Get Your Beau in the Game

Here is a an article that was written for Arizona Bride Magazine where I was quoted a few times. Thought I would share with my readers. diary

"Finishing up the diary" by Shane Adams is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Written by Patty Zint

TODAY’S GROOMS ARE STEPPING FROM THE SIDELINES and onto the planning playing field, teaming up with their brides and doing some maneuvering of their own to create meaningful memories for their wedding day. Getting your beau involved may be as simple as asking for his help, or helping him rise to the challenge by explaining the roles and goals so he can join you with confidence in the pre-bridal arena.

A Little One-on-OneHow does a bride get her guy involved? “There’s no quicker way to bore the groom than asking him to see bridesmaids’ clothes, jewelry, shoes or anything strictly for the ladies,” says Zack Maita of Scottsdale, who was married in November 2007. Maita’s fiancée Afi Danjuma suggests starting out with things the groom-tobe might be interested in.

How do we know what that is?

Ask him! “It’s extremely important for grooms to be involved in the wedding planning process,” says Cicely Rocha-Miller senior consultant and owner of Life Design Event Planning. “Though they haven’t necessarily been dreaming of the big day their entire lives, most have specific ideas about what they want.”

“In order to create the best possible celebration for our friends and family, both our input is needed,” says Danjuma. Maita adds: “Some brides or grooms have a preconceived notion that grooms shouldn’t be involved because it’s a girly thing. [But] there are two people getting married so you might as well get your two cents in before the big day rather than be disappointed with something on your wedding day.” And, he adds, “This event can also set the tone for your future. How are big events in your relationship going to be handled? Will one person always take the lead or are you both going to work together?”

“The groom is getting married, too,” points out Amy Vandervort of iDo wedding consulting, LLC. “When planning a wedding, it’s wonderful to obtain the opinions of both the bride and groom because it does make the wedding more unique.”

Another reason for the groom to get involved: Your future in-laws. Jeanne Colquette of Events Your Way takes into account the groom’s heritage when planning weddings. “His family may do things differently than the bride’s, so it’s nice to have some input from him.” Vandervort also considers the groom’s family. “When the groom is included in the planning, his family will feel more involved and appreciated.”

Finally, make sure you really listen to him. Matt Skarperud of Scottsdale, who married Jennifer Kully in October 2007, agrees that asking for input is important. Just remember, he says: When you ask his opinions, take them into consideration.

Create a Game PlanRocha-Miller recommends that after the engagement, the couple sit down and discuss ideas with each other, including issues such as bridal party attendants, budget, style, color and theme, guest count, vendor selections, among others. “Communication is key when planning a wedding, but it’s extra important between the bride and groom.”

She advises them to organize all aspects of the wedding into categories, then list them in order of importance (one is most important, two is next most important, etc.). Then compare notes and start discussing what both of you want your day to look like.

“Grooms have some good ideas; they just need help seeing them through,” says Shannon Smith of Sassy Soirees Wedding and Event Planning.

Pick the PlayersEnlist your groom’s help choosing vendors such as officiant, venue, caterer, bartender, baker, DJ or band, photographer, videographer and transportation. He will also need to participate with his portion of the guest list, choosing wedding rings, attire for the guys, wedding party gifts, planning the rehearsal dinner with his parents, honeymoon plans, writing vows and gift registration.

“Grooms that are involved in the process are excited to be included and there is a sense of surprise, eagerness and relief for the bride,” says Rocha-Miller. Making decisions that are so important can be very stressful for one person, but “sharing the load with the groom keeps things in line and running smoothly.”

When scheduling appointments with vendors, emphasize the need for both of you to attend. Smith advises, “It’s better when the groom attends meetings so he can see firsthand what is discussed.” If your groom seems reluctant, it’s worth pointing out that he would probably end up at a follow-up meeting anyway before you jointly make the decision.

