Written by Tara Eglington
If you’re engaged, you would be familiar with the saying ‘it’s the brides day.’ It goes hand in hand with the old fashioned belief that a wedding is all about the bride, and therefore the planning of the big day should be solely her responsibility. But in recent years, a larger percentage of grooms are becoming actively involved in both the planning and the styling of their weddings. Gone are the days of a groom simply showing up in a suit on time – modern grooms across Australia are now planning DJ set lists, painting Welcome signs or picking out the colours for the invitation suite.
When you think about it, why would a wedding be anything but a team effort? After all, marriage is about two people, and the celebration of that union should embrace both the bride and the groom’s personal styles and preferences. Planning a wedding involves a huge amount of time and dedication, and no one partner should have to take on the entirety of this responsibility. If your hubby-to-be is hanging by the sidelines at the planning time, or has only offered ‘whatever you like, honey’ when asked for his opinion, never fear. Here are our eight best tips to help get your groom on board as co-planner.
Communicate, communicate, communicate:
It’s a sad fact that due to social conditioning around ‘groom’s duties’, many grooms might assume that their input isn’t wanted beyond choosing a suit or arranging the wedding car. He may worry that if he starts offering opinions, he’ll impose upon your vision for the day.
The best thing you can do as bride to-be is to say from the start: ‘I’d love us to plan the wedding together.’ The truth is, the earlier your fiancé gets involved in the planning, the better. By communicating from the outset that you value and welcome his input and assistance, he will feel like an important part of the process from the very beginning. Sometimes this one small step is enough to substantially spike a groom’s level of interest in his day.
Don’t shoot down his ideas:
It’s safe to say that men and women often have very different ideas on things, especially when it comes to weddings. Enthusiastic grooms may therefore suggest some concepts that don’t seem very ‘wedding-ish.’
Try to avoid immediately shutting these offbeat suggestions down. If you’re asking him to get involved, and then the moment he offers an idea, you shoot him down, he’ll be sure to be confused and his enthusiasm will take a dive. It may be tempting at this point to want him to revert back to the ‘whatever you want’ mode, but keep an open mind. Just because an idea may not scream ‘wedding’ doesn’t mean that it should be thrown out the window.
If the proposal is completely ridiculous (gorilla suits for the groomsmen for example), simply say you’ll note it down, and then ask him for five more ideas – you will eventually strike on something valuable by process of elimination. Remember, the right man won’t want to run with a concept that makes you uneasy.
His suggestions don’t have to compromise your vision for the day. When he offers an idea that you’re not a fan of, try to think about whether it’s adaptable. When my fiancé and I started planning our wedding, we both knew we wanted to get married in New Zealand. Being a passionate snow-boarder, he wanted to exchange vows on the top of a mountain and ski down together to a reception. I knew that plan would never work with the type of dress I wanted to wear, so we decided to get married at a venue that is just below one of our favourite mountains to ski on. I compromised on our wedding month, switching from an April to August so we could say ‘I do’ during ski season (and my fiancé got a few days on the slope post wedding!). I wound up having the best time planning a romantic winter wedding.
Play to his strengths:
It’s a simple truth that a groom won’t be interested in every single area of planning. Some grooms will feel totally out of their depth trying to offer advice on prospective shoe styles for the bridesmaids, or will stress out that they’ll look stupid in front of their florist when they don’t know what a David Austin rose is. Try to assign him tasks that align with his interests.
If he’s a music snob, have him work on the playlist for the reception. If he’s passionate about wine, he could take charge of the tastings to ensure you have the perfect selections for the wedding. A graphic designer? He might save you thousands on invitations and on-the-day details by turning his creative mind to these tasks.
When Siobhan married Ruben, a talented woodworker and furniture designer, Ruben decided he wanted to hand-make all of the wooden cheese boards for the grazing table. The result was incredibly personal and ten times more beautiful than anything they could have hired or bought.
If you’re fiancé is more practical than creative, never fear. Is he great with numbers? Then he’s the perfect person to look after the wedding budget. My sister-in-law’s husband created the most comprehensive and clever excel spreadsheet to track their spend in alignment with their guest list, meaning she could rest assured that there would be no additional costs surprising them closer to the day. Maybe your groom is a fantastic negotiator and can strike some great bargains with vendors – saving you extra dollars!
Don’t just give him the fun jobs:
There are always tasks in any wedding that are ‘boring’ but have to be done. It’s not an equal partnership if one person gets to look after all the creative, fun tasks, and the other is left with all the logistical planning. Try to divide up your planning list fairly, so that each person has a mix of fun and not-so-fun duties and is clear on their responsibilities. There’s no question that you should both work on the guest list, the venue and date selection, and the seating chart.
