Sam and I were laying in bed listening to music and chatting, as we often do, and we were talking about our wedding day and how much we’re looking forward to it, etc.. and we were just talking about how stereotypically, it’s the bride-to-be that handles all of the wedding planning, and usually, the groom either doesn’t get a say in any of it, or doesn’t want a say in any of it.. but, Sam’s not a normal guy, and we’re not a normal couple, so Sam’s involvement in our planning has been just as much as mine.. and although many men seem to be of the misconception that all they need to do is to buy a suit and show up, that’s not always the case, so we decided that it might be interesting for Sam to take over the blog for today’s post, and talk about wedding planning from the other side of the coin, and talk about what it’s like for the groom.
So let’s rewind all the way back to August and talk about the proposal…
Planning Penny’s proposal really wasn’t the easiest to pull off, as anyone that knows Penny will know just how much of an analytical, suspicious mind she has, so it was so important that I planned it as a complete surprise so that she’d never suspect a thing until the moment I was ready to pop the question. That was quite fun, but also quite exhausting as I had to sneak around getting her ring size, finding the ring, picking up the ring, hiding the ring and then making sure I didn’t do anything silly to slip up. And most of that preparation was so long before the actual day. When you have a plan to propose in the middle of nowhere, alone and in complete darkness, all kinds of things could have gone wrong, so the whole time I was trying to think and plan ahead, while she was completely oblivious to what was actually going on. It took quite a lot of thought and planning to perfect, and as for the shooting star.. well, what can I say, very much like when I took her to see the northern lights – it was all pure skill. 😉
But because in most cases, proposing is “the guy thing” to do, women rarely consider how much thought and planning may have gone into a proposal, and how much stress their partner could potentially be going through to make it as perfect as he possibly can for the most special person in his life.
It’s only natural for the guy to be a little nervous.. perhaps not about whether the answer would be “yes” or “no”.. but more about creating a beautiful memory to ask the most important question you’ll ever ask anyone in your life. Whenever anyone asks about how I proposed, I always let Penny tell the story, for two reasons. 1) She tells it better than I ever could, and 2) The smile on her face every time she talks about it. And I know she’s gonna smile like that every time she tells it for the rest of our lives. That’s what you want from a proposal.
I did feel a little nervous on the day… I kept checking my phone to check on the cloud cover in both Norfolk and Suffolk, as the cloud was pretty much controlling which location I would choose to propose later on that evening. Penny asked a few times why I was checking my phone so much.. I told her a little white lie and said it was work stuff.
Fortunately, the only thing that really went wrong on the day was that we forgot the remote shutter for the camera, and we had to stop off at a camera store to grab another remote. Penny couldn’t understand why getting a remote was so important, but I had previously said that I wanted us to keep one remote in the car, so wherever we go with the camera, there will always be a remote shutter if we need it. So, I was able to conceal the real reason we needed the remote shutter that way.
I had always wanted to use the night sky in my proposal because we’ve spent so many amazing nights stargazing, and it’s truly beautiful. It connects a lot with our relationship, and a lot of thought went into finding the right moment. The sky had to be completely black to see the milky way, which, in the middle of summer, very rarely happens, so I had to wait for the summer skies to darken at the very end of August before I went ahead with it. So, proposing in the way I did was always my plan, but it took a while for everything to match up to make it the perfect moment. The proposal was absolutely magical, and it’s a moment I’ll never forget. Penny was hilarious – thank God we were alone.. she was so loud! Screaming, shouting, swearing, jumping around the field at 1am… it was so funny.
For a few days afterwards, I felt really relieved, as everything had worked out perfectly and exactly how I imagined it would, which was great. We were really busy organising the engagement party, as we wanted to do it within the same week we got engaged, so it was a lot of work to do in one week. We had a great party though, and it was so lovely to celebrate with close family and friends. Once that was out of the way, we relaxed for a few days and were able to let everything sink in and enjoy the brand new moments of being “just engaged”.
It was weird referring to each other as “fiancé” rather than girlfriend / boyfriend for quite a while, and sometimes even now, someone will say something about us getting married and say the word “wife” or something, and it does still feel weird, but in a really good way. It feels right.
Once the planning process began and we started doing the research and putting down the deposits on the most important parts of the day, and I took care of the practical stuff (making the phonecalls, signing the paperwork, working out the budget, etc) I started putting thought into the things that I knew would be the most fun for me. The main things that I got excited about were choosing the suits, food and the stag.
