I’m a frustrated groom who feels pushed out of planning my wedding

Guest post by Ryan
Tea-themed place setting

It's funny how my future in-laws offering to contribute to my wedding ends up with me, the groom-to-be, feeling pushed out of the wedding planning equation. I will be lucky if I know even 20 percent of the people at our wedding. You know what? That makes me the weird creepy guy sitting in the corner that nobody knows at my own wedding.

Well, I can tell you that I did NOT want to be “that guy,” or that groom rather… yet here I am. I feel like it's time to sink ever so slowly into the background of my own wedding.

But how will I be in the background at my own wedding?

I have intentionally kept my side of the guest list very short, so that we could afford the wedding we want to have. My future in-laws, however, keep adding people to the guest list on their own, to the point where my fiancée had to ask who some of these people even are! It is important for me to mention that I absolutely love my future in-laws, and I think most of this is coming from their excitement and the fact that they are very proud.

I should be honored, not annoyed.

But when your in-laws-to-be hijack your wedding plans, and then your wedding coordinator says “you, my friend, don't get a vote,” it really feels like it's time to take on that age-old groom position of “just tell me when to be there and how much to write the check for.”

Okay, so what to do about this situation and what have I learned?

First, talk to your partner openly and honestly about your concerns and how you are feeling.

I thought I had done that when I mentioned it on the car ride home from her parent’s house, but I definitely was not clear about it.

Secondly, Do NOT assume that your partner automatically agrees with whatever their parents decide.

I found out from talking to my fiancée openly (imagine that!) that she fully supports me and that it's very important to her that it is “our day.” She was also not cool with the wedding coordinator telling me that “I don’t get a vote.”

Advice for the partners of a frustrated spouse-to-be

I suggest that you make sure your other half knows that you support them as much as they support you and that you do value and appreciate their thoughts and input. Also, it is a lot easier for you to talk to your own parents, to try bring them back to healthy compromise, than it is for their future in-law.

Relationships are a partnership, and so obviously is marriage. So why shouldn’t the actual act of getting married also function like a partnership? It can set the tone of your future together to some extent as well.

Comments on I’m a frustrated groom who feels pushed out of planning my wedding

  1. That is how my cousins wedding. Her now ex-husband ended up being in the corner pretty much all evening after the actual wedding. The only time he came out was to eat the dinner, cut the cake, first dance, and the garter throw. Everyone at the wedding, besides his aunt and uncle and his groomsmen (other than her brother, my cousin, who was one of the groomsman) were all my family, her cousins from my uncles side, her friends (get the picture). He had some family issues with his sister and his mother (his father died) and some other family members, so they did not come. Which is unfortunate. So out of a wedding of about 200 people, only five people were his “people.” So, what a 3% ratio. But this is an extreme situation. So in this case, he really was a stranger at his own wedding.

  2. I hope you have that coordinator a stern talking-to. That’s completely unfair and unprofessional. Her job is to give the couple the wedding they want, not to belittle groom.

    I get that you have to be respectful of the wishes of in-laws if they are contributing financially and that that can be a tricky balancing act sometimes. But it’s your wedding too, and you deserve to have your voice heard!

  3. Yay – Ryan made the main blog! You know when you posted about this in the Tribe section of OBB that it really resonated with a lot of us, and we quickly jumped to your defense! SO, so good that you communicated openly with your future wife and that you’re on the same page!

    • I came here to say exactly this! Dang it, clevelandkat, you are too quick. -shakes fist-

      It’s awesome having a few men on the Tribe. I wish more would join the party. 🙂

    • You were all awesome and offered some really great suggestions and support !!!
      Thank you so much from me and my beautiful bride-to-be !!!!

  4. In the spirit of ‘start as you mean to continue’ I simply told my FMI that I will welcome all family guests that I’ve met. That this is my FH and my day (and we are self financed) and the people around us helping celebrate our marriage are going to be close friends and family. We are keeping it small, around 60 guests, and most will be my FH’s family. That’s fine, but as I say, I insist that I will have met them at least once before the day. So I’ve enlisted my FMI to host the engagement party, and in particular, invite those family members that I’ve not yet met. We are friends with the folks catering and the photographer, the ladies will be doing their own hair and make-up, the dj is a friend, etc. No one attending will be a stranger, but maybe a newly met friend or family member. And honestly, in order to have the wedding we want to have, I have no problem being the bad guy. I don’t know you, you’re not coming. Easypeasy…

    • This is a great idea and I think a lot of this is my anxiety about all these strangers that are apparently “invited” to the wedding. When you don’t know more people than you do know at your wedding there is a serious problem…

      Some of the stories I’m hearing about some of these characters doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy about them being there either.
      I realize that it was a long time ago, but people tend to regress when they get with buddies that they haven’t seen in a long time, especially when there is a group of them.

