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Grooms. Men. Gifts.

Groom 101

How to Plan a Wedding: A Groom’s Guide

Voltage Creative

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Planning a wedding is no simple feat. Pop culture tends to put focus on the bride, casting her in the role of a wedding planner, but here at The Man Registry, we do things a little differently. We believe that the Groom should get involved and have a say in how their big day plays out.

We realize this can be daunting, especially if you’ve never planned a wedding before. But, you don’t need to let it stress you out. In this comprehensive guide, our staff breaks down things grooms need to know about wedding planning and shares a few key ways you can be involved in planning a killer wedding.

5 Things Grooms Need To Know About Wedding Planning

Clueless about weddings? You’re certainly not alone. Here are five things grooms should know before it’s time for the “I do’s.”

  1. You’re Half of the Equation

You’ve likely heard that weddings are all about the bride, but remember that it’s your day, too. You don’t want to look back on your wedding day and realize you weren’t involved with a single detail. Find some areas where you can handle the planning or you can make your mark. Consider helping with the transportation, food and drinks, entertainment, music, groomsmen gifts, honeymoon, etc.

  1. Choose Your Wedding Party Carefully

While it’s important to include your brothers, relatives, and best friends in your wedding party, carefully consider those who may not be quite cut out for the responsibility. If one of your friends seems like a good pick, but habitually flakes, shows up late to events, or tends to party too hard and embarrass himself, give him the gift of simply being a guest instead of entrusting him with a more important job on the wedding day.

  1. Help Register for Gifts

It may seem easier to bow out of the registry process than spending time poring over endless gift options, but it’s important to weigh in on gifts you’d like to see on the registry, too. You may not have as strong of an opinion on bath towels or water glasses, but you might want to include some lawn and garden tools, BBQ gear, decorations for a man cave, barware and tools, and technology items on your registry.

  1. Wedding Planning Is Stressful

Whether you’re concerned about a ballooning budget or feeling the time crunch, you and your fiancée will most likely start getting on each other’s nerves at some point during the planning process. This is normal and not a sign to run for the hills. Make sure to schedule some non-wedding-focused date nights to relax and unwind from time to time.

  1. You May Get Emotional

One of the things grooms should know is that this is one of the most important days of their life. Seeing your closest family and friends gathered together, thinking about those who couldn’t be there, seeing your gorgeous bride walk down the aisle in her wedding dress, and reciting your vows can easily bring on a few tears. Don’t let anyone give you a hard time about it. Embrace it and enjoy the day.


5 Ways to Start Your Wedding Planning

Once you’ve popped the question and basked in the glow of your engagement, reality begins to creep in. It’s time to start planning! Feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to begin? Here are five ways grooms can help tackle wedding plans.

Use Your Imagination

Visualize your wedding day. What does it look like? What would you and your fiancée like to see and do on your wedding weekend and the big day? Jot down some of the elements you’d like to incorporate, such as playing golf with the dads and groomsmen the day before the wedding, doing a “first look” so you can see your bride in private before the ceremony, dancing to a live band, or enjoying a whiskey tasting bar at the reception.

Do Your Homework

Write down anything and everything you’d want to include in your wedding if you had an unlimited budget. Nothing is off-limits at this stage. Then do a little research by perusing websites, blogs, magazines, or books for more inspiration. This is a great way to discover ideas you might not have even thought of and would love to incorporate. Or ask your friends and family for suggestions. If they’ve been married before or have gone to lots of weddings recently they may have some suggestions for cool things to add to your list.

Focus On What’s Important

Next, work on refining things a bit. If your ideas are all over the map, try focusing on areas where things can be expanded upon to develop a theme or more cohesive plan. Then think about those elements that are absolute must-haves for each of you. Write down the top three things that are most important to you and then compare them to your fiancée’s top picks. If they don’t match, it’s time to work on an important marriage lesson: the art of compromise.

Let Your Budget Be Your Guide

Sometimes the easiest way to settle a dilemma is to consider the options available within your budget. While you want your big day to be as special and amazing as possible, don’t lose sight of what’s truly important: celebrating the two of you. Making your grand entrance at your reception via yacht pales in comparison to being able to afford to focus on each other and enjoying the day with friends and family. The rest of the details are just icing on the cake.

Work As A Team

Wedding-related to-do lists can quickly become a bit daunting. Decide what tasks you can tackle to help divide and conquer. Not sure where to start? Begin by tackling the most time-sensitive things first. For example, good wedding venues, bands, and photographers book out a year or sometimes even two years in advance. So it’s really important to nail down those key elements before tackling the less time-sensitive tasks like picking out a late-night snack, buying groomsmen gifts, etc. Those will be very important things to do soon.

How To Find the Perfect Engagement Ring & Propose

Congratulations, you’re ready to propose to your partner! You know deep down that they’re the one and you’re ready to take the next big step. But, knowing you’re going to propose is just the beginning… Now, you have to buy a ring and think of a cool way to pop the question. No pressure, right?

If you feel anxious about your proposal, trust us you’re not alone. Lots of guys say it’s the most nervous they’ve ever felt. Even if you know that she is going to say yes, it’s still hard to ask the question that will change the trajectory of your relationship and your life.

We get it, that’s why we want to take the pressure off of you and break down the things grooms have to know about buying an engagement ring and popping the question.

The Engagement Ring

If you haven’t looked at rings yet, the staff at The Man Registry strongly recommends you do some prep work and research before you start shopping.