I do love a good suit, no question about it, and as I wear suits every day for work, I want my wedding suit to be something a little more special. Every bride dreams of the perfect wedding dress, and wants to feel like a princess on her wedding day, and believe it or not, guys enjoy looking good on their wedding day too! I’d like my best men / groomsmen suits to match each other, but I’d like mine to stand out a little and be a little different.
Food at weddings can be really expensive if you’re pulling out all the stops and doing the whole sit-down-meal thing. …We’re not. There will be lots there, and hopefully there will be something for everyone, so everyone should like something. If not, there’s plenty of kebab shops around.
And the stag. Hahaha.. aw the stag. Every guy loves a stag. I’m letting my two best men organise my stag (God help me!) I trust them, and I’m sure they’ll do themselves, and me, proud. But I know nothing about any of their plans, so I can’t comment.
Because I’m the more “practical” one out of us both, I made a budget spreadsheet, which helped to keep everything organised and in one place. It’s really useful and I’d recommend anyone planning a wedding who has a fiancé with an addiction to “pretty things” to use one, and keep reminding said fiancé that they can have whatever tiara and shoes they like, as long as they stick to the budget.
It’s really hard to stick to a budget though when there’s so much out there. And it’s all really cool stuff too! When we went to The National Wedding Show in Birmingham recently, Penny loved the idea of having a glitter bar at the wedding, as a “glitter-artist” sparkled up her face, and I really liked the idea of having a magician there as entertainment for the guests… it’s very easy to turn a 10k budget into a 20k budget, or a 20k budget into a 30k budget. But, really, when you think about it, it’s all great, but what’s the point? Where does it stop?
I think every groom wants to give their bride their dream day, but I think it’s very easy to get carried away and you need to keep the rationality there and remember what your wedding day is actually about. Prioritise and budget according to the main priorities of your day, and you won’t go wrong. It has been difficult to stick to the budget, and.. the last time we checked we were a couple of grand over the budget, but we’ve saved money elsewhere so it’s not too much of a worry.
I’m actually quite surprised, as I didn’t expect to find entertainment that I would actually want – weddings are often quite standard, you have a sit down meal, speeches, DJ, buffet, etc. that’s pretty much the normal vibe you see, and I haven’t been to many weddings, so that was all I really expected, but it was nice to have options to add to your day that were a little out of the ordinary. I don’t agree with the idea that the bride should take on most of the wedding planning as it’s a team effort. It’s the groom’s day as much as it’s the bride’s day.. but, at the end of the day, it is all about your bride, and whatever she wants.. because.. that’s just the way it is. Whatever makes her happy. Happy wife, happy life.
Going to wedding fairs like the one at the NEC can be great if you’re still in the “ideas” stage, but it didn’t help us too much as we were already part-way-through the booking process, so a lot of what we were seeing, we had already booked.. so, if you’re gonna go, I’d suggest going before you start booking everything. Little tip for the guys – there’s a Bear Grylls Adventure right next door that you can swim with sharks and allsorts. It looks REALLY good, so if you’re likely to get bored at the wedding fair, I’d suggest booking your ticket in advance, leave your fiance there and pick her up afterwards. 😉 It looks great!
Penny often prides herself in being organised and keeping everything stress-free, but the one thing she was stressing a lot about was the photographer and videographer. I totally get it, as she’s a photographer – of course she’s gonna have high expectations and be quite particular with what and who she’ll want to photograph the best day of our lives.. but seeing her that stressed wasn’t nice, so we both worked really hard to find the perfect photographer and videographer as quickly as we could to ensure they wouldn’t already be booked on our date.
