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Ask Team Practical: Less Interested Partners and Planning


Ask Team Practical: Less Interested Partners and Planning | A Practical Wedding

I’ve read all gender-related advice on APW and on progressive wedding blogs, asserting how important it is to plan a wedding for two people and not take the “this is MY day so it’s all about ME-ME-ME ” attitude. But here’s the problem: I feel like my fiancé does not want to be included.

I’m a teacher, so I have convenient work hours. He just started his own business, so he’s at the office 24/7, and when he’s home he basically just wants to sleep. Plus I’m kind of a Type A control freak, spending my free time choosing over different shades of blue for the reception because, you know, Tiffany blue just ain’t the same as turquoise, and I will not be mixing them. So I guess I can understand how he does not feel like doing all of it with me. But I feel like he should want to participate in picking at least some parts of the wedding, like the texts for the ceremony, our first dance, our rings.

I’ve tried time and time again to include him in these and he listens to me very nicely but it never goes further. We are having what I consider to be a “big” wedding (100 guests) when I wanted a small one (max 30 guests) because he wanted all his family there, which I get, but now I feel like all that matters is to invite x and y and to have a big party. I’m worried that our commitment to each other just does not matter as much to him. So I feel angry, and frustrated, and disappointed.  I just would like to feel like I’m not alone and not the only one who cares.

Am I the only bride-to-be feeling that way ? Do you think I should try to talk to him about this again? Or should I just get over myself and just be happy that I’ve found the love of my life and that we’re going to have the best party ever to begin our life together ?

~ Desperate Frenchy

Dear DF,

Let me lay it on you: one partner being more interested in planning is a common problem. (Please note that I’m offering up a strictly American point of view. Your French compatriots in the comments will have to give the Gallic point of view…) Sometimes that can be an indicator of a bigger problem within the relationship, but that’s not something APW is at all qualified to discuss. What we will say is that if there are other warning signs within your relationship, I urge you to talk to a counselor and work on your relationship together.

But if lack of interest is just the biggest prevailing problem, let me say this: You need to cut your partner some slack and whip them into shape. Let me explain…

Wedding planning is not a latent talent that suddenly becomes activated the second you get a ring on your finger. If that were the case, a lot of fabulous and amazing wedding planners would be out of a job. It can be a great opportunity for you to use your great taste to throw a kick-a** party, or it can be a herculean task akin to dental work, or a little bit of both. Whatever it is for you, it is a job that is suddenly thrust on your shoulders by society because you’re the bride. And if your partner is a groom, society considers his job to be the 3 Ss: Suit up, Show up and Shut up until it’s time to say “I do.” And do not think that a couple that consists of two brides or two grooms has it any easier; the pressure is often much worse. (“Two girls planning a wedding? That should be SO EASY…” or “Gay men’s weddings are ALWAYS so stylish!” Blech.)

My point is that when you’re planning your wedding, you need to consider each others’ personalities as well as what you want the décor to be. Working towards gender equality does not mean that every decision is made together; it means that the bulk of the work in any one area does not get assigned to a particular partner because of their gender. Some people just really and truly won’t care about most aspects of a wedding. There’s nothing wrong with someone not being able to drum up enthusiasm about invitations or ceremony music; they probably just aren’t wired that way. In situations like that, the best thing to do is to sit down, discuss what you want to have in your wedding and figure out who will do the legwork for what. Discuss what each person cares about and how decisions will be handled. And while you’re doing that, make sure that you care about the things that your partner doesn’t. If he doesn’t care about flowers and neither do you, why are you even thinking about them?

When considering your partner’s personality, consider your own. You’ve admitted to being a bit of a control freak and your partner knows that. Think about your previous conversations with him; have you been receptive to his ideas? Often in the face of opposition, some people will just cease to voice their opinions. Your partner may also just be afraid to offer up an opinion, thinking it might be the “wrong” one. Just as it is acceptable for you to pore over the differences between cerulean and glaucous, it is just as acceptable for him to call them both blue and see no reason they shouldn’t be mixed. Keep that in mind when discussing wedding details and make sure the both of you are respecting each other’s tastes and opinions.

That being said, your partner needs to get off his butt and help you. Being wired to not care about flowers does not mean that you can’t weigh in on the decision, or call the damn florist. An expanded guest list was his idea and while you can’t hold him wanting family and friends against him, he also can’t just add people to the guest list and not assist in the extra duties entailed in adding those guests. Talk to your partner about what the details of your first dance and your rings mean to you; they are not just a dance and some jewelry to you, and his input in them is essential. His work may be overwhelming him, but that is no excuse for not participating in other aspects of life. You want a wedding, you have to put in the work.

If you feel you have more time than he does, consider offering up a selection of options that you think will work. Asking him “What do you want to do for a centerpiece?” might be overwhelming, but offering up three options for discussion will be more bearable. Set aside manageable blocks of time to discuss certain aspect of your wedding and only those aspects. For someone who feels inundated with work, an open-ended discussion on invitations may fill them with dread but saying, “Let’s get some wine and talk about invitations for an hour after dinner tonight,” will seem less daunting. He wants his family there, so he recognizes that this is important; just make sure he recognizes what is important to you and respects that also.

Finally, make sure you’re respecting your own time. Relax, make time for other things in your life and don’t make this time into a massive stress-filled experience. You’ve been reading about gender equality on APW, but you’re also reading about how you are not the only lonely bride, and how to stage manage all those crazy details, and how those crazy details often don’t matter, right? No? Then it looks like you have some homework to do, missy…

******

Spill it, Team Practical. Was your partner as involved as you were in wedding planning? How did you handle that? Did you actively try to get them more engaged in the process, or did you enlist outside help and opinions?

Photo: Lauren McGlynn Photography (APW Sponsor)

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com.  If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted.  Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh).  We’re not kidding.  It brings us joy.  What, you don’t want to bring your editors JOY?!?

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  • Eli

    I TOTALLY get this. My partner is kind, loving, thoughtful….but just does nothing for the wedding. I’ve been in the same position in having better hours for planning than he has…but what happens to the weekends, huh?? It’s got to the point where, when I bring up how it’s hurting me that he’s not contributing or trying to take the weight off my shoulders, I get the “not that again” attitude which I find even MORE hurtful.
    What I resent is that I DON’T enjoy the wedding planning actually – but as soon as it becomes apparent you’re the one doing it all, everyone (incl your partner) assumes that you’re doing it because you actually love it! WRONG.
    I am really really struggling with this too sweety – you’re definitely not alone and I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to see that someone else is in the same boat as me. It’s sad feeling isolated at a time when you’re supposed to feel most like a team.

    • Amy

      After finally realizing that my husband did care about some things (food, band, songs for reception) and not about others (pretty much everything else) I finally just sat us both down and split the list. He got to take over the entire honeymoon planning, be the primary point of contact for the photographer, and run the majority of the errands, and I took on the other things. Once we had a clear division of labor things got easier…though not perfect. Revisiting the division of labor in the final home stretch when you’re both swamped with stuff is also crucial!

    • Marie

      I’m so sorry you’re having the same troubles we had ! Apparently it’s fairly common, also I guess sometimes men don’t feel like they should have a say, everyone is always saying stuff to the bride like “it’s your day” which is SO ridiculous. Have you thought about stopping wedding prep altogether and eloping ? I mean, if neither of you enjoy it but you still want to get married, maybe it’s because you don’t really want a wedding, you just want a marriage (which is so much better !!!) Or, as Amy suggested, work out a “division of labor” in which he gets his fair share of wedding work, or if you still have the bulk of it, maybe he can take care of the house for a little while ? You know, cleaning,shopping, cooking, this kind of things ? I know this idea does not fit the ideal of the wedding that is sooooo perfect and a wonderfuuuuuuuul image of who you are as a couple… But it could be the better way for you (us!) to stay sane and that’s pretty important too right ??? :)
      Of course, I may be completely out of line telling you this, these just are some of the solutions that came to my mind when thinking about this problem when we faced it…

      DF

  • Esme

    Brilliant advice. My husband is one of those strange male creatures who really wanted to be involved, which was great. But, he was all about the details and not the overall organisation/planning. I.e., ‘what colour are the vases going to be?’ but not ‘where can we get vases and which are the cheapest’. So, helpful in some ways, but not in all.

    The main problem we had was that I would be able to get his attention for a short time and then he would either get so involved in something that we wouldn’t have time to get through the list, or he would get distracted by something else. This was a problem because he felt as though we had had ‘wedding time’ that week, but I knew there was still a million things that needed doing.

    So, my advice is to set aside time slots, as Alyssa suggested, and get him enthused about something. Then you do the stuff that you like and everything else? DELIGATE. Seriously. I couldn’t have given a toss about which flowers we had, but my sister sat for hours making them all look beautiful. I spent a whole weekend decorating jars for candles, whilst he spent way too long getting the lighting right.

    I some of this works for you. In the end, just remember that this too shall pass and you will have the beautiful wedding memories. xxxx

  • Mallory

    I felt like this a little bit when we first started looking at venues, our first real wedding decision. One thing that helped us was that I was REALLY explicit about what I expected from him. We had planned to talk about wedding stuff over dinner one evening and I actually sent him a email during the day that basically said “I’m going to come to dinner with a written list of things I want to aim for at our wedding, I would really like you to also have a written list when we talk cause it will really show me that you took time to think about these things.” I knew that if I showed up with my notecard and he was just spitballing ideas that he thought of on the last 10 minutes of his drive home, I would feel like he wasn’t contributing equally so I made sure to let him know that in a nice way.
    He’s definitely not as interested in the details as me but I find that if we really communicate about what I expect from him and how important to me that he contribute to those aspects is I don’t feel like I’m carrying more of the weight.

  • Carly S

    We also went through this at the beginning of our engagement. Like you, I am rather Type A with strong opinions. My fiancé thought he was helping me by letting me make all the decisions, while I thought he was uninterested and definitely less than helpful. Clear breakdown of communication. It ended with an embarrassingly dramatic crying session where I believe I asked, between tears, “do you even want to marry me?” The communication was now open and we talked a lot that night about how we could each be helpful for one another, using our own strengths and interests. I did a lot of the cost comparisons and decorative work. He did anything that had to do with music or spreadsheets. He even developed a new skill and interest in graphic design and made our rehearsal dinner invites and maps for the guests. There were still moments when I felt overwhelmed and like I was doing most of the work- but then we talked about it. And it turned out awesome. And we are both SO proud of our wedding.

