Too Feminine? (or There’s a Guy In Here Somewhere)

Somewhere close to half of all the people getting married at any one time are men. There are women marrying other women (so no dudes in those weddings) but there are also guys marrying other guys, which means it may more or less even out along straight and gay lines.

And yet, weddings are very often uber feminine affairs. There are big bunches of flowers, sometimes oodles and oodles of them. Wedding color palettes are trending toward gender-neutral hues, but there are still plenty of weddings with color schemes dominated by pinks and purples and pastels. Plus, so much of the wedding hype actively focuses on the bride — her experience, her wedding dress, the engagement ring, etc. — that the groom can seem like just another minor detail.

feminine wedding

My take on it is that society frames weddings as being for women. Dads tell their sons and future sons-in-law to “stand back and shut up” while the wife-to-be goes on a tulle-fueled buying binge. Advertisers address the bride-to-be’s experience. Have you ever seen a commercial or print ad that featured a groom-to-be waxing poetic about wedding planning? I haven’t. We grow up thinking of the guys as secondary players in the wedding, so maybe it’s easy for some people to forget that the guy standing in the corner holding the Tiffany & Co. box might have some opinions about what his wedding ought to look like. At best, grooms-to-be are given one area to oversee… they handle the music or the menswear, while the bride-to-be has the final say over everything else.

I realize, of course, that there are some men who honestly do not care about their own weddings. They’re more than pleased to be tasked with showing up at the ceremony wearing whatever their sweethearts have picked out. And there have got to be grooms who think a feminine wedding is the only kind of wedding! But I also wonder how many guys are “standing back and shutting up” because that’s what they’ve been taught to do, just as us ladies have been subtly trained to do it all. Maybe the groom-to-be secretly hates the pink wedding invitations or the wedding cake that looks like a castle or the elaborate floral arrangements, but is hesitant to say anything because he thinks he shouldn’t care or that caring will seem unmanly or some such thing.

To brides (or grooms) who are dismayed, offended, or irritated by their groom’s lack of interest in the wedding, I say give him another chance. Before you put down a deposit on a venue or vendor, ask his opinion. Try once more to include him when you’re shopping around. Give him something to do, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all your wedding planning to-dos. The flip side is, of course, that once you include him, you have to respect his opinions and choices just like you expect him to respect yours. Compromise will no doubt be necessary. But won’t it be awesome to have a wedding that you created together and that reflects aspects of both of your personalities?

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4 Responses to “Too Feminine? (or There’s a Guy In Here Somewhere)”

  1. La BellaDonna says:

    NtB: I agree with you absolutely; I had a groom who was very interested in and involved in even minute aspects of our wedding … except, of course, the work involved. Most of THAT was left to me to deal with. (And I have to confess that, even at the time, it didn’t strike me as odd; it took YEARS for me to see that it a) wasn’t fair; and b) was symptomatic of our relationship.)

    That unhappy little squib aside, I think most people assume that a marriage is the joining of two lives, and surely the wedding should reflect that? Unfortunately, the WEDDING generally reflects a much older assumption: This is the one day where the BRIDE gets to shine, because the rest of her marriage is going to be devoted to her husband and/or her family. This is the one occasion where the bride’s wishes will be considered important.

    Not that that isn’t an unhappy little squib in its own right, also! I think if most brides were asked if that was truly what they expected to occur after marriage (that is, the wedding is the one day/wife subordinate ever after, etc., etc.), there would be a lot of appalled and resounding “NOs!” However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many people (brides-to-be and grooms-to-be alike) who DO have that subconscious expectation – which is why a lot of Princess Brides don’t get backed down from some of their unreasonable expectations for their One Big Day.

    If it were viewed, instead, as a celebration of two lives joining, surely it should reflect the preferences of both of those people, rather than one running roughshod over the other – and both people should be involved in the work of planning, as well.

  2. monkeyparts says:

    oooooohhhh, my husband-to-be has FIRM ideas about what our wedding will be like. And after a happy decade together, I was shocked by the proposal and happy to let him make a lot of decisions – he’d already picked out the place, date, music, ring-maker, officiant, etc.

    Which is really unusual. We generally do lots of talking, processing and vascillating before making big changes – but somehow he got swept up in wedding fever. I think that’s key – the excitement brings energy to opinions. As I’ve gotten more used to the idea, I’ve gotten more excited and have started to exert more influence on the planning – but it definitely is not a very “feminine” ceremony.

  3. Bruce says:

    In my 28 years of producing wedding videos I’ve had a few where the groom actually did most of the planning, decorating, venue selection, etc. We often hear the term bridecilla. Can you say groomzilla? I’ve met a few.

    Grooms should be encouraged to take a more active role in the wedding planning process.

  4. Great post! Yea no matter how hard the groom works it seems its a brides affair, but even for me, a groom getting involved, its ok. It’s one of the grooms jobs to make sure her universe is orbiting just the way she wants!