Prev Next

Wedding Sexism (This Time, It’s For Men)


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

We talk a lot about the way our culturally prescribed role’s as women negatively affect our wedding planning, or lord, our roles as wife. But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and David and I have been doing a lot of talking, about how the culturally expected role’s for men are… in a word… heartbreaking.

Talking just in terms of weddings, our culture demands that while the wedding day is our EVERYTHING the wedding day is the grooms NOTHING. Or worse, it’s a trial he has to slog through to keep his woman happy. In many ways I found the expected gender roles more exhausting than David did during wedding planning, because I was the one who suddenly became public property… everyone felt they had a right to comment on our wedding to me, all the time. But for men there is something quieter, and just as insidious at work.

Take this book that I saw this week called Porn For The Bride. It’s working title was clearly called “Whoops! You’re Marring A Douchebag!” It was filled with little statements that apparently brides would love to hear, and grooms would never say. There were the sexist winners like, ‘No, I don’t think $5,000 is too much for a cake!’ (because we’re flighty spendthrifts, obviously), but then there were the far more insidious, ‘I think it will be so much more meaningful if we write our own vows,’ because obviously weddings aren’t supposed to mean anything to men, or ‘Look honey! I bought new shoes, because I think our wedding day is that important.’ Which is a double whammy. David isn’t supposed to think our wedding day is important AND he’s not supposed to care about new shoes? Which is really too bad for him, since he bought Italian leather boots, and I wore heels from the back of my closet.

And then there are conversations like this one, sent in by reader Melanie.

So, today my partner met a work colleague of mine for the first time. Conversation went roughly like this:

‘Hey, I’m Mel’s partner’

‘Oh, hey, so you guys are getting married this year right?’

‘Yep’

‘So how’re you feeling about that?’

‘Excited, and a bit scared, but it’ll be great’

When he told me this later, I said ‘really? you’re scared?’

And he said ‘No, but if you don’t say that, people think you’re lying or that you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into’

These pre and post marriage conversations aimed at men slowly break my heart. Because our poor men. They deserve so much more in life than what they are supposed to feel. They deserve so much more out of their weddings, and out of their marriages. And until they get it? Well, we’re all suffering together.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

More in Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10194642268693774873 MinnaBrynn

    Even though FH and I both go to almost every vendor meeting, vendors almost exclusively address me. Even after I say things like "Oh, I don't care, this is really FH's thing" and do everything I can to defer to his opinions (woah, that doesn't sound like me at all), they still address me. Actually, they usually laugh like it's a joke, then still address me. I want to start off meetings with something like "FH is a graphic designer and really cares about [fill in the blank]. I'm usually a control freak but I'm choosing not to care so I don't go crazy. Talk to him and I'll speak up if I hate something." (It's either that or meet vendors online so FH can pretend to be the bride and I'll be the groom and the vendor can be happy). But, these are the same people who laugh and say "You mean YOUR day" when I make the mistake of calling it OUR day in front of them. At least it's a quick way to determine whether or not we'll be working with someone…

  • http://www.themadienmetallurgist.com The Maden Metallurgist

    Truth!

    For us, Josh was the one all about marriage, and I was the one who was more ambivalent, and then more scared. He was amazing, nurturing, thoughful and every bit as into planning the weddin as I eventually was- which, to be fair wasn't that much.

    But into the mariage- he never got he cold feet. I did, about a thousand times, but he was always there to briung me back to the ground.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14777256436410947345 McV

    Gaaah! And it doesn't stop at the wedding! I was supposed to stay home one day to meet with a window covering company…we'll call them "Blinds Tomorrow"…I was the one with the most vacay available so I was staying home. Husband ended up staying home because I had a work emergency. Our blinds consultant was late and called to let me know so I let HER know that Husband would be meeting her not me. She hesitated and then very confusedly said, um, well will he know what to do? does he know what you want? Well I know he's not Martha Stewart, but he does live in the house and have opinions so I imagine he is fully capable of discussing the window coverings with you…REALLY? REALLY? I was shocked by that. Shocked that she was shocked and skeptical that I would leave a poor ignorant husband home to discuss the blinds. I supposed I'm just lucky I didn't end up with beer cases power stapled to the window frame…

    :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00379596904318935981 Liz

    haha. people asked josh if he was scared ALL the time. and he would say, "…nope. and i don't think i should be."

