You’ve put your heart and soul into planning your wedding, but your groom - well, he doesn't seem excited at all about the wedding. He’s barely done more than agree to turn up on the day in a suit!
Despite it being the 21st century, wedding planning still seems to fall mainly on the bride. For some brides that’s exactly what they want, but for others it can be really heartbreaking for your groom to seem indifferent or actively not help with anything wedding related.
Image: Boreham House
Does it mean he’s got cold feet? Is it a sign of how your marriage is going to be? We asked a couples’ counsellor for the truth about why he doesn't seem interested and how to avoid arguments about it.
Plus, scroll down for some top tips on how to get your groom involved in wedding planning that’ll get him truly excited for the big day!
My Groom Doesn’t Seem Excited About Wedding Planning – Why?
Image: Blue Lily Weddings
We’ve all seen Don’t Tell The Bride and know how disastrously wrong weddings can go in the hands of the groom, but what about when he’s not giving any input at all?
With the huge amount of work and stress involved in the wedding, a bride can easily become frustrated and resentful when the groom leaves all the decisions to her or doesn’t do tasks asked of him (is he ever going to get his guests’ addresses?!)
Therapist and couples’ counsellor Emma Marlin says it’s not that men don’t care about wedding planning, but they’re often at a disadvantage and are more comfortable leaving it up to you.
READ MORE: 17 Thoughts Every Groom Has During Wedding Planning
Image: Poppy Carter Portraits
Emma explains, “Most women are absorbing information about weddings from a younger age, in that it's in female culture and films in a way it's not for men. Women might not realise they have this whole bank of knowledge about what needs to happen and ideas about what it'll be like when we get married, which men don't have. It’s about recognising that dynamic is there and often men are nervous about putting their ideas across.”
It might be interpreted by you as not caring, but often a groom is just easy-going about how the day goes as long as it makes his bride happy. He won’t realise saying “choose whichever one you like” for the 50th time is quite annoying - you’ll need to more vocal.
Emma says, “Not enough brides sit down and say, 'I have a really firm idea of what I want, how about I give you some tasks to do? Are you up for that?' Women don't acknowledge that they like to be in charge, that the little details mean more to them than they ever will to their partner – even if their partner might love it on the day.”
Could It Be Because He Has Cold Feet?
Image: Sally Rawlins Photography
It’s easy to jump to the idea that his lack of interest in the wedding planning is lack of interest in marrying you, but this isn’t the case says Emma.
“Couples tie themselves in knots saying, 'If you really loved me and if you really wanted to get married and spend the rest of your life with me, this marriage would matter as much to you as it does to me.'
READ MORE: Should I Get a Prenup?
"But for a lot of men, they do really want to get married, but planning doesn’t come into the mix. Just because wedding planning isn’t on their agenda doesn’t mean they don’t love you or care about the wedding.
“Thinking this is how people end up feeling let down, disappointed, sad and angry, and conflict comes up, instead of what needs to happen – a series of negotiations. If you tell them what you need, most partners will do what you ask,” she says.
If We Can’t Stop Arguing During Wedding Planning, Does This Spell Disaster For Our Marriage?
Image: Craig Williams Photography
“People take evidence of what happens around the wedding as how their partner will be planning to have a child or planning to buy a house,” says Emma.
“Suddenly the whole kitchen sink's been thrown into an argument. That little time when they didn’t do what they said they would becomes, ‘How can I trust you to have a baby with you? If you can't do this one thing, how are we going to cope with other things down the line?’
“It's easy to project onto our partner our own fears and concerns. Most arguments about weddings are about something else so take a step back and ask what it’s actually about.”
READ MORE: How To Plan A Wedding When You Have Anxiety
Image: Kevin Fern Photography
Emma’s adamant that arguments aren’t a bad thing. As a wedding is essentially a huge piece of planning, it can amplify differences in how you approach tasks, which can lead to disagreements but can also help you work out how you tackle negotiating in the future.
“Most couples don’t negotiate particularly well. It's not a bad sign that you're arguing, it just means you're going to have to work on negotiating with each other and that requires communication,” says Emma.
