Photo by Xsight Photography
Show up, look good and be quiet. These instructions have been handed down to grooms for generations. We've been told, “This is the bride's day.” She gets to choose the flowers, the cake, the caterer, the location, the band—heck, she may even get to choose what we get to wear. Or, at least, that's what we've been led to believe.
Turn on one of the multiple wedding shows on the tube and you'll be told that bridezillas lurk around every corner, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting wedding planners. Tear-streaked and inconsolable, these deranged women are everywhere. Her groom, of course, sits idly by, holding her purse and saying nothing, for he has been cowed into submission by her beastly countenance. This is the popular image. But is it the truth? Of course not.
Traditionally there are a few pieces of the wedding plans that the groom is encouraged, if not expected, to take charge of: the music, the wine, the tuxedos and maybe the overnight accommodations. But now, more and more couples are planning their weddings together, as a team, with the groom taking on a larger role in the planning process. Some grooms are even taking the lead in planning, creating fantasy weddings of their own and giving their brides the biggest wedding gift of all: a well-planned wedding.
Sacramento has recently seen a sharp increase in the number of grooms taking a more active role in their weddings. "There's been a huge shift in the last few years," says Michelle Klaff of Elegant Events. Her Sacramento-based event planning company puts together about 20 weddings every year. "I used to do maybe one wedding every year in which the groom took the lead or even took an active role in planning the wedding," Klaff says. "Now, it's almost a quarter of my business."
But why would a groom want to take on the extra effort of planning his own wedding? Don't brides typically have more experience in planning events, like baby showers, bridal showers and bachelorette parties? Not always.
When Shaun and Jessica Hughes got married in Loomis in September 2007, Shaun was able to draw on his experience as a banquet coordinator from a previous job, as well as expertise gained in college-level classes in event planning, to make his wedding as special as it could be. "For a class project back in college, I had to plan every detail of my future wedding," Shaun says. "Very few of the ideas I had then were used for my actual wedding, but one idea about using candles throughout the halls and Christmas lights on the ceiling was used to create a very intimate and romantic setting."
Shaun says that he was able to direct the reception and take care of a lot of the duties that would normally fall on the bride. “My wife, Jessica,” he says, “was able to show up on the day of the wedding looking beautiful and [didn’t] have to worry about a thing.”
Klaff says that this level of involvement from grooms is more common than you might think. Some brides, especially those with busy work schedules (or those who just aren't good planners) are happy to have someone shoulder some, if not all, of the planning.
Not all of us have practical experience, though. According to Klaff, some men find themselves planning a wedding because their bride-to-be has a time-consuming project at work, has to travel overseas or is in the military. Not to worry, she says, a good wedding planner can help with the basics as well as add those little touches that you may not have thought of on your own.
Then there are some of us who may be lucky enough to share the entire experience with our special lady. Jose Zaragoza, married to in August of 2006 at Arden Hills Country Club, says that between he and his wife, Jacqueline, the wedding planning was a 50-50 effort.
"My opinions were a lot stronger than expected," Zaragoza says. "I helped with planning the reception, choosing the music, picking out the colors, the cake, the flowers and the table settings."
Some of us may find ourselves as part of a team effort due to necessity. When Don Macdonald and his wife, Teresa, were married in July 2007, their teamwork came about because of a crunch for time.
"We gave ourselves about a year," Don says, "but didn't start the real planning until about three months before the wedding." Don says that he was in on every decision save the dresses.
"Working closely together," he says, "makes it really special for each other and makes for some truly unique memories."
Then there's the extraordinary man who puts us all to shame. Rocklin's Rob Penticoff went well beyond the call of duty when planning for his wedding. He didn't just pitch in and lend a hand. He planned every single detail of his wedding. Not only did Rob's wife, Leti, not have to lift a finger for her own wedding, she didn't even know she was having a wedding. Rob gave Leti the shock of a lifetime when he threw her a surprise wedding.
With the help of Leti's twin sister, Ali, Rob was able to pick out the perfect dress (Ali and Leti are the same size, which made dress shopping a snap), choose the colors and flowers, and put together an event that his bride-to-be would love.
Rob's feat was so unusual, so audacious, that it was featured on the nationally televised “Rachael Ray Show.” When Rachael Ray asked Leti how she felt about having no say in such a huge event, Leti said that everything was perfect and that she wouldn't have changed a thing.
So guys, there's definitely room for us to put our two cents in and share in the planning.
Shaun Hughes says, "A wedding is an event for both the bride and the groom, and both should be a part of the planning process."
Did you like what you read here? Click here to request a free copy of the latest OUR WEDDING magazine.