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Hey grooms-to-be! It's your big day, too

In “The Engaged Groom,” Doug Gordon explains how men can play an active role in planning their weddings. Read an excerpt.
/ Source: TODAY

In “The Engaged Groom,” Doug Gordon tells you how to prepare for and participate in the big day: your wedding. By working with your talents and interests, you can turn the experience into a fun, joint venture with your bride. Here's an excerpt:

Chapter One
Why Doing Nothing Is as Important as Anything ... for Now
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best thing you can do right now is nothing. I know what you're thinking: "Aren't there a million things to do?" Yes, and that's precisely the reason why you, your fiancée, and your families should agree to do absolutely nothing, at least for now.

When Leora and I got engaged, we, along with our families and friends, were riding high on a wave of excitement. Recognizing that we would quickly become mired in the minutiae of event planning, I declared a one-week moratorium on wedding details. For seven days we would make no definitive plans and would hold no meetings with facility managers, bandleaders, or stationers. We would simply sit back and enjoy ourselves for at least a little while and not let a narrow focus on details take the place of our joy at getting engaged.

Your wedding moratorium need not last a week. It could be a day, a month, or any time in between. Your personality, your bride's patience, family pressure, and your specific circumstances will dictate your timeline. If you're planning a long engagement, will your plans really change if you start making them seventy-four weeks before your wedding rather than seventy-five? With all the details that are likely to dominate your conversations, taking a deep breath before you and your fiancée dive in is a great way to get started on the right foot. (But then again, if it's February and you're hoping for a spring wedding, I wouldn't recommend waiting too long, lest you find that every church, temple, and even the event room at your local Motel 6 is booked solid for the next six months.)

As for my own wedding-planning moratorium, it was a good idea at least in theory. Although I had called for a time-out of one week, too many people were too excited and had too many questions for us to hold out for the entire seven days. The moratorium turned out to be no more than the proverbial finger in the dike, stemming a flood of planning and details that couldn't be ignored.

Engaged Groom Tip
Wedding-Free Zones
Getting ready for your wedding can sometimes feel as if you are listening to a radio station called KWED, "All Wedding Planning, All the Time." Sometimes you'll just want to change the dial, if not throw the radio out the window altogether. Know your limitations. If you work late on Wednesdays, have a regular poker night with your friends on Fridays, or tend to fall asleep early on Sundays, perhaps one of those times would be good to choose as what I call a wedding-free zone.

What does it mean to be "wedding-free"? Exactly what it sounds like. During a time of your mutual choosing, you and your bride should talk about anything — the weather, sports, the geopolitical situation in the Korean peninsula and its effect on Asian futures trading — except your wedding. Don't talk about song lists, don't try to pick out a font for your invitation, and, for the love of everything good in this world, don't look at any color swatches. (The operative phrase in this paragraph is, of course, "a time of your mutual choosing." Remember that your fiancée might also have events she might not want to miss or nights on which she needs to just veg out in front of the TV.)

A weekly date night might be the best use of your wedding-free zone. Taking some time to check in with each other and have fun can keep you focused on why you got engaged in the first place. But just as you'd never bring work from the office on a first date, your weekly date nights should be the exclusive territory of you and your fiancée. The date night is not a time to discuss wedding plans or take cell phone calls from pushy parents. Like a carefully monitored IV drip dispensing 250 cc of perspective and relief, regularly going out for dinner, a movie, or a stroll through a park can keep both of you calm and levelheaded as you hurtle toward the big day.

Excerpted from “The Engaged Groom: You're Getting Married. Read this Book,” by Doug Gordon. Copyright © 2006, Doug Gordon. All rights reserved. Published by . No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.