  • mcd511

    So.much.WORD.

    I found this wayyy worse AFTER the wedding. Apparently now I have taken on a new part time job as Social Planner for my husband. A handful of his/our friends now contact me to make plans with him. I deflect these inquiries by simply stating "I don't know what he is up to on *insert date/time here*, I'd just contact him directly" but it gets annoying and its time consuming and it gets weird reactions. I didn't realize he was apparently off the hook forever and I am the Official Spokesperson for Us now. Blegh.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07809921821660723606 Alix

    This is a really interesting topic. One thing that struck my husband and I during wedding planning was the number of comments from married men that he got to the effect of "don't do it," "you're giving up your life," "there's still time to change your mind" … and other ridiculous cliches. My husband's sister's husband said to him, in front of me, directly after our ceremony, "dead man walking." They celebrated their first anniversary the day after our wedding. I know the comments are meant to be jokes, but they just made both of us uncomfortable.

    Why are men "supposed" to be opposed to marriage? Is it because they're not "supposed" to show emotion?

    I must say it was refreshing when my husband's friend told us, maybe a month before our wedding, that being married was the most awesome thing ever.

  • cc

    So many people (by which I mean EVERYONE) told my fiance that his job was just to smile and nod through the wedding process, that it took me months to convince him I actually wanted his opinion!

    He always got the 'scared' thing, too. I think his usual response was, "Uh, no? Why should I be?"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11790093578016960912 Abby-Wan Kenobi

    So true! Thanks, Meg for bringing this up. It is sooo painful.

    People ask us about the wedding plans all the time and my FH often just puts up his hands as if in surrender and says "Ask her, its her day. Its all about her." Which is both untrue and sort of hurtful. He's been equally involved in the planning and decision-making and we've spent a lot of time talking about what we want our wedding to be like.

    Unfortunately, in social situations he never owns up to this because it's "not his place" or something. Then, he gets ignored in the conversation (which he doesn't mind because rehashing all the details bores him) and I get to try and explain all the untraditional aspects of our wedding to people who I don't particularly care to answer to. Often, his friends' spouses who I don't know very well.

    Like most sexism, this is lose-lose. FH lies and pretends like our wedding doesn't matter to him, or worse that I'm a domineering control-freak. I have to take full responsibility for everything people like or hate about our wedding. It's most annoying because our wedding is going to be such a good representation of the two of us, but all the talking about it is a terrible reflection of our relationship. And I'm pretty sure it's bad for our relationship.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11575834126606152875 miss fancy pants (the bride)

    Pft, I think my Mr. is less scared to get married that I am. While I obviously am all for getting married, the idea of strapping myself to one person for the rest of my life is a little scary. But he doesn't have any of that apprehension and that seems to confuse people because I've gotten comments similar to the "dead man walking" gem.
    The thing that bothers me the most about the gender roles is that people automatically assume that our entire wedding is all me. My dad even went so far to say that the Mr. should have his own blog to "fight back" against the opinions on mine. But what people don't seem to get is that (though it is technically my blog because I started it), it still chronicles OUR wedding, it includes many of his opinions, dislikes and likes because our wedding has been a mutual creation. I hate when people assume that brides are control freaks and the grooms are running away from her with their tail between their legs, so to speak. Because, honestly, as far as we go, a lot of the time he does let me make wedding decisions because he knows that most things simply matter more to me than they do to him. People misinterpret his laid back-ness as cowardice, which could not be farther from the truth… grr.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03561470902921572737 Sarah

    the wedding sexism is the worst part of it all, i think.

    because the truth is? my fiancĂŠ wants to help me plan this wedding every step of the way. he has given our day so much thought and effort that i could kiss him {and think i will!}… however, not only does nobody ask his opinion on our wedding, but they straight out have said things like "aw honey he's either gay or lying to you about how much he cares about the wedding! this is YOUR day, not his!"

