Grooms and the wedding industrial complex

Guest post by kendallgiraffe
Photo by Wild About You Photography.
Photo by Wild About You Photography.

My partner, Alex, and I took a day off from work to attend to some wedding-related appointments. First, we went to the event rental place to look at linens, extra chairs, silverware, etc. When we got there, the “Wedding Specialist” introduced herself to me and shook my hand. She then turned around and started walking us back to the conference room without even acknowledging Alex. During the consultation, she addressed all the questions to me, without asking Alex his opinion on anything. After she asked a question, I would turn to Alex and ask his opinion (partially because he's better at things like color and design than I am, but mostly because IT'S HIS WEDDING TOO AND I WANT HIM TO FEEL INCLUDED). He'd give his opinion and she'd just stare at me like he hadn't said anything at all.

It was weird but we got through it, only to encounter it again!

He felt like everyone was judging him and he was afraid to give his opinions because he thought the sales associates would think he was trying to take away “my special day.”

Next, we went to David's Bridal to look at a few dresses. When we walked in the sales associate that was assigned to us introduced herself to me (while squealing and smiling) and completely ignored Alex. She didn't even introduce herself. After I tried on the dresses, I (with Alex's help of course) decided on one and bought it. We left without the sales lady even saying a word to Alex the whole time. She did however congratulate me numerous times and thanked me profusely.

Now I know why men often don't want to be included in wedding related appointments. It's not because they're not interested, it's because they know that when they go they'll be ignored and treated like crap. This makes me so sad!

Alex and I talked about the events of the day that night and he told me how uncomfortable and offended he was. He said that he felt like everyone was judging him and he was afraid to give his opinions because he thought the sales associates would think he was trying to take away “my special day” and control me. It's just not fair that even when he tries to be a part of these decisions, he's basically told that this wedding has nothing to do with him. It seems the wedding industrial complex just wants him to shut his mouth and open his wallet.

In hindsight, I should have introduced him to the sales associates and forced them to acknowledge him, but I think I felt too shocked to do anything. I still feel really guilty about that.

But more-so, it hurts my heart that he's being excluded from this very important event in his life. The wedding industrial complex should be ashamed.

Who's got suggestions for ways to talk to vendors who may not acknowledge both partners' roles in wedding planning?

Comments on Grooms and the wedding industrial complex

  1. I haven’t run into this YET but mostly because I’ve done all emails and what not so far.. not looking forward to the appointments to come if it will be like this.

    I think it’s this way for more than wedding’s though, My love and I went to buy a couch.. the sales lady excluded him from everything and even repeatedly joked with me that “he’s just a guy” and that “his opinion doesn’t really matter does it”… With that we got up and left and made a formal complaint to her manager.

    I think I’ll treat the wedding industry the same. If you can’t include my love.. I can’t find a way to include you in OUR big day. They won’t be getting my money.

    Also I do give them a heads up before hand via email etc that I’m bringing my love and that we’re in this together and his opinion matters just as much as mine.. If after that they STILL exclude him.. We’ll go elsewhere.

  2. I don’t have advice, but sadly it’s something that doesn’t just stop with engagements. I’ve always been shocked by the number of people who completely ignore my son’s father or my fiance when we’re at appointments for my son. Dr’s in particular are the worse. We’ve finally got my son’s pediatrician talking to both of them, but for a good long while they would barely even acknowledge the men in the room!

    • This is so true. When my husband & I just created a Babies R Us registry, I became so frustrated that I was automatically handed the registry form when my husband was the one who approached the counter.

    • People always seemed genuinely shocked that my boyfriend and I complete each other’s thoughts during conversations about our children. They don’t know how to react when we are both tuned in to how the kids are but guess what? We are both parents and that’s what we do.

  3. I noticed this when my future husband and I went to a bridal showcase together. After it happened the first time, I waited until they addressed the question to me and then turned to him and let him answer. Most of them understood to talk to both of us after that, and those who didn’t weren’t people that we wanted to work with. It was very important to me to present a united front, especially because, like you said, it’s his wedding too.

    • When we were in contact with vendors, we signed our emails from both of us (and it truly was our joint wedding account). If they couldn’t be bothered to respond to BOTH of us, then their stock went WAAAY down.

    • I think I’ve used this method subconsciously in the few situations I’ve needed too. I’m on the shy side so he usually does most of the talking when we meet new vendors.

  4. Unfortunately it’s not just the wedding industry that acts like grooms are unimportant to weddings. My husband was very depressed, because he kept hearing things like the phrase “It’s all about the bride” coming from everywhere–media, vendors, friends, family, you name it…I made it a point to tell vendors from the beginning that we worked as a team.

    I made it a point to ask my husband’s opinion for every aspect of the wedding unless there was something he felt more strongly about than I did (or vice versa). For example, he tackled choosing the cake by himself. I wasn’t really interested in the design and having a certain kind of cake meant a lot to him. He picked out what his groomsmen would wear, & I chose my bridesmaid’s dresses around his men’s outfits. When someone had a problem with my husband having say-so over something I gently reminded them that he was half of the wedding. There wouldn’t be a wedding without him.

    Allowing your husband-to-be the option to get creative on his own is a great recipe to get over some of the “I’m not the bride, so I don’t matter” funk that guys can easily get into. I also made him his own binder for wedding information labeled “Here Comes the Groom”, & I made him a mug that reads “It’s All about the Groom” with photos of him in his wedding gear once everything was said & done.

  5. Based on what I hear from my fiance – the Wedding Industrial Complex may have picked this up because BRIDES themselves have co-opted the day to make it “all about them” and leave the groom out of it. My fiance said that for his first wedding, he was completely shut out of the planning process and told by his fiance and her family that it was a “girl thing” to plan and he just needed to show up and that was all. No input required on his part. Perhaps if more and more brides at large include the fiance’s eventually vendors will start to get the hint. Maybe. We can hope.