  • Jess

    From one hard-charging, type-A lady to another, my advice is to give him a chance to come up with an opinion once you ask for his input.

    Luckily, my now-husband was very involved with the parts of wedding planning that interested him. For example, he is a graphic designer, so he designed save-the-dates, invitations, programs, etc. We also had an idea to host a “Wedding Day 5k” – he took that idea and “ran” with it. He organized the whole thing, from the drinks to the race-course, and he designed and had made race t-shirts and age-group prizes. It was so great how it all came together.

    However! I was left with pretty much the rest. He has the better schedule (freelance, while I’m an attorney) so I gave him very concrete tasks to accomplish – i.e. – please call the DJ today to discuss XYZ. That seemed to work well.

    The one area we ran into real trouble was planning the ceremony. I am a very literary person, and subconsciously, for years, I had been collecting bits of poetry and songs that had meaning to me, that I wanted to incorporate into our ceremony. One night, a few weeks before the wedding, I got home and asked to work on the ceremony with him. Then I laid out all the poems/songs I wanted, and asked what poems/songs he wanted to incorporate. He didn’t have anything off the top of his head, and I got really upset that “he must not be interested in our wedding or marriage” because he had no idea what words he wanted to hear during the ceremony – I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but it was a high stress time… I got all weepy, and it was a bad night. Later, he told me that he felt that I had “sprung” the ceremony on him, and that I hadn’t given him enough time to think it through.

    The next day, I sent him links to a bunch of APW posts on readings and vow-writing. And then I left him alone to think about it – a few days later, he came back with a few fabulous ideas that we incorporated into the ceremony. The ceremony was the best part of the day – and I’ll never forget the words that we used (in particular, the poem that he picked to have read was “The Master Speed” by Robert Frost – and now I like to think of the line “together wing to wing and oar to oar” as a tag-line for our marriage!)

    Anyway, he needed time and space to really think about what he wanted because he hadn’t spent time thinking about it before. Because I’m such a take-charge kind of gal, I needed to learn to back off a little to give him that time/space.

    Good luck!!

    • AnotherCourtney

      This same thing happened to me! We’d briefly mentioned writing our own vows, and it came time to sit down and write them out, I came to the table with years worth of picking pieces I liked from various weddings I’d attended, lists of words I wanted to incorporate, the works. He came to the table with…nothing.

      I had the same breakdown and accusations of him not being interested, which offended him greatly. Fortunately, the next day, APW posted that collection of vows, and he printed out pages of comments, then went over them with a highlighter to show me which lines he liked. Backing off and letting him do it his way resulted in some beautiful vows. :)

      Also yes to the “very concrete tasks” idea. I used to get SO FRUSTRATED when I asked him to “look into DJ’s” or “think about ceremony ideas” and he’d come up empty handed. Now, I leave him lists for him to work on when he gets home from work before I do with stuff like “make sure all the names in the program are spelled correctly” or “buy 4 silver 5×7 picture frames that are less than $5 each.” He aces those! (this might seem contrary to “backing off”, but since they’re things he does when I’m not around, he gets to do them his way, and I just see the final result. That works well for both of us!)

      • Mara

        I had a bit of a hard time with the concrete tasks, because I was worried I would come off as being bossy or demanding. It was totally unjustified fear, though – she likes being able to get something done for the wedding without the fear of “doing it wrong.”

        The other thing I’ve had a lot of success with is giving her clear options to choose between. I’ll pick out three or four of something that I love – centerpieces, suits, invitations, etc. – and she gets to pick which one she likes best. Once I narrow it down to something this specific, it’s a lot easier for her to talk about what she likes and doesn’t like. Or, if it’s something she’s really not that concerned about (ie. flowers) she can just pick the option she likes, and that’s what we go with.

        The one caveat with providing options: make sure you would be genuinely happy with any of the options you provide. If you give three choices, but really you love one and the other two are filler, than you’re setting your partner up for the original “doing it wrong” problem, and that’s not fair.

    • Marina

      This. During wedding planning I learned how to say, “I’m going to need your input on this, here are some resources, here’s when I’ll need your opinion by, and if you want to brainstorm before then I’ll keep my judgments off the table unless you ask for them.” Which, um, has come in handy more than a few times since then! It’s a very good marriage skill to build. :) Because really, it’s unfair of me to do hours or weeks or months of research and then expect him to make an immediate decision.

  • lorna

    the advice i can best offer is show him what you mean, not just say it. i would try and engage my other half by talking about cool details or even big things like rings, and he would just look at me blankly. instead, i started showing him images from blogs or magazines or whatever, and eventually he started to have an opinion. i think we are often not nearly as clear in our verbal language as we think we are (especially when we are excited) and often (but not always) men are more visual- there’s a reason they are generally more attracted to video porn and ladies are generally more attracted to the written stuff. start with rings- offbeat bride has some awesome posts on quirky rings for men- and ask him which he likes- even frame it in a “if i was going to buy you one of these, which would you prefer?” way.

    not a magical solution, but something practical you can try!

  • SaraB

    We’ve found that scheduling focused conversations has helped us with wedding planning, vacation planning, and house things. We designate Saturday morning coffee as “chat time”, decide ahead of time what we’re going to talk about so we can prep beforehand, then use the Pomodoro technique during the chat. The Pomodoro technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing on your task, then taking a 5 minute break. It really helps us focus and then have a little time to mull things over before jumping back in for another 25 min (if needed). And if one of us isn’t really interested in the topic, then we only need to sit through one tomato and then the other partner can go off to get things done.

    The other tool we use is rememberthemilk.com. We make shared “To-Do” lists, tag the tasks with our name, and set due dates. We can both see it, check things off, and get email reminders when due dates are coming up. Once you figure out who is doing what, the shared list could help to remind your busy future hubby (and busy you!) what is happening and when, even if you don’t have time for a “check-in” conversation.

    • Cass

      We also scheduled chat times.
      For the most part we talked about the “big picture” of what we wanted to feel like, and what we wanted our guests to feel like.
      Everything else, as long as it wasn’t crazy (I always did a crazy-check for each detail) my husband let me take the reigns, since he was much more interested in having time for school and work.

  • Emily

    When you wrote,

    “We are having what I consider to be a “big” wedding (100 guests) when I wanted a small one (max 30 guests) because he wanted all his family there, which I get, but now I feel like all that matters is to invite x and y and to have a big party. I’m worried that our commitment to each other just does not matter as much to him.”

    …that sounded familiar. Inviting a lot of people and having a big party is my fiance’s #1 priority, the details of how it happens are not. (Like, he wanted to make the ceremony as short as possible so people wouldn’t get bored. Ouch!) But you shouldn’t look at that as a sign that your commitment doesn’t matter as much to him! It’s a sign that he doesn’t have a vision for the details of the formal commitment, he probably only imagines the “I do” part, but he REALLY wants everyone important to him to be there to witness it. Even if the way the ceremony itself reflects your individual relationship and commitment doesn’t matter to him, the traditional aspect of making it publically in front of family in friends clearly does matter. It’s just a different way of looking at it. He loves you! He wants to show everyone! The particular words maybe aren’t important to him but that doesn’t minimize the commitment at all.

    That said, yeah, not having help on details is really frustrating. The decision fatigue post yesterday actually gave me some good new ways to think and talk about how decision making isn’t just about the person who “cares” deciding what to do, it’s about getting things done whether you care or not, so that might be useful. For choosing a photographer, for instance, I’m asking my parents and fiance for opinions because even though they keep saying, “it’s up to you,” I’ve started saying, “okay, thanks, but there’s no clear choice to me, so please help me out with this.” (And that hasn’t even gotten me that far, so I asked a graphic designer friend, which was MUCH more helpful.) And a commenter wrote that since she’s making most of the wedding decisions, she’s turned over everyday decisions like what to have for dinner to her fiance, which sounds really helpful to me.

  • Aline

    I had the same problem. I made it worse by reading too many wedding blogs, having too many ideas and thinking of all the little details way too much… So when I asked my fiancé anything about the wedding, he would either have no idea what I was talking about or really didn’t care.

    So I sat down with him over dinner one night, we got a piece of A3 paper and wrote down what each of us expected and what each of us thought was important in the wedding.

    Obviously, in your case, he cares about the guest list. What else does he care about?

    My husband really cared about having good food, and a good party with his friends. He actually cared about his outfit, as well. He wanted non-cheesy music and no religious aspect to the wedding.

    We talked about what the wedding meant to each of us. I love elopement stories, but for us it was important to make a pledge of partnership in front of our community.

    We actually ended up making a flow chart of thigs we cared about, how they were connected, and how we were going to incorporate them. Because some things are easily explained (e.g. good food), but how would we make that happen within our budget? Other things are less palpable (e.g. a meaningful ceremony), so we had to define what a meaningful ceremony would be for us and how to go about making it happen.

    In the end, I handled the decor and he handled the food. We had tons of friends help out and let go of some aspects of the wedding.

    TL;DR: Find out what the wedding means to each of you, what each one cares about and how to get those things done. Little details that only matter to you are your responsibility. Also, know when to let them go.

    There is a chance your fiancé can’t even see the difference between Tiffany blue and turquoise…

    • Class of 1980

      Great post!

      I have never actually met a man who truly didn’t care about their wedding, even the ones that are my age. They don’t read wedding blogs or look at wedding magazines, but most of them have an overall vague idea of what kind of day they want to have.

      No bride should ever think that not knowing the ropes or being up-to-date with current wedding trends translates into “not caring”. It’s an unfair assumption.

      That said, if one of you is taking responsibility for a certain task, they can still enlist the other to help with the execution of it.

