February 03, 2011

Whose Wedding is it, Anyway?


Or so I'm told.  I was confused, naturally, because up until then I had been labouring under the apparently mistaken idea that TWO people were getting married.  Not so!  The wedding is the bride's day, all the groom has to do is show up.  I'm glad I know this now, because I might have spent the months planning my wedding bothering my poor fiancé for his input, and BOY would my face have been red! 

I must admit I have accepted this fact somewhat begrudgingly.  I find myself resisting the idea that the groom has no business planning his own wedding, if only because I don't want to do everything myself.  Wedding planning is a lot of work, and I am not looking forward to being on my own with it.  I also don't want to be the one taking the blame when the flowers are the wrong colour or the bridesmaids' dresses are three sizes too small.  Let HIM help shoulder that burden.  That's what marriage is about, right? 

I'm especially flabbergasted because of the persistent sterotype that brides wish their grooms were more involved.  We've all heard this.  In movies, on TV, women's magazines, bridal forums, it's everywhere.  Men don't care about their weddings, and women wish they would.  My fiancé and I came into this wedding thinking we were ahead of the game, because he actually gave a shit what the venue looked like.  Imagine our surprise to discover - it's all a lie!  Women don't really want their men involved, they just want people to think they're victims because he isn't, or progressive because they pretend they want him to be.  It's the biggest wedding hush-up I've come across yet.

The touchiest issue I've experienced in this she versus he debate is clothing.  Naturally, many women subscribe to the tried-and-true tradition that it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony.  This has somehow been extended to the wedding dress, which is off-limits for all men until their women walk down the aisle.  If you're an old-fashioned girl, and you want that special surprise on your wedding day, I can get behind that.  I do, however, object to being told that I'm somehow deficient for not being similarly superstitious.  In my eyes, the only person besides myself who needs to like my dress is my fiancé - so why shouldn't he help select it?  Neither I nor my fiancé feel any shame for going to bridal salons together.  Nobody can give me a more honest opinion on how he'll like it than he can.  You do your thing, we'll do ours.

I got another shock on the same issue when I was bluntly informed that even modern women do not believe the groom has a place in wedding planning.  I expected to meet opposition from traditional, virginal brides, but not from women who tout equal rights and contemporary values.  It seems that these brides have gone completely the other way into "it's my dress, and I'm not going to let any man tell me which to wear".   And of course, who cares what he thinks of her dress - it's not like she needs to please anyone besides herself on her own wedding day, right?  I'm not suggesting that any bride wear something hideous because her fiancé told her to, but surely he has as much interest as she in having her look her best on that day.  I'm boggled at the prospect of completely ignoring your fiancé's preferences in favour of your own.  Is it anti-feminist or oppressive to do something nice for the man you intend to marry?  Why not allow him to choose between the gowns you love best, and wear the one he prefers?  Yes, he probably will love whatever you choose, but he'll love it more if he liked it even before you were walking down the aisle in it.

I ended up in online fisticuffs recently with a few people insisting that the groom has no right giving his opinion on certain items.  They claimed that the bride dresses the bridesmaids, and the groom dresses the groomsmen, and he had no business crossing that line.  My attempts to point out that no bride I've ever heard of would allow her man to put his boys in fluffy orange leisure suits without stepping in fell on deaf ears.  Some of these women had just the day before been complaining that their fiancés were uninterested in wedding planning, and now they were calling someone else's man a "groomzilla" for wanting to contribute.  As a woman who intends to give her fiancé full rights to his own wedding, I was amazed and offended at their hypocrisy, and overwhelmed with pity for the guy.

While there are certainly women out there who just want complete creative control, I think a larger part of the problem is that women just assume that men are incapable of distinguishing between flowers or associating colours, and so don't bother to involve him.  Maybe they think he won't care whether the invitation envelopes have liners or not.  Maybe he won't.  But why not ask?  Why shouldn't a man be given the opportunity to put forward his opinion on the color scheme, the music, the bridesmaids' dresses?  Let him come to the cake tasting, the florist.  It's his wedding too.  Shouldn't he like how it looks?  You might be surprised.  My fiancé's idea of what my wedding gown should be was drastically different from what I had been considering, and admittedly, superior.  I wish I'd asked him sooner.  His priorities for the venue and the food were right in line with my own.  There was no frustrating "I don't care", no "do whatever you want, honey", no hideous ideas that I had to talk him out of.  He blew that old-hat stereotype right out of the water.  If women gave their men a chance, they might see how out-of-date and off base their tired clichés really are.  They might learn something about their husband-to-be.  Or (*gasp*) they might even make him feel a part of his own special day.


  1. You're awesome. Unfortunately, the people that need to hear this would probably be protesting before they even finished the first paragraph.

    My fiance is all about the venue and the music. The one thing he let me handle completely is the photography, and that's because I'm so picky with it.

  2. Now, I think I've mentioned this before but I do jokingly call my fiance "groomzilla". It's more of a term of endearment for us because it's almost comical how involved he wants to be (especially since society says its all about the bride). Sometimes we kid about how this is the wedding he dreamed about as a little boy (neither of us "dreamed" about weddings, which is why it's amusing to us).

    ANYWAY...people are AMAZED at how involved my fiance is. He has been involved in every single decision--even the bridesmaids dresses. He hasn't seen my wedding dress, but I showed him a bunch of photos of me in dresses to get an idea of what he liked. I talked to him about my hair and makeup (and he obviously saw it). I think the only aspect where I solely made the decision on was my accessories. He writes the thank you notes to his family/friends and I've had several people comment that they are STUNNED he did that. Um, this is his wedding too!

    WE are getting married. I love having him so involved.

  3. Sad but true, Lincoln!

    Haha, Laura, I remember you saying that. I think it's beyond awesome that your groom is zilla-ing, I know mine wants to as well. I have no idea yet what he'll want to be involved in or what he won't care too much about, since we're just starting out, but I'm good to let him have a peek at whatever the hell he wants. It's OUR day, and we only want what WE want. :)

  4. I wish someone would have told my mom the wedding is the brides day!

    My husband shot down so many low budget venues I suggested b/c he wanted our wedding to be "nice" (aka in an expensive venue). He also insisted on wearing a tux, despite me trying to convince him that he wanted to wear a suit. He really didn't care about anything else. Oh yeah, and he insisted that we have a big wedding instead of eloping, but that was just to make his parents happy.

  5. My fiancé wants a great venue also, but so do I so I'm cool with that. I still have no idea what he intends to wear, but he apparently doesn't like the idea I cam up with so we'll see what he picks for himself. As long as it's not a fluffy orange leisure suit... ;)