Musings from an offbeat groom: I DON’T want to be on the sidelines, bored, or pitied

Guest post by Caleb
Groom Bot

I know what my role in this is supposed to be. I'm supposed to stand around looking bored while she fawns over centerpieces. I'm supposed to hold her purse and trade sympathetic looks with the other grooms while we wait for our brides to pick out bridesmaid dresses. I'm supposed to wish I was at home, drinking a beer and watching football, while she drags me from one venue to another until something feels right.

Because this day is all about her. Her one chance to be a princess, the moment she has been planning since she was in diapers.

That's the great thing about marrying an offbeat bride. I get to be an offbeat groom. The wedding industrial complex offers a boxed wedding with all the fixings — the dress, the cake, the rings, the walk down the aisle, the bouquet toss, the tantrums, the tears, and, oh yes, the miserable groom. By shaking off all of that, by saying “screw it” to everything we don't like, we free ourselves from the roles assigned to us. And we get to invent our own roles. Mine has become offbeat groom, wedding planner extraordinaire.

Turns out I like thinking about readings for our ceremony. I like designing invitations. I like scouring Etsy for the perfect name cards. I like tasting food — she's with me on this one — and creating a menu. I like sewing her wedding dress by hand. Turns out I like my fiancée quite a bit.

Too many of the brides who want their day to be THEIR day, and are invested in the fairytale vision, have bought into the idea that this is the pinnacle of their achievements. Getting married is the best your parents can hope for you, so they're going to shell out to make it perfect. Of course, I say this with my tongue in my cheek because I know many women who want the poofy white dress AND the business suit/doctor's coat/firefighter's uniform.

However, I can't help but get a bad taste in my mouth when Sarah gets asked “How did he propose?” “What's your dress look like?” “Can I see the ring?” And the expectation is her utmost excitement. Not to mention the awkward faces when there's no proposal story, her dress is olive green, and the engagement ring is her silver wedding band. The message: We haven't fallen in line. We have committed the mortal sin of refusing to let The Wedding Industry profit off our celebration of commitment.

I think how we plan our wedding says a lot about our future together. And I don't want to be on the sidelines. … I want to enjoy this time with my fiancée…

We might not be getting married in a Medieval castle, or having a potluck, or exchanging vows underwater (that's awesome if you are!), but my bride is offbeat by not being “a bride.” She's a Ph.D. student who will be in class the day before our wedding and back two days after. She knows that this won't be the happiest day of her life. There will be many happier days ahead of us: adopting children, landing a tenure track job, receiving tenure, eating pancakes in our pajamas on a Sunday morning.

I think how we plan our wedding says a lot about our future together. And I DON'T want to be on the sidelines. I don't want to be bored. I don't want to be pitied. I don't want to wish for beer and football. I want to enjoy this time with my fiancée, and later my wife. I don't want everything to be about HER, or even about US. Our day has involved many compromises to ensure that everyone there is having a good time, and I hope that's how our life goes as well. Surrounded by family and friends, loving one another for who we are, working through things when we disagree, it won't matter if the centerpieces are perfect.

Even though they will be … I've got that one covered.

Comments on Musings from an offbeat groom: I DON’T want to be on the sidelines, bored, or pitied

  1. Fabulous post! Thank you for sharing! I couldn’t belive the first Bridal Festival my finace and I went to. There were almost no other men to be seen! A lot of the vendors could not stop commenting on how “great it was” for him to “be there” and to “help out.”

    WTH?!? He is just as much a part of the big extravaganza we are planning as I am. We want this to be just as much of his big dream day as it is mine. Glad we are not alone. 🙂

    • A lot of bridal shop employees kept commenting on how strange it was that my fiancé was there with me. “He shouldn’t see the dress! It’s bad luck!” Um – I know he’s going to think I’m beautiful if I come to the wedding in a sack, but I still want his input, and he’ll be splitting the costs with me, so STFU 😀

      • I got the same reaction when my fiance went with me to get a dress. They were even appalled when he was the one who choose my dress. It was quite entertaining really.