  • http://ohioonpurpose.blogspot.com Evie

    So in the earlier stages of planning our wedding, my dude was working nights, going to grad school full-time, AND coaching an undergraduate team. (I know, WTF)

    Meanwhile, I was working “just” 40 hours at a reasonably low-stress job, and we both decided it’d be best for me to take on all of the planning. I said I had a lot of ideas and was happy to get cracking, and he said he knew I’d make choices reflective of both of our values/tastes.

    Cut to four months before the wedding, he is out of school for the summer, interning (days!) full-time and suddenly is free to help out. But because I’m an up-in-my-head dreamer type, I had the entire wedding in a mult-tiered embedded wiki IN MY MIND and maybe a ragged gmail paper trail to show for all my planning. He wanted to help but I couldn’t even begin to tell him how he could. I felt like a control freak, he felt like a sitcom husband.

    Now, I’m getting married in 8 days so it’s too late for us, but I wish I had started documenting in a blank notebook all my plans and communication attempts and conversations with vendors. In quick bullet points by date. So that it created a “bible” of sorts that when he (or anyone) wanted to step up, I could say “HERE IS OUR WEDDING. READ THIS. I’ll take any help I can get.”

    Brb off to write freaking names on 200 freaking shipping tags… ;)

    • AnotherCourtney

      Yay to getting married in 8 days! We are, too!! :)

  • Cass

    It doesn’t seem weird at all to me that the man doesn’t want to get involved. They’ve never had anyone ask “What would be your dream wedding?”
    As long as he has the dream girl, everything else is just gravy.
    Plus, it sounds like his plate is full. After working all day building a business, who has time to ALSO plan a wedding? Perhaps a wedding planner would be good if you just need someone to listen to your ideas, and be helpful.

  • Sarah P

    “Asking him ‘What do you want to do for a centerpiece’ might be overwhelming, but offering up three options for discussion will be more bearable.”

    YES! We did this for ceremony music selection because we were having a full choir. As someone who has been singing in church choirs since I was 7, I already knew many things I wanted to include. For my husband it was overwhelming because he only knew what he liked and didn’t like rather than names of things or having any particular pieces in mind.

    So I made a list of hymns, anthems and things I thought we might like and found recordings of them on youtube. We spent a few Friday evenings with a bottle of wine and church music. To prevent my opinion trumping his, we would listen to the pieces without comment and then rate them like 1st, 2nd, 3rd and based on how our answers compared, we would make a choice. I didn’t always get my pick but it was more important to me that he feel involved in the process without getting overwhelmed by the whole thing.

    • sarahdipity

      “Asking him ‘What do you want to do for a centerpiece’ might be overwhelming, but offering up three options for discussion will be more bearable.”

      I definitely agree with this but wanted to add something on top of this. I work with a lot of guys. One of the common complaints I hear is that they get asked opinions about a set of things, then in the discussion some fault is found with the one they prefer, it is decided against, and then they feel like there was no point in the discussion. They don’t understand why you would show them an option you don’t like. When implementing this advice pick options that you’re genuinely ok with, and when describing them state what you like/dislike about each option and if you have a slight preference say it. It makes the conversation more open.

      This was the only thing that kept me sane during wedding planning. I had a job that could easily eat up all of my time and I am not a detail oriented person when it comes to the typical wedding details. I used this approach for almost every decision in our wedding and we usually either came to the decision together or we went with my husbands selection. Many of his good friends remarked at how involved he was in the wedding process.

      I wish I could say he loved the wedding more for being involved. In the end, he wishes we eloped and a lot of that has to do with some things you can’t avoid about the wedding process. We were discussing doing a wedding grad post because I was interested in giving away my dress and what we came up with was a list of 10 reasons you should elope. But in the fact he didn’t love the wedding process doesn’t matter; he’s still happy he’s married to me and that is what matters most.

      • Class of 1980

        SARAHDIPITY WROTE: “I work with a lot of guys. One of the common complaints I hear is that they get asked opinions about a set of things, then in the discussion some fault is found with the one they prefer, it is decided against, and then they feel like there was no point in the discussion. They don’t understand why you would show them an option you don’t like.”

        On behalf of all women: OUCH!

        • sarahdipity

          Oh I definitely cringe when I hear them say it. But honestly that’s how I hear the complaint phrased. It’s definitely a type of miscommunication that we all (male and female) want to avoid no matter what the topic of discussion is.

          • Class of 1980

            It’s an “OUCH” because I’ve seen women do it. As in … “which dress should I wear?” “No I don’t like that one.”

            And when you see it in print, it does seem incredibly dense to offer someone a choice that you don’t really want them to pick!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    The biggest issue for us was our different planning styles. Mine is: get all the details, finish everything, then when it’s time, everything falls into place. His stress-free style is: ignore, ignore, ignore, run around desperately two days before, everything falls into place. (Ideally. Almost never.)

    So we tried to make decisions together, but it quickly became obvious that he couldn’t think about things that early (four months ahead. NOT EARLY.). It stressed him out. So I made a lot of decisions and plans, and he figured he’d catch up a few days/the week before. It obviously didn’t work. A lot of things fell thru the cracks, which I’d resigned myself to by then. He was shocked it didn’t work, absolutely surprised. It was both sad and comical.

    My advice is to sit down with your partner, discuss your planning styles, and then see how you can make them mesh and if you’re both okay with things falling between the cracks or one of you having more of it.

    • http://ohioonpurpose.blogspot.com Evie

      Haha Jo, Carson and Nick have the same approach.

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        That’s exactly what I thought when I read your comment! It could have been so frustrating for me in that moment, but I managed to just laugh it off. Which if you’ve ever met my Type-A self–it was a wedding miracle!

        Fingers crossed for you guys this week!!

        • http://ohioonpurpose.blogspot.com Evie

          Thanks! It’ll be great. Though I have to stop stalking the weather forecast, it’s bad for my brain.

          • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

            OMG I know that feeling so well. I still almost have palpitations when I see rain.

    • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com meghan

      Jo. Same style with Eric. I really spent a lot of energy emphasising why oh why decisions needed to happen “so early.”. Calendar and flow sheets really helped him “see”.

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        That’s good! Carson sort of got it, he just would stress ridiculously if a decision had been made and he couldn’t DO something about it.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      First paragraph . . . Yes. YES YES YES!!!! Yes.

  • SpaceElephant

    You talk a lot about the details of wedding planning and your partner not wanting to be involved in those. The real question, for me, is what are you doing in terms of MARRIAGE planning, and is your partner equally disinterested in that? He may not be a details person, he may not see the need for anything more complicated than a “big party,” and ideally the type of wedding and level of detail you want as a couple should be sorted out at the beginning so you know you’re on the same page. But what happens when you step away from the details and think about what you want your MARRIAGE to look like, and what ways are you going to prepare for what happens AFTER the wedding? Is he just as disinterested in those questions and conversations? That, too me, is the red flag. Both if it gets swept under the rug in the flurry of picking shades of blue, and if you try to initiate it and he isn’t into it. Because, honestly, he might just not be a details person like you are.

  • Umpteenth Sarah

    “Working towards gender equality does not mean that every decision is made together; it means that the bulk of the work in any one area does not get assigned to a particular partner because of their gender”

    OMG this. Bride/Groom (or bride/bride or groom/groom) typecasting annoys me to no end.

    I’ll confess that in our wedding process we didn’t have the same dynamic as DF, but one thing that was helpful was designating team leaders to certain tasks, and then the non-assigned person letting go of said task. Some parts of wedding planning suck like whoa, and when I would run up against a task that I just didn’t want to do, I’d just say “fiancee, can you please take care of getting the kegs for the wedding,” and then trust him to carry through on his agreement to do so. That part was hard, but important. Similarly, we have been finding out that thank you writing, which we both know is important, is one of those tasks he just doesn’t want to do, so I’m doing it.

    And, for those smaller decisions, like colors, I think Lorna’s advice is really spot on. Limit the choices. The world of wedding options is vast, and I found it to be a bit hard to handle and I tended to be the one more interested in such options, so I can’t imagine how it might feel to someone who isn’t really interested in the least. Shrinking that world might help make it more manageable. In the end, if you have a wedding you’re both happy with, it really won’t matter that the premise started from something that was really from you.

  • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

    I like to describe the wedding planning relationship this way: I’m the President of A&W Wedding of Awesome, and my fiance is the Vice-President. His role is essential and he’s a huge help in planning and getting stuff done. But I’m usually the one initiating the planning or devising plans and gathering most options. He’s not disinterested by any means, but he’s not the President and we’re not exactly Co-Presidents. As President, I can delegate without feeling like I’m a nag and he’s always willing to take on tasks. And he’s made awesome suggestions on his own, too. But having this scenario in my mind makes me feel better about taking the lead on planning and not like we have to be exactly 50/50 on this. (And frankly, he’s really busy right now too, and I like scouring the wedding blogs, so it works for us.)

  • Roadrunner

    Different, but related problem: my fiance has been very involved in wedding planning–we’ve made most of the decisions together. He used to be a graphic designer, so he had very strong ideas about what our invitations should look like (and did some of the designing himself) and things like colors and fonts on stationery, signs, etc. He also is doing all the work with the caterer–I get veto power on the menu, but other than that, it’s all him. He’s also handled the hotel room blocks and making sure our guests have somewhere to stay.

    The problem? Every time someone brings up wedding planning in a conversation with both of us, they ask me a few questions, and then turn to him and say, “And you’re just staying out of it, right? I mean, show up in a suit, say ‘I do’ and stay out of the way, amirite? Heh heh…” The first couple times this happened, I kept my mouth shut, and he just smiled and mumbled something or other. After a few times, I asked him about it, and he said that it really bothered him, but he didn’t want to seem like he was insisting on getting credit for doing some of the work–like if he said anything, it would come off as looking for praise. So I’ve started trying to speak up when it happens, and point out that he’s done a lot of the work, but it still really bothers me. Anyone else experience this? Any snappy comebacks I could steal?

    • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

      “what is this, 1950? Please. It is his wedding too, of course he’s helping.”

      yes this idea is so prevalent! ugh! usually if someone older said something like that, we would be more polite about it, but if it was one of our friends, I would basically smack them upside the head (verbally and/or physically).

      • Roadrunner

        Yeah, these have mostly been people my parents’ age, which is probably why we’re both a bit more reticent when it comes up. But that’s no excuse for me not speaking up–“it’s his wedding too” is a good one.