Set a Budget

The first thing you need to do before you go engagement ring shopping is set a budget for this purchase. If you’re not sure how much money to allocate, think about this: the rule of thumb is that the total cost of the ring should cost about the equivalent of two months’ salary. So, if you make 50,000 the ring should cost around 8,332. Now, this isn’t an exact science, my friend. It doesn’t take into account other factors and life expenses. You have to come up with a budget that works for you and your situation. Don’t overextend yourself to the point where you may be paying off this ring for years to come. That won’t put you in a good financial position to begin your life as a married couple.

Figure Out What Kind Of Ring She Wants

When you know how much you want to spend, think about what she wants in an engagement ring. Does she want a solitaire, a channel set, a three-stone ring, a bezel-set, or something vintage? Even if you want to be sneaky and surprise her, it’s still a good idea to talk to her or her friends and family about her preferences because this is a big purchase that you need to get right. If you show up with a pink diamond ring that’s flashy and large only to find out she prefers white gold and simple designs that would be pretty awkward for you both. Remember the goal is for her to really love her ring, after all, she’ll be wearing it for a long time. So this really isn’t something you should leave to chance.

Does the stress of it all and the desire to get it right have you wondering if you should just take her ring shopping? Well, you’re not alone. Lots of guys do it. In fact, these days it’s pretty common. If you’ve been together for a long time and talking about the future she likely realizes that a proposal is imminent. So, it’s not like it will spoil the surprise. But, if you want to be sneaky, tell her your jewelry shopping for someone else. Or tell her you’re looking at watches and subtly ask her if she sees any rings she likes. Will she get the hint? Possibly, but it’s worth a try.

Find a Jeweler You Like And Trust

Once you know what kind of ring you’re looking for, connect with a jeweler. It’s a good idea to get recommendations from friends and family when deciding who to work with and where to go ring shopping. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a ring, so it’s really important to work with an individual you trust to give you the best possible product.

Go Ring Shopping

Okay, so you’ve done your homework; you’ve set a budget, figured out what style and metal she prefers and found a jeweler you want to work with, and now the exciting part begins. It’s time to pick out your ring.

If you’ve never bought a ring before you may not know that the ring setting and the center diamond are often sold separately, especially in higher-end custom jewelry stores. This allows you to customize the ring for your budget, and your size and style preferences. Furthermore, if you don’t see what you like, remember that many stores (unless they’re chain stores) can custom design a ring for you. So you can pick and choose elements from different rings that you like.

Choosing a Center Diamond: The 4 C’S

All that being said, the most important part is choosing the best center diamond. When you’re doing this it’s important to consider the 4 C’s: Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity. It’s okay if you don’t know what that means, most guys who haven’t purchased much jewelry before don’t know much about it either. That’s why we wanted to break it down in this article so you wouldn’t go into ring shopping feeling totally clueless.

  • Carat: The total weight of the diamond. Typically the larger the carat the more expensive the stone.
  • Cut: How the diamond is cut to reflect light off each of its many facets. Examples of popular cuts are round, oval, princess, cushion, marquise, radiant, Asscher, emerald, and heart.
  • Color: This refers to the natural color apparent in white diamonds. If your girl is the non-traditional type you may want to consider a colored diamond. They come in colors including yellow (canary), pink, green, blue, purple, black, brown (chocolate), and more.
  • Clarity: The way the purity of the stone is measured. The purer the diamond, the more translucent the stone.

Although it’s important to understand the four C’s and what each of these terms means, it’s important that you don’t let this knowledge overwhelm you. No diamond is 100% perfect. Most people don’t notice slight differences in diamonds.

Side note: If a diamond isn’t in your budget right now, that’s okay. Consider instead a white sapphire. They look very similar to diamonds. It’s very hard to differentiate between the two unless you know what you’re looking for.

Getting Her Ring Size

Your jeweler will ask if you know her ring size. If you do great, but if you don’t that’s okay. They’re used to that. When in doubt, try asking a friend or family member if they know first. If they don’t, just size up. It’s easier to go down and take away than it is to add more. Less expensive too. Remember, she can always get it sized later down the line.

Ring Insurance:

Most jewelry stores will ask if you want ring insurance. And, your answer should probably be yes. God forbid anything happens to the ring or something needs to be fixed, they will take care of it. This insurance is around $50-$100 a year.

But, if you have homeowners insurance, we recommend asking your insurance broker if they can insure your ring on your existing plan. Engagement rings and wedding bands are a very expensive purchase so they’re usually able to cover it under your existing plan as long as your ring has been appraised. If you don’t have an appraisal take it back to the jewelry store and have them give you one. It’s very important that you have an appraisal done and then put it in a safe place. You may need it if/when you switch insurance companies.

The Proposal 

Okay so you’ve got her ring in hand, now you need to decide how to propose. Do you want to go big and make it flashy or would you rather do something more intimate and romantic? There are so many choices that it’s really hard to decide what’s right for you and your partner.

When you’re brainstorming ways to pop the question, ask yourself what your partner wants in a proposal. Do they expect a grand gesture and a big production? Or, are they the type that doesn’t like a lot of attention on them and would prefer a proposal in a private setting? When you’re asking them to marry you, they should feel comfortable and elated. So, you must think about their preferences before popping the question. For example, if your partner is a private person, they likely wouldn’t want you to pop the question on the jumbotron at a major sporting event. That would make them feel super embarrassed and uncomfortable which could jeopardize the proposal altogether.

