A wedding symbolizes a union between two people, a beginning of a beautiful life together, and a ceremony of commitment to love and honor each other ’til death do you part. Of course, all of that could be accomplished without the grandeur of a wedding but where’s the fun in that? Weddings are fun, they call together members of both families, separate packs of friends; there’s pomp, there’s circumstance, there’s cake and, everyone loves cake, right? All of that takes planning and to plan a wedding can take months to execute. But, let’s face it; it’s her day and your first job as a husband-in-training is to make sure everything goes off without a hitch (pardon the pun).
So, what’s a guy to do? Do you sit back and let the professionals take care of everything? Are you supposed to be hands on; picking out doilies and choosing among a phonebook-sized catalogue of invitation stationary?
The planning of a wedding is often a trap for men; do too little and run the risk of being pegged aloof. Do too much and accept a title of “serial hoverer.” The best way to handle the planning of your wedding is found somewhere in between. Pay attention to these important tips and you too will be able to survive wedding planning.
Step 1: Know Your Fiancée’s Planning style.
The first step in surviving the wedding planning is to get a full understanding of your bride’s planning style. Is she a type-A planner, meticulous and sure, or is she an easier-going type who is comfortable delegating responsibility? Determining which type of planner she is will go a long way to defining what your role should be.
If you’re dealing with a General of Planning, don’t fret. Her commanding authority is something that endeared you to her in the first place. Her take-charge attitude will be on full display as she decides the matters that will make up the biggest day of her life. This doesn’t give you license to check out; you’ll be called upon when needed, so be ready.
When dealing with a General, the areas of planning that will involve you include:
Helping to compose the invitation list.
Getting fitted for your tux. (Be on time! This cannot be stressed more firmly.)
Don’t get fat before the wedding.
That’s it…you’re done!
If you find yourself planning a wedding with a more laid-back bride-to-be, you’ll have to take a more active role. Now, before you go rolling your sleeves up and getting that look on your face like you’re about to lift something heavy, easy tiger…you’re job isn’t “co-“ anything; you’re an advisor. Trust that anything you suggest will be taken under advisement, not chosen merely because you expressed a preference. You’ve got a lifetime of partnership and equitable consultation in your future, but that all starts after the wedding. She’s the CEO and you are…whatever’s below CEO…way below.
To help plan, be a facilitator. Suggest companies to work with or venues to price. Offer to help shop around for flowers. You can chose the cut of your tuxedo but be prepared to give a little on the color and style. If you plan to have out-of-towners attend, you can be in charge of transportation. Expedia is your friend so download the app as soon as possible.
Step 2: Be Available
Your biggest job regardless of what type of planner you’re working with (read: “for”) is being available. You may be called upon for many parts of the planning or very few parts of planning. Either way, when your number is called, you’d better answer the bell.
Being available doesn’t mean only being physically available. Nothing throws a routine planning session into a tailspin quite like being revealed as a preoccupied partner. So, your favorite team is down by two with a minute to play? Tough, wedding planning is going on now; that’s what DVR is for. Your buds from work got a sweet tee-time at that club you’ve always wanted to play? Better take a raincheck; planning is underway.
Ideally, you’ll be able to coordinate your schedule around the planning that involves you, and getting a planning schedule early on will help in that pursuit; but, know that you’re on-call. If a sudden issue arises and your CEO needs input from you, you had better have your ringer on not set to stun.
Step 3: Be Supportive
This goes without saying to most guys but it bears repeating for all. Being supportive means adopting the level of importance that your bride attaches to the wedding plan. Just because you think there’s not a big difference between egg-shell and Mother of Pearl doesn’t mean it’s not a deal-breaker for her. What ruffles her feathers should ruffle yours. Show her that you get how important the wedding is to her and you support her efforts in making sure things are perfect.
There does come a time every once in a while when you have to take on the role as a source of leveling for your sweetheart. When the pressure starts to mount and the day draws near, you can expect her anxiety level to rise. It’s when this starts to happen that you will need to provide some relief from all that is weighing on her mind. You can do this through a variety of methods.
Step 4: Be reassuring.
Let her know that, because of all of her hard work, things are going to be fine. The caterers are going to get the menu fixed, the flowers are going bloom again, and those weather guys are always wrong. You have to calm things down, look into her eyes, and show her steel in your spine to give her the boost of confidence she may need to get through an unsure or hurried moment.
Be careful when playing the role of ‘the reassure-er.’ You want to inspire confidence without coming across as patronizing. There’s a fine line between injecting the confidence that all will turn out as intended and giving off a “so what” sentiment. Avoid trivializing her concerns for two reasons: 1) You don’t want the wrath that doing so can invite, and 2) You don’t want the woman you plan to marry feeling marginalized.
The rest of your wedding plan will take a course specific to the contours of your relationship and respective families. The best approach is to be as flexible as possible, as positive as you know how to be, and as supportive as you’ve ever been. Do these things and you will survive the wedding planning. Do them not, and may God have mercy on your soul.
It’s going to be great.
Congratulations! You’re getting married!