        • http://pinchofthis.wordpress.com Jen

          Pat’s Mom said something to the effect of “you’ve told him it’s just his job to show up, right?”

          It was a good opportunity to talk about how I didn’t think that at all and how no, my Mom wouldn’t be planning our wedding like she did for his sister.

    • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

      Less snappy, but something like “X has been a huge part of the planning so far. We’re really enjoying getting to do this together.” It’s hard to argue with a happy couple on equal terms with each other.

    • http://www.actsofbeauty.co.uk/wordpress ActsofBeauty

      “Oh no, he’s doing most of the work! Thank god because he’s brilliant at it. I don’t know what I’d do without him.”

    • http://dullmoments.wordpress.com laurabalaurah

      I wish I could help, because we totally dealt with this. And Ben created wedding colors and made a lot of our wedding happen, and nobody ever asked him about it!

      Unfair.

  • Manya

    Yeah, I can relate to this. My husband wasn’t all that into the details. He’s not a detail kind of guy by nature, and design and art and crafts and long emotional prose are my role in our relationship overall. Generally he’s the COO, CFO, and I tend to be the Editor in Chief and Senior Director of Innovation and Content. I’m not too detail oriented either.

    There were times when I was super-psyched and he just…. wasn’t that into it. The part that hurt my feelings was the ceremony. I imagined us working on it together, but he really didn’t want to do that. In the end, I wrote it he edited it (beautifully, by the way), and he LOVED it. He was so into it in the end.

    This was how we handled it. We first went through what was important to each of us:
    Beautiful details- Me
    Deep and meaningful ceremony- Me
    Dancing – Me
    etc. etc. etc.

    Looking hot – Him
    Delish food – Him
    Staying within the budget- Him
    Full stop.

    At one point I asked him what was important to him, and he said: You. Marrying you. And what isn’t important?: Everything else. Sweet, but not helpful.

    We then went through a list of tasks that were CHORES to each of us, and to both of us. That was helpful, because I was able to take on some of the tasks he found intolerable, and vice versa. I said: I really need your help with these things (i.e. assembling invites), and I will love you so much for helping me do them. I planned some little surprises for him, and he got involved with some ideas of his own (i.e. buying fireworks for the men at the party to blow shit up while I danced my ass off with my girlfriends). When I really couldn’t handle something and neither of us wanted to do it, I said: you willing to outsource? (i.e. DJ). Somehow it worked.

    Up until the wedding week, I felt like I had carried the greater burdon. But then, something amazing happened: he was EVERYWHERE doing EVERYTHING. He was hauling stuff, paying vendors, checking budgets, paying tips, delivering welcome bags, arranging shuttles, dragging speakers around, hosting my parents, picking shit up at dry cleaners, driving guests back and forth to airports, etc. etc. etc. And then he drove 11 hours with a single car full of kids and stuff, while I flew with a sick kid. He was AWESOME. He cried and smiled and danced with me (he hates dancing in public), gazed deep into my eyes and held me and mouthed the words: I LOVE YOU when I came down the aisle. He cared about our wedding SO MUCH. He’s the one who wants a vintage-inspired heirloom album–WHO KNEW? (shout out to Jane at A La Carte Albums–an APW vendor!)

    My advice is to try to structure your conversation about it and tell him exactly what you would like him to do (what does “be more involved” look like?). But also, just because he’s doesn’t care about centerpieces doesn’t mean that your marriage and wedding don’t matter to him.

    And finally this from my Polish Grandmother: This Too Shall Pass.

    • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

      “At one point I asked him what was important to him, and he said: You. Marrying you. And what isn’t important?: Everything else.”

      awwwww!!! But I agree: Sweet, but not helpful.

    • Class of 1980

      Wow. That’s all I’ve got. WOW.

  • E

    One thing that has been of tremendous help in my own relationship (in and out of the context of wedding planning) is developing an understanding of how my fiancé and I each go about processing information. I’m bubbly and artsy, and he is a methodical, math-minded computer scientist. A difference between us is that I process ideas by discussing them, while he quietly thinks things through before providing an answer. Jess alluded to a similar situation a few comments above.

    You noted that there is a greater need for input from your fiancé, given that he has chosen to invite a greater number of guests. When it comes to getting Z’s opinion, I’ve learned that “Which do you like better: x or y?” is more productive than “What do you want to do about [whatever?]” He has an easier time conceptualizing our wedding through concrete, specific examples. Maybe your fiancé, like mine, will take more easily to wedding planning when you show him how he can help you. Best of luck!

    • ES.TR

      Waaaah! It’s not only me! I’ll be all: how about this thing? We could do X Y or Z. Let’s talk about it. Converse. Etc. And he goes: Ok. Ok. Let me think about it and comes back a few days later with an answer!

  • Marisa-Andrea

    This is one of those really interesting topics to me, especially when the couple getting married is a female-male couple. While my husband definitely wanted a wedding and care about some aspects of the wedding, he did not want to help plan it. It was soooo frustrating to me because *I* loathed practically every aspect of planning our wedding and cared about almost nothing and really felt burdened by most of the process. But it was’t that my husband wanted to throw everything on me — he, like many men in this culture, grew up believing and being told that a wedding is the bride’s day. He, unlike me, did not grow up constantly bombarded with weddings and images of weddings and fairtytale princess dreams. So yes, while he did care about some things and had input when asked, he honestly and truly believed it was my day and I should decide everything according to what I wanted. I’m not saying this is your guy’s problems but I do think it can be difficult for men to get caught up in the nitty details of wedding planning at times. They may know that they want a DJ but may not give a fig about centerpieces. They may not truly care at all. They might be fine totally deferring to you. Sitting down and having a honset discussion about where he’s coming from is crucial because sometimes, we assume their lack of interest means something that it really doesn’t.

    • Class of 1980

      There are still tons of people, many of them very young, who unfailingly say “It’s the brides’ day”.

      Cut to me rolling my eyes.

      To tell you the truth, I hear that phrase nowadays more than 30+ years ago! But I think the prevalence of that sentiment has risen along with how over-the-top weddings became.

  • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

    Initially I had similar problems getting W to help with planning. He kept telling me, “this is your day, whatever you want, I just want you to be happy.” Which sounds sweet, but really upset me. It took me a while to convince him that what I want is for it to be OUR day not mine, I don’t know what I want (that’s why I’m asking), and what will really make me happy is to hear what you think about an idea. Eventually we found a way to split up tasks, for him to leave the decor and details for me and for him to take the lead on food and music.
    I’ve found one of the hardest things since then has been getting vendors to realize that he would be helping. We decided was that he was going to handle food because he cared and I didn’t (I figure I’m hardly going to be able to eat because I’ll be so excited to get on the dance floor). W was really great calling caterers and organizing tastings and such, but once we both met the caterer, and they had my phone number, they all call me with quotes and questions, which I have trouble answering, because I haven’t done the research, and like I said, I don’t care. I feel like this is something that is going to keep happening too. I feel lucky to have a fiance who is willing to help, now if only I could get the WIC to let him.

  • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

    “And do not think that a couple that consists of two brides or two grooms has it any easier; the pressure is often much worse. (“Two girls planning a wedding? That should be SO EASY…” or “Gay men’s weddings are ALWAYS so stylish!” Blech.)”

    Hah. This is so true! With our two-girl wedding, we actually probably DID have an easier time of it because we’re both crafty and like to bake (and we crafted and baked up a storm for our wedding, let me tell you) but we still got this reaction a lot. I just think it is odd and funny that we have this societal expectation that ALL GIRLS looove talking about weddings and planning weddings and care about colors and ALL GUYS couldn’t care less. Since when can you lump several billion people into one no-gray-area category or another?

    I would say the best thing to do in this situation is talk about it, and be really clear about what you need help with or what you are feeling overwhelmed or pressured by/about. Communication is key.

  • Katie

    I want to add another perspective — it’s early yet. Don’t assume that because your fiance doesn’t care about planning details months in advance, he doesn’t care about your wedding.

    For the most part, my now-husband and I did a lot of divvying up of tasks. He’d call the rentals place and hammer out details for the tent. He was great about getting jobs done on a certain timeline, but he wasn’t anywhere near as excited as I was about things like… mason jars and vintage napkins and thrifted dinner plates. I just accepted that he wasn’t into the details.

    BUT: The two or three weeks before the wedding, my husband was SO PSYCHED to get ready. We were throwing our wedding at home, so suddenly he had a chance to do something instead of think about something. He’d come up with these terrific ideas — like cutting down saplings up in our woods, stripping them down to rustic poles, and stringing up lights around our dance floor in our field. He was excited to do the things I’d been dreading, like mowing our fields and setting up lawn games and building a bar. In the month before the wedding, as we began to meet with our officiant and pick out readings, we had such a great time sifting through options… because it was almost here! The wedding felt real at that point, not like some far-off event that we could think about later.

    I know it might not be an option for you to put off certain decisions until the weeks before the wedding. But hang in there. Your fiance is excited to marry you. That may not translate into excitement about wedding planning months and months before the event, but there’s a good chance it will translate into plenty of excitement in the weeks leading up to it.

  • http://thebestofintentions.tumblr.com/ Sarah

    I totally agree with everything Alyssa told you. My husband and your groom should probably be best friends. Or at least share war stories about being forced into helping with wedding planning. I was frustrated and overwhelmed by trying to include Bill because the things I thought were important, he found no interest in. But eventually, he had an opinion and then we had a break through.

    For some reason he took an interest in the cake design–something I was pretty apathetic about. All I knew was I wanted something graphic and simple rather than overwhelmingly intricate. He found something he loved, and it was settled. I told him as long as I could stick a ferris wheel on top of it, I was happy.

    Realizing how easily I trusted his opinion on the cake made me realize how he could so easily trust me with the majority of the decisions. It wasn’t that he didn’t care. It was that he wanted me to have exactly what I wanted and that he trusted my judgement. Plus, my mother, his mother and a few of my bridesmaids were super involved. He took a very, too many hands stirring the pot kind of stance and wanted to avoid conflict.

