As wedding season winds down, we – Alex Alvarez, Justin Abarca, and Mike Spohr, three BuzzFeed writers – decided to sit down and have a little Q&A about what goes on inside a groom's head. Since Alex is engaged to be married, she had some burning questions about weddings and guys that only Justin – who has been married three years – and Mike – who has been married eight – could answer. Here are the results.
1. On honeymoons.
Alex Alvarez: OK, guys, let's jump into the most important stuff first. How do you plan — and pay for — a honeymoon?
Justin Abarca: We used a Honeyfund, which is like Kickstarter, but for wedding gifts and honeymoons. Also, as far as choosing a place to go, we decided that an all-inclusive resort was the best option. We didn't have to worry about paying for meals and drinks, and could just relax on the beach for a week. We did think about going to Europe, but that would've been more sightseeing and traveling here and there, which is something we just didn't want to deal with on a honeymoon.
2. On drinking.
AA: Is it OK to get super wasted at my wedding?
Mike Spohr: You're going to go to many, many weddings in your life, many of which where you liberally partake of the open bar. You'll likely have a good time at those, but also likely not remember things all that clearly. Your wedding day should be different. You want to remember and savor the day. It is not just another wedding.
JA: I drank a lot at my wedding, but also danced like a madman, so I never really felt it. But that's me, so you do you, gurl. Just remember that your family is there, and plus it would be great to remember it the next day.
3. On seeing the bride before.
AA: Were you superstitious about seeing the bride before the wedding?
JA: I wouldn't say I was superstitious, I just really wanted the experience of seeing her walk towards me for the first time. I know a lot of people see each other before for pictures, but as cliché as it sounds, I think our guests really enjoyed seeing my face when she came down the aisle.
MS: Not superstitious... In fact, we did photos beforehand, so I and our families saw my wife in her dress ahead of time.
4. On not sweating the details.
AA: What sort of things can I push to the back burner? Like, did you care about the flowers at all? Does anyone?
JA: Flowers were never really that important to me, so I was pretty easy on agreeing to whatever she wanted. However, what DID matter was the cost, and in case you didn't know this, wedding flowers can cost a shit ton. I dunno, it sort of felt wasteful to spend a lot of money on something that would last a day, which is why we went with a minimalist approach, with glass vases that had a few twigs or some bullshit in them. Oh, and peacock feathers.
MS: Didn't care about flowers at all. We actually picked a venue that would be decorated already, so we didn't need many flowers. It's a good thing to keep in mind. If you pick a venue that is pretty bare, you're going to need a lot of flowers.
5. On including the groom.
AA: Did you feel ignored during the planning process?
MS: No, I was looped in on the things I cared about. The stuff I didn't, my wife took care of and I trusted her opinion.
JA: I never felt ignored, but I know a lot of guys do. I'm not saying I want to make all the decisions, but I at least want to be part of the conversation.
6. On eloping.
AA: Planning a wedding and making sure everyone has fun and feels included can feel extremely overwhelming (and expensive) at times. Did ever you consider eloping instead?
JA: Totally. I mean, not seriously, but yes. When we were making our guest list and getting stressed we joked about eloping, then seriously considered it for like a minute. But, y'know, my mom would've killed me.
7. On diet and exercise.
AA: I feel as if there's a lot of pressure for brides to look a certain way on their big day. But did you, as grooms, feel pressure to exercise and diet before your wedding?
JA: Most definitely. I wanted to look my best and feel good about my body. Not that I got rock-hard muscles out of it, but I totally worked out in the weeks approaching the wedding. I also had a slim-fit suit, which only exacerbated matters lol. We [guys] have body image issues just like anyone else.
MS: Yes, I dieted steadily ahead of my wedding and lost 20 pounds. I only wish I'd cut my hair more, in hindsight. I have a huge (unintentional) pompadour!
8. On keeping it classic.
AA: So were you worried about your hair and stuff like that? Whether to go clean-shaven or not?
JA: I wanted sort of a classic look, something that didn't necessarily tie me to the times. I made sure to cut my hair and shave, so that way when I have kids they don't one day look at the photos and say, "WTF?"
