Once Steve and I got engaged the questions started flying at us: Did you set a date? What’s the venue? What do the bridesmaids’ dresses look like? I immediately felt overwhelmed by the thought of planning a wedding! And the feeling didn’t go away until the ceremony began. With all the details expected of couples these days – gift bags, favors, day-after brunches – it’s enough to make a girl lose her mind. Luckily, Steve was very involved in our planning process, a fact that made me feel grateful and appreciate him even more. But then, it was also something I expected of the him as a fiancé. The wedding was half his party, too. In fact, he’s the one who had some very particular requests like a craft beer selection at the bar. He was looking forward to the party aspect of the whole thing, while I was fretting over the decisions that had to be made to get us there.
The way we each went into the planning is something I hear from many women. The guys are looking forward to having a great time with friends and family. The brides are worried over costs and responsibilities. I thought it might be helpful for me to share tips on how to get your groom involved in wedding planning. I realize this topic or some of the tips may come off as sexist, which is not my intent. However, I know some people still have a sexist attitude toward wedding planning: that it’s the bride’s big day and she should do the work. I don’t agree with that, and if you’re engaged or have been, I bet you don’t either.
Here are my suggestions on how to get your groom involved in wedding planning:
1. Make wedding meetings fun, not a hassle. Maybe you want to meet the wedding planner Wednesday night, but that’s the night your guy already has plans with his bro. Instead of planning meetings for inconvenient times for one or both of you, try to make it a date night. Once you’re done with your venue walk through, go down the street to that new restaurant you’ve wanted to try. Or head to the brewery that carries the craft beer that will be served at your wedding. (Steve and I did that during one wedding planning trip and it was a great way to unwind.)
2. Give your groom responsibilities, but ones he can handle. During one linens meeting Steve was in, I noticed he had a dazed look in his eyes. I realized he had no idea what these “runners” were that we were discussing. Lesson learned, he wouldn’t be choosing our linens. However, there’s a lot Steve could, and did, do. He had an opinion on the beer and food served at the wedding, so I gave him the job of finalizing our catering contract. He also was a huge help the week before the big day once I gave him a list of places he needed run to simply to pick up decor I had already ordered and paid for.
3. Talk about costs and what goes into a wedding before you start planning. Toward the end of our wedding planning, Steve said if he’d known in advance how much work it was he would have eloped. Ugh, hello! That’s what I said the moment we got engaged. No, I truly wouldn’t have eloped, but there were other ways I envisioned the wedding because I knew it would cut back on costs and headaches. Though I was truly happy with the way it turned out, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to reign Steve in had he had a better understanding of what it takes to make a wedding.
To help your guy understand what’s going to be required of the two of you, start by looking up average costs of weddings in your area or estimates for things he mentions he’d like to have. Will he budge on the video photobooth once he sees the cost? There’s one less vendor to coordinate, too. Is he really willing to spend $50 a head to feed those guys from his freshmen year dorm that he insists need to be there, although they haven’t talked in 10 years? I’m not saying you need to fight about every cost and what’s important to who, but it helps to see how every decision fits into the overall budget you two (hopefully) decided on.
4.Talk to your guy about details at other weddings. We started looking at other weddings with a different eye once our planning process began. After each wedding we debriefed on what elements we might want to incorporate into our own. Coming to an understanding of what one another liked and expected to see at our own wedding helped us plan out all of our needs even more.
So no, there will probably never be a smooth wedding planning process (if you’ve had one, I’m jealous), but I can say that having Steve’s support during ours made me a lot less stressed. I can only imagine what my stress levels would have been had Steve not helped! I truly hope you can get your groom involved in wedding planning, so you can both look back at your special day and know you did it together.
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Photos by Tonya Espy Photography