    When I asked what did matter to him, his answer was simple: food, drinks, cake, tuxes, and music. I’m an over-the-top girl married to a very simple and straight forward man. So I let go of a lot of the decisions regarding those things. I knew I wouldn’t end up eating too much anyway and I love cake, but cake is cake to me. The music was something we worked on together and I really enjoyed that. All of the songs from our wedding are very important to me because of that.

    As far as our ceremony, which was the emotionally-invested part as far as I see it, I forced him to step up. It was the battle worth picking. I’m a writer and thus was very picky about how the ceremony sounded. But he is pretty quiet and introverted most of the time. Anyways, I got him to write his own vows and saw that as a major victory. As far as our readings went, I picked them out, but told him he had to approve and I need to know what he liked about them, rather than just if he did. This made me certain he’d actually read and responded to them.

    Anyways… basically, you have to learn to pick your battles and make him realize that you simply need him to make some decisions because you are starting to develop decision fatigue (as discussed yesterday). I made Bill understand by showing him the three page spread sheet I had of things to do for the wedding.

    Good luck!

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

    It’s no secret here that we didn’t take a shared role in the planning. I tried not to let it upset me, though, because we just saw things differently: I was the one who had been stalking blogs and thinking about wedding-related stuff for ages; I was the one “concerned” about incorporating the things that we wanted and leaving out the things that we didn’t want; I was the one who wanted to get in and get my hands dirty. Himself would’ve been happy with a banquet hall and a package deal and wedding cake (even though he’s not a big fan of cake) and an open bar. I would not have been (okay, I would’ve been fine with the open bar, but I was also the one who was more mindful of our budget, so *ahem*). Also, like Jo mentioned, I’m a planner who likes to get everything in line beforehand, and get everything done while we had time and things were available, and himself likes to wait. Until the last minute. Always. I would not have been happy to do that either. So I took the lead when it came to wedding planning. And it’s okay.

    Here’s the thing though: wedding planning is not marriage. Some things can be indicative of what’s happening in your relationship, certainly — and if you ask for help and aren’t getting it, or either of you are making decisions where you don’t care about what your partner wants, then that’s a problem that needs to be rectified — but just because I took the lead in wedding planning doesn’t mean anything except I was more excited about wedding planning. I’m not always the one taking the lead in our marriage, and there hasn’t been one minute where I felt that he didn’t care about our marriage. As others have already said, you play to your strengths. Your partner isn’t a toddler, and if you have to drag them kicking and screaming to help pick out colors or choose a song that’s somehow supposed to embody you and your relationship and every obstacle you’ve overcome, well . . . is it worth it?

    BUT, by the same token — and I’m going to shut up soon, I promise — anyone who mentions any of those “haha, you’re just gonna show up, aren’t you? Atta boy . . . ” comments needs to be socked in the mouth, or at least directed to the nearest corner and handed a dunce cap. It’s pretty rude and sometimes a “we’re both involved, thankyouverymuch.” should suffice.

  • Kate

    Oh girl, this is me.

    First I have a question: is he like this about other things in your daily life (“well, you like the place cleaner than I do, you do all the chores”) or is it just wedding-related? Because if it’s just the wedding, don’t worry. As lots of other people have said, most guys aren’t socialized to think about/plan for their wedding, many aren’t socialized to entertain elaborately, and it’s not uncommon for guys in relationships with women to actually be socially punished if they get involved with wedding planning (“it’s HER day, you don’t get an opinion.”) So I know it’s hard, but cut him some slack.

    That said, you absolutely have a right to expect help.

    Are you comfortable with just assigning him things–meaning that you’ll accept whatever he comes up with, and that you’re still somewhat in the CEO role? For example, I informed my beloved that he is in charge of the wedding website. He knows how to do that and he did.

    It’s really hard when it comes to the more emotionally significant things, like the ceremony and the first dance. We have also struggled with me feeling like he doesn’t care and him feeling like he’s being put on the spot. I have a degree in ministry and he’s an atheist who was raised in a pretty irreligious family, so I KNOW it’s unreasonable of me to expect him to have thought as much about the ceremony as I do, and yet it still hurts. Similarly with the first dance, he has no suggestions, but he doesn’t listen to any music that most people would deem in any way appropriate for a first dance, so why do I expect him to?

    Try to get realistic with yourself about your expectations and your partner’s reality, and give him a chance to show you how much he loves you and is excited to marry you. Even if that looks like “I need you to pick one poem. Here are three websites to look at.” Or “Congrats, you’re in charge of the liquor ordering. Have fun.”

    And you’re not alone, by a long shot.

    • Ceka

      Oh, Kate. I’m an atheist, and I really cared about the ceremony. But I also grew up in the Episcopal church, and Episcopalians are very good at ritual. I had a very clear idea of how to structure a ceremony and come up with meaningful readings that weren’t from the Bible.

      It can be really hard to share the planning with someone who has a very fuzzy concept of what goes into a ceremony. Having a structure to work with makes it so much easier to think about what to include and what to change.

      My husband had no concept of what the ceremony consisted of other than the vows. He also hadn’t been to very many wedding ceremonies. I eventually got over being frustrated with him for having this cultural/experiential gap in his frame of reference, and helped us through planning the ceremony. I outlined, we talked, I wrote, we edited. It got better.

  • Beth

    My husband provided very limited input into the decision making part of the process, he helped with the food, the cake design was a group effort with his amd I and the baker and his input was key in the cake we got. He helped with some family wrangling too. Once we moved past the decision making process and got into execution (We DIY’d all the paper for the wedding) he was a huge help.

    He’s visual, its easy to ignore someone looking at a computer screen trying to research something, it’s hard to ignore someone who is covered in glue and paper and taking over the living room. He and one of my bridesmaids pitched in a lot for the execution of projects. Which is us to a T. I’m really good at planning, but I don’t always follow through. He prefers not to put too much effort into planning, but he’ll stick with something until it’s finished.

    He also helped a lot with the logistics once the day got closer, a lot of the bridal party and family pitched in for setup and cleanup. He even helped some with the DIY’d flowers. He helped track down people and he was obviously present and willing to help with anything that came up during the day.

  • Arachna

    With the caveat that this doesn’t apply if

    1. You really truly love planning and don’t mind doing it all

    or

    2. Your fiance is … not competent at getting things done

    I feel like this type of problem has a really simple solution that woman find incredibly difficult to implement. Simply don’t do it. Say, DJ/music picking and planning is going to be your problem – and then don’t do a single thing about it. I know there are exception but most of the men we’re marrying are competent at getting these kinds of tasks done – they just strongly resist taking responsibility for these tasks in the context of weddings. But if you refuse to – they will have to by default. Or you’ll end up with no music at all :), which also won’t be the end of the world. Most men when given a truly blank field and zero interference will get off their but, do some research, figure out what is needed and start getting it done. In the end they’ll feel more involved and more ownership over the wedding this way.

    This works especially well when you’re having the kind of wedding that he wanted and not that you wanted. Just don’t plan things – do you think that if you do this the wedding won’t take place? Unlikely.

    • Moomin

      This is a really good point. Also to add to it, asking him to do something, not doing it yourself at all, and then not minding the timescale he chooses to do it in. You might have started it four months earlier, but if he gets it done four months later, then fine, it still gets done. Learning not to be anxious about that in the meantime may be a skill worth learning.

      But like everyone else has said, communicating about the specifics of how things will get done – that’s the way to do it.

  • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com/ Koru Kate

    My husband needed options. When I asked him to help with invitations, he was lost. But when I presented 3 options I liked, he was able to thoughtfully narrow down the choices to the winner. Same with the music, menu, rings, etc. This works for us in real life too. Think of how you approach regular decisions together & apply this method to wedding planning.

    & Alyssa is soooo right about letting go of things that don’t matter to you. It’s so freeing!

    Take heart, the wedding will get planned :-)

  • Katy

    Wedding planning went pretty well for us, and then we faced these issues when remodeling. Whether it’s a wedding or remodeling, there are a million decisions to make, big and small.

    After several frustrating conversations, I found a way to talk about decisions that works well for us. When I first consider changing something, I tell him about it and ask how much he wants to be involved:
    Option 1: He’ll be involved every step of the way in every detail.
    Option 2: I’ll narrow down the selection to 2-3 choices, and present them to him with pros/cons. He can weight in with his opinion.
    Option 3: I’ll just take care of it, and he’s not allowed to complain afterwards.

    I give him these options before I start doing very much research so that he can be involved as much or as little as he wants. He’s *never* picked option 1, and usually goes with option 2/3 depending on how busy he is at work and how expensive the item/change is.

    In both wedding planning and remodeling, we’ve found a way to play to our strengths. I’m the methodical one who keeps a project organized with regular, incremental progress. At the end, though, I get stressed out and want to give up. He, on the other hand, thrives in the last minute, stressful situation. He’ll usually do a lot more work near the end of a project, finishing or implementing what I researched/studied/planned/prepped. Since I know this is a pattern for us, I don’t get mad at him for being less involved in earlier stages of a project.

  • occhiblu

    My husband and I recently got married, and he is a physician with a fairly new private practice in addition to being on call at the local hospitals, which means he’s working ridiculous hours and often wrapped up in thinking about work when he’s not there, as well. I wanted to make sure the wedding was “our day” and not just mine, wedding planning stressed me the fuck out, but I also wanted to be realistic about how we split up the planning. What worked for us:

    1. Separate, completely and entirely, the idea of “the wedding” and “the marriage.” Yes, the wedding is an important; yes, how things start off is a good indicator of how they’ll go in the future; no, someone’s inability to get excited about monogrammed napkins is not a harbinger of doom for a relationship. The marriage is the important part. The wedding is a big thing y’all get to do together. DO NOT LET THE WEDDING COMPROMISE THE MARRIAGE.

    2. We agreed on an overall budget together so that we’d have some structure from which to work.

    3. I printed out a premade budget planning list (from the Knot or somewhere similar) and went one-by-one through the major categories (i.e., “Flowers” but not “boutonnieres,” “bouquet,” etc.) and asked my then-fiance if he wanted input in it.