If you’re not sure what they would want, you can do one of two things:

  • Ask your girl about her dream proposal: This is a great way to learn exactly what she’d want but be forewarned, it’s not the most subtle way to go about it. If you want to surprise your partner then we highly recommend you try option two.
  • Phone a friend or family member: Let’s be honest here, your girl has probably dreamed about this day for a long time. So, it’s fair to assume she’s talked to her friends and family about it and shared her hopes and dreams with them. Reach out to them and get some pointers or just bounce ideas off of them and see what they say.

Proposal Ideas

Can we all agree that putting a ring in the champagne glass or baking it into dessert is played out? That being said, we know it’s tough to come up with some ideas. But, if you’re looking for proposal inspiration, check out our list of proposal ideas:

  • Go to the place you first met and propose there or choose a location that has sentimental value for you as a couple.
  • Take a trip and propose while on vacation
  • Hire her favorite performer (or perform yourself if you’re gifted like that) and surprise her by playing your song before proposing
  • Do a scavenger hunt with the ring as the prize at the end
  • Go to a club and ask the DJ to pass you the mic so you can propose
  • Invite her friends and/or family out for dinner or to your home for a bbq then pop the question.
  • Get your pets involved! Buy a fun bandana that says “will you marry my mom?” or something like that. Or you could tie a ring to their collar.
  • Include your kids! Let’s be honest, kids love surprises and the opportunity to help. So, put them to work and have them make signs asking her to marry you. Or, if they’re too little to do that, dress them in a cute shirt that says “will you marry my dad?” FYI this would work if she’s a preschool or elementary school teacher as well. Just remember that kids are notorious for letting secrets slip, so take proper precautions.
  • Rent a fancy car and drive somewhere scenic to pop the question
  • Grab her favorite coffee drink and have the barista write “will you marry me?” on the side
  • Write “will you marry me?” on the driveway in sidewalk chalk so she sees it when she comes home
  • Cook her favorite meal and then propose over desert
  • Make her a video or slideshow of photos with your proposal at the end
  • Write “will you marry me” in the snow… just don’t do it in yellow
  • Go on a picnic and pop the question
  • Incorporate her favorite holiday into your proposal, for example, you could put the ring in her stocking at Christmas, write “will you marry me?” in a valentine, hide it in an easter egg, propose during fireworks, etc.
  • Play her favorite game and use the ring as the prize at the end
  • Take a helicopter ride and propose in the sky
  • Tell her you want to take a picture, then as the photographer is counting down to smile get down on one knee
  • Rent out a movie theater and ask them to play a movie you made or show a  message with you proposing during the opening credits.

Remember, these are just a few ways to pop the question, you have to choose what’s right for you. But, before we move on to the next topic we want to give you one more thing to think about, what would she want to have or do to celebrate this big moment? If she’s the sentimental type she may want photos or a video of the proposal. Consider hiding a camera somewhere to capture the moment or ask a friend or family member to take pictures. She will cherish those for years to come. Or, maybe she would want to celebrate and show off her bling to her loved ones. If that’s the case consider having a get-together after you propose. Bonus, it allows the family to feel included in your special moment which is usually very much appreciated.

How To Choose a Wedding Venue

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding is choosing the venue. After all, the venue often dictates the entire scope of your wedding.

A venue can determine the date you’ll get married, the mood and tone of your event, how many guests you can invite, your decorations and what items you need to rent, and so much more. So needless to say, it’s one part of wedding planning you simply can’t ignore.

If you’re new to researching and looking at wedding venues, here are some things we suggest you consider:

Where Do You Want to Get Married?

In the “old days” as your parents would say, weddings traditionally happened in the Bride’s hometown. Now, that’s not always the case. Weddings typically take place near where the Bride and Groom live, or in a special destination.

When deciding on where to get married, think about who you’re inviting. Ask yourself if your VIP guests can and will travel to a destination. Remember, if you choose a destination wedding, you either foot the travel bill for your invitees or ask them to. For some families, paying for or going to your destination wedding may not be doable. So choosing a destination wedding may mean excluding important people in your life from participating in your big day.

What’s Your Budget?

When you see an event venue that really excites you, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about your budget. Unfortunately, this sets you up for disappointment and it can potentially cause arguments with your fianceé later down the road.

At The Man Registry, we encourage you to determine your budget and what percentage of it will go into your venue before you even tour them. If the venue doesn’t mention it on their website, call them and ask. One of the worst things you can do is fall in love with a venue that you can’t afford.

Do You Want the Ceremony and Reception to Be at the Same Venue?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, but it is something to think about when you’re choosing a venue. For example, you may want to get married in a church and have your reception elsewhere, or get married outside and have your reception indoors. There are lots of different options to choose from. But it’s necessary to think about this before touring your venue.

If you want to have your ceremony and reception in the same place, you should ask the venue how they handle this situation. Do they have staff available to change out the decorations and reset the stage for a reception? Does the venue have a place for a cocktail reception where guests can hang out while they’re flipping the room? Thinking about this ahead of time allows you to get a good idea of whether or not a venue will adequately meet your needs.

How Many People Will You Invite?

Most indoor event venues have a maximum guest capacity as required by law. So, it’s important to have a rough idea of how many guests you may have at your event. It’s not necessary to come up with a finite number or guest list, that will happen later. But, choosing a venue that can accommodate your needs is important.

What Do You Need And What Do You Want?

After you’ve toured a few venues you’re likely ready to pull the trigger and choose a venue. As wedding experts, we know this is a big decision and not something you want to rush into. But sometimes when you know, you just know.