Danjuma and Maita have the ideal attitude about this aspect: “The appointments we’ve had concerning the wedding were just another chance for us to have fun with each other. A lot of wedding stuff is for the people who are attending. We want to make sure they’ll enjoy themselves.” If the bride is feeling overwhelmed with the decision, Colquette says she asks her to pick two vendors she’d be equally happy with, then let the groom take over and finalize. Because he’s attended the meeting, he has the knowledge to make an informed choice for their wedding.

Key PlaysYour beau may surprise you—and melt your heart—with his wedding day ideas. “We decided to incorporate both of our cultures into the cuisine: melon and prosciutto for my Italian side and samosas to represent her Nigerian heritage,” Maita says. “Grooms in general seem to most enjoy the cake design process,” says Rocha-Miller. “It’s the ‘cool’ factor—and they do a fantastic job!”

In fact, when Amy Martin married Greg Roberds at their Mesa home in September 2006, Fleur de Lis created an elaborate cake featuring 15 different flavors, all chosen by Roberds. He also commissioned an oversized crystal-studded monogram topper in keeping with the cake’s grandeur. His other ideas included a horse and buggy processional for both his bride and her entourage, to the delight of everyone. And Vandervort reports one groom was very specific about the music he wanted, down to putting corresponding song lyrics on tables named after bands.

Sitting One OutWhat part of the planning should the groom avoid? “This one is a given: the dress,” says Rocha-Miller. “Many times brides do consider the groom’s desires and vision of how he wants to see his bride, but for the most part this is anopportunity for her to surprise him with the ultimate choice.”

Enlist your mothers, bridal attendants, and friends for that task; even if you plan to see your groom for pre-ceremony photography, that first look at you in your wedding gown should be a spine-tingling experience.

Minute details are also best left for the bride. “When it comes to napkin folds, some grooms have trouble seeing the overall picture,” Vandervort agrees. Font choice on invitations and ribbon colors are other areas where the bride can involve her bridesmaids and friends, and have the groom take a break, according to Rocha-Miller.

The Winning TeamCreating your wedding together is a bonus for your relationship. “For us, the whole point of planning together is that we get to be together,” says Maita. The strengths and weaknesses of the bride and groom also can complement one another whenthey plan together. Colquette notes that guys are often better settling on and sticking to a budget, whereas the bride can sometimes be too easily swayed by emotion or peer pressure, to the detriment of your wallet.

Planning as a team takes the stress, responsibility and outcome off of one person’s shoulders and allows the event to be a shared success. “A wedding is about two people coming together for the rest of their lives,” says Skarperud. “Seeing things come together, when things start falling into place, you realize that it will be a great day and night.” Score one victory for the newlyweds!

WHEN HE STAYS ON THE BENCH YOU’VE ASKED, CAJOLED, COAXED, EVEN BRIBED, but he just won’t budge. If your beau is planning-shy, these are the items he absolutely must attend to. And because we know he thinks logically, here’s a list of reasons why, plus some Web sites to give him a head start:

Filling out his portion of the guest list. (You don’t know all of his family and friends).

Meeting the person who will marry the two of you. (He needs to be comfortable withyour officiant and know that the ceremony wording does not conflict with his own beliefs).

Writing his personal wedding vows. (If you have to, so does he).

Choosing the wedding rings (This is traditionally his responsibility).

Choosing his tuxedo or his wedding day attire. (You can’t wear it for him).

Choosing and asking his attendants to participate in the wedding and providing them with tuxedo or attire information. (These are the people special too him and deserve the honor of being chosen by him).

Choosing wedding gifts for his attendants. (Same as above).

Helping his parents plan the rehearsal dinner. (Unless you’ve decided otherwise, the groom’s family traditionally hosts this activity and he needs to take responsibility for letting his parents know who to invite, what time the rehearsal will be, and any other pertinent details).

Making honeymoon arrangements. (This is traditionally his responsibility, although many couples now do this together).

Going with you (in Arizona) to get your marriage license. (Both of you must be present with ID and $50 for the license fee).

• Registering for wedding gifts. (Only if he wants his preferences known and definitely if he wants to be comfortable in the home he shares with you—or you might choose the girly pink bar set!)