groom walking
Kari Dawson Weddings

If there's one word that accurately describes the things a groom must do on his wedding day, it's chaos. Last-minute decisions need to be made, photos have to be taken, and somebody needs to find out where the best man is and why his breath smells like whiskey at 11am. Your wedding day is like a giant movie premiere and you're the star of the show. You're going to be pulled in a million different directions, so you'll need to stay sane. Luckily, there's one thing a groom must do on the morning of the wedding to keep it all together and it's a lot easier than you might expect. Ready for it?

Take a walk. That's it. That's the one thing a groom must do on his wedding day.

Wake up and head out for a walk before the craziness sets in. The timing is perfect. My wife's day started at 8am when the stylists arrived at the hotel to start getting ready but I didn't have to be anywhere until 11am. While she was busy taking photos with her bridal party, complete with mimosas and floral robes, I had hours to kill. So I took a walk. It was one of the best things for me, the groom, to do on my wedding.

Actors are taught that the best performances happen when they're able to “stay in the moment” without thinking about what just happened or what comes next. The same advice applies for a wedding. You know all the different details that need to fall into place, but if you're too busy worrying about what's on tap, you won't have any time to focus on what's in front of you. A “Groom's Walk” gives you the time to clear your head and live in the moment. It's the foundation you need to enjoy your entire day. If you wake up and give in to the chaos of the wedding, you'll likely feel that way until you go to sleep. By taking a solid walk by yourself, you're giving yourself permission to slow down and see the day right in front of you.

The route doesn't matter much. Find somewhere quiet and peaceful, if you can. Bonus points if you can pass anything meaningful along the way. For my wedding, we got married in a neighborhood of Los Angeles where I had lived for six years. It was easy to choose a path that represented my life before I met my wife. Taking a walk along those same streets I traversed when I was single felt like a farewell tour. Goodbye old CrossFit gym. Goodbye fancy, overpriced liquor store. Goodbye Ethiopian jazz cafe where I had that weird OKCupid date.

Your walk gets even better if you can add special stops along the way. All of my college fraternity brothers were staying at a rental apartment together for the weekend, so I made a point of stopping by to hang out for a few minutes. Getting to spend time with those guys (and their significant others) felt like old times. We sat in the kitchen catching up on the night before just like we did in college – this time is was my rehearsal dinner instead of a dumb frat party – and joked and laughed together like it was 2003. “A walk down memory lane” is cliché, but that doesn't make it any less impactful. I was saying goodbye to the old me; shedding my single skin and emerging as the married me.

The last stop I made before I got back to the hotel was at a flower shop. Obviously my bride was going to have more flowers than she knew what to do with, but I wanted to surprise her with a bouquet that was just from me. It was the perfect bridge to get back into wedding mode.

Now, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of during your Groom's Walk. Don't make it too long. You don't want people worrying about you disappearing. Make sure you take a phone in case anyone needs to get in touch with you. Obviously this is about having time alone, but if your beloved's wedding dress is missing in action, you're going to want to be around to help solve the case. Also, stay out of the sun. Nobody wants to see a lobster get married.

Wedding days are crazy, ever-changing beasts. Taking some time for yourself to do a walking pseudo-meditation setting will put you in the perfect headspace for the main event—it’s truly one of the most important things a groom can do on his wedding day. Take a walk, enjoy the day, be in the moment. It's the best way to beat the chaos before the most important walk – the one down the aisle.