    uhhhhh. hold the phone, whaaat?

    yeah. i thought this was supposed to be our day? in fact, we really wished we could elope so as to completely make it "our day" but we were benevolent enough to want to share it with others, even the others who come up with gems like "he must be gay."

    effed up? yes and yes.

    also? i overheard my co-worker talking about her own wedding… she was complaining about how involved her husband-to-be wanted to be in regards to the wedding. she was peeved that she had to cooperate and include his opinion on HER day. straight quote, "no. there is no cooperation. this is MY day, and it's a wedding not a marriage!" (that is, she didn't feel she should have to cooperate on anything until AFTER the marriage)

    meg, i think you are on to a sad sick problem in weddingdom.

  • mcd511

    "aw honey he's either gay or lying to you about how much he cares about the wedding! this is YOUR day, not his!"

    YES. I got this from people as well. My husband is a graphic designer and perfectionist and helped me with every aspect of the planning minus the flowers (even though of course, I was the vendor contact whether I was working on the project or not no matter how many times I passed them along to him). People just refuse to believe that some guys care, and it sad that if they do, they are tagged as gay or scared into submission.

  • Emily

    @MinnaBrynn – I've had the same experience with some of our wedding vendors. Kudos to you for refusing to work with people who operate under this mindset!

    When I first contacted the events coordinator at the college chapel where we're having our ceremony, I tried to set up a day and time for my fiance to meet with her and sign the contract (his work schedule is more flexible than mine, so he agreed to go it alone). The vendor was surprised and said that, while my fiance could come look at the chapel, he couldn't sign the contract or make a payment because "everything is done exclusively through the bride." Wait…what? I mean, this is a man who's teaching himself linoleum block printing so that he can make all of our invitations by hand. And he can't sign a piece of paper saying we're getting married at such-and-such a place? He can't put down the initial deposit? Like he's so totally not invested in our wedding that he's, what, going to try to pay you with monopoly money? Insanity.

  • Anonymous

    Ditto the commenters above who said that their male partners were much more straight-up committed to marriage from the get-go. I was the ambivalent one. And I was the one who wanted to elope. And I was the one totally stressed out during planning because everyone assumed I was calling all the shots. Absolutely right that this attitude is not helping anyone. I also think that one of the reasons I wanted to elope is because I *knew* even before I was engaged that this is the way it would go down, and I just wanted to avoid the yearlong exposure to this kind of stupid sexism.

  • Anonymous

    Thankfully we haven't experienced any of these comments from either sets of friends. All my husband's friends were genuinely really excited for him/us. But it dose make me sad how much this attitude is pushed by the mainstream wedding "media". I don't know how many magazine articles I've read about picking out your husbands suit/tie/button thingy to match your colors/napkins/whatever. Let the man where what he wants! We're both planning the wedding because we both want to have a fun and memorable day. Neither of us want to be brought along for the ride. Btw My guy is also scouting some super swanky shoes for the occasion and is totally excited about it!

  • Anonymous

    whoops, that should be wear. Also I'll second the other ladies saying, I wanted a small courthouse thing and he wanted the big family shindig.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09205834053341559060 Faith

    Thank you:)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10323993039912422459 Kristie B

    My D and I have talked about this so many times during the whole wedding planning process. It is OUR wedding, not MY wedding. The bride is not always right (unless it is about colour combination, but only because I'm an artist). The groom does have a say in every decision. Honestly, the next person who tells D that his job is to show up & smile, I'm going to punch them in the face (and I don't hit like a girl).

    On top of that, D took a long time to ask me to marry him (after years of us discussing the pros and cons). If he wasn't 100% sure about doing this or if he was still afraid of commitment – he wouldn't have asked. Why am I supposed to be excited and giddy and he's supposed to be scared? Why can't I be freaked out?