Don't go with the "If you really loved me, you'd..." line, she says, instead sit down with a list of things that need to be done and give each either a yes, a no, or a yes with conditions, e.g. you can invite X, if I can invite X.
Five Practical Ways To Get Your Groom Involved In Wedding Planning
Image: Andrew Craner Photography
So how exactly do you convince your groom to get involved in wedding planning? Professional bridesmaid Tiffany Wright has the secret: she’s a dedicated pre-wedding PA and even on-the-day support, so she knows a thing or two about dealing with grooms who zone out when planning starts.
Here are her top five ideas for getting your groom excited about wedding planning:
1. Make Him Money Manager
Give him the ‘masculine’ task of managing the budget. Put simply, a lot of men like to be in charge of the money, so tell him you’d love him to do a spreadsheet of the finances and costs.
2. Play To His Strengths
Work out his talents - and then give him a job that fits. Is he a great negotiator? Get him on the phone to vendors to negotiate the best price! Perhaps he’s the creative type – ask him to manage your wedding website.
READ MORE: 37 Budget Friendly Wedding Ideas
3. Give Him Complete Control (Or the Appearance of it)
Put him in charge of the videographer and photographer. Many men hate the thought of spending their entire wedding day posing for photos, so explain that if he is in charge of this aspect, he can do it HIS way (read as: your pre-agreed mutual way!)
4. Turn A Task Into A Treat
Put him in charge of the booze and make it feel like FUN rather than a job. Perhaps suggest he has a wine tasting party with all of his ushers to test out the wedding wine options!
5. Let Him Go Wild (In A Very Specific Area)
What guy wouldn’t jump at the chance to pick the ‘on the day transportation’. Let him decide and book the car he wants you to arrive to the church in!
Five Ways To Avoid Wedding Planning Arguments
Image: Damion Mower Photography
Weddings can turn even the calmest bride into a bridezilla, but every conversation doesn't have to turn into an argument.
Here are five rules for approaching talking to your partner about getting involved in wedding planning that can keep tempers in check.
1. Encourage Him
When your partner does come up with an idea, don’t shoot it down immediately. Of course he’s not going to bother giving suggestions if you reject them all. Now if it’s something like saying your vows while skydiving, you can say no, but if it’s something reasonable that he’d like on the day – like a bouncy castle or fireworks – then support that idea or find a way to make it work with your budget.
2. Don’t Talk About Things That Don’t Matter
Those perfect placecards might be important to you, but they’re not to him, sorry. He’ll appreciate them on the day, but he’s likely to switch off when you show him the potential options. Stick to asking his opinion on the bigger things: we know that puts the brunt of the little details on you, but sometimes you’ve got to take the hit.
READ MORE: Honeymoon Hotels You'll Both Adore
3. Let Go Of Your Control Freak
If you want him to be involved and take control of something (like making your playlist for the reception), you need to trust him to do the job. Lose your expectation that everything must be perfect (and by that we mean, how you’d do it). Those moments you remember forever come when everyone’s jumping and dancing along to The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles at the end of the night. It’s all give and take.
4. Get Him Excited
We’ve all got a concept of what a wedding looks like, including your groom. Show him that it doesn’t have to be that way! If a traditional ceremony doesn’t suit the two of you, then get on Pinterest and find some alternatives. Once he sees the huge number of options of how to make the wedding personal to you and incorporate things you love, it’ll get the inspirational juices flowing. He loves Game of Thrones? Show him castle venues, banquet-style feasts, themed cakes, tables named after the seven houses etc.
5. Involve Alcohol
Want to make those wedding conversations less of a chore? Do them in a pub or over a glass of wine during a meal. You’ll be much more relaxed, the atmosphere will be less stressful and if you do it in a public place, you’re less likely to descend into a full-blown row.
READ MORE: 15 Epic Stag Party Games
If you think it's just you arguing about how many canapes to serve, check out our 18 arguments every couple have during wedding planning.
If it's all getting a bit much then we've also got some top tips on managing your wedding planning stress.