    4. I made sure he understood the deadlines for the various items he was interested in. I had no idea before starting planning that our venue needed to be booked six to twelve months out, so there was no reason he’d know that, either. He tends to be a little last-minute with things, so I wanted him to grok that “last-minute” with the florist meant three *months* before the wedding, not three days.

    5. I entirely took over anything to which he said “No” and didn’t even consult him on it, figuring those would be my responsibility.

    6. For areas where he did want input, I pre-screened vendors online or on the phone, narrowed down our vendor choices to one or two, set up our appointments, and asked him to come along. I found that if he was sitting at an appointment with someone who would actually be doing the work, he tended to be more focused and engaged.

    7. We chose vendors we felt we could trust, and then we let them do their job. We didn’t have to debate long about centerpieces because I just found a bunch of photos or descriptions of things I liked, my fiance said “Yay” or “Nay” or “I like this part but not that part” for the photos when we met with the vendor, we gave the vendor our budget and then let them go from there. (This turned out awesome. And I am also a total control freak, usually; I really made a conscious decision to trust other people to help and not to make myself a martyr in wedding planning.)

    8. We ended up hiring a wedding planner when I realized how insane planning was making me (about five months before the wedding, and after we had lined up our major vendors). BEST MONEY WE SPENT. It gave me someone to bounce ideas off of, and it made me feel less like the entire wedding was my responsibility. Plus, my fiance and I met with her together about once a month and those meetings let us both give input in a very structured way (I was still the one in day-to-day contact with her during the process, but that felt like less of a burden because she was carrying out *our* wishes, not just having me make all the major decisions). Those meetings made him really excited about the wedding, too, which was nice to see.

    Our wedding day was gorgeous, low-stress, and totally fun, and our marriage has been AWESOME so far. I wish y’all the best of luck in getting there!

    • Marina

      Oh my god, this. Especially 1 and 4.

  • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

    This is so interesting to me, because I was the “less interested” half of my (bride-bride) wedding in the beginning. It took a few discussions for me to understand that despite the enthusiasm and excitement (from both her and her family), it was not all things she enjoyed. There was work involved and it wasn’t something she wanted to be solely responsible for. It’s something I still feel guilty about and one of the main fights around the wedding.

    Sometimes enthusiasm and strong opinions can be intimidating and it’s hard to know what the expectations will be if they’re not clearly communicated at the outset (it sounds like they were for you, but I wish for me that we’d sat down at the very, very outset and had a discussion and then had check in discussions every couple of weeks or months). He may not be looking at bridal magazines or blogs the way you are and doesn’t have the range of ideas to pull from. He may also have gotten the ‘whatever you want, you’re the bride’ mindset that keeps getting foisted on us. (Oh, the joys of the ‘whatever you want’ response from people when you actually want opinions)

    I also had a very different idea of what the timeline should be than my partner for planning, which was a sticking point for us. Could that be the case here? (I also managed to misinterpret what she was asking me a couple of times, which didn’t help, either)

    • Marie

      You don’t know how right you are Chritina, I think our situation was very close to yours. I actually felt so alone when I wrote this post but what I didn’t get was that 6 months from the wedding was a giganormous amount of time for my fiancé. Now it’s 3 months to the wedding and he got plenty involved, so I guess time can be the answer for a lot of brides in the same situation I (and your other half :) ) were.

  • http://www.studiolaguna.com Katrina

    We photograph weddings all the time where the groom seems disinterested. Sometimes, the bride loves it, she gets her way the whole time! Sometimes, the bride is insulted and feels let down. And sometimes, the groom really wants a say, but the bride thinks it should be all her way.

    The thing is, he proposed. He WANTS to marry you. I would take his disinterest seriously at first. Sit him down when you are both calm and relaxed. Just ask him about how he feels about it all. Maybe his mom is insisting that you need to invite all the family. Ask if he is having any pressure or second thoughts about the wedding, and if he is overwhelmed by the spectical of it all you can always do a small wedding or elope. More couples need to elope and avoid the wedding bug alltogether.

    My assumption is that he simply isn’t interested in the fact that navy blue is not the same as carribbean blue. It isn’t that he isn’t interested in you, but just not this fru fru stuff that some of us love.

    It is easy for brides to get into a wedding bubble. Yes, it is VERY important to you, but the details aren’t as important to everyone else. Take a step back and look at it from his perspective. Maybe he is giving you absolute space because you’re so type A and he knows it will all be perfect. My husband does this to me, he knows I’ll take care of all the details, so he doesn’t worry about them. It can come off as disinterest, but it isn’t.

    If you are seriously doubting your fiance, I would highly suggest premarital counseling. All couples need to learn how to discuss and argue and talk through things.

    Hope this helps!

  • R

    This: “Asking him “What do you want to do for a centerpiece?” might be overwhelming, but offering up three options for discussion will be more bearable.”

    My guy is almost fundamentally incapable of choosing one thing out of a big group. But he’s really good at “do you like this one or this one,” and he has really good taste- once his options are limited enough that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed. We refer to this as the eye doctor strategy: one or two? two or three?

    He’s like this with clothes shopping (I still feel weird about picking out his clothes, but he makes the final decisions, so I guess that’s okay? And then we don’t spend a year in the mall.) So I shouldn’t have been surprised when we were looking at engagement ring styles for him and the question “which one do you like?” had no response. But, picking one out and then asking simple questions- do you like the width, do you like shiny or matte, flat or rounded, etc.- let him decide the answer to the first question, i.e. “which one do you like?”

    So I wind up narrowing big fields of things down, and then trusting him to make final decisions. I’m happy because I usually like all of the options I give him, and he’s happy because he gets to make a decision without feeling overwhelmed.

    And really, asking anyone “what do you like out of this enormous group” when you’ve done all the background research and they haven’t is kind of unfair.

  • Melissa

    I also agree with setting up specific times to talk about wedding stuff. If my finance is just getting home or working on something and I try to talk about 5 million different things with him, it ends in frustration because I feel like he is not paying attention. If I tell him “Tonight I need to talk to you at some point about XYZ, let me know when you are ready”, he can finish his train of thought or project and then lets me know when he is ready to chat.

  • Meghan

    Our wedding planning went a little like this:
    Me – reading blogs and magazines, obsessing over colors (seriously, I was dreaming about color swatches until I banished bridal magazines from my bedroom), researching venues, dresses, rings, etc. etc. etc. and having this mass of wedding ideas swirling around my head, trying to make decisions.
    My husband – working a busy job and training for an Ironman.
    After a couple of months of this, I freaked out, dissolved in a puddle of tears on the floor, and incoherently told him through the ugly crying talk that I was upset with him for his lack of involvement. He was apologetic, and said that he had no idea how stressful it all was and that he was happy to help. So, I asked him to be the contact with vendors so he could negotiate (his strength) and he also took complete ownership over things like the DJ that didn’t involve too much creative thinking (my strength) as well as anything related to his attire or the grooms men. He really didn’t care about the pretty details (except that they not be pink) and let me have free reign with all of that. I didn’t do a single thing with the tasks he had ownership of and it was so nice not having to worry about those (but I’m also pretty lucky in that I knew that whatever he said he would do would get done). I did have to push pretty hard to get him to commit to setting aside time to work on the vows and the ceremony, but once we did that he was great about looking up ideas and brainstorming with me. I also had to hear a bit of grumbling about addressing envelopes and writing thank you notes, but it’s not like those tasks are very fun anyway.

    Moral of the story is that I agree with the others above who have said to ask for help in a direct manner and/or force him to help you by telling him he is in charge of some of the tasks and then standing your ground and not doing them. For me (being a bit of a control freak and a people pleaser), that’s sort of difficult to do, especially when it’s my husband and our WEDDING and I think he should already know I need help dammit! But hinting or hoping may just not be enough. Even if he’s not that interested in/doesn’t have the brain space to contemplate the details of the wedding, hopefully he is interested in helping you.

  • Anne

    I wanted to throw out my own experience. My husband and I had different expectations about WHEN to plan.

    My husband and I were engaged for a year. For the first eight months, I felt like I was planning our wedding alone. He was excited about the wedding, but not particularly interested in searching for vendors etc. I felt frustrated.

    Then, four months before the wedding, it was like someone had flipped a switch. For him, he finally felt like the wedding was close enough that it warranted a lot of planning on his part. He was a wonderful help for the next four months, creating spreadsheets, calling vendors, and keeping us on track.

    Also, at the same time we were planning our wedding, I was launching my own business. Wedding planning is MUCH more pleasant. At least you’re guaranteed success with a wedding — at the end of the day you’ll be married. Opening a business is much riskier, and, for me, scarier. Perhaps your partner feels like you’ve got the wedding covered so your fiance can focus on the business.

    • Marie

      That’s actually what happened for us too. Sometimes partners can be on a different timeline, it doesn’t mean they won’t meet at the altar at the end :) Thanks for your advice, I hope our (little) experience can help other brides (or grooms!) feeling the same way at the start of wedding-planning…
      Marie

  • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

    My husband also owns a business and was still fairly new in his business when we were planning our wedding. He was very happy about getting married, but had ZERO interest in planning details. He wasn’t interested in things like invites, table cloths, flowers, etc. It’s not his thing, and I got that. He wasn’t interested in the ceremony script and vows when the ones the church writes are, “Pretty darn good. Why can’t we just use those?” Done, and done.

    I think the best advice is to know your partner and what your partners interests are and present those interests to him. Mine cared about beer, food, the DJ, and having a super shiny dance floor. He also cared about his tux, and cared about my dress. Yes, he had input on my dress. He saw it, he liked it. I bought it, I wore it and it was perfect. I presented him with several songs from bands that meant something to us and we went with the one that he liked best.

    If he’s tired, let him sleep. Text and rings don’t need to be done until you get closer to the wedding. Give him time to let things sink in, focus on what he needs to do with his business, and save some of that other stuff for later. Shop around for rings you like or you think he would like and present them to him. My husband loved that I chose a ring for him on my own. He said, “It’s a reminder of how much you do for me so I can focus on my business. Thank you.”

