Many grooms-to-be think their work is done as soon as they slide the engagement ring on their fiancée's finger. Let's face it, most guys simply aren't interested in many aspects of wedding planning, and those who are find themselves out-voted by brides on everything from the centerpieces to the color scheme.
But these days, as wedding plans get more complex (and costly), the grooms' help is desperately needed. Of course, even the most dedicated fiancé is likely to have trouble choosing between ivory and cream-colored linens! To keep your guy engaged in the planning, focus on things he's good at, and rely on your bridesmaids to help you with the girly stuff.
If you're having trouble getting your groom to pitch in with the planning, consider these 10 things most men won't mind taking charge of.
Managing the Budget
At an age when guys are playing junior varsity baseball, many women have already started to picture their dream wedding. Well before the ring is on your finger (or before you've found the groom!), you're already imagining the perfect dress, gorgeous flowers and a magical ceremony.
All that perfection doesn't come cheap, so it can pay to leave your groom in charge of the wedding budget. Many men simply like being in charge of money, and they can act as the voice of reason when your champagne taste doesn't quite match up with a beer budget.
In addition to crunching numbers, the groom will get to show off his negotiating skills -- and he'll get a huge rush out of saving you some money. While brides may be emotionally influenced by all the wheeling and dealing, guys will take the inevitable bargaining and contract negotiations in stride.
Writing His Vows
Forget the standard "to honor and obey." Many couples today are writing their own wedding vows to reflect what's special about their unique relationship. Even if he's not the best writer, he'll enjoy this chance to tell everyone how he feels about you in his own words. Writing vows will appeal to his romantic side, and no one can describe what he loves about you better than him! If your guy doesn't know where to begin, ask him to choose a favorite song lyric, poem or religious passage to read aloud during the ceremony.
But your handsome Hemingway doesn't have to stop at the vows. Many grooms like writing toasts and speeches to thank the best man and other members of the wedding party. After all, these are the guys who planned his bachelor party and stood by him on the biggest day of his life. He'll be glad to offer a few funny stories and words of thanks.
Your fiancé probably can't tell the difference between an orchid and a lilac, but if he's like most men, he can tell you all about the body style of a '66 Mustang or the powerful engine in the latest Lamborghini.
If he's passionate about cars, let him take charge of arranging wedding day transportation. While he's likely to have fun comparing stretch limos and Hummers, let him go a little wild. Exotic cars have become more common at weddings in recent years, so don't be surprised if he wants to show up at the reception in a Bentley or Rolls Royce.
Not only does he get to pick the car, he may also get to take it for a test drive. Even guys who do their best to steer clear of all wedding planning won't be able to resist a spin in a classic sports car.
And remember -- if it seems like he's droning on about some of the cars he's looked at, he's probably spent twice as long listening to you talk about wedding dresses!
Choosing the Cake
If your groom happens to have a sweet tooth, shopping for wedding cakes can be like taking a stroll through a candy store. Even if he's Team Pie, he won't find it too excruciating to sample delicious varieties of cake. Many upscale bakers offer free champagne during your tasting session, so you'll enjoy a little bubbly as you compare frostings and flavors.
Most grooms will be happy to get in on the cake selection just to make sure you don't choose something too crazy. They'll keep you focused on the practical aspects of the cake: Does it taste as good as it looks? Not many people will appreciate a traditional fondant, for instance. If you have your heart set on something exotic, let him have his own groom's cake -- just the way he likes it. And if you reach a complete impasse, there's always the option of cupcakes in multiple flavors.
Planning the Honeymoon
There's no need to compare fabric swatches or color samples to pick a honeymoon locale! Even guys who are truly clueless about wedding planning will have no trouble booking a flight and hotel room. Best of all, he's likely to have fun researching different honeymoon spots, from romantic beaches to laid-back lodges.
When you're both feeling overwhelmed with wedding planning details, take a break and spend some time daydreaming about the honeymoon. Almost everyone loves to plan a vacation, and booking your honeymoon is a great way to escape the pressures of the wedding for a few hours.