    Our wedding planning has mostly fallen on me because I'm into planning weddings, artistic, better at finding stuff on the internet… Also, D is more focused on our marriage than the wedding which I think is admirable, so I try not to harp on him too much about invitations, etc. Our wedding planning so far has more or less been me finding 5 or so options, showing them to him, talking it over together and booking. If he hasn't liked something I was really into, we didn't do it. Come to think of it, this is how our relationship goes too.

    I think societies pressures on men are just as stressful. They are supposed to be providers, not cry, have it all figured out… Well, I'll say right now that my son will not be raised that way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05919042579927071379 Laura

    My absolute favorite conversation is this one, which I have had three times now.
    Person: Oh, when's your wedding?
    Me: August 14
    Person: SO SOON! Did you whip out the bridal magazine the minute you got engaged?!?
    me: Uh…actually Jim and I picked the date together. It was the soonest we could do it.
    Person: BOY you are really rushing him down the aisle! Ha ha ha!
    Me: Uh. Ha ha. *smile and nod, try not to throttle anyone*
    Apparently my fiance was supposed to have proposed so we could be engaged for several years and THEN set a date. Because all men hate marriage and are terrified. In Jim's words, "I didn't propose so we could be engaged".

  • Melissa

    Amen. My husband wasn't all that involved in the wedding planning because he was working more than I was at the time. But on the day of the wedding, while reading vows and afterwards while we caught our breath alone, he was the one who cried.

    Men feel the same strong emotions that we do, and it's a shame society doesn't allow them to show it. I'm grateful to have married a man who can cry. As women, not just brides, it's our responsibility to let them know it's OK. It's our responsibility to let men care about things outside of their gender role.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17528761221178162293 sarahdipity

    I jokingly refer to our wedding as my fiance's wedding. He emails the vendors and is the one in contact with them. I have noticed that since he's the one that starts the contact the vendors take him very seriously and don't just look at me. It's very very nice.

    I'd say that the wedding will probably more reflect his taste and his personality. Sometimes that makes it hard for me to get excited about every single little detail but I love knowing that he helps me with things. I want a partner in my marriage and that means that sometimes not ever detail of our lives is exactly what I would pick.

    I joke that I'm going to start a blog called "He Planned Our Wedding." I really think more discussion about some of the fun ideas that come from the male perspective would be interesting.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06985820953743653787 Ms. Bunny

    I feel particularly lucky at this point. After Meg's post about the married men telling David he should get out, I asked Mr. Beagle if he's had any comments like that. I was very surprised and encouraged to hear he hasn't. I guess we have a particularly good group of friends (and most of his friends are women and they want us married).

    Also, since Mr. Beagle is a wedding photojournalist, I've been pretty interested to see that almost half of the potential clients that contact him are the groom. Who says men don't care about stuff like that? I sat in on a meeting last night (since I sometimes act as his assistant) and the groom was the one calling the shots in regards to the photography. It's a shame some vendors don't treat both halves of the engaged couple equally.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00650933140736435170 Giggles

    A friend loaned us a book when we got engaged called "The Groom's Survival Guide." The book implied that a wedding was something a groom just had to get through, to survive, and that it would be real hard for him. I read it, and told my husband that if he was marrying someone else, that book might apply. But he was marrying me, so he didn't need to read it.

    One of my friends was actually completely shocked that my husband had a say in where we got married. It was actually his decision. Apparently all the wedding decisions were supposed to be made by me.

    So does that mean that after the wedding we switch and he makes all the decisions? Isn't it better to go into a marriage with both on board and involved in everything?

  • http://pronkyeah.wordpress.com Michelle

    This topic deserves many more posts, and I'd love to hear from more men on this.

    I think the stay-out-of-the-bridezilla's way stereotype is a shame. But don't you see the same
    "dumb male who needs a woman to provide food and beer and remind him what day it is" in every commercial? It's not just wedding world where men are represented as incompetent.

    Examples of wedding vendor sexism: I pointedly said to our caterer, "D is the cook. He's in charge of the menu," and she continued to direct every comment at me. Our photographer contract states that the photographer and the bride make the final decisions if there are any questions that come up.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Mrs. Bunny
    I don't think it was David's friends who said anything (I'd be pretty shocked, especially since so many of his friends are women or gay…) But he's a law student, and he works in law as well, and he interacts with a lot of older men (50's, 60's). I think *that* is where the comments come in.