    I can say that at times (both during the planning and nearly three years later) I totally relate to the “commitment not feeling as important as it is to me” but remember that not everyone expresses their joy in the same way, and for some it takes a while to process and let it out. My husband didn’t completely let out his happiness until we poured that first glass of champagne and then he was like a puppy at my heels for the entire reception just loving the heck out of me. Even today, sometimes it takes him awhile to remember, “Oh. I’m married. I should do something nice for my wife!” But he does and it’s always AWESOME.

    And, remember, you are marrying a business owner, which is completely different from marrying someone with a corporate-type job. VERY, VERY DIFFERENT. There’s so much going on every minute of every day that sometimes that devotion might seem to overshadow his/her devotion to you but, trust and believe me, it doesn’t. In time, the benefits of the hard work and long hours being put in now will reward you so richly in all areas of your life. It does come with a bit of “loneliness” but that loneliness doesn’t have to be lonely. Use it to find ways to enrich yourself, your life, and your marriage. Independent within a marriage, what a unique concept!

    Feel free to contact me if you want/need a pen pal during your planning process. I’m more than happy to be your long distance support system because I know what you are going through! Pushing the issues, telling him to get off his butt, and forcing the wedding down his throat for the sake of “gender equality” isn’t going to make it any better. We chose a partner because they compliment us, not to turn them into something they are not. It’s my advice to accept one another for who you are and where you are and move forward, together.

    • Marie

      Thank you thank you thank you for that answer !!! It feels good to see I’m not alone :) It sure is hard being the bride (and in 3 months wife) of a business-owner whose job is his passion. Furthermore he works with the land, so when the crop is ready it’s ready and he has to go whether we are away on vacation or not. It’s not that he doesn’t love me or that we need councelling, it’s just his job and that is SO hard to remember sometimes :) But you’re absolutely right, part of the reason I love and admire and respect him is that he is passionate about his future, he is full of ambition and he is “going places”. And you’re right (yet again), this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t remind him he needs to take care of me too from time to time :) I would love to have you as a pen pal, should I give you my email adress in the comments ?
      Thanks again,
      Marie

      • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

        Sure! My email address is punylife@gmail.com, so you are welcome to contact me anytime. :)

  • ElisabethJoanne

    *shyly raising hand*

    For a bride-groom wedding, right now it sure feels like the usual gender roles are switched. I was the one worried about the budget even before he proposed. He’d throw out expensive ideas (most of which he knew were expensive), and I’d get resentful because my parents are paying. “He’s spending tons of my parents’ money on silly stuff.” So we talked about it. We made a budget, and that revealed some stuff I wanted that he thought was silly. End blame game. (Also, just because my parents are paying, does not mean it’s just MY wedding, not his.)

    Then we started discussing venues. First he nixed my free, easy idea. So the resentment came back, because any money spent on a reception venue seemed to be his “fault.” Then he nixed the least expensive venues I showed him, which I rather liked. By “liked” I mean in the way I like a car or pair of running shoes – balancing practical features and cost, not caring much about whether it’s pretty. He cared about “pretty,” or at least “interesting,” and he continues to have this ability to separate cost from feelings, which I just can’t do.

    Then he did some hint-laden communication: “I don’t hate it.” “It’s OK.” My rational mind took him at his word, when really, the places made him want to punch people. At that point, there was some yelling (me to him).

    So we talked again. I told him I was content with the venues we’d visited, but if he wanted to keep looking, he could do the work. He researched, then gave me a list of 70 possibilities. I was overwhelmed. I was not willing to slog through several more months of visiting venues. So I explained that we just didn’t have time to visit 70. We could pick 20.

    We’re moving through that list, and I’m accepting that we’re atypical at least when it comes to venues. I will worry about clean bathrooms and operational kitchens and sufficient parking. He will worry about aesthetics. Also, I really do trust him to finalize each decision on time. And I know I’m lucky to have “a groom who is so involved.”

    *end vent*

  • Hope

    I agree with all the ladies above about strategies for incorporating your FH in the planning but wanted to add my different story.

    I had a fiance who was not that interested in planning the wedding. We spent a day looking at venues and he said he cared more about the cars and the music so he would sort that out.

    2 weeks before the wedding I had to book a DJ and we drove in our own cars.

    Once in our marriage he told me he hadn’t been ready to get married and blamed me for pushing him into it. That put our wedding day, and the planning for it, in a whole different light.

    Just to say that *sometimes* the time or interest someone takes over their wedding can be indicative of their desire to get married.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Whenever I see someone complaining about men and how they just don’t care I always have to wonder if they’ve considered the role society plays in, for generations now, telling men not to care about their wedding. It’s not the guy’s fault. It’s society’s.

    For our wedding I had the much more open and flexible schedule where I could go do things or make things. So I’d pull a few ideas and then ask him about them. I’d ask how much he cared about different things. If he cared a lot (like the wording on the invitations or that the pens had feathers), then we made time for both of us to do something about them. If he didn’t have strong opinions than he gave me his loose preferences and I did what needed to be done (as long as I cared about them too).

    We found I could go on and on in an email to him about how something was making me feel, but if I then summarized the main points in bullet points and asked a direct question of him, we were able then to solve it together.

    Talk about your communication styles. Talk about what is important to each of you. And then go from there.

  • pixie_moxie

    Hi, I had a similar problem and it sounds like you might have the same sort of personality as I do. What I learned from my hubby is he didn’t feel included in the planning process because so much of it was going on in my head at all times. Be it societal pressures or just busy minds, I was thinking about and planning our wedding where ever I was, so when I would come to him and say what do you think of this idea he would feel left out that he was not part of the where did that idea come from beginnings. So by the time I asked him what shade of purple we should use for the stamps he was still stuck on the fact that I seemed to have the wedding all planned with out him. Where as I thought he wouldn’t be interested in all the nitty gritty/crafty detail things.
    As Alysa said, the thing I learned, from APW I am sure, was to set time aside in a non pressure way, “hey sweetie can we have some icecream and chat about music after dinner”. This made us both feel included and like our ideas were listened to. It made planning more fun/relaxed and let him know I really did value/need/want his opinion, since it was Our Wedding not just My Party.

  • z

    Sigh. I didn’t have a huge problem with this type of issue, although a lot of things did fall to me because it was in my hometown and I just knew more about it. I think the hometown advantage, so to speak, can really skew the process and make the gender dynamic even worse.

    But really, I had a hard time dividing up tasks between us– did anyone else feel that way? They are just all so inter-connected! For example, he was supposed to pick out the tent, but that depended on the table layout, which depended on buffet/plated and on the RSVPs, and what about space in the tent for a DJ or not having a DJ, and blah blah blah. It seemed like all the decisions had to be made simultaneously, building on each other like a crossword puzzle, or building up a brick wall level by level. So we just ended up having to do everything together. Which was kind of stressful, but he’s very good with this sort of thing, so it kind of made me like him more.

  • msditz

    I think assuming that someone isn’t interested in the marriage simply because they aren’t into wedding planning is a fairly big leap. To me it sounds like he is just a busy dude who isn’t detail oriented.
    When I read this it occurred to me that maybe he isn’t interested in the details BECAUSE he cares about the marriage. Maybe he is thinking, “Who cares if the napkins are Tiffany blue, as long as we are married at the end of the day?”

  • HeatherM

    We had a similar situation as well- in fact we had such a big fight over it at one point that we broke up for about 10 minutes, re-scheduled the wedding to the following year, and agreed not to talk about wedding stuff for the next three months in the mean time in order to allow us to just get back to us. And we did make it through, and have now been happily married for a year, so know that it gets better, it does.
    In our situation, what I had to realize is that he was actually dreading the wedding. My husband is the strong quiet type. He is not loquacious or elegant with words, he is an introvert to the point of being overwhelmed at any party (especially a large one), and neither of us care for being the center of attention or public displays of affection. These are all pretty much unavoidable things about a wedding, so I had to realize that being the groom in our wedding sounded like the most un-fun un-enjoyable dreadful day of his life to him. But of course there is no way for a groom to say this to an overworked overstressed and often-emotional bride without it being taken as “I don’t want to marry you”- at least that was what he knew, so he just said nothing and did nothing.
    Three months into our hiatus from discussing anything wedding-related, I discovered APW and started to brainstorm a bit, and I discovered the concept of a backyard wedding. We were on a long drive one day when I just threw it out there: What do you think of taking the money our parents were going to use to help us out with the wedding, and putting it as a down payment on a house instead and having a backyard party for a wedding. His response: If I had known you were open to something like that, I would have proposed years ago. That’s right, he even put off proposing for years because he was so terrified of the wedding.
    So that is what we did. And while my husband and his family know absolutely nothing about how to plan a wedding, they are a family that will cancel the family vacation in leiu of a rip-roaring family project of remodeling the bathroom. So my husband (and his parents) contributed to the wedding in a way that they knew how, that matched their skill set- fixing up our house. And my husband was happy and relaxed at our wedding, as was I.
    So that’s what worked for us. Not just an architectural theme or setting because he loves architecture, but actually finding a way for him to use his current skill set and passions in a way that significantly contributes to our wedding.

  • Deanna

    Longtime lurker, first post…

    We’re in a bit of an unusual situation with this. That being… I’m Californian, he’s English. Currently living in our own respective countries. He really wants to be involved in everything, but as the wedding’s here in Cali, well… he kind of can’t. So we’re constantly discussing ideas online, and once one is made we don’t look back, and he (and his mom!) get photos of everything. And his mom’s so bummed at not being involved much, that I’ll be taking her to my final dress fitting :P. So we’ve decided he’s in charge of finding places to stay for the honeymoon, with input of course. It seems to work so far. He and his mom would both like to be more involved… but with the distance, I can’t figure out any other way to do it :P

  • Susan

    I’m also planning a wedding with a partner who is, so far at least, really disengaged from the planning process. I’ve looked all over the usual blogs and forums for insight and advice and I keep hearing a lot of the same things people are saying here. “Come up with a few options and just and show him those.” “Find the things he’s excited about and have him work on them.” “Do x, y, or z to convince him that these things have to be done in advance / these things have to be done at all / these things have to be done this way.” But what most of these ideas have in common, from where I’m sitting, is that the underlying assumption with all of them is that the buck still stops with me and it is still my job to make wedding planning palatable for my partner. And that makes me so mad!

