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So, you popped the question and she said “Yes.” Congratulations! Uhhh, now what? In case you thought your only job was to get your tux cleaned and say “I do” in a few months, let me impart a few nuggets of knowledge that you will thank me for later. Take it from me, a man who married a woman who found the wedding planning process so frustrating that she started a website and career trying to make it better. I now know more about weddings than I ever thought I would (wedding cake toppers, centerpieces and kitten heels to name a few.)
Before we get started, here’s an important caveat: Every bride is different and you know your partner better than anyone else. So tailor this wisdom however you see fit. But one thing is definite: It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing a 500-person monster reception or having a low-key, simple ceremony, the process of wedding planning can feel suffocating. You have to please everyone from your best friend to your grandma (and usually those two people have VERY different opinions.)It’s an incredibly stressful process that can be made much more — dare I say, fun? — by keeping a few things in mind no matter what type of wedding you’re having.
Don’t Ever Let Her Feel Like She’s Alone
There are a million decisions behind every wedding. And every decision can feel like it has the weight of the world behind it when you’re in the middle of it (THE WEDDING WILL BE RUINED IF THE TABLESCAPE CLASHES WITH THE BRIDESMAID’S SHOES!!!!). There’s enormous pressure to planning a wedding, so keep that in mind at all times.
Cut your wife-to-be some slack if she snaps at you from time to time because, while this is a big day for both of you, this is a HUGE day for her. She’s doing something that’s really hard, and on top of it, there’s a good chance she’s never done this before. And while your pals probably won’t think about your wedding after their hangovers wear off, her friends will be judging and critiquing every single detail. The more helpful you are throughout this crazy process, the more she’ll feel like she has a teammate and it will help the both of you navigate all the curveballs that get thrown your way over the course of the wedding planning process.
She’s Not A Bridezilla If She Wants it to Be Perfect
The term “bridezilla” gets thrown around a lot and I think it’s a little lazy and sexist. Weddings are expensive, huge affairs that will provide photos your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will look at years from now so they can laugh at your hair. Everyone involved should want this day to be as perfect as possible.
Don’t call your future spouse a bridezilla just because she wants to get it right. You’re a part of this process, too. You should want this to be as magical a day as possible. If she cares about some things that you don’t care as much about, remember that that’s what being in a relationship is all about. Do you think she wants to hear about your fantasy football team? (Hint: She doesn’t.) But you still talk about it anyway. Think of this as her fantasy football team. Help her draft the best one ever.
Offer Your Opinion, Even If You Don’t Have One
Alright, let’s be honest: You probably don’t have strong feelings on whether the table runners should be Periwinkle or Apricot, but take a second to think about which one you like better and make a decision. There’s a good chance she’s going to go with whichever she wants, but it’s important for her to know that you are involved. And it’s also a great way remind yourself to not take for granted the seemingly endless decisions that go into planning a wedding. I mean, it’s kind of insane. When we got engaged I just thought of planning a wedding as a slightly larger dinner party. I was very, very wrong.
Pick One Thing (At Least) That’s Important To You And Own It
As I said before, there are a lot of little details that you probably won’t feel super strongly about. But every groom should find a wedding detail that is really important to him and own that decision. He should fight for it. Whether it’s finding the DJ, figuring out the food or finding the officiant if you don’t already have one. Not only will it be a huge help to take something off her plate, it will tell her that you are part of the wedding planning crew and not an absent groom.
There comes a point when even the most engaged and involved husband wants to say to his fiancée, “Why do you even ask my opinion if you just go with what you want anyway?” Don’t do this. For all the reasons I outlined above, nothing good can come of saying that statement out loud (I may have learned this the hard way). Wedding planning is tough and she’s got a lot more of her taste and style cred riding on this day than you do.
Don’t Be Cheap
Unless money is no object, you and your bride will have to be budget-conscious when planning your wedding. And while that’s extremely important, keep a few things in perspective. If something is important to her (or you) and it puts you a little over, then don’t stomp your feet and whine. A year from now the fact that you spent an extra $100 to get the chairs that you (or she) really wanted won’t matter at all. Don’t go completely mental and put yourselves in debt, of course. But don’t cut corners on some important things that mean a lot to you. There’s a big difference between frugal and being cheap. Be the former, not the latter.
Alright, men. there’s my advice. Follow it and you, your soon-to-be-bride and everyone else involved in the planning of your wedding will actually enjoy the journey to your big day. And if you ever need any advice on kittens heels, you know where to reach me.