But, if you’re on the fence or torn between two locations make a pro and cons list or a need vs want list. Allow this list to guide you and inform your decision.

Are You and Your Fianceé Are on the Same Page?

Remember what we said above, you’re 50% of the equation here. You should have a say in the venue. But remember that it’s equally as important to compromise and choose a venue that makes you both happy. If one of you has concerns about potential locations, listen and take note of what they’re saying. Neither of you should be unhappy on your big day.

How To Make Your Wedding Guest List

Some of the toughest wedding planning decisions you’ll have to make will happen when you go over your guest list. We know that the last thing you want to do is leave Great Uncle Fred or your freshman-year roomie off the list. But, depending on your venue’s capacity, it’s likely that cuts will have to be made. Here are some tips that will help make this process a little easier.

When you first sit down to come up with a list, don’t concern yourself with a particular guest count, that will come later. Instead, just put down the names of people you’d like to include in your special day. Next, ask each set of parents for their lists. Then, merge all the lists into one complete document and see what number you’re at. If this new list is below your allotted guest count, great! You’re sitting pretty. If it’s not, as is typically the case, you’ll need to make cuts to bring the number down. This is way easier said than done, but here are some tips from the TMR staff that can make this tough situation a little easier.

Limit the “And Guest” Invite

If you’re in a capacity crunch, we recommend limiting the “and guest” invites to guests who are currently in a relationship. And by relationship, we mean something that has lasted more than just a couple of weeks. You’ll be surprised how much this can help. Remember that weddings are a great place for singles to meet. Therefore, it’s a pretty safe bet that your friends who are riding solo will meet someone they connect with. It’s also worth noting that a lot of your friends will see your wedding as a time to hang out with old friends, so they don’t really want to be responsible for entertaining a date that nobody knows.

Prepare “A” And “B” Lists

Unfortunately, not everyone you invite will be able to make it there for the big day. Use this to your advantage! Prepare an “A” list and a “B” list. The “A” list includes the people that you absolutely want to be there. The “B” list consists of everyone else. When it comes time to send out invitations, send invites to the “A” list first. Then when the response cards start coming in, take note of the people who won’t be coming. For every person that responds “no,” invite someone on the “B” list. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get an invitation out to everyone.

Get An Idea Beforehand

You have a second cousin who lives seven states away and just had twins. You may be close, but it would take an act of God for her to make the wedding. In situations like this, it’s safe to assume that she won’t be able to come. Even though you know they won’t make it, send an invite out of courtesy- they’ll likely send a gift.  But, don’t count them in your headcount.

Marriage License Laws by State

These days, it seems that you need a license to do just about anything. And getting married is no different. Every state in the United States requires a marriage license for a couple to wed. A few states also require a blood test. To apply for a marriage license, go to your local county clerk’s office. This is usually located at your county courthouse. Often, both the bride and groom must be present to apply. You’ll both be asked a series of questions regarding your personal information and background. If everything checks out, a license will be issued. In most states, you receive your license the same day you apply. Some states, however, have a short waiting period. Each state also has different rules regarding the length of time that the marriage license is valid and how soon you can marry after receiving it. So, make sure you check out the list below to learn exactly what your state requires.

Once you’ve purchased your marriage license, don’t forget to bring it to the Church or your wedding venue on the big day. Without it, you can’t legally get married. After the ceremony, the married couple and the wedding officiant must sign the license for it to be valid. You’ll also need witnesses (best man and maid of honor) to sign it. The final step is for the couple to file for a certified copy of the certificate to receive a marriage certificate from the government.

The following table shows each state’s specific information regarding marriage licenses.

What You Need: One of the following: valid driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, military ID, school records.

Age Requirement: 16-17 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: None

What You Need: State-issued ID and a birth certificate may be required to obtain a marriage license

Age Requirement: Both individuals must be 18 years of age or older

Wait Time: 3 business days

License Expiration: 3 months

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

ARIZONA:

What You Need: Government-issued ID

Age Requirement: Under 18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no content needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 12 months

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

ARKANSAS:

What You Need: Government-issued ID

Age Requirement: Individuals under 18 may wed with parent/guardian’s consent and a 5 day wait period. 18+ no content is needed.

Wait time: None if both parties are over 18

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

CALIFORNIA:

What You Need: Valid ID

Age Requirement: Under 18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no content needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 90 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 1 but can have 2

COLORADO:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: Individuals under 15 may wed with a court order and individuals who are 16-17 years old may wed with a notarized form stating parental or guardian consent. No consent is needed if you’re over the age of 18.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 35 days and it must be returned in 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Proxy Marriages: Allowed if one party is sick or out of state

Witnesses Needed: 0

CONNECTICUT:

What You Need: Valid driver’s license, passport, military ID, or green card. You must also know your social security number if applicable, your officiant’s name, phone number, address, and ceremony address.

Age Requirement: under 18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: None

License expiration: 65 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required but you must apply in the town the applicant lives in or where you intend to marry

Witnesses Needed: 0

DELEWARE:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: If you’re under the age of 18 you must petition family court to wed. 18+ no consent needed to wed.

Wait Time: 24 hours

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

What You Need: Driver’s license, state-issued ID, military ID, passport, or birth certificate

Age Requirement: Under 18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait time: None

License expiration: none

Blood test: No

State Residency: Not required

Proxy marriage: Allowed. A third party can apply on the couple’s behalf however they have to have the couple’s IDs and pay a fee.

Witnesses needed: 0

FLORIDA:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number. You may also be asked for your birth certificate.

