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. I hope that’s how our planning will go. I know my fiance cares about a lot of “girly”-er stuff so I think he will have strong opinions. Thanks for the tips though of splitting up decisions. That means less for me to worry about too!

  2. At first we did this sort of ‘i take care of this and u take care of that without actually going over it’. we really weren’t getting anywhere. felt like we both weren’t on the same page if ya know what I mean. So… we got a huge pice of paper and brainstormed ideas, thing we had to do, wanted to do, and needed to do. the one rule was that we couldnt comment on any of the other’s opinions or ideas and we pretended that this was very first beginning of planning.
    That way we both got heard and found that we had similar ideas about things but because we never sought the others ‘defnition’ of aspects we kept butting heads. for example while i wanted chairs at the ceremony but he kept saying but not too much, and i felt like he wasn’t hearing me … but in the end when we gave each a number it was the same bloody number!!!
    So we had all these ideas down and chose which ones we really wanted to do and then split up the not so fun ones. Agreed to let the other be autonomous in their ‘projects’ unless they ask for help/advice.
    I hope that helps…
    my mum laughs at our planning, she thinks fh has way too much say in all this… (I think she thought that she would be doing alot of what fh is doing so i am making sure she is involved in my side of things.)

  3. Cantankerous Drummer Husband said ‘as long as I turn up on the right day with a ring and a piece of paper and my Cannibal Corse shirt, I don’t really care what we do.” But it was a lie. A LIE!

    We did exactly what Ariel said, I think. We’re both really creative, and we always figure if we have to do anything in life it had better be fun. So boy howdy did we have fun planning the wedding.

    He designed the wedding rings and had them made as a surprise to me. He walked past the cake shop and saw the cupcake tower in the window and said ‘we’re having one of them!’ He decided on the invitations – medieval scrolls sealed with wax. He decided what he wanted to wear. He chose his sword. He planned the honeymoon as another surprise. We chose the venue, the music, the photographer together. The way we tend to work is he decides something and I make it happen – the perfect wedding planning team.

    In the end it was totally us. You couldn’t look at our wedding and say ‘oh, CDH did it all’ or ‘Oh, Steff did it all’. It was ‘omigod, that’s so THEM’.

    I think I got really lucky.

  4. We’re getting married this coming October.

    I have indeed been very surprised about his opinions, once I finally coaxed him into admitting he has any. HE is the one who strongly wants me in a white dress (I was thinking sapphire blue) and who is absolutely insistent on a more traditional cake. I’m a bit irked that it’s such a huge damn deal to him what *I’M* wearing — he’s not the one who has to stomach the seven hells of gown shopping — but we’re making a strong effort to communicate WHY each of us feels a certain way about something and coming to agreements and compromises where we have differing opinions.

    I am still annoyed that he doesn’t believe a non-white dress is “weddingy” enough. Even after me showing off bride profiles from this site. *sigh*

  5. I’ve been surprised at how strong his opinions are about things I never even thought he would care about.(Clothing!!?? This is someone who just gets up and throws on whatever is on the floor next to his side of the bed!)
    But he has some very firm ideas and they clearly mean a lot to me. For example, he won’t look at my dress until the wedding day, though I have tried a few times to show it to him. Furthermore, I am not allowed to see what he is wearing ’til the big day. He won’t even tell me what color it is or anything…

    It’s working well, and when I ask for help on something important that I can’t do alone, he has really come through. Especially in the “getting addresses form our slack friends so we can send invitations” department.

    Since I can be a bit of a micro-managing control freak I’ve had to back off and let him share his ideas. He has some really good ones when I chill out and take the time to hear them.

    He pointed out that I ask for his opinion and then shoot it down (which was true)-so I have made a huge effort to really listen to what he is saying and take his ideas seriously.
    And, funny as it is, some of the stuff that I had the strongest negative reaction to intitially is stuff that in the end we are going with-and they’re his ideas.
    So that’s really cool.

    It also helps that since I am doing more than he is around some big areas he takes the time, several times a week, to hug me and say “Thank you for doing so much hard work on the wedding.”
    I know he means it. And it’s awesome feeling appreciated:-)

  6. The problem with this completely logical advice is that it means that he gets to work on only the things he cares about, where I have to work on both the things I care about (the trampoline) and the things I could care less about (placecards.) I haven’t come up with a fair way to divide that stuff.

  7. Keylimegirl…I have to agree. Even though I wrote #10 – once I read your comment, I’m realizing that he actually hasn’t once offered to call tent vendors! Or get pricing on flatware rentals. Hmmm…Maybe we just need to say something about how it’s not equitable. No point in suffering in silence.

  8. but at the same time, if he cares about X and she cares about Y who is responsible for Z? (if Z is “necessary” anyway, ie, finding an officiant). often the Z falls to the bride, which isn’t really fair either.

  9. I have the opposite problem! My other half has got bored with me talking about
    it and, since we don’t even have a house let alone money to get married, he’s requested that I stop bloody talking about it. Even though it was his idea to get married in the first place.
    Git.
    Still, he’ll change his tune when he realises his opinion has now become pretty much irrelevant! Bmwhahaha!

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