Making the Evening Memorable Without Outshining The Bride

Whether it is an in-town or destination wedding weekend, quite often the focus is the wedding and reception.  However, the groom and his family should be given their due, if desired.

Here are a few pointers that should be considered when planning of what many call the “Groom’s Night”.

Décor Theme and Colors

Think about the hobbies of the groom and his personal style.  Not that this is a bar mitzvah, but the groom’s style should be considered when planning the event. You can find lovely dresses at Overstock for a wedding and any occasion.

If he is an Ivy Leaguer, use his school colors in the décor design.

If he is a hunter, perhaps a khaki and green décor palette might be more appropriate and feathers/wild flowers included in the centerpieces.

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Obviously, regional cuisine is so very important in many areas of the country. However, the groom’s favorite items should be considered when planning the menu.

In addition, the menu should not be planned without seeing what is being served the following day.  There would not be a reason to repeat lobster rolls in New England, Shrimp and Grits in Charleston or Beignets in New Orleans.


As wonderful as theme drinks can be, please do not ask your guests to drink them for the first hour of a party without any options. Through the power of the printing press, tasteful signs can be placed on the bars listing one or two theme drinks that are the groom’s favorites. If there is not one, you can place clever signage at the bar with a list of the offerings, as if the groom chose the items being served that night.  For a more sophisticated groom, perhaps it is a wine from a vineyard that he has toured or a drink from a famous place; like a Bellini from Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Time for the Photos to Come Out!

When I see a photo of a young boy doing something really funny, my first comment to the parent is to put that in the pile of photos to be shown at the rehearsal dinner!

Reputable and reasonably priced production companies abound nationally who can take a stack of old photos and turn them into a great slide presentation to music.  Everyone loves seeing the pictures of their special friend or family member as a child, with bad hair cuts, and then the use of castor oil for hair growth,  at memorable family events and with loved ones who perhaps are no longer with us.  This presentation is a great activity before or after speeches and toasts have been given.

Letters and Videos – Friends and Family from Afar

With the current technology, it is so easy for guests who cannot make it to the wedding weekend to send a video.  Add these to the presentation and really surprise the groom.   If this is not possible, having a family member read a letter from someone could be great as well.  As an event planner, it is your obligation to help in creating that “special moment”.

The Groom’s Obligations

Besides thanking all of his “men” (and now often there are women) for being in the wedding, the groom should be given a list of items to take care of this evening.  This includes:

  • Thanking his parents for the effort into producing this event
  • Recognizing people who could not be there
  • Recognizing the Bride and her family for the time to come the following day.
  • The Results of any activities that happened that day (gold tournament, fun run, etc). This is a great time to hand out prizes, etc.
  • Any housekeeping notes for the following day. Ex: transportation schedules, reminders any other planned events, etc.


What self-respecting groom does not have his own very favorite playlist these days?  Whether it is a sound system being used for background music or a band that plays at the reception and during the dinner, the groom should have a say so in the music (of course, with guidance from his planner).  No SUBLIME please…but if the young man grew up in Boston, the first song after the dessert is served might need to be “Old Cape Cod”.  Make the music special.  Honor the people there and more importantly, let the groom have a say in his party!

Repetition Nightmare

I will never forget a groom toasting his bride at the rehearsal dinner and saying that she was his “best friend”.  We all sighed in the romance of the moment.

When he gave the EXACT same toast at the cake cutting, we all felt him be a grifter or used car salesman and wanted to have his credit rating checked.  Remember, 99.5% of the guests at the rehearsal is at the wedding and reception.  Whether it be food, drink, or a toast, one use is all you can get out of any of these without being discussed!