media or props
    Etc…

    You need to map out what you both feel most comfortable with. You should also warn him that you might change your mind if something comes up at some point, and give him some ideas for other ways to propose just in case. He might end up liking one of them more than proposing at your wedding.

    The most important thing is to remember there is no guilt or shame about being selfish here. It’s your wedding and you’re the king and queen of that special day.