Helping Him Help You

by editor
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Unless you and your groom both really want it that way, there’s no reason you should have to plan everything on your own. The wedding is about both of you, right? Here are few tips to help get your guy more involved.

Have a seat.
Sit down together and go through all the wedding tasks. Both of you should be absolutely frank about which things you’re interested in, which things you wouldn’t mind doing, and which sound like pure hell. Just looking at the workload will help you divide things fairly, and with luck you’ll be able to come up with a plan in which neither of you spends much time in the pure hell category.

Your session may even turn into a surprise money saver. If neither of you can stand the idea of looking planning an after-party, maybe you don't have to have one.

Recognize that he may not feel welcome.
If you felt bewildered when you started planning your wedding, that probably goes double for him. There are still very few guides for grooms. Mostly what they hear is that they should just show up in a tux and agree with everything you and your mom say.

He may not even know where to start looking for information. The wedding industry – vendors, magazines, and even this website – are all pretty bride-focused. Even the wedding reference section of most bookstores gets pretty pink and lacy. Almost no sources of information are aimed at the groom.

Even if he dives right into the candy-pink books and starts making phone calls, he may feel devalued. Some vendors are so used to dealing with brides that they brush off grooms as though they’re completely irrelevant and have no say in the process. If your guy feels shut out at every turn, it’s no wonder he may be stepping back from the planning.

So help him out where you can. Grab a few non-pink sources of information that he won’t feel uncomfortable paging through on the commuter train, and present a united front when dealing with vendors. Get just as frosty with a florist who talks down to your groom as you’d expect your guy to get with a mechanic who condescends to you.

Most important, make sure your fiancé knows that you welcome him into the planning process. It’s not just a chore that he has to share – this wedding is about both of you, so you want it to be a blending of ideas from both of you. And that blending can be the most creative, fun part of the planning process. Especially the moment when you realize that all it takes to unite your Renaissance wedding and his Klingon reception is a time-machine cake.

Be honest with yourself about what you can let go.
If you’ve known exactly what you want your wedding to look like since you were six, it may be time to resign yourself to planning the whole shebang yourself. Because once he’s agreed to take care of the flowers, you really do have to let him take care of the flowers, even if he doesn’t choose the perfect flowers of your six-year-old dreams. No sighing, no nudging, and no kibitzing unless he specifically asks you for input. Maybe this won’t be a problem for you at all, but it may be a bigger problem than you expect. Here’s a quick self-test: Have you ever returned a gift of clothing, perfume, or jewelry he’s given you for something you liked better? If the answer is yes, there’s no shame in that, but it does mean that the two of you have different tastes (so far) and you have some firm opinions about yours. Do some hard thinking about which parts of your wedding really do have to be just the way you want them and which ones you can bend on.

Enjoy the birth of Team You.
You know those long-married couples who like the same weird things so much that it’s creepy? You could strip them of all communication devices and release them in malls on opposite sides of the country and they would still both come back with flamingo lamps and the square glassware Deckard has in Blade Runner? Welcome to your future. Eventually, your taste and his taste will blend into one perfectly meshed you-and-him taste, and this is one of the points where that starts. So in the middle of all the planning craziness – which both you and he are champs for diving into – take little moments to enjoy figuring out where your tastes intersect.

And don’t forget the joy of discovering what you both can’t stand and making fun of it later. Just one meeting with an all-sousaphone wedding band can keep you both laughing through countless dinners to come. And staying polite through meetings with vendors who are really into pink bunnies or lederhosen can help you develop valuable “we will be mocking this later” hand and knee signals that will serve you for years to come.