I sat up until the early hours trying to find the perfect videographer to film our day, as again, cinematography is something we’re both really into and would like to explore ourselves one day, so finding the perfect person or team of film-makers to shoot our day was really important to us both. It was really difficult to get through all the mediocre standard wedding videography.. nothing wrong with all that stuff if that’s your thing, but it’s just not what we wanted for our day… we wanted something a little different.. a little outside the normal box. Luckily, in the end, our wonderful wedding photographer came to the rescue and put us in touch with a personal friend of hers who’s work we really loved the look of, and saved the day. I think I was more relieved than anyone.. dealing with Penny when she can’t have what she wants is NOT easy. 😉
When anyone asks me how wedding planning is going, my go-to response has become just one word. EXPENSIVE. Everything is so expensive, and you just can’t get away from it, no matter what you do. And all it really is, is a party. It’s the biggest party you’re ever gonna have, and the only wedding day you’re ever gonna have, so it does need to be everything you want it to be. We sat down and seriously thought about the idea of eloping.. just sneaking away in secret to avoid all the fuss.. but, I knew that years down the line, one of us, if not both of us, would regret not having “the big day”. And, as much as it’s so frustrating that everything becomes more expensive when you add the word “wedding” onto it.. we’re only doing this once, so it’s important we get it right. I just wish you didn’t have to do everything so far in advance. The second you set a date, it’s like setting GO! on the timer, and you’re counting down to a day that feels like forever away, all because everything gets booked up so fast. I told Penny I could have it all done within a week, and I still stand by that, but.. she’s too much of a perfectionist for that. She’d never let me take complete control. The idea of Don’t Tell The Bride petrifies her… not sure why, because I’d be amazing!
I’ve been asked if the idea of getting married is scary.. because you’re committed to one person for the rest of your life. The idea of never being with anyone else ever again doesn’t scare me in the slightest. Forever is a really long time, but it’s not scary when you’re sure that you have everything you could ever want within the person you’ve promised to spend the rest of your life with. Why would it be scary if you’ve found everything you could ever want in one partner? To me, it just feels normal. But then, we’ve been in a heavily committed relationship for almost 4 years now, and our commitment to each other hasn’t got any deeper since I asked the question.. it’s always been there, just as deep and just as strong. And I guess.. that’s when you know. I honestly don’t mind the idea of not having another “first kiss”, “first time” or any of the other “firsts” that people think you’re gonna miss having when you get married. We still get to have so many other firsts. “First home”, “first child”… I don’t care about missing out on all the firsts of new relationships, because to me, our relationship is already perfect… it could never be any better with anyone else. Why mess with perfection? We get to experience everything together, and at the end of our lives, we’ll get to be each other’s last everything too. To dedicate your whole life to someone else, and to go through everything in life together… that’s not scary. That’s love. And it’s incredible.
I suppose when you begin a new relationship, you’re always “working towards” the next stage. When you’ve been together a while, you’re looking to make new commitments like moving in together, then getting engaged.. and then.. getting married. Sure, having kids is obviously gonna be in there too for some couples, but that can happen at any stage. I guess the thing I’m most looking forward to about getting married (apart from the honeymoon, of course.. ;)..) is the idea that we’re gonna be the most committed to each other that two people could ever be.
Am I nervous? Weirdly, not about the actual “getting married” bit.. the main things I’m nervous about, is writing my own vows and speech. For a laugh I googled whether or not I can pay someone else to do it for me, AND YOU ACTUALLY CAN! Hahaha.. it’s actually a thing.. but you can never quite tell how accurate their language skills are gonna be, and Penny being Penny, she’ll know.. so.. I doubt I’ll get away with that one! 😉
I guess I’m also kinda feeling weird about the whole “having to give notice of marriage” thing.. like, I think I’m gonna find it difficult to answer their questions seriously. If they ask me when we met, I’ll say something like “Well, we haven’t yet but I gave her dad two cows, so…” *you should see the scowl Penny just gave me when I said that. Hahaha!*
But, in all seriousness, planning this wedding has been quite fun so far. I’ve done more than I thought I would. I was one of those guys who thought all you had to do was turn up and try to say the right name.. ;)… but, weddings these days can be so much more fun and exciting, and it’s actually been really fun to have as much involvement in it as I have had.
Top tips for guys
1) Try to get involved with wedding planning as much as you can, because it can actually be quite a lot of fun
2) Set a budget and try to stick to it as much as possible
3) Convince your fiancé that charging an entrance fee at the door is a good idea. (I’m not allowed to, but YOU can!)
4) …Run for your life.
So yeah, that’s all for the Wedding Wednesday posts for this year. Thankyou so much for reading all of my posts so far. I really appreciate all the love and support from all my friends and readers. I’m really enjoying documenting the journey through planning, and it’s so lovely to be able to take you all along on the journey with us. I’ll be back in the new year with fortnightly posts including DIY craft projects, hints and tips and more updates about planning our day.
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!