Some brides might hesitate to hand over vital responsibilities to the groom, out of fear he’ll forget, procrastinate, or ‘mess it up’. Part of co-planning is having trust in your partner, so if you’re drowning in ‘todo’s’, this might be the point where you let yourself relinquish a bit of control and allow the groom to step in and look after a task you’re struggling with.
Marrying overseas meant that my fiancé and I needed to request a notice of intended marriage form from the NZ Department of Affairs, and arrange to have this issued in the city where we would be married. I had called their offices but received mixed messages on the requirements of the application process. This was further complicated by the fact that we would not arrive in New Zealand the recommended three working days prior to marrying. I was stressing, and snowed under at work, so my then fiancé took on this task, calling both the Department of Affairs and the NZ Consulate office in Australia, before eventually going to the Sydney office to sign and arrange for the form to be sent to Queenstown. He tracked the form to the Queenstown office to confirm it had arrived and pre-arranged special circumstances to have the marriage licence ready for pickup 48 hours prior to our big day. I’d originally been nervous to hand over one of the most essential tasks of the whole wedding, but he rose to the occasion, saving me so much time and stress.
You may be lucky enough to have a groom who wants to play a part in every area of the wedding. But honestly speaking, that’s probably not going to be the case. There are going to be things that you are uber-passionate about and he won’t be. Pinterest is probably one of those things, so when you’re hours into pinning and HAVE to get some opinions on the thirty-odd bouquets saved on your floral board, your best friend or sister might be the best person to co-share the board with. If your fiancé is shrugging his head when you’re debating the colour of your tapered candles, don’t push it. Grab a friend who loves styling details and enlist their help – you’ll have a lot more fun in the process!
Talk about more than the nuptials:
It’s very easy to get stuck on ‘wedding mode’ 24/07. A good way to save both of you from wedding-related fatigue is to set aside certain times for ‘big day’ discussions. Maybe ‘wedding time’ is a Tuesday night from 7-8pm, over a glass of wine while you chill out on the couch. Having time out from planning means both of you get a break from the roles of ‘bride and groom’ and keeps your relationship dynamic and healthy. If you need to discuss something more pressing or potentially contentious (like adding a videographer after the budget has already been set) this is probably best scheduled for the weekend, rather than on a Friday night, when you are both tired and grumpy from long work weeks!
Add touches to the big day that reflect his personality and interests:
Adding masculine touches to your day doesn’t mean you have to forgo your carefully planned centrepieces or skimp on floral styling. Think subtle, sophisticated masculine styling that gives a gentle nod towards the groom’s hobbies or passions.
Here are a few super stylish ways to make the groom feel extra special on your wedding day:
A whisky bar – Nothing says stylish more than a Mad Men style whisky cart, incorporating luxury whiskies, bar tools, and accompaniments.
Favourite food – In recent years, more and more couples are veering away from standard canapé options for cocktail hour, choosing to go with fun choices
that are in line with their favourite foods. Does your groom love a BBQ or burgers? Perhaps mini steaks or sliders could be served at canapé time. Does he have a sweet tooth? Think about hiring an ice cream truck for post ceremony treat – if you’re marrying in summer, your guests are sure to love it!
Neutral styling – Styling that incorporates materials like glass, timber, and chalkboard is always gender neutral. If you’re not a ‘pastel pink’ type of bride and are open to a wide range of colour palettes, think about shades like green, white, grey, burgundy and brown as a base to build upon. Mix foliage in with your flowers for a reception style that’s equally masculine and feminine.
Put his talents on display – A friend’s husband built her wedding arch. He put days and days of work into it, and it turned out spectacular – my friend cried when she saw it, the guests couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful it was, and the groom was beaming. If your fiancé has any creative talents, take the opportunity to show them of – everyone loves a wedding with personalised touches.
Signature drinks – If your husband-to-be loves his beer, why not have a selection of craft and boutique beers available at your wedding (you could even style up a ‘beer bar’ for canapé hour)? If you’re offering cocktails, have some fun and make it extra-personal by choosing ‘his and hers’ options. At my sisters reception, she and her groom each had a cocktail named after them served to their guests, and then a third choice dubbed Marital Bliss – the guests had a great time trying the different drinks and dancing to the DJ!
A Grand Exit – If your fiancé is mad about cars, have him choose the vehicle you make your grand entries and exits from. Maybe he’ll go with a gorgeous vintage option, or a sleek high-performance sports car. Whatever option he chooses, you can bet he’ll love this little touch that’s all about him!
A Grooms Cake – a cake styled just for the groom is a major trend in the USA, and they have started to pop up in Australian weddings as well. Liezel, 30, surprised her husband Travis with a 4-wheel drive inspired cake to reflect his passion for the outdoors, and he was blown away by it. If you can’t cope with the idea of a masculine-style cake, compromise and choose flavours that the groom loves.