A reader writes us with a common dilemma:
My fiancé and I got engaged over Christmas, and our wedding date is set for spring of 2014. We already booked the ceremony and reception sites, and now I’m digging into the details. I’d like my fiancé to be involved, but so far his interest is limited. Any tips for sparking his interest? ~Denise in San Diego
Sarah K. answers:
Most women are cultivated brides, growing up exposed to wedding fantasies from an early age. What’s awesome about this is that about 75% of the world’s women actually do marry, so the dream is an achievable one. Many of the ideas lodged in little girls’ minds–the fairytale dress, the too-pretty-to-eat cake–come in to play as they plan their actual weddings.
On the other hand–and at the risk of stereotyping–the thousands of hoops your guy shot as a boy in hopes of NBA stardom did very little to prepare him for this wedding. It’s fair to say you have a head start.
Another reason guys don’t usually participate equally in making the wedding come to life is that the bride has a planning posse that often includes mom, sister(s) and bridesmaids, plus the super-excited aunt and stepmom. The energy emanating from this über-team might not attract the groom. He could be intimidated by the sheer volume of voices or relieved that these other people have it all covered.
If you’re sure that you want to plan the wedding alongside your fiancé rather than checking in with him from time to time, superior communications skills are a must.
1. Get his vision. Tell your fiancé how you’ve been imagining the wedding. Ask him if that picture fits his, and if there are certain elements he sees differently. Or if you remember him mentioning something about the wedding in the past that caught your attention, remind him of that. As your dialogue about the wedding forms, it will be obvious if he wants to be part of the nuanced planning. At this point, ask directly if he wants to invest much of his free time in wedding planning over the next year, or if he’d rather you do most of that with the girls. Most guys expect the bride to take this on, but these days more guys are willing to share the work, or even take charge of the honeymoon.
2. Delineate tasks. If he’s stepping up in a big way, agree on which parts each of you will own, and which parts you will ask friends and family to help with. Whether he prefers to keep his involvement pared down or amped up, there shouldn’t be any confusion about his role, or anyone else’s. Even if he decided he didn’t have the time or energy to choose the music for the reception, the wedding day is not the time for him to find out your mom hired a mariachi band.
3. Talk to the girls. Does your court know how involved the groom is? If he is your primary partner in planning, this is a reflection of the kind of relationship the two of you have, and it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to your best ladies. If any of them seem miffed at the notion, tell them you and your fiancé need their help and support in making your shared vision a reality.
Are you a modern bride marrying a modern man? How have the two of you partnered in your wedding planning?