Age Requirement: 16 and under cannot marry, 16-17 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

GEORGIA:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: No one under the age of 16 can marry, 16-17 parental consent only, 18+ no consent needed. If you look under the age of 25 you may be asked for additional proof of age.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: None

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required but non-residents must apply in the county where the marriage is being performed

Witnesses Needed: 0

HAWAII:

What You Need: Valid identification and proof of age

Age Requirement: Individuals between the age of 15-17 must obtain written permission from a parent/guardian and a family court judge to wed, 18+ no consent is needed.

Wait time: None

License expiration: 30 days on the islands

Blood test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses needed: 0

IDAHO:

What You Need: Photo ID and birth certificate or certified copy

Age Requirement: Anyone under 16 must have permission from the court to marry, 16-17 must have consent from a parent/guardian, 18+ no consent is needed.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: none

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

ILLINOIS:

What You Need: Valid photo ID

Age Requirement: under 16 cannot get married, 18-17 can wed with a parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent is needed

Wait Time: 24 hours

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses needed: 0

INDIANA:

What You Need: Proof of identity and age (birth certificate, drivers license, passport)

Age Requirement: individuals under 17 may wed after going through a court process. Individuals who are 17 may wed with a parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent is needed.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required but non-resident applicants must apply where the wedding is taking place

Witnesses Needed: 0

IOWA:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: 16-17 with permission from a judge when a parent or guardian is present, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: 3 business days

License Expiration: None unless it’s not picked up within 60 days of being issued

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Proxy Marriage: Not allowed, but one applicant can sign the license before a notary public if they cannot be present

Witnesses needed: 1

KANSAS:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security card

Age Requirement: Under 15 cannot marry, 15-17 must have written permission from a judge, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: 3 business days

License Expiration: 6 months

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: Yes

KENTUCKY:

What You Need: Photo ID, original birth certificate, and social security card

Age Requirement: Under can wed 18 with a parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

LOUISIANA:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: If one party is under 18 then parents/guardians have to be present when applying for a license, 18+ no consent is needed.

Wait Time: 72 hours

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

MAINE:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: Individuals who are 16 must notify a judge, 17-18 may wed with a parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent is needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 90 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

MARYLAND:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number

Age Requirement: 15-17 can wed with a parent/guardian’s consent only if the female can prove that she is either pregnant or has given birth to a child, 18+ no consent is needed.

Wait Time: 48 hours

License Expiration: 6 months

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

MASSACHUSETTES:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number

Age Requirement: Minors have to fill out an application in court to wed, 18+ no consent is needed

Wait Time: 3 days

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required, but you have to have a Massachusetts marriage license to get married in the state.

Proxy Marriages: No (unless one party is incarcerated)

Witnesses needed: 0

MICHIGAN:

What You Need: Valid photo ID with current address, birth certificate or valid passport, and social security number

Age Requirement: 15 or younger with a parent/guardian’s consent and court approval, 16-18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent is needed

Wait Time: 3 days

License Expiration: 33 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required, but non-residents must have a marriage license from the county where they are getting married

Proxy Marriages: No, but only one person needs to be present to apply as long as they have the required paperwork

Witnesses Needed: 2

MINNESOTA:

What You Need: Some form of photo ID

Age Requirement: Legal age to marry is 18

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 6 months

Blood test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses needed: 2

MISSISSIPPI:

What You Need: A valid form of identification

Age Requirement: Legal age to marry is 21. Under 21 may wed with parental consent, but a license won’t be issued unless the male is at least 17 and the female is at least 15.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: none

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: None

MISSOURI:

What You Need: Photo ID and proof of age

Age Requirement: Marriage licenses will not be issued if one party is over the age of 21 and the other is under the age of 18. 16-17-year-olds can wed with parent/guardian’s consent. 18-19 years old, no consent is needed but a birth certificate is required for application.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Proxy Marriages: Yes

Witnesses Needed: 0

MONTANA:

What You Need: Photo ID and proof of age

Age Requirement: Under 18 can wed with parent/guardian’s consent, two counseling sessions, and court approval. 18+ no consent is needed.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 180 days

Blood Test: Yes. Women under the age of 50 are required to get a rubella blood test unless they request to have it waved.

State Residency: Not required but you must have a license from the county where your ceremony will take place

Proxy Marriages: Yes

Witnesses needed: 0

NEBRASKA:

What You Need: Valid photo ID and proof of age

Age Requirement: No one under the age of 17 can wed in Nebraska. 17-18 may wed with a notarized form of consent from a parent or guardian. 19+ no consent is needed.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 1 year

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

NEVADA:

What You Need: Government-issued photo ID

Age Requirement: Marriage under 16 requires a court order. 16-17 with may wed with parent or guardian’s consent. 18+no consent needed.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 1 year

Blood test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

What You Need: Photo identification and proof of age

Age Requirement: minimum age to marry is 16

Wait Time: No wait time to receive the license but there is a 3 day waiting period after it has been issued.

License Expiration: 90 days from filing

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

NEW JERSEY:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number/card

Age Requirement: Under 18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: 72 hours

License Expiration: 6 months

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 1

NEW MEXICO:

What You Need: State-issued ID. birth certificate and social security card

Age Requirement: Under 18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait time: None

License Expiration: None, but it must be returned within 90 days of the ceremony

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: o

NEW YORK:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: under 18 with a parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: 24 hours

License Expiration: 60 days, 180 days for active military personnel

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 1

NORTH CAROLINA:

What You Need: Valid government-issued photo ID and a social security card or a tax form

Age Requirement: 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

NORTH DAKOTA:

What You Need: Government-issued photo ID

Age Requirement: 18+ no consent needed

Wait time: None

License expiration: 30 days

Blood test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses needed: 2

OHIO:

What You Need: Photo ID, birth certificate, and social security number

Age Requirement: 18+ no consent needed

Wait time: None

License expiration: 60 days

Blood test: No

State Residency: If you’re a resident, you must apply in the county where you live. If you’re not then you must apply where the wedding is being held.

