Man Up

So, you want a wedding that’s just as much his as yours, but you don’t exactly relish the notion of all the men off in a dudes-only corner playing Xbox. Nevermind the fact that “man cave” was just included in Lake Superior State University’s annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness,” weddings are for celebrating, not separation. That said, there are plenty of ways to make the party a little more guy-friendly.

A Shave and a Shine

Carmen Shah, owner of Portland, Ore.-based Ella Events, recommends getting the wedding party started right with group grooming activities, such as a barbershop-style, straight-razor shave and a shoeshine while the ladies are having their hair and makeup done. Ensure the guys are properly fueled for their strut down the aisle by having snacks like sliders and pizza or beef jerky and bags of peanuts on hand while they primp.

Décor with Dudes in Mind

At the reception, men will likely dig décor designed around a color palette that includes an element, such as a wood or metal. “A rosy table looks great with mahogany chairs; yellows and peaches look beautiful with slate accents; and pale blues are perfect paired with copper or brass,” says Shah. These elements can introduce opportunities for more masculine design accents, like birch chargers or stone-weighted place cards. Masculine floral elements, such as small succulents or wheat stalks, are currently a hot choice for centerpieces, and they also make fresh and modern selections for boutonnieres.

In terms of entertainment, lawn games are a great idea, says Shah. “Bocce courts are a fun engagement project for the boys, a cool cocktail-hour activity for all the guests, and a great spot for photos.” Other enjoyable options include croquet, horseshoes and badminton, or, if your party is indoors, darts, pool or foosball.

You’ll also want to pay extra consideration to the cuisine. “One thing we hear a lot is that guys don’t like the food that’s served at weddings,” says Catherine Gatto, an event designer for Chicago-based Birch Design Studio. “So, instead of having everything be light and delicate, make sure you serve something more substantial like baby lamb chops or Kobe beef burgers during the cocktail hour, and for dinner, have a steak option rather than just poached fish or chicken.”

Want to get creative with your cocktails, too? Opt for a build-your-own martini bar featuring vodka and gin, vermouth, water, bitters, olives, lemons, limes and any mixers you like. Or sticking with simple but unique libations is always a smart choice. “Toasting with whiskey instead of Champagne is one of my husband’s favorite memories,” says Shah of her own nuptials. And Gatto has worked with a brewmaster who served microbrew from the groom’s hometown.

Depending on your crowd’s style, you also might spring for a cigar-rolling station, offer a karaoke machine or live band, or, says Shah, just invite the groom’s best pals to bring along their instruments for a post-dinner jam session.

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