    @Michelle
    As I hinted in the post, this is a much-bigger-than-weddings problem. But it's easier to talk about it (or start talking about it) in the context of weddings because it's very specific. It's like how when I point out sexism towards women in weddings, everyone is like, "Uh huh uh huh yep," but when I talk about the same sexism in married life half of you are like, "Preach it sister," and then some people are like, "OH MY GOD WHAT THERE IS NOT A PROBLEM AT ALL NO PROBLEMS HERE! SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP."

    By which I mean to say, I think it's harder to acknowledge the really big pervasive things – like the gender roles in marriage that permeate every aspect of popular culture (movies, sitcoms, commercials, etc, etc)… because that makes it seem like a much bigger trap that we might ALL fall into if we don't watch out. And lets face it, it's scary. I mean, I get scared when I think about it too much.

  • Anonymous

    THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! I think every lady in the wedding-blogosphere has admitted to wanting to elope, and most of us had a fiance who wanted the ceremony + thewholenineyards. This is certainly the case for me personally; I have a fiance who wants a big fancy wedding and every time I mention it in front of anyone, they give him the eye and say "I bet this is all she talks about yuk-yuk-yuk" …

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11502258378291293510 Kathleen

    I really freaking love this blog. You always have the best, most thought-provoking posts of all the ones I read! Thanks for continuing to help shed light on all these great topics. You rock!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14994374749738180430 Katie Jane Parker

    This is officially my all-time favorite blog in the universe. Ever. You always articulate things that I have been thinking about so perfectly.

    This is such a sensitive issue for me. My FH is so opinionated and has lots of good ideas, and I feel like this day will be a true reflection of BOTH of us. But when we're out in public, everyone always says things to my FH like, "Don't worry, all you have to do is show up." And he doesn't really know what to say back, because he is doing more than showing up. Obviously. I used to ignore it, but it's really gotten under my skin, and I find myself getting so worked up about it. I want people to know that he is just as involved as I am. It just makes me crazy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04154437214863851299 What Deliciousness

    Everything in your post is so very true. We are getting married on Saturday and this week is one wedding related social event after another. Without fail the bloke to bloke comment is 'are you looking forward to the weekend? It's not too late you know!'If I said 'yeah, that's true, let's cancel it' I am sure people would be less amused. So strange.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06648909402880706542 Mandy

    Yes. SO yes. We're lucky to be artistic people in in an artsy, eclectic town, so a lot of our friends and peers are very open to the whole "groom-involvement" idea, but BOTH families expect me to have all the answers. Even his mother (who I love DEARLY and am actually excited to get to have her as a mother-in-law) calls ME instead of her son to ask about wedding stuff.

    And the real kicker? Even though we both care about the same details equally…I haven't a clue about most of the details that go into a wedding, and he does. HE'S the one who was conference manager at a resort, he's the one who worked more weddings than most people ever end up attending in their lives. People know this. Our families know this. And yet all the questions are still directed at the girl who wants to have the wedding in a field and valet park guests cars at the nearby Wal-Mart (yes, really, I tried to pitch the idea because I didn't think it'd be that bad, and my mother told me I was crazy and joked about how she couldn't believe she sent me to college and this was as smart as I got. I thought I was being ingenuitive).

    …I think I'm going to have to go write a blog post of my own about this, because I feel this comment is going to become insanely long with my thoughts if I don't.

  • Nina

    Oh yes, the prescribed gender roles are tough to deal with. Generally I am the one behind the scenes figuring out appointments etc. (but I'm a planner, this is just my role generally) but we go to all the meetings together and make decisions about everything together. But yet the vendors will only ever address me and even when I try to CC my boyfriend on all emails, they reply to just me. Our friends have been good generally (because they are/have boyfriends who would also be invested in the wedding) but relatives will surely look to me when it comes to anything non-traditional we go with.
    And as for becoming his personal planner (since obviously he is too dumb/lazy to keep track of his own plans etc.), that assumption already drives me crazy and will surely only get worse with the wife title. We can only hope this gender stereotype will fade over time as relationships become more balanced.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09475696595490878884 syncopated soul

    This post hit very close to home.

