In August 2011, James and Rox got married. Throughout their 18-month engagement, James blogged for Y&YW about his experiences as an enthusiastic fiancé. Now married, he’s obviously had to shed his H2B status. So James re-joins us in his brand new role as Groom With a View. Same guy, just a little more under the thumb. Every month James will be tackling the big wedding topics from the man’s perspective. So grab your own impending grooms and get them to tune in. You’ll thank us girls – they might learn something.
So you’ve bought the ring and popped the question. There should follow a short period of delirium where all reason and rationality go out the window – this is perfectly normal. But fairly soon you’ll actually have to get down to planning this thing for real. Two fundamentals that need to be addressed early on are as follows: When? And Where?
These might seem like small, rather innocuous words, but don’t be fooled. They both have massive implications for the entire wedding, and have the potential to cause the first signs of friction.
If you’re lucky, you and your partner will immediately agree on these two issues, and you’ll be able to neatly sidestep your first landmine. In the real world though, you’ll have diverging views on both. In this event, compromise is the order of the day. In fact, this is good advice for almost every element of wedding planning. As a guy you’ll be doing a lot of compromising, so you might as well get used to it early on!
When – anywhere from six months to three years is normal for an engagement period. Of course, if you’re eloping, this timescale may be dramatically shorter. It’s typical to want to get married as soon as you’re able to, so affordability is often a factor. In my case, we figured out how long it’d take us to save up – 18 months. Luckily this took us to August 2011 which was perfect for us because we wanted a summer wedding. We double-checked that it wouldn’t coincide with any other weddings, anniversaries or major sporting events (don’t make your male guests choose between your wedding and some football or rugby finals – you won’t like their decision!), and then set the date. Rox even checked what the weather had been like on that date for the previous five years, which she later conceded was grounds for committal. Once you’re absolutely sure about the date, stick to it like glue because all of your stationery will have that date on, and all of your guests will make plans around it.
Where – this is very closely linked to the above. There’s no point agreeing a date if the venue or church that you love isn’t free on it. So you can’t decide them in isolation.
In years gone by, people were less transient. You would typically live in the area that you were born, and find someone to marry from there as well, thereby solving the question of ‘where?’ Of course this still happens, but these days we all travel about and meet boys and girls from all over the world. So often the choice of location isn’t that simple.
In my case, I come from The Midlands and Rox comes from Yorkshire. So in the spirit of compromise, we decided to get married in neither of these, much to the annoyance of both families and friends! We ended up getting married in a tiny village near the Welsh border because we fell in love with a venue there (Walcot Hall). We had no affiliation to the area, we just adored Walcot, so that was it. I’m certainly not advocating selfishness, but it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to please all of your guests by getting married within walking distance of them. It’s your day, so get married where you want to.
Occasionally though, circumstances beyond your control may result in you not being able to marry in your first choice location. You may want a beach wedding, but your guests can’t afford the flight. Maybe an elderly relative isn’t good on long car journeys? Or perhaps some family members get nose bleeds if they travel more than two miles outside of their comfort zones?
All of these should be taken into consideration. But in the final analysis, the decision of where and when should be yours alone. In truth, I’d have married Rox in a bus shelter in the depths of winter. The important thing was the marriage bit. Fortunately, we didn’t have to do that because bus shelters don’t look great on wedding photos.
Find lots more gorgeous venue inspiration here
Read James’ previous post – Groom with a View: The Wedding Budget