  2. Yay for offbeat grooms!

    I really don’t know what I’d do if my guy wasn’t sharing the planning. I knew almost nothing about weddings coming into this whereas he had a lot of very definate ideas about what he did and didn’t want, and a lot more experience of all the different things that need planning.

    The one thing that does drive me mad though is that no matter how many times I tell people how much he’s doing I still get all the credit (and the blame) for our ideas!

    • Yea, i get the same thing. I’ve had to explain that we work together in our relationship. It drives me insane knowing that people still refer to it as “my day”. I wouldn’t be having a day if he wasn’t there.

  3. This is an awesome post! I’m glad my Fiancé is not the only one that wants to do these things. He’s proactive in this small wedding that we’re throwing. He forced me to find a dress! He even came with me. He got alot of dirty looks from other women in the shop. We didn’t care though. It sounded like we had the most fun in there.

  4. From one OffBeat Groom to another, you are dead on. I couldn’t agree more. My fiancée and I have been planning everything together for some time, and it drives me wild when we go to a wedding show or speak with vendors and I am basically ignored.

    It’s not ‘amazing she convinced me to come’ or ‘dragged me along’, I have free will, I did decide to pull myself from the sofa and spend a day planning our celebration with the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with.

    Always great to see what another OBG thinks, and is going through. All the best to you and your fiancée!

    • One of our requirements for vendors was that they spoke to us both equally. If they ignored him they were off the list.

      Luckily we didn’t have many bad experiences, although one woman did insist on addressing all her replies to me, even when he had asked the question!

  5. Caleb, I think you’re awesome and a terrific writer to boot – your last line made me laugh out loud 🙂

    Double yays for Offbeat Grooms because they deserve the recognition!

    Peace to all.

  6. I love this! When the planning began for our “dreaded wedding,” it was me going down a path that was super white, boring, and oh so alone. I realized that this was all wrong. We both know that the wedding is not the most important day, but if he had to have a wedding day we might as well enjoy it together by planning it to our silly tastes. Since the moment he’s come aboard, it’s been enjoyable and full of laughs. Mostly from us seeing our relatives faces scrunch up in confusion and terror. Congrats to you and your fiancée!

  7. We had a “traditional” wedding in the sense that I wore a white dress and him a tux and that we exchanged some-what traditional vows. However, the fact that our African themed wedding was not executed by myself only, seemed to be baffling to our family and friends. He picked the centerpieces (African masks) and the playlist. He had a strong opinion on the invites and the ceremony readings. He loved being involved as it was just as much HIS day as MY day. The only thing we didn’t discuss, was my “look” as he didn’t want to know, and the bridesmaid dresses as well as the flowers as he admitted those items were more in my realm of expertise. I got tired of hearing how it was MY day and how husbands to be are constantly assumed to be idiots or incapable of helping plan a very important day. Ugh.
    Oh. And the fact that we didn’t have vases filled with water on a mirrored base for centerpieces and an “untraditional” reception was also an issue for our extended families.

  8. Here’s to the Offbeat Grooms! We’re so happy you’re in the thick of the wedding planning with us!

  9. great post!
    my son is the groom-to-be and is doing most of the planning for the wedding – it just works better for them.
    I have never understood why men are viewed as incompetent in these matters. we all have our varied strengths, interests and opinions to contribute. it’s a day for BOTH partners. if there was no partner, there would be no wedding.

    • Three cheers for Offbeat Moms and soon-to-be Moms-in-Law! Us Offbeat Partners wouldn’t be the same without them.

  10. mmmm tenure and pancakes sounds awesome to me!
    Love hearing from an Offbeat Groom. If we didn’t love our Offbeat Grooms we wouldn’t be Brides at all!

Read more comments

Comments are closed.