We're not selling grooms short: there are a lot of guys who count "expressing my feelings" as a forte and who are engaged in the drama of a seating chart. Communication is a cornerstone of any good relationship, but the high tension, strange customs, and unfamiliar etiquette that come with planning a wedding can leave some guys speechless and many brides aggravated. Here's what he really wants you to know, and how to handle it, without even having to ask.
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1. "You have to tell me what I'm responsible for."
You might expect him to plan the honeymoon, and might hope for a present on the morning of the wedding, but does he know what a groom traditionally takes care of? Unless he's been sneaking a peek at your bridal magazines, he might be totally unaware that he has any responsibilities after he proposes. And if he's among the first of his friends to get married, he probably doesn't have anyone dishing these valuable tips to him.
Relationship Rx: Telling your groom what you expect of him is not poor etiquette — it's necessary, and he'll welcome the guidance. If you're not comfortable filling him in on some of the details (like the bride's gift, for example), ask one of your bridesmaids to bring it up so that he gets the hint (and so you don't get mad).
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2. "I have no idea what napkins will go best with our linens, but that does not mean I don't care."
You mention how you'd like your bouquet to match his boutonniere, and his eyes glaze over. You show him a motif you're going to add to all your stationery, and he responds with a shrug. It's tempting to interpret reactions like these as disinterest in your wedding (and, in turn, your relationship), but don't be so quick to pounce.
Relationship Rx: Even if your groom doesn't have strong feelings about the decor, he wants the wedding to look good just as much as you do. His mild interest in the details doesn't mean he doesn't care about the wedding — it means he trusts your tastes. Ask him specific questions like "Which flower do you like better?" and you're more likely to get a direct response.
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3. "I want you to look like you."
Every bride wants to look her best for her wedding, but some risk changing their style too dramatically with heavy makeup, big hair, and too many accessories.
Relationship Rx: While there's nothing wrong with getting glamorous for your wedding, your groom doesn't want you to change your look so much that he doesn't recognize the girl who's walking down the aisle. He fell in love with you seeing you every day, so remind him of that with hair and makeup styles that are distinctly you.
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4. "My friends aren't D-class citizens."
Just because you might not like one (or a few) of his friends, doesn't mean you can seat them in Siberia during the reception. If you stick a table of his buddies in a corner while your friends have a prime spot near the dance floor, they will notice, and they'll probably wonder why they got the short end of the seating chart.
Relationship Rx: Make a game plan for your reception seating that follows logic more than favoritism. Give close family and attendants the best seats in the house, and arrange tables from there. If you have to put a group of his friends toward the back, show there's no ill will by seating your friends in a similar position.
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5. "Don't ask for my opinion if you don't really want to hear it."
With so many tough planning decisions to be made, it's natural to second-guess yourself and seek out your groom's opinion. And that's fine, but not if you're asking him only to reinforce something you've basically already decided. If he tells you his thoughts (the ones that disagree with you), your response shouldn't be along the lines of "Are you serious?"
Relationship Rx: Turn to him when you're really torn about a choice, and he'll gladly give his input. When you know exactly what you want, however, go with your gut rather than put him in a position to pick an option you would never really consider.
6. "Let me decide which parts I want to be involved in — then maybe I'll do more!"
Getting your groom to attend the cake-tasting is a cinch. And he'll probably be up for choosing your playlist. But shove a binder of sample invites in front of him, and he'll be thinking of nothing other than an exit strategy.
Relationship Rx: Your powers of persuasion may be exceptional, but wedding planning is a whole new terrain. Involve him in the details you know he'll enjoy, but don't force it or his instinct might be to resist. Instead, let him know about some of the less-interesting tasks piled on your plate, and he'll be more willing to offer his assistance if he sees you're stressed.
7. "I'm not wearing a sailboat bow tie."
Dreaming of a perfectly coordinated wedding party? Think he'd look handsome in a classic, full-dress tailcoat tux? Make suggestions about the formalwear, but let him choose his own attire. You don't want to look at your photos years later and see him cringe at his white linen wedding suit (that was your pick, naturally).
Relationship Rx: Although your fashion sense might be on point, what matters most is that he's comfortable in his formalwear. Just like you wouldn't want to wear a gown you consider unflattering, he shouldn't wear an outfit that he feels doesn't fit right.
8. "Don't give me a curfew the night before the wedding."
The rehearsal dinner often segues into a late-night party. If he's having a great time, you're liable to put a damper on things if you insist he turn in before midnight.
Relationship Rx: Despite what he does the night before, you can rest assured he'll show up for the wedding . . . and that he'll arrive on time. If you're really concerned, ask his most responsible groomsman to keep an eye on him, and to remind him that he wouldn't want to endure the wedding day with a hangover.
9. "The bachelor party is off limits."
You've had a hand in every aspect of planning the wedding — so why shouldn't you have a say in his night out with the guys? We know of many a bride who has suggested a particular cigar bar or offered up her parents' vacation home for the festivities.
Relationship Rx: Be careful how you tread when it comes to his bachelor party — though it may seem like an immature tradition to you, for some guys it's practically sacred. To give suggestions, let alone put boundaries on the party, implies that you don't trust him, which is a shaky way to start a marriage. By showing him that you trust him completely, he'll be reminded again why you're the perfect bride.
— Miles Stiverson