    My partner and I met at The University of Scranton which, for a Catholic school, has some bad-ass feminist classes/professors. Both me and the hubby are very pro-equal rights so when the time came to get married we didn't know what to do.

    Originally, I just wanted to have a commitment ceremony on the beach with pizza and cheap wine. We ended up having a 150 people affair in a castle with the big white dress and everything. Fortunately, my husband was with me 100% of the way. He was interested in the flowers, the linen colors, and even my kick ass outlet found jimmy choos (which I will wear forever and ever amen).

    He got some crap for actually giving a damn, but most people were just impressed that he was as invested in our ceremony as I was. We both wanted our big day to be a reflection of who we are as a couple. If he wasn't along for every step of the way, that wouldn't be representative of who we are as a couple. And, ultimately, that was what our big day was about… showing our loved ones a little more about who we are.

    The point of this little rant is that a) guys can/do give a damn about the wedding planning and society should get its act together and appreciate couple equality!

  • Sarah

    Meg, this reminds me a lot of the conversation you and David had about how older men were telling him that getting married was a mistake… After reading that, I thought about it. Then a few weeks later, I remember mentioning something about it to my FH. He looked at me with surprise, and said "Wow, really? No one's said anything like that to me!" To which, I was glad of course. "What do people say to you?" "Usually just congrats or something like that. Or make a joke about enduring the wedding planning process [read: b*zilla]". Me: [grimace]

    So if our men aren't being scared off by other men's comments about how torturous marriage is, then in the least, they're being goaded with stereotypes of psychotic brides. argh!

    @mcd511 – my FMIL told me about 6 months ago that I had to start keeping track of all FH's family and friends b-days & other important dates now, b/c "When the guy forgets to note these things, people blame it on the wife, you know…" Me: "No offense, but I have enough of my own things to worry about. If people want to blame me for something FH forgets, that's their problem."

    Sheesh!!!
    (do I need to remind FH to wear underwear in the morning now, too??) :P

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06990466546123333194 Kyley

    I think it's interesting and upsetting that when people make rude or cruel or insulting comments to us, we don't feel comfortable sticking up for ourselves/our partners. Damn socialization.

    Meg, thank you for continuing to bring sanity and thoughtfulness to the blogosphere.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03561470902921572737 Sarah

    @Kyley
    "I think it's interesting and upsetting that when people make rude or cruel or insulting comments to us, we don't feel comfortable sticking up for ourselves/our partners. Damn socialization."

    I mean. What do you say to someone who jokes that your partner must be gay just because he cares about a defining day in your relationship?

    I politely smile and say, "no, he's not. We view the wedding as OUR day and feel uncomfortable having me make all the decisions for him."

    And then people blank out. They don't want to hear that a man can like weddings, it's just not in their social frame of reference.

    That social framework? That's what needs to change.

    It's good for people to see examples of couples who "deviate" from the "norm" ie: that some women just aren't that into weddings. Some men are. And it's completely fine and natural. {It's probably how many men/women feel but can't admit.}
    Doesn't mean anyone's gay (though if they are, that's fine, too, of course).

    … You know?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13823420867510838406 The Future Mrs. Hambrick

    My fiancĂŠ was reading this post over my shoulder earlier today– well, he saw that it said "for men" and asked me to read it out loud– and then proceeded to tell me that he had been getting comments from people long before we got engaged about how everything changes when you get married and the woman turns into some crazy nagging wife, with the worst connotations of the word. He's never mentioned it to me before, and I guess it doesn't bother him.