Registering for Gifts
While it's often called a "bridal registry," your wedding day gift list is actually meant for both you and the groom. Instead of handling the registry on your own, let your guy play an equal role in selecting gifts. This process will likely be one of the highlights of your wedding preparations. After all, who doesn't love picking out presents?
You'll want to register for some formal things (grandmothers love buying place settings!), but you don't have to go totally traditional. Focus on items you'll really use. Urge your groom to set up a registry at Home Depot, REI or Best Buy. Bonus: His single friends will feel far more comfortable picking out a tool than buying a piece of crystal.
Finding the Right Food
Between the rehearsal dinner and the reception, a large portion of your wedding will be spent eating food. With so many choices to make, your groom can play a major part by planning the menu. Considering how much most guys love to eat, it should be easy to get him involved in this part of the process -- even if he's not a foodie. At the very least, he'll get to go to tastings with you to compare caterers, and he'll chalk it up to a free lunch or dinner. (We told you he loves deals and negotiations.)
Keep him focused on the menu by reminding him that his buddies probably won't like your selection of foie gras and exotic cheeses. This will keep him motivated so you can work together and create a balanced menu that all your guests will enjoy.
Selecting the Right Music
Deciding on music for the ceremony or reception should be fun for most grooms. It's as simple as choosing his favorite songs and some of yours. Ask him to make a playlist for the DJ as well as a no-play list. If you plan to hire a live band, ask your guy to research some and find out their availability. The two of you can check out each act and enjoy a night on the town at the same time. You can even send him out with his buddies to compare bands while you focus on other aspects of the wedding.
And if your groom is tech-savvy, appoint him Minister of Musical Bliss and let him rig up your iPod and some speakers. With the money you save, he can choose another variety of beer to serve at the reception.
Choosing the Booze
While brides dream of white tulle and perfectly arranged bouquets, many grooms prefer to dream about microbrews and wowing their frat brothers with an open bar. Choosing the booze is one part of wedding planning that most guys won't leave up to the bride. After all, his friends will never let him hear the end of it if none of their favorites are available at the reception.
If the bar is one of his top priorities, run with it! Let him take charge of planning the drink selections. It'll give him an excuse to hold a wine- or beer-tasting with his buddies. He may even get creative and create a signature cocktail for the big day. While he's distracted, you can spend a little longer finding the perfect pair of shoes for the ceremony.
Showing off His Skills
If your groom can't manage to fake enthusiasm over the bar menu or even the music, it may be time to take advantage of his special skills or interests. Think about what he's best at, and then find ways to put these skills to use.
Has he got an artistic flair? Ask him to design the invitations or wedding announcements. Some creative types may even want to take on designing custom wedding bands. Have your music-minded fiancé compose a special song for the ceremony or reception, or simply perform a song you both love. Handymen can build a wooden altar for the ceremony, while those with an eye for photography can choose the best photo spots and poses. Grooms with technical skills can develop a photo slideshow to play during the rehearsal dinner, or take charge of designing the wedding Web site.
The key to getting your guy involved with planning is to get him interested in a specific task -- then give him free rein. Brides, be gentle and don't micromanage. And above all, have a little fun with him!
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- Lazarus, Jennifer. "How to Get Your Groom Involved in the Planning." Bridal Guide. Date Unknown. (July 1, 2010). http://www.bridalguide.com/advice/article.cfm?aID=983
- Naylor, Sharon. "The Top 25 Wedding-Planning Jobs for Grooms." Pash Weddings. Oct. 1, 2006. (July 1, 2010).http://www.pashweddings.com/content/articles/120/1/The-Top-25-Wedding-Planning-Jobs-For-Grooms/Page1.html
- Offbeat Bride. "9 Ways to Get Your Groom Involved." Aug. 17, 2009. (July 1, 2010).http://offbeatbride.com/2009/08/involving-your-groom
- The Groom Guide. "Complete Groom Responsibilities." Date Unknown. (July 1, 2010). http://www.thegroomguide.com/groomduties3.html