    • “Based on what I hear from my fiance – the Wedding Industrial Complex may have picked this up because BRIDES themselves have co-opted the day to make it “all about them” and leave the groom out of it.”

      Yeah, that’s what the Wedding Industrial Complex has been pushing for, but you’re blaming the wrong party. The brides are being marketed to do that in the first place by the WIC.

  6. I know this isn’t always possible, but, the most influential thing you could do is spend your money elsewhere.

    • That is exactly my advice as well. If my partner and I talked to anyone who didn’t acknowledge us both equally or made any “How on earth did SHE drag YOU here?! Teehee!”-type comments after we were both clearly invested in the conversation, we just immediately looked elsewhere. Respectful vendors definitely exist! 🙂

    • Exactly, and it doesn’t just go for weddings. How long have women been ignored while buying cars, houses, electronics, etc? Even at restaurants I get visibly pissed when I ask for the check and they hand it to my boyfriend. It’s all about making it clear that you’re in this together (or you’re the one treating him to dinner this time), and if they don’t get that, leave.

      • I’m going off on a tangent here but with electronics I sometimes feel like you don’t even need someone else there to get the brush off.

        Like the time I went looking for a new USB stick. I kept asking what sizes they came in and this guy kept telling me they had 1GB ones in 5 different colours that could be used as keyrings or pendants. How silly of me, I’m female, of course I want a cute little novelty toy instead of something functional.

        Luckily the second shop I went into was very helpful.

        • I had a car salesman point out to me how “twinkly and pretty” the headlights were. I shit you not.

          • I had a car salesman suggest that I have my boyfriend drive to the toyota dealer in Savannah, GA (I was in MN – starting the hunt for a new car on my own) to tell me if he fit and was comfortable in a specific model so that I could buy it that day. Needless to say, I told the guy “No, I’m just starting, and he’ll sit in the cars that I like and we’ll buy one when he’s back.” Left toyota (don’t think I’ll ever like their brand b/c of this guy), ended up buying a different car from a female salesman who was patient and understood life had to get sorted out before I bought.

      • We had the same when getting quotes for our new drive. The builders who blatantly ignored me were not called again. Especially infuriating as I was the one making all the decisions on this project! The builder we chose addressed us bother equally and even shook my hand. He was a top bloke 🙂 My fella has the whole “the day is all about you, I’m just there to make up nunbers” mentality so he’s pretty much letting me sort everything. But I always run everything by him first and he often had great ideas. I don’t understand why it should just be focused on just women. It can drive a big divide between two people who are promising themselves to one another. How crazy is that?

  7. Wow, I thought the akwardness was because my “Groom” was a girl. Guess I was wrong

  8. ugh this is so awful, you aren’t marrying yourself!
    – in initial contact, include names and email/ phone numbers for both.
    – include in all email discussions.
    – discover your priorities, your partner’s priorities and your priorities as a couple. focusing on individual priorities will help bring them in.
    – have a game plan before meeting with vendors, so you can operate in a joined way.
    – don’t work with people who don’t acknowledge your future spouse.
    – introduce all parties and speak up for them, and let them speak for themselves.
    – there are inclusive resources and groom-only resources out there, find those and ignore the rest!

  9. We encountered this in the beginning; my husband had just as much input in our wedding as I did. We planned our wedding from two states away, so almost every vendor was contacted by phone and e-mail first, and I made it a special point to quite literally say “My fiance is just as, if not, more informed about our wedding than I am.” and even if I hadn’t said that, my husband is very friendly and talkative, and people tend to gravitate towards him anyway, since I am not friendly and rather caustic. Because we represented a united front when speaking to vendors, they addressed us as a unit. Anyone looking at just me would be verbally corrected IMMEDIATELY. There are so many ways to become upset or frustrated when planning a wedding, I advise controlling the ones you can as soon as they happen. Have confidence! There is no “right way” especially with offbeat brides (and grooms!)

  10. Construct a contraption that starts with a walking stick, and put honker horns, bells, and flashing lights on it. Give it to your dude, and whenever you’re in a situation where he’s being ignored, he should turn on the flashing lights, honk the horns, and shake it around so the bells jingle while shouting “I’M THE MOTHERFUCKING GROOM, BITCHES!! OW-OWWW! THE GROOOOOOOOM! YEAH!” Some wide-eyed stomping, bizarre dancing, and accompanying ululations will ensure you’ll never be forgotten.

    Well, no.

    I mean, that would be awesome, but realistically speaking, I’ve found it helpful to kind of sit back and let The Boy answer. I’ve also always referred to him genderlessly as “my partner,” and I would bet money that several vendors were expecting two ladies. When he shows up, I’ve taken advantage of their surprise. I always introduce him (although venders haven’t been such raging idiots with us), and – most importantly – he always takes an active role in the conversations. He’s not the kind of guy who only speaks when spoken to. Get your dudes to voice an opinion. Jump in. Make it so they can’t ignore him.

    And if all else fails, see the first paragraph. If you do that, you’re pretty much required to take pictures and let us know how it goes.

    • I’ve decided to take a cue from an episode from season 7 of Bridezillas (yay, Netflix!), where when I’m getting ignored I’ll state, “She may be the bride, but I’m the diva, bitches!”

      I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. Emphasis on “yet”.

      Thanks to your post, I’m inspired to make myself a scrolling LED belt buckle that says “I’M THE MOTHERFUCKING GROOM!”

    • *dying* Had to share this with my partner who I’m sure will experience this when we start to plan. I just got to experience it when we walked into the car dealership this weekend.

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