She said YES! …now what?

So, you’ve found the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, [even better, she feels the same about you] and somewhere on the horizon, there’s going to be a wedding. While the bride-to-be is busy gathering a notebook [or shoebox] full of ideas, pages torn from magazines, samples, and scraps, the groom may feel totally out of his depth, or even wonder whether there’s any room for him in the wedding planning scenario. If you listen to the old wives talk about the bloke’s role in the wedding planning, you’d be excused for thinking it’s not that different from the old-fashioned view of a man’s role in the marriage – i.e. just say yes and hand over your credit card.

But, just because people say it should be that way, doesn’t make it so.
Even though it’s true that the wedding industry is hugely biased towards the bride, the groom is a vital part of the wedding, and guys, your opinions and ideas are important, too!

So what’s a guy to do?

First steps: One of the most important things to do in planning your wedding is to spend some time talking about just what it is that you’re both agreeing to! There’s no doubt that you want to end the day married, but there are a kazillion variables along the way, and it’s worth taking time to discuss how you each see your wedding day taking shape. Even if your bride has planned her wedding day since long before she met you, your opinions have just as much weight in the planning process.

What about things that you feel strongly about for your wedding day – anything that you’d really like, or hate, to see happen? Start daydreaming about the moment you’re standing, waiting for your bride to appear in the doorway – what does that actually look like to you? How formal or casual do you want your wedding to be – if you’re totally uncomfortable in a suit and tie, a full formal black tie affair is probably not for you. If you’d like to get married in the cathedral, you probably won’t be wearing shorts and jandals.
How many guests do you want to invite [and/or How many do you “kind of have to” invite?]. The size of the guest list will influence the budget [or vice versa] but also effects other variables, such as venue and ‘feel’ – a wedding with 40 guests will have a totally different atmosphere to a wedding with 140 guests.
Are there any  cultural or religious preferences to take into account? This may influence your options for ceremony venue, celebrant, time and date of the ceremony, even the menu. Be aware that sometimes what’s irrelevant to one set of inlaws-to-be might be a huge deal to the other side!
What kind of budget can you allow for, and is there anyone else who may contribute some of the cost? If you have a strictly limited budget, you should decide, as soon as possible, on the things that you’re not willing to compromise on, and work your event around those key things.

At this early stage in the planning process, anything is possible, so make sure you make your preferences known! Don’t leave it until the morning of the wedding to voice your opinions – that’s just not fair. There may be lots of minor details that you really don’t care either way about. That’s okay, someone will care passionately about them – so if you don’t have a preference, let them know that, too.

Here’s a wee tip, though – once you’ve politely pointed out that you don’t mind either way, when your bride to be [or her mother, or the wedding planner…] shows you something and asks for your opinion, the phrase that pays is NOT “I already told you, I don’t care”. If you can get in the habit of saying something positive, not just neutral, you’ll save yourself a dozen headaches. A simple, genuine “That looks great!” will serve you well, whether the question is about placement of the silver sparkles on the tables, or if her bum looks big in that dress.

Wedding planning is great practice for future years of interaction with both sides of your families, for decision-making, for how you both behave in a crisis and how you deal with stress. Remember that you’re both on the same team, and keep in mind that the goal of this whole frustrating process is that you get to take her home at the end of the night, for the rest of your lives, keep talking to one another, and you’ll be fine!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie Silberstein
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 03:01:51

    Thank you for this post. I haven’t even met the person yet and I already have a song picked out for my first dance! I was worried about whether I should make liking the song a criteria for dating. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not the only one fantasizing about my wedding. I think both brides and grooms can learn how to make their wedding a *shared* decision from your advice.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: The Groom’s Countdown « Whispers

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