Getting your offbeat groom involved

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My darling fiance and I are going to be building our wedding from the ground up, and as a fellow obsessive planner, I'm enthralled to inject our personalities into every aspect of the ceremony. The only problem is this: I can't get him to offer much input, as his response tends to be “It's your day, and as long as we're married at the end, you can do whatever you want.” That's sweet, I guess, but it's not MY day, it's OUR DAY! How can I get him involved in the planning without making him feel forced or out of his element? -Jess

This is an awesome opportunity for the two of you to sit down and reconstruct the whole “This is the bride's special daaaaaay, and the groom is just an accessory” bullshit. Your marriage is about the two of you, and your wedding should be about the two of you, too. Many men are raised to believe that weddings simply are a woman's place — that they owe it to their fiances and everyone else to just sit quietly and nod. That they have no right to have opinions.

That's bullshit: you're setting up dynamics for your marriage with your wedding, and each partner needs to ask themselves “Do I want quietly nodding to be the dynamic of this relationship?”

Then again, you can't make your fiance care about certain aspects of the wedding that may not interest him…
Groomsmen w/ faux SwordsThis is actually something I cover in my book. I think the key is this: rather than dividing responsibilities laterally (ie, “We both make all decisions … why doesn't he care about all of them?”), divide them vertically (ie, “We each make the decisions about the things we care about”).

Check in with your fiance: what aspects of the wedding matter to him? The music? Puppets? Does he really want to include a sword in the ceremony? Have him pick out the corners of the wedding that he has opinions on — and be ready to be surprised when all of a sudden you learn he has strong opinions about unexpected things.

Then, rather than roping him into parts that don't interest him (“Come on: which flowers do you like better? The peonies or the hydrangeas? Can't you tell the difference?! FUCKING HELL WHICH ONES DO YOU LIKE BETTER!?”) just let him be completely in charge of the things that matter to him. He wants to integrate your dog in the ceremony? Awesome! He wants to hand-make the chuppah from rebar? Awesome!

I interviewed several grooms for the book who were happy to manage their corners of the wedding, especially since it meant they could skip discussions about the stuff they simply didn't care about.

Comments on Getting your offbeat groom involved

  1. Of course, once he allows himself to have an opinion on one thing, he might find out he has an opinion on a whole lot! I had planned to just do all the stuff I didn’t think my husband would care about, like centerpieces and invites and other decorations, but it ended up being very much a team effort (well, design-wise, not construction-wise. *ahem*). By that time he had already picked out the food and the cake and cupcakes with minimal input from me and, you know, didn’t keel over and die.
    Man. We spend so much time on OBT bitching about how other people try to inject their opinions into our day and there are so many guys who think they shouldn’t have their own at their own wedding. I can’t imagine how boring a wedding day would be for me if my partner planned the entire thing.

  2. My husband and I did everything together except choosing my dress. That was hard for me – I really wanted to show him, but I also wanted him to have a surprise when I walked down the aisle. He made the first mock centrepiece (i suck at arranging flower), we both designed our chocolate bar golden-ticket invitations, we created the candy buffet together – heck we even did arts and crafts together (we spent HOURS making topiary candy trees.) I couldn’t have imagined it any other way and neither could he! We do everything together anyway, so planning a wedding was no different. And he did surprise me with something on the wedding day too – he plucked his monobrow! ha!

  3. What if your FH is just the opposite and overly involved to the point where you can’t even bounce ideas off him without him knocking it down? I love him dearly but sometimes I wish he would just elope me.

  4. No, my boy pretends to smile and nod and not pay attention with a glazed over look about everything, until I set down and talk about it in depth… then he gets heated about if I should have henna (he says no), who will do the readings (natasha will or she won’t be in the wedding), my dress, his tux, the invitations (which I got in on a football day so no arguements), and everything.

    He’s a groomzilla. I mean it.. he’s like whoa. His best man even took a man card from him because he is such a grumpy groom. And it’s not that he doesn’t want to have the wedding or hates it… it’s just who he is. On the up note though, he did buy out one store on all the gold ornaments they had because he thought we needed them.

  5. I try try and TRY to get my fiance involved – the only time he gets excited is when he realizes that other guys are envious of the fact that I’m not puking up pink flowers all over our reception. Then he gets VERY excited and starts showing off with how much I think of him and what he wants for the wedding – haha. Men = children? Perhaps when trying to one-up each other. But really, that’s the only input I get – man-pride.

  6. My husband was the same way. He would even say ‘I don’t want to have wedding – I just want to be married’. So, yes I did do a lot of stuff by myself but most of the time he would give his honest opinion on something I would throw out.

  7. I’m not getting married (at least, no time soon), but most guys I’ve dated and been friends with tend to care about two things – food and music. If the food is good, and the music is good, they couldn’t care less about the rest. Maybe getting their input on those things will help them get interested in other things? Just an idea….

  8. When we got engaged, I told my fiance that he could be undecided about spots (see if you can spot the Coupling reference) about lots of things, but he had to have opinions on the important stuff. I didn’t want to hear that he didn’t care where we got married, or when, or make me pick out the rings we’d be wearing for the rest of our lives.
    As a result he doesn’t really care what the flowers look like, and he wants nothing to do with the invitations or the cake. But he’s picked out his own ring, and we’ve had plenty of discussions about place, time, who, etc. etc.

  9. Yeah, FH is in charge of food and music (with my input, especially on the latter), and he agreed that he’s not going to dig his heels in resistance to things that I really want because I’m doing way more work than he is. But we’re still getting each other’s input and taking it seriously if someone really wants/doesn’t want something. It seems to be working.

  10. When we started talking about getting married, my FH basically told me that he wouldn’t do a wedding if it was only going to be “my day” and I was going to get really self-centered. From the start, we’ve emphasized how important it is that we set the precedent for our marriage with our wedding. So we split up who was in charge of what, with each getting editorial power before decision are finalized. He does music and invites. I do decorations and scheduling. We do food together because we both are enthusiastic. And he’s the one who came up with the framework for our wedding that has helped make every decision. “We want it to feel like a basement show. We’re not on display and all of our guests are as important as we are to making it memorable.”

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