    As far as the planning process goes: He called a possible venue today and set up an appointment for us to go see it. He was the one to find the place, research it, get contact information, and make the phone call– with no prompting at all. All I had to do was tell him when I was free to go. Not to say that I'm not a part of the process, or that I was surprised that he took responsibility. We simply are working together on this. I'm the one who gets all stressed out about the whole thing, and he's the one who calms me down and gets things done. And while neither of us have gotten cold feet yet, you can bet it will probably be me and not him.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03624279528818860970 Saint Mae

    I love that I found this article through the man of a couple whose wedding I'll be performing in a few months.

    There was a guy at an old job of mine who wore this incredibly offensive shirt from time to time with the outline of a bride and groom that said GAME OVER (Google "game over wedding shirt" to see what I am referring to).

    The thing that shocked me is that this man is married. What? He wore this to work at a professional software company where he is a low level manager. I would be so horrified and embarrassed if anyone I was involved with wore something like that, and it would probably end my friendship with someone who gave that to my partner as a gift.

    Why would you want to marry someone who felt that creating a lifelong partnership with you was "game over" ?? Ugh.

  • April

    My husband wasn't wholly involved with the wedding hysteria at first (I call it hysteria because planning would indicate an actual plan, and – well, *gasp* we had none. EEEK!). But roughly 2 months before "We Do" when the big time, nightly crying jags and hair-tearing-out festivities began, he really came thru most beautifully tidying up all the loose ends, offering advice (both solicited and unsolicited) and – Buddha Bless Him – making escort cards, printing table numbers, tracking down errant guests, and racing around town 2 days before the wedding hunting down the right size cylinders for the centerpieces and buying more tealights than any straight man should.

    For that, I owe him. And I agree, it sucks that women are seen as the major party planner for the wedding and the men remain an afterthought. How sad.

    I'm SOOO glad that our wedding was a joint effort. OK, more like 70/30, but still – he helped. He totally helped. And when I switched into Type-A mode and the only help I'd accept was the kind that came out of a bottle, well, he was there. No cold feet, no worries, just smiles and support.

    Well, along with the always well-meaning, "Um, you're crazy – we don't need [insert random crazy insane wedding item that was making my head explode]. Next item, my love."

  • Anonymous

    This is a truly timely post. Last night I was doing some vendor wrangling, and my fiance some other work on his computer. (My fiance is much closer to the classic "You-plan-it-all-my-only-job-is-to-show-up-right?" stereotype which is interesting as he's so attentive and thoughful about everything else. Despite being slightly mystified, I slog on.) And suddendly he looked up and said, "Thanks for doing all of this. I just looked through all the e-mails you CC'ed me on and all the people you hired are awesome. The place looks really cool. This is gonna be a really fun time. Let me know if you need any help." Then just like that, he was back to his screen…and I have never loved him more.

    It is so sad, like many people posted above, that the sexism around weddings paralysed him so deeply he hadn't even looked at ANY of the e-mails over a YEAR of planning. He just asked me about a suit this morning. I almost cried.

  • Cate Subrosa

    After we got married, my husband said, "I wish I'd had even some idea just how great it was going to be. I would have spent so much more time looking forward to it."

    Damned sexist culture told him he couldn't look forward to it, robbed him of that.

  • KD

    Interesting post – I guess it's easy to overlook that bias when it doesn't surround you immediately. I guess I should feel thankful for that.

    My boyfriend and I did have a good laugh over this article though…

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2029326_haircut-groom-wedding.html

    particularly the later steps in the process. Ummm are you marrying a 12-year old?

    oh and @McV… you made me laugh out loud at my desk "I supposed I'm just lucky I didn't end up with beer cases power stapled to the window frame…"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06990466546123333194 Kyley

    @KD, that article is hysterical! it practically mocks itself it's so absurd.

    @Saint Mae, sadly that shirt doesn't make me want to laugh, only cry.

    @Sarah, I hope my comment didn't sound like I was criticizing anyone for their various responses to other people's rudeness. I think it's too bad their isn't an easy way to call people on their asshattery, you know?