Witnesses needed: 0

OKLAHOMA:

What You Need: If you’re a US citizen you need a valid photo ID only, if not then you also need a copy of your birth certificate translated into English.

Age Requirement: 18+ no consent needed

Wait Time: If you’re under 18 then there’s a 72 hour wait time. If you’re over 18 then there’s no wait time.

License Expiration: Only 10 days

Blood test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses needed: 2

OREGON:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: No one under the age of 17 can marry. 18+ can marry without consent.

Wait Time: 3 days

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

PENNSYLVANIA:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: 3 days

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

RHODE ISLAND:

What You Need: Photo ID and birth certificates

Age Requirement: 18+ can we without consent.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: State residents must apply in the county where they live, non-residents must apply where the ceremony is taking place

Witnesses Needed: 2

SOUTH CAROLINA:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: 24 hours

License Expiration: None

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

SOUTH DAKOTA:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: 3 days

License Expiration: 20 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

TENNESSEE:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number (if applicable)

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Proxy Marriages: No unless one party is incarcerated or has a disability that prevents them from appearing. If this is the case, they must provide a notarized statement upon filing.

Witnesses Needed: 0

TEXAS:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: 72 hours unless you’re active military

License Expiration: 90 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Proxy Marriages: Yes, but only for the active military who are out of the county

Witnesses Needed: 0

UTAH:

What You Need: Photo ID and social security number

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent.

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

VERMONT:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: If you’re a resident you must get a license in the city/town where you live non-residents can get a license from anywhere in the state.

Witnesses Needed: 0

VIRGINIA:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

WASHINGTON:

What You Need: Photo ID with birthdate listed

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: 3 days

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Proxy Marriages: No, unless one party can’t be present at the time of filing.

Witnesses Needed: 2

WEST VIRGINIA:

What You Need: Photo ID or certified copy of your birth certificate, social security numbers, and parents names

Age Requirement: Legal age to marry is 18

Wait Time: If partners are under 18 then there’s a 72 hour waiting period, not applicable if both parties are over 18

License Expiration: 60 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 0

WISCONSIN:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: No one under the age of 17 can marry. 18+ can marry without consent.

Wait Time: 5 days (this can be waived for an additional fee)

License Expiration: 30 days

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Residents must apply in the county where they live, non-residents must apply in the county where the wedding will take place

Witnesses Needed: 2

WYOMING:

What You Need: Photo ID

Age Requirement: 18+ can marry without consent

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 1 year

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2

Do We Need a Prenup?

Prenup: This simple word can bring dread to an otherwise happy time in your life. It’s easy to understand why the mere thought of this concept might make you or your bride feel very uncomfortable. Prenuptial agreements are all about money — and money is the No. 1 issue that newly married couples fight about. Unfortunately, many people think that if their partner asks them for a prenup it means they assume the marriage will not last. But, that’s not true. Actually, drafting a prenup is a great opportunity to put your heads together and make some sound financial decisions.

Educating yourself on what a prenup is and how it works is really important. If you’re not 100 percent familiar with how a prenup works, here’s a quick summary: Legally speaking, marriage isn’t only a spiritual and emotional union — it’s also a financial one. A prenuptial agreement outlines what will happen with property and whether spousal support is necessary in the event of divorce or death.

One in every three marriages end in divorce, so it’s understandable why legal and financial professionals believe prenups are necessary. However, prenups are by no means a requirement for getting married. It’s a personal decision that we highly recommend at least discussing with your fiancée.

Here’s a guide to making a solid decision regarding rather or not you need a prenup.

Talk About It

We know it won’t be the most pleasant conversation, but sit down with your fiancée and discuss your financial situation. If you haven’t discussed finances yet, this is a great time to start. Get a feel for what each of you will be bringing to the marriage in terms of assets and property.

Make A Decision and Then Follow Through

We know that this topic is difficult to discuss, especially when you’re newly engaged. After all, no one wants to consider the possibility that their marriage won’t work out. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a great sign that you’re both confident you’ll spend the rest of your lives together.

But if you decide to go through with a prenup, draft a list of all your assets and property and how you’d ideally want it divided in the event of death or separation. The typical rule of thumb is that you only take out what you brought in. Or in other words: No one profits from the marriage. It’s important that you make this list now because you don’t want to worry about paying lawyers to come up with this list later. You’ll both need to hire separate attorneys for this process.

Who Should Consider Getting a Prenup?

If you fit one of the following descriptions, a prenup may be something you should seriously consider.

  • Those who already own a significantly greater amount of assets than their future spouse
  • Business owners
  • Those with children from a previous marriage
  • Individuals pursuing a career in a high-pay industry (such as medical or law)
  • Those supporting elderly or sick parents or relatives
  • People planning on collecting a company pension or having money set aside for retirement

TMR Recommendation: Decide with your fiancée if a prenup is something you want to proceed with and then do your homework. Never sign a prenup due to pressure from a family member or friend. This is a private decision to be made only by the couple.