    I am not a type A person. I have not been dreaming about having a wedding my whole life. It’s probably not helping that my partner is a bigger procrastinator than I am, but I’m pretty bad about that as well most of the time. He’s super busy right now (student teaching plus some afternoon/night work) but so am I (starting a new doctoral program and doing unpaid research on the side). So there are some rationalizations that I just can’t apply.

    The “if neither of you care about it, why do it?” argument is pretty salient here, but it’s not always that simple. I mean, there are a lot of things we both care about somewhat but don’t want to bother with the details of. For example, neither of us gives a crap about centerpieces generally or wants to do massive diy projects to decorate, but at the same time neither of us wants to get married in a completely bare hall with bare, institutional tables. And when there is something like this that needs to be done, it seems like the onus is always automatically on me.

    There are some things my partner finds more interesting, like reception music. But they’re also things that I’d rather work on. Giving him these parts of the wedding to plan just seems like it would free up more of my time to work on the stupid, boring parts. And that’s just not right.

    I guess what it boils down to for me is that I don’t think the sexism of this stuff has really been fully confronted in any of the spaces where I’ve looked for help, including here. I can’t put the blame on my anal-retentiveness, or the fact that I like fancier stuff than he does, or the fact that I have more free time, or any other aspect of our situation. The reason the buck stops with me, the reason I’m expected to either figure all of this out myself, find a way to delegate it myself, or find a way to cajole him into helping with it, is that I’m the woman and he’s the man. And I am not ok with that.

    There is one piece of advice in this thread that I do think I can use: the idea that I can just refuse to do something. I think I might just have to go on strike until my partner is willing to be equally responsible for this whole thing. Even if it means being open to eloping and losing our deposit on the venue.

    • Liz

      But I think perhaps that’s where you hit the point of divide and conquer. There are a butt-ton of things I hate to do AND Josh hates to do. But they need to be done so we can live like civilized adults. We both hate calling credit card companies. We both hate washing dishes. We both hate folding laundry. There are chores that are easier to split up- I actually like paying bills and balancing the checkbook, which he hates. So that’s clearly mine. The rest, though, is divided even-steven. I get one thing we both hate, he gets one thing we both hate.

      Same went for us with wedding planning. We BOTH wanted to pick the music, decide on the food, design the invitations. That stuff was FUN. So we both did it together. But neither of us wanted to call car companies or plan the seating chart. So he got one, I got the other. Once divided, the onus is on THAT individual to accomplish the task in the given time frame. I’m not a babysitter. I’m not going to ask if he called about a limo yet. He’s a big boy who needs to handle it himself, and I need to focus on the frustrating as hell seating chart.

      But like I said, that’s not just a wedding-planning thing. It’s something we’ve had to do throughout marriage. (especially now that there are dirty diapers a-plenty to clean. I’ll give you a hint as to who enjoys that job- NO ONE.)

    • Marina

      I totally agree with you–the underlying assumption is NOT fair and you shouldn’t put up with it! :) Although I do think the onus is somewhat on the person asking the question as well as the person answering–“I’m planning our wedding and I’d like my partner to help more” will get a different answer than “My partner and I are planning the wedding and I’d like him to take a larger share of the work.”

      I’d suggest, instead of “giving” or “delegating” things to him or “letting” him selecting the fun bits, both of you sit down TOGETHER and hash out what really does need to get done and what can be dropped. What I found was in the process of having that conversation, we were actually able to brainstorm reasonable solutions to some issues that seemed like giant chores when I was working on them by myself. But even if you do end up with a long list of tasks that just seem like chores, it’s important to have it all written down in one spot so you can divide it up equitably. (Not necessarily equally, but in a way that feels fair and supportive to both of you.)

      Because really, wedding planning isn’t about you and the people on the internet. It’s about you and your fiance. That’s where the conversation should be happening.

  • Marie

    Hi everyone !

    Thanks so much to all of you for your kind perspective, it feels good to know I’m not alone :) Also, I completely agree with “not letting the wedding compromise the marriage”, that is SO true, but being a bit of a drama queen, when I wrote this I was afraid that being left alone planning the wedding would mean being left alone taking care of the house and kids in a few years…
    Actually what happened was after writing to Team Practical (thanks again Alyssa), I felt better just because I had taken time to put words on my feelings, so when we talked about it with my fiancé I wasn’t just a screaming fed-up mess, I was really able to say what needed to be said, no more no less. And he heard my concerns, and reassured me that if he didn’t give much thoughts to picking the colors, he was still gonna be there for me if it mattered to me. Also, somebody (I’m so sorry 76 comments is a lot to read in 1 go :) ) said something about timing being different sometimes for the 2 partners, and this turned out to be oh-so-true for us : now that the wedding is only 3 months away (!) he got into it a little (no martha stewart transformation happening here, but still). For example he designed our wedding rings in association with a jeweller, and he spent time picking the wines, because these are the details that matter to him for the wedding. And he took time to hang out with me, because that mattered to us, for the marriage :)
    So yes, I think saying that a lack of interest in the wedding does not have to mean lack of interest in the marriage, but it is still a good test run of how you will react as a couple when facing big stressing events : will each partner retire alone to his/her corner or will communication help along the way ? Will we be able to care even when we don’t, just because we know it matters to our partner that we care ?
    To sum it up, if I had an advice or at least a point of view to give to others who might be in the same situation, it would be to talk it out with your partner, not to wait till you’re so upset you don’t make sense anymore and “i feel you don’t care about the wedding” turns into “you never care about me anyway!!!!” :) and also to look for ways in which your partner acknowledges the work you do : for example last weekend I was tired from work and wedding prep, and he cleaned all the house by himself as a surprise and a thank-you… That’s not picking center-pieces for the wedding with me, but I think it’s really a wonderful thing to do for the marriage :p
    Marie (aka DF!)

    • Marina

      “I think saying that a lack of interest in the wedding does not have to mean lack of interest in the marriage, but it is still a good test run of how you will react as a couple when facing big stressing events : will each partner retire alone to his/her corner or will communication help along the way ? Will we be able to care even when we don’t, just because we know it matters to our partner that we care ?”

      This! :) Wedding planning can be a big stressful thing… and it’s a great opportunity to practice how you’ll handle all the other big stressful things that can come up during marriage!

  • Ceka

    You know, the thing that sticks out to me is that your partner isn’t helping you plan the ceremony. And the ceremony matters – it’s when you express your commitment to each other, and one of the many ways the two of you can articulate what marriage means to you and how you intend to honor, love, and support one another. So I think that, if nothing else, your partner should really be talking to you about this.

    That said, when I was getting married, my husband thought that the ceremony was just the vows and that the whole thing should be as short as possible so that we wouldn’t bore people. I was frustrated by this for a long time (our wedding is not an imposition! The ceremony is the most important part! It should last long enough for us to say what we need to say!).

    My husband hadn’t attended very many weddings, and I had. I had also grown up in the Episcopal church, where we practice liturgy and ritual every Sunday, and where words are very important. (Seriously, Check out the book of common prayer sometime.) So even though I had left the church, and intended to have a secular wedding, I had a very clear idea of how to structure a ceremony and what we needed to say to each other and our families.

    In the end, I told my husband what I wanted for the ceremony, and took the lead on structuring the ceremony, and asking people to write texts. He sang while I walked down the aisle, our readings were letters from dearly beloved relatives (and a video speech from my grandmother, who broke her leg at the last minute, and couldn’t be there in person), we thanked our parents for raising us and thanked our inlaws for raising ourselves, and our families circled around us for the vows, which were taken from the book of common prayer and modified so that we each meant every word.

    We both thought it was the best part of the wedding.

    • Marie

      Actually we are getting married in a Catholic church, and there is no such thing as writing your own vows or readings, you have to pick them from the Bible and we did it together, which was quite important to both of us. It’s more the cake and colors he has trouble caring about :) But also I think that eventhough the current fashion for weddings is to be a very deep and personal reflexion of who the couple is (and obviously that’s something I care about too otherwise I wouldn’t be reading APW almost everyday), there are also some people who like the fact that it is the same for everyone, you know the same vows-readings-hymns etc, it makes them feel rooted in a powerful tradition, like they are a link of a bigger chain, and that is what my fiancé explained to me when we talked about the ceremony. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about planning the ceremony, he just liked the traditional feeling of it. It was so important to us that we talked about it before confusion got in the way !

  • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

    What has helped us so much is sitting down and splitting up tasks. When I just generally asked for help or talked about nit-picky details, my guy tuned me out a lot. But by splitting things up, he’s had bits he feels invested in to work on. He also works really efficiently because he doesn’t deliberate like I do.

    One risk I’ve found of just picking options I like and letting him choose is that I feel a bit disenfranchised when I’ve done all the work. So sometimes I put together some ideas/options, let him weigh in, and then make a decision with him. We like to do the thing where I present 5 options, he casts out two, and then we talk about our remaining options. It works nicely.

  • Marina

    One thing that helped me was realizing I had to explain WHY some things mattered to me. For instance, having a basic color theme. I think my partner was somewhat puzzled that I cared about things like that while wedding planning, since it’s not something I normally spend a lot of time talking about. When I was able to explain that one of the things that was important to me was creating a space where our guests felt comfortable and happy, and that having everything look good together would create that subtle sensation in the background of everything, he was much more on board.

    … I also had to take a step back sometimes when I COULDN’T explain why something mattered to me. ;) That was sometimes the biggest sign that I’d been caught up in the wedding blog world and was planning someone else’s wedding, not our wedding.

  • Flo

    As a French compatriot, I can assure you it’s the same in every country ! Generally speaking, men are just not that into wedding planning.
    This might sound sexist, but you have to remember that men don’t see colours like we do, they don’t see the difference between Tiffany blue and turquoise, they think all flowers look very nice, they don’t know how to make a room look magical.
    But it doesn’t mean they’re not interested at all ! And I’m sure your fiancé is (or will be after the wedding) extremely grateful for all the effort and time you’re putting into this wedding.
    Maybe you should try including him in things that he’s good at : Excel spreadshits, budget planning, scaring the caterer into lowering the prices…
    Bon courage !