You’ve probably heard of the term “bridezilla”, coined to describe a woman whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is “obsessive or intolerably demanding”. (Oxford University Press)
So how come there isn’t the equivalent description for the men?
For most couples, it’s typically the bride-to-be that’s more excited about the upcoming nuptials. She’s the one who scours the internet for the best deals, traipses down Tanjong Pagar in search of the perfect gown, and stays up till the wee hours fashioning handmade décor for the reception table.
Meanwhile the groom, it would seem, only has to worry about ferrying her to and fro to get supplies, paying the various bills and appearing with the bouquet and rings on the wedding day itself.
The men don’t get it, many would say. They just don’t realize how much planning goes into a wedding, or care to know every single detail.
But in fact, most men probably do care and want to be an active participant in their wedding plans, but just don’t know where or how to start. They might also be afraid of biting off more than they can chew.
Remember that real marriage is a partnership, so you might as well get started now. Here are five tips for you to make this wedding a team effort.
Many men automatically disconnected from the planning process because society tells them that it’s the woman’s domain. Furthermore, they may feel overwhelmed when it comes to considering the various expectations, traditions and customs that are part and parcel of planning a wedding.
While it might be that many brides do care more about various wedding details than their groom, they certainly shouldn’t be carrying the weight of responsibility on their own. Many grooms who want to be deeply involved in the details of their wedding day just feel inadequate or confused about how to work as a team. After all, it’s their first time planning a wedding too!
Instead of assuming what each other wants or needs, take time to talk things through from the start – to listen to each other’s perspectives, consider one another’s preferences, and learn to trust each other’s intentions and intuition. Trust is the cornerstone of any strong relationship, and there’s no time like the present to begin building this pillar in your marriage.
Set expectations early
Closely related to the issue of communication is the need to set clear expectations early on. Don’t assume that your partner can read your mind – even though he or she might be the love of your life, you are two unique individuals with different values, priorities and preferenes.
Chances are that both of you are planning a wedding for the first (and God-willing, only) time in your life, and may expect the other to be responsible for certain aspects – but your partner might be blithely unaware of those expectations. Telling each other what you expect, and then working out concrete plans and steps that you both agree to may not seem like the most romantic thing in the world, but it’s what’s needed.
Divide and conquer
Once expectations have been set and a rough plan has been made, don’t attempt to do every single thing on your list as a couple – the best sort of synergy doesn’t come from sticking together like glue.
Instead, decide which decisions or preparation work need to be done by both of you, and divide up the rest of the tasks. For example, you might want to plan the seating arrangement, wedding program and honeymoon itinerary together, while the bride checks out bridal boutiques and wedding favour options, and the groom looks for good deals for honeymoon accomodation and flight tickets.
Excel spreadsheets might seem a tad tedious, but they are a proven method of helping you keep track of everything, from to-do lists and budgets, to RSVPs and gift registries.
It’s highly unlikely that both of you will agree on every single details of your wedding, and how you react to disagreements and conflicts is key to the planning process and your eventual marriage.
Don’t be quick to write off each other’s seemingly ludicrous or unhelpful suggestions, just because it doesn’t reinforce yours. Don’t judge an idea prematurely or unfairly, just because of how you’d prefer things to be done. Instead, take a step back and listen. Recognize that there’s often a deeper meaning to opinions expressed – a backstory that is significant for him or her – and take the time to discover what that could be.
It’s also important to remember that your communication styles may be very different. What you think of as an intense reaction on her part could well be her usual style of expressing her views. And if he seems mild or vague about things, perhaps it’s not that he doesn’t care, but that you need to ask him for specific feedback in a direct manner.
Remember the romance
In the midst of wedding preparations, many couples find that all their spare moments are taken up with decision-making, studio visits and meetings with various ones, and it’s easy for the relationship to become all about The Wedding. The truth is that your wedding day is just ONE day of the rest of your life. And while it is indeed a significant occasion to work towards, it is the years of marriage after that day that will truly count in the greater scheme of things.
So don’t forget to spend time with each other just being romantic during these hectic days. Keep the romance alive, keep discovering new things about your partner, and don’t stop pursuing his or her heart. Don’t forget to laugh, to have fun, to cheer each other on, and to make memories for a lifetime.
“Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb.
It isn’t something you get.
It’s something you do.
It’s the way you love your partner every day.”
Barbara De Angelis