How To Deal With Wedding Planning Stress During the Final Days Before Your Event

The final two weeks before your wedding day will be filled with lots of small details that will drive your bride-to-be — and consequently, you — nuts. The key is to expect this. It happens to more than 95% of couples. So think of something special to help reduce the stress for both the bride and the groom.

Date Night

Plan a date night with one catch: no wedding talk allowed. Here are a few date options:

  • Dinner and a movie – let her choose the movie
  • Sunset drive or picnic
  • Go someplace special to the two of you
  • Sunset sailing – pack appetizers, dinner, and drinks
  • Visit the local amusement park or zoo
  • Visit a nearby winery or orchard (we recommend the winery, but picking berries is another option)

Feed Your Greed

Self-indulgence is always a winner. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Couples massage (if you prefer a masseuse of a certain gender make sure you specify this when making a reservation)
  • Cook a new or favorite dessert
  • Take your fiancée out for a manicure or pedicure (you can participate if you like)
  • Designate $100 to $200 to spend on your fiancée. Tell her you’d like to take her shopping anywhere she wants as long as you can go with her. She’ll appreciate you’re involvement,

For The Sports Fan

If you’re both sports fans, take in a game. This is a great way to let off some steam and enjoy the outdoors. Other ideas include:

  • Golf
  • Batting cages
  • Rock climbing
  • Shooting sporting clays
  • Kayaking/canoeing
  • Tennis or pickleball

Volunteering

You may not think of this as a typical escape, but volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and take your mind off your wedding at the same time. Some local events might include:

  • Serving breakfast, lunch, or dinner at your local food kitchen
  • Habitat for Humanity – help build a life for others as you’ll soon be starting one for yourselves
  • Walk to raise awareness about diseases such as breast cancer, leukemia, autism, Alzheimer’s, etc.
  • Meals on Wheels – deliver meals to local elderly who are unable to leave their homes

TMR Recommendation: It’s important to think ahead. Believe us — if you plan a special surprise for your fiancée during this stressful time, you’ll likely reap the benefits long past your wedding night.

Wedding Transportation Ideas

Finally! Something about the wedding that doesn’t involve what color the flowers should be or how many tiers the wedding cake should have! One wedding-related issue that many guys like to coordinate is wedding-related transportation. It’s the groom’s financial responsibility to arrange transportation from the reception site to the hotel, airport, or wherever else the married couple will be headed after the festivities have ended. Because there are a lot of options when it comes to wedding transportation, we’ve broken it down to help simplify the decision. Here are some of the most popular options.

Traditional Limousine — You can’t go wrong with this classy option.

Stretch SUV — Popular models include the Cadillac Escalade, Ford Excursion, and Hummer limos. Just be sure to book early because chives are limited and they go fast.

Sports Car — Look up companies that specialize in high-end sports car rents. Think Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Or if you happen to know someone who’s a car collector, consider asking if you could borrow one for the occasion.

Classic Car — This is another classy option. Rolls Royce, Packard, or Bentley limos are usually available through a limo service.

Horse Drawn Carriage — If you want to make your bride feel like she is in a fairytale, this is a good option. Plus, if you or someone you know owns a horse, this could be the perfect opportunity to include a pet in the wedding.

Want to Stand Out from the Crowd? — Use your imagination. On your wedding day, the world is your oyster. If you want to fly off in a helicopter, make it happen!

How Soon Should You Book?

You should reserve your transportation no later than four months before the wedding. This is especially important if you’re getting married during the fall, spring, or summer. If you wait too long, you could end up calling every limo service in the state to find exactly what you want.

What Costs Are Associated With Renting Transportation?

Typically, your costs will include a flat hourly rate, fuel, and gratuity. Most limo services that specialize in weddings can also provide champagne, wine, or flowers in the vehicle (at an extra cost). However, if you really want any of these extras, we recommend buying them yourself and dropping them off beforehand to save you a few bucks.

TMR Recommendation: It’s pretty tough to go wrong with any of these choices. If you’re a car lover, go with something that represents your style, and surprise your bride with some champagne waiting in the car. This ride can often be some of your first alone time as a married couple. Have a toast in honor of each other.


Surviving Marriage Prep Classes

Love, children, family, and marital duties — if you’re planning on being married in a church, these are some issues you’ll most likely discuss in a marriage preparation class or premarital counseling. Some grooms may cringe at the thought of spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon discussing and learning about marriage (especially if it’s football season). But we encourage you to take the classes seriously, there’s a lot of good information to be gained during them. Consider this article your primer for marriage prep.

Okay men, class is in session.

Marriage prep classes are designed to give the couple a preview of married life and what each spouse’s responsibilities may be. The number and location of classes will typically vary based on the couple’s religion and officiant. Sometimes a couple will only have to go to one afternoon class or a single meeting with their officiant. Other times, several classes may be required. Some religions even require a couple to participate in a weekend retreat to complete the course. After deciding where the ceremony will take place, make sure to check into that church’s requirements regarding marriage prep classes.

What Happens During a Marriage Prep Class?

So, what exactly are these classes about? Basically, they’re designed to prepare and educate the engaged couple about many of the challenges they’ll most likely face in married life. Classes are usually led by a clergy member, marriage counselor, or married couple volunteering their time to the program. Typical topics of discussion include finances, planning for children, intimacy, romance and disillusionment, communication, and overcoming differences between each spouse’s families. If you’re Catholic, the sacrament and holiness of marriage are also often a big discussion point in marriage prep. You’ll probably be asked to take a compatibility quiz, share stories and personal thoughts regarding different aspects of marriage.

