As a man, your wedding day is one of the most defining moments of your life. Beyond tying the knot, you’re also settling down to the list of responsibilities that come with blending two separate lives. But grooms are going through the same life-changing experience as brides-to-be, and there are countless things men can do to get involved in the wedding planning process: venue, date, guests, food, alcohol, music and the list goes on and on and on. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of decisions one would have to make leading up to the big day. After all, it’s not as simple as proposing and having her saying yes, that is merely the first step through the door. So, to all the men out there, here’s what you need to know about wedding planning.
Frankly speaking, there is almost no way for a man to care as much about a wedding as most women do. Not with countless fairy tales, books, TV shows and movies reinforcing to girls that marriage is simultaneously straightforward and extravagant: having the Prince Charming magically appear, basking in the perfect wedding, and living out the rest of their lives filled with love and harmony (which further divides the reality behind the logistics of having a wedding).
Step number 1: Communicate, communicate, communicate
Let’s face it. Relationships are complicated. Very often couples break up on the simple basis that their emotional needs are not met. It’s okay to have emotional needs. That’s why people get into relationships in the first place. Basically, be honest and refrain from bottling up your feelings. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. In terms of wedding planning, you’ll want to clearly define each other’s expectations. Besides, this is the best time to deal with any disagreements and look for middle ground. If you don’t voice out your concerns or ideas, they may get overlooked and you might find yourself feeling left out of your own wedding.
Step number 2: Decisions, decisions, decisions
There are way too many decisions to make leading up to a wedding, and some things like deciding on the wedding venue must be planned months in advance (See the words: honeymoon). There are also joint decisions, bride decisions and groom decisions, so here’s a rough list:
- Wedding date
- Guest list
- Food and Beverage selection
- Wedding Vows
- Honeymoon Destination
- Photography and Videography
- Bridal Gown
- Bridesmaid Entourage
- Invitation cards
- Groom suit
- Groom Entourage
- Obtaining the marriage license
- Wedding rings
Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list. Offer to turn a bride decision into a joint decision or ask for her opinion on a decision you are going to make. You could even schedule something fun as a break from all the planning. If you don’t have an opinion, at least be honest (read rule number 1). When she’s asking you to decide between yellow or orange flowers, she isn’t asking if you care, she’s asking which you like. You may not care, but it’s disingenuous to say that you don’t have a preference. Since your wife-to-be is asking for your input, just tell her which one you like better if you had to choose.
Perhaps the most sensitive in the list is budget. That’s because almost everything else in the list revolves around money. Just make sure not to burn holes in your pockets, because you still have your whole life to live after the wedding. Do whatever you want. No seriously, you can do whatever you want. You can get married with no guests, or somehow find a way to get 500 guests. You can have one best man or ten best men. Or you can choose not to have a wedding cake. These ‘rules’ and traditions about weddings do not actually prevent you from getting married. No one should be influencing your decisions or making you feel bad about any part of the planning.
Step number 3: Co-ordinate, co-ordinate, co-ordinate
Get your best man to help coordinate the wedding. This person will be the go-to for any catastrophes instead of hassling the groom or bride. Have him oversee the schedule for the whole day. He will act as a safety net to ensure the day goes smoothly. If you have more than one best man, make use of them. They are your best men for a reason. In other words: delegate, delegate, delegate.
There seems to be a looming pressure to create a unique event that perfectly represents the bride and groom as a couple. The best answer to that, is to let that idea go. Don’t worry about being identical or stereotypical to other weddings, you and your guests will make the ceremony and reception your own. A wedding is the precursor to a life of teamwork, so don’t leave all the planning to the women. It’s a joint effort. Just remember if people ask you what stresses you out most about wedding planning, the answer is never “my future mother-in-law.”