      Thanks for the input !!

  5. Oh man I support you all the way. Loads of my friends have also just got engaged and when they ask me for planning tips my first command is ‘Sit down with him and say ‘you have an opinion, I want to hear it, even if your opinion is I don’t care, I want to hear it. You matter in this wedding so keep talking to me.’

    I’ve been trying so hard to involve not just my groom but his parents. I’ve even instated a ‘no one who hasn’t met the groom’ rule on my family invites as we’re got much the same issue as you (to give you an idea 2/3 of the guests are mine, and he’s okay with that but asked that he not have to be introduced to any more of my gargantuan family on his wedding day) And seriously, *** that co-ordinator. Anyone else ‘doesn’t get a vote’ as far as I’m concerned.

  6. Go Ryan, hopefully your experience will encourage other grooms to speak up. There’s not many other posts like this one on the Internet.

  7. I love this post and will forward it to my FH. He’s been mostly backburner by choice but when he takes initiative over something, I have been careful to encourage him and shut those up who don’t seem to think he matters.

    A groom is not a wedding accessory. He’s pretty damn important! While I don’t know anyone who would dispute the “it’s really the bride’s day” notion because, even for us, I’ve been the ideas lady for most of it, I don’t think that means it still isn’t “our” day.

    I may bring up the “we need to do this sort of thing” because he doesn’t understand much about weddings or etiquette but if he’s offered suggestions, I’ve tried to take them into account and help prioritize things. We didn’t hire vendors who didn’t listen to him. Our coordinator realized he was very in charge of food and drink (including our linens) and I was impressed with how well she did at not making it a “joke” or a “cute moment”. It just was the way it was. I appreciated that.

  8. This is exactly how my damn wedding was. I cut my side to 15, my now husband didn’t invite friends because we were trying to keep it so small. His mother invited enough that our small celebration turned into last minute stocking up alcohol, scrambling food, just… not fun. Then, the people who could make it from my side, was more like 7… and i spent my wedding essentially alone because my sisters were cleaning up after the drunk mob who lit one person on fire, and 3 tables. My fluff and i cured this grump with a weekend away, and a month of breathing space from my mil so we wouldn’t say anything we regret…

  9. As a bride I’m really feeling how much society and culture seems to think this is a BRIDE’S day with the groom on the side. I also think my fiance doesn’t see this and is really frustrated. From people asking both him and I if we’re getting married in my home town, to even this website which is offbeat BRIDE not offbeat couple, to asking for suggestions on working with my fiance which tend to involve managing him as if I am slightly more in charge of this than he is (I wish I was!!! Unfortunately he doesn’t see it the way the rest of the world does and sees himself as an equal, shockingly, in his wedding) it is very frustrating.

    Frankly it’s just as frustrating as all the assumptions about the rest of our lives (“am I taking his name?” no “is he taking my name…”, etc)! We’re finding it a really frustrating thing to try to explain that actually this is both of our weddings and in fact I think HE is much more tied to the idea of the wedding than I am!

    I’ve gone through my life rebelling against the notion that all women should get married and am sort of frustrated that now I am getting married, whereas he seems to have lived his life sort of neutrally therefore he has way less emotion wrapped up in fighting against the institution of marriage than I do.

  10. I would have fired the coordinator on the spot. Who the fuck does she think she is? I mean, really, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    That said, I am equally frustrated by the emphasis on “the Bride’s day”. I desperately wanted to elope, and the only reason why we’re having a wedding is because my FH wanted to be the center of attention for a day (he’s the youngest child, what can I say?) and be surrounded by family. The only reason why I appear to have done more planning is that I have DIY abilities and he is all thumbs. Plus I am trying to manage my anxiety about the wedding, and as a result many of our decisions have been based on my needs.

    I sort of blew up at my FMIL on the subject (in the midst of a “discussion” about my anxiety about various aspects of the wedding / planning) because I was just so sick of hearing that it was my Special Day (TM) when in reality I don’t want any of it. It’s a large part of the reason why I excluded my FILs from the planning process (that, and they’re kind of awful). If I had to hear any more bride-centric rhetoric I was going to lose my mind. And once I finally got it through to my FMIL, her input actually became useful instead of assumptions recycled from her daughters’ bride-centric weddings.

    • My thoughts exactly the same about rude wedding coordinator. Since my new husband is also named Ryan, I am appalled and defensive for you grooms.

      Talk to your fiance. Keep breathing.

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