    It upsets me that other people get to say these comments the belittle your partnership (while reinforcing sexism and sometimes homophobia) and their line of thought is so pervasive and socially acceptable that it's your responsibility to, more or less, take it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @KD
    I think that's my point. We should all pay more attention. I mean, I live in San Francisco dude, where men are allowed to do ANYTHING… like take you on dates to drag performances anything (check, check, check). But that doesn't mean this stuff isn't still there – commercials, movies, magazines, assholes you talk to in passing… it's all around. And when we start thinking it's ok to think and talk about it, and say it's not ok, THAT'S when things start to change.

  • brendalynn

    As usual, love this post! My fiance has been opinionated from the get-go, and probably kept us from eloping b/c of HIS desire to have a real, live wedding. I treasure this in him.

    But I've been surprised by who has made subtle objections to his involvement. Some of my closest friends have attempted to sympathize with me: "Wow, trying to plan a wedding with your fiance must be so irritating!" Um. What? And my parents have also stated clearly that the wedding is "our family" thing, and really the groom's family–or ahem, the groom–doesn't have to be involved in planning the wedding pretty much at all.

    I've responded firmly and politely. But… still surprised.

    Oh, and can I just say @Meg: Have you finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed" yet? I read it, loved it, and based on your comments in this post (and OK, your whole wonderful blog) I imagine you might find a more kindred soul there than you may have imagined. Thanks to these two man-focused posts, Chabon's "Manhood" is next on my (recently Chabon-heavy) reading list. Thanks again!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06476109926329778266 lupinbunny

    Once we started getting contracts and whatnot together I decided we needed something to put them in, and one of those wedding planning binders with the pre-printed dividers seemed like a good idea. Until I discovered that *every single one* was for brides-only. The picture on the front would be of just a bride. One I found was actually titled "My Wedding"!

    We ended up buying a plain blue binder and blank dividers writing "Gettin' Hitched" down the spine.

    BTW, while I shortlist vendors, BCB is the one who deals with them when it comes to getting quotes and all that jazz. Which is pretty much how our relationship always works. I plan, he executes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14423309373403650082 basketcase

    @Emily – Yikes with the fiance not being wanted at a booking meeting!! My Fiance is the money, and has signed all paperwork that relates to money – the deposit on the venue and photographer so far. I do the research, he gets involved in making the final decisions.

    The only complaint I get from him is that sometimes I discuss things (like when we are making the invitations) with my BridesMaid, and forget to tell him what we have discussed, so the first he hears is "Oh, we are doing this…". I have to work on that one!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03959198677265277596 Dedispol

    Hear, Hear! In this society, men's emotions and reactions are completely marginalized. It's nice to know that my fiance, Keith, is not the only man out there with the ability to be a complete human being. The only thing we, as women, can do is to keep encouraging the men around us to step out of the stereotypical "sitcom assh*ole" role.

  • http://whitehindu.blogspot.com Carolyn

    When one of my friends got married last year, her husband took her maiden name as a middle name. When they went to do the official name changes, the clerk told him, “You can’t change your name, you’re a man.” He had to speak to her supervisor to get it processed.

  • K

    Great post and comments. I’m coming to this late but it’s of course still timely!

    We’re getting married soon, and my parents have had a lot of influence in the wedding planning. My FH truly doesn’t care about most of the details – he wants a meaningful ceremony, and he wants to be able to focus on getting married rather than food/decorations/making sure everyone gets along. I’m less interested in the details as it gets closer too – my mom cares the most, so we’re leaving many of the decisions to her.

    What FH IS excited about is being married to me, and he tells me so frequently. He’s really committed to me and our relationship, and after 4+ years of dating and 1.5 years of living together, and lots of talks about our expectations and wants, he knows “what he’s getting into.” Which gets me to my point (sorry for rambling) – it drives me crazy when other men warn him about marriage and try to talk him out of it. Especially when his FATHER does it. As commenters above have said, if he didn’t want to marry me he wouldn’t have asked. It’s degrading to both of us when others assume that he doesn’t know what he’s doing and that I will make his life worse, not better.

    Those comments seem to come from men who are not happy with their marriages and don’t take responsibility for their relationships. Is that your experience too?