While you may have some one-on-one meetings, most marriage prep classes are made up of several other engaged couples. You’ll meet other couples going through the same process you are. Who knows, you may even make some new friends.

Marriage Prep Courses or Premarital Counseling Can Be Really Beneficial

A lot of men get nervous about attending these classes. One common fear is that the classes will get too personal or put you on the spot with tough questions. Or, that you’ll find out major issues that will make you rethink getting married.

But rest assured that this isn’t what these classes are about. The instructor will do everything they can to make sure everyone is comfortable as you work together. In fact, many men talk about how surprised they are that they really enjoy sharing personal stories with the other marriage prep class members.

Furthermore, marriage prep classes are a great opportunity to troubleshoot any issues or preempt arguments before they arise. For example, marital responsibilities and gender roles are often discussed during these sessions. So you’ll be asked to think about things like who is expected to be the primary breadwinner, and who is expected to cook and clean and raise the children… things of that nature. These things are topics that you may not think to discuss with your significant other but they can be major issues in your relationship. Therefore by bringing them up ahead of time, you can save yourself future trouble and deal with any potential problems now.

Furthermore, if you’ve been married before and/or are bringing children into your marriage, getting help from a professional can help you deal with issues from your past and set you up for maximum success in the future.

Ultimately, marriage prep or premarital counseling shouldn’t be something you dread (unless, of course, it happens to fall on Super Bowl Sunday). If you take it seriously and really put some effort into it, you’ll get a lot out of it. You may even learn something about your fianceé that you didn’t already know.

Dealing With Pre-Wedding Jitters

Many grooms experience some sort of getting cold feet around their wedding, and the rest probably would if they weren’t walking around looking like a dazed turkey the day before Thanksgiving. But don’t worry, getting cold feet before your wedding is normal.

Cold Feet in the Days Leading Up to Your Wedding

Most guys report having cold feet in the week or days leading up to their wedding. Reasons for feeling pre-wedding jitters range from the fear of being with the same person forever, the seriousness of marriage, and being with the same person for the rest of your life. Once you’re married, you can’t just get in a fight one night and decide to call it quits. Well, actually you can, but a divorce is very expensive and can be very embarrassing for you and your spouse.

By this point, you should know your fianceé pretty well. And, you’ve probably taken a marriage prep class or gone to premarital counseling So, you’re likely more prepared than you think you are. So ask yourself, is it actually being married that frightens you, or is it the idea of the attention you’ll get on your big day or the possibility of things not going as planned for you and your bride?

While these are valid worries, they don’t affect the success of your future marriage. So, try not to let them overwhelm you. Instead, consider taking some time for yourself and doing something to blow off some steam. Go golfing, go to the shooting range, play pool, enjoy a beer or a cigar, or simply hang with some friends. Do whatever you need to do to put your mind at ease.

Remember, things won’t be perfect and you won’t feel 100% stress-free on your big day (or the days leading up to it). It’s normal. In this case, you’ve got to let go of having a “perfect wedding” because you’re marrying the love of your life and what could be more perfect than that?

Cold Feet in the Months Before Your Wedding

Cold feet a month or more before your wedding is normal, but figuring out why it’s happening needs to take priority. We realize analyzing your feelings may be uncomfortable and unnatural for you, but it’s kind of important here.

On one hand, you may feel nervous due to typical wedding-related stress. Maybe it’s the overwhelming amount of planning or decision-making you have to do. Or, maybe it’s your fianceé’s stress that’s got your stomach in a knot. This is pretty normal and not something you should be too worried about. All couples get stressed as they finalize the details of their big day, but these concerns don’t mean your marriage is doomed.

Then, on the other hand, maybe new information has come to light that makes you worried about your future with your partner. Or, a big fight over something significant like family, children, or money that is causing you to be concerned. These are more serious issues that need to be addressed and thought through before you tie the knot.

If you find yourself with serious doubts, don’t push them away. Instead, talk through them. First, if you haven’t already done so, go to some marriage preparation classes. These aren’t nearly as fun as watching any sporting event (including underwater basket-weaving, which yes is a thing), but they can prove to be very beneficial. In some cases, they can facilitate some important discussions between you and your bride.

If you’re still unsure, try going to a therapist or seeing a clergy member, either together or alone. This provides a good opportunity to voice your concerns in a safe environment with a professional who is skilled at helping couples in the same or similar situations. After talking through your concerns, they can help you come up with a plan to work through them and deal with them should they pop back up in the future.

TMR Recommendation: Virtually every groom (and bride, for that matter) will get some type of cold feet before the wedding. Just make sure you’re both prepared for this step, and most importantly, take some time to relax the week of the wedding. If there’s still any doubt, talk to each other or seek the help of friends, family, or a professional. Then quit stalling and get to the honeymoon, you party animal.


In Conclusion…

Listen, we know wedding planning is stressful and difficult, but The Man Registry is here to simplify this process so you can focus on your big day and what matters most to you and your bride.

We hoped you enjoyed this comprehensive Wedding 101 blog, if you’re interested in reading more check out our rad blog page for more content on almost every wedding topic a guy could think of. Then, check out our personalized gifs. We have something for everyone on your list at every price point. Cheers, fellas!


ARIZONA:

What You Need: Government-issued ID

Age Requirement: Under 18 with parent/guardian’s consent, 18+ no content needed

Wait Time: None

License Expiration: 12 months

Blood Test: No

State Residency: Not required

Witnesses Needed: 2


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