MS: I was absolutely clean shaven. Guys who show up at a wedding with the Don Johnson look (look it up, kids) look like they couldn't care less they're getting married. Those guys cheat. I have data to prove it. ;)
9. On groom's cakes.
AA: Did you have a groom's cake? Did you want one?
MS: One cake — you're getting married, so have one damn cake. Two cakes is like already separating your lives! It's not a big deal, though, and I've been to weddings with cool groom cakes.
JA: I didn't have a groom's cake, and sort of regret it. Not because I really love cake, but I sort of joked about having the armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias, and am sad that it didn't happen.
10. On themes.
AA: Were wedding colors and themes important to you? How did you settle on them?
JA: Theme was never that important to me, and neither were colors. Well, I guess with colors I knew that I didn't want certain ones, so I guess maybe colors were important?
11. On tuxes and ties.
AA: How did you figure out what to wear?
JA: My wife went with black dresses for the bridesmaids (not in a goth way, mind you), and thus I went with black suits for the groomsmen. Another reason for choosing the black suits is that I thought it would be a good opportunity for the guys who didn't already own one to get one, since every dude needs a black suit. Also, tuxes just look so cheesy and never fit well unless you get a custom-tailored one, which are expensive as balls. I, however, wore a charcoal grey Ben Sherman suit with a peacock green tie because why not?
12. On money.
AA: Who paid for your wedding? Like, did you honor the tradition of the bride's family paying for it? If so, was that weird?
JA: In our case, her parents did pay for most of it. My parents helped as well, but hers did the more traditional thing of paying for most of it. It actually wasn't a very expensive wedding, so I didn't feel that weird about them paying, but I did appreciate it wholeheartedly.
13. On the whole garter thing.
AA: Did you do a garter toss?
MS: No garter toss... Honestly, I've been to dozens of weddings in the last 10 years or so and I don't think one person did this. I remember it happening at one as a kid. Anyway, I think this is a dying trend.
JA: I did the garter toss, which in hindsight is sort of a weird tradition, but whatevs. Like, "Here, dudes! Have a piece of my wife's lingerie!"
14. On the registry.
AA: How did you decide what to add to your registry?
JA: We lived together before we got married, so our registry was mostly things we wanted to upgrade (iron, towels, microwave). Most of our registry was for our Honeyfund, which goes toward your honeymoon. I say, if you have the room to store a bunch of presents, then great, register your heart away. If not, as uncouth as it may seem, asking for gift cards and cash will be the way to go.
15. On the money dance.
AA: I've heard about the money dance, but never actually have seen one at a wedding. Did you have one?
JA: Yes! The money dance is crucial. OK, it may not be super highbrow, but who cares? We made some major $$$, which was awesome since we then had spending cash for our honeymoon and beyond. It was also cool to be able to have one-on-one time with guests, so I also recommend doing it for that aspect.
16. On dancing with mom.
AA: Did you do a mother-son dance? Was this important to you?
JA: I did, and it was important to me. The father of the bride is traditionally the one who gets the big dance, so it was nice to let my mom and me have a moment as well.
MS: I did a mother-son dance, which was a nice moment to share with my mother.
17. On music.
AA: Did you have a hand in choosing the music for the reception?
MS: Yes! I personally hired the Beatles cover band we had, and my wife and I gave our DJ a lot of songs to play and CRUCIALLY a do-not-play list.
JA: The music was probably the most important part to me. A lot of soul, a lot of '80s, a lot of classic hip-hop. Also, Thriller.
18. On the order of things.
AA: Were you as a groom concerned about the best order for all this wedding and reception stuff?
JA: Yes, since having been in and gone to a lot of weddings, the flow was definitely on my mind. What was important to me – and I think our guests – was getting to the drinks and dancing ASAP. There is nothing worse than being at a wedding where you don't start dancing until like 9 or 10 p.m., so we made sure to get the partying started early.
19. On what happens after.
AA: Should I spring for a nice bridal suite?
Our bridesmaids went into our suite earlier in the day and set us up with beer, water, and snacks, which was a godsend because we were starving. Also, just some advice from me to you, make sure you guys do it. Even if you can hardly keep your eyes open, muster the strength and get it done. Don't be the weird couple who didn't do it on their wedding night.