Monday, January 18, 2010

A Groom of One's Own

Jason here! As you probably gathered from some of Becca's recent posts, we've started getting down to the nuts-and-bolts decision-making. You could say we're moving out of the "honeymoon phase" of wedding planning (har har). Becca's done a ton of thinking and narrowing down options, and now I'm beginning to get a little more "engaged" in the process (sorry, I just can't help all these marriage puns). I must say, it's an interesting experience. As she stated, I want to be actively involved in things...maybe not the finer details of centerpieces & napkin rings, but I do care about how this event is gonna look & feel. My creative, artsy brain wants to have input. I just don't yet have as clear a picture of what I want as Becca does.

In the process of brainstorming, I realized something interesting yet totally obvious. Here it is: unlike women, we men don't grow up surrounded by a culture that encourages us to imagine ourselves as a "groom" and fantasize about our vision for "our special day". The cultural norm for grooms contains no drama, no agonizing over decisions, no peaks & valleys of emotion. At most, we're expected conform to a tried-and-true formula: don a sharp tux, get a good shave & haircut, and let the women handle all the planning details. You never hear of "groomzillas", and guys don't swap gossip about how so-and-so's best man was demoted to groomsman for refusing to wear a matching cummerbund.

The same cultural forces that drive many women towards "obsess-over-wedding-details-to-the-point-of-insanity" also nudge most men towards the "hands-off" mindset. For starters, there's a ubiquitous cultural stereotype to fall back on (which most of the grooms I've known have subscribed to). Plus, the lack of substantive groom-centric resources out there makes it challenging for a man to find a community of guys to share thoughts & advice with. Also, speaking frankly, it can be a little intimidating if the bride's mother takes a very active role in the plans (which is often the case), and it's tempting for a guy to just back off & let his fiancee and her mom hash things out. But the same way Becca takes an honest look at all the components of being a bride and tries to make them truly her own, I want to apply the same approach to being a groom. If the wedding is going to be a true collaboration, I should approach the trappings of my role with the same thoughtfulness that she's applied to hers.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of resources out there for a groom who wants to get this in-depth with planning. In an attempt to do some basic research, I made my first foray into TheKnot.com. I must say, I'm beginning to understand all the negative stuff I've heard about it. The gender bias there is laughable! A search for the word "Groom" brings up lots of articles, but they all center around three themes:
1) Tuxedos (shopping, tailoring & fit, fashion tips)
2) Groomsmen (bachelor parties, coordinating day-of stuff with your groom's party)
3) Toasts (how to give a good reception speech)

...aaaand that's it. As if there's nothing else a man should be concerned about regarding his own wedding. There's no advice for men on how to collaborate with your fiancee, how to jointly come to decisions or work through conflicting opinions. And certainly no resources for how to create a non-tuxedo "groom style" that suits your aesthetic and personal tastes. Web searches for "groom blogs" only bring up two or three active sites (Temple of Groom looks good), but for the most part, it looks like I'm left to my own devices. So I guess I've just gotta jump in and start tackling things on the checklist.

For starters, let's talk apparel (which is the only thing TheKnot.com acknowledges is important for a groom to consider). Tuxes aren't inherently boring - the standard penguin suit can be really classy and beautiful if done right. But luckily, I've got my outfit already. It's my nicest suit...and I do mean NICE. It was a recent "investment", and a good one. It looks effing SHARP. I feel like a million bucks in it, plus, Becca loves how it looks. It's lightweight wool, solid black, single-breasted, exceedingly well-tailored, and it looks SO much better on me than a tuxedo does. Plus, I save us some money by not renting an outfit. And anyway, a tux would be way too stuffy for our laid-back outdoor setting. It's a very logical decision, and at the same time it completely bucks the traditional concept of what a groom is supposed to wear. I guess I'm lucky that guys generally have a simpler, less-strict set of expectations than women, so breaking with tradition isn't such a big deal. Still, it's just one of many decisions that I'm considering more closely than most grooms typically do.

Also luckily for me, I've got a fiancee with a blog full of people willing to share their thoughts & ideas. I've just begun looking around for good groom-blogs and resources to spur some thinking, but I'd appreciate any suggestions you friendly readers might have, either for resources or for things your fiances found most helpful during your planning process. I know Becca just solicited you for input last week and was thrilled by the response, so if you're still feeling comment-y, feel free to share your thoughts. Thanks everyone!

12 comments:

  1. Jason - my vote is for *YOU* to start a groom's blog! You write so well and articulate your thoughts so effectively. I think you'd be a great asset to the many guys who may feel the way you do about their involvement. And you have great insight into the wedding world already (ie your venture into theknot.com and throwing out words like groomzillas). Btw, I often refer to my guy as a Groomasaurus! :) He acts like he doesn't care about a lot of things but when I show him things and try to get his input he has definite opinions which are totally opposite of mine and he is pretty demaning about a lot of things I let him in on. :)

    Anyway, I think it'd be great for you to continue to dive into the areas that most brides tend to go to and point out what needs to change about them or what would be more helpful from a groom's perspective and to get him involved.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I second Mrs. Beever's suggestion about the blog! I think you would be a great asset to the blog world and to grooms-to-be. Mr. Milk does a regular friday post on my blog. For him, although he didnt do any internet/book research, he knew that he wanted to be involved and was not only vocal about it, but active also. He was the one who initiated the venue hunt for example. Like you, he isn't into all the little details, but definitely has an idea about how he wants the day to be and feel. Not only for us but for our guests too.
    I think overall we are trying to use each others strengths to make our day what we want it to be. I think the wedding world misses out by "leaving out" the grooms in the planning process! Without Mr. Milk there would be no DJ, invitations, or venue!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd love a groom's blog from you! And my guy is very involved as well, he gets so sick of being told that it's "my" day and that he should back off. And he's wearing a super-hot suit too...he looks like James Bond in it, so hot!

    ReplyDelete
  4. yep groom's blog it is- i also vote on that. I checked out Temple of Groom- and sent it to my fiance- he thought it was awesome....

    be a trail blazer! I'd send your blog to my fiance as well!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mr B loved Temple of Groom. He should have started his own blog, but he was way too busy with work to have the time.

    I agree with all the others... start your own.

    Wedding Style Guide - which is an Aussie mag - has some groom guides that Mr B liked. You can download them all for free - http://www.styleguide.com.au/res_groom.php

    I think you should rock that suit. You so don't have to wear a tux.

    ReplyDelete
  6. groom's pov blog would be a good start. i also read temple of groom and loved the point of view/seeing the wedding from a guy's perspective. good luck with your research!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'll read your groom's blog, too, J.

    ReplyDelete
  8. first things first: avoid theknot like the plague.

    after that, make decisions the way you do everyday as a couple. talk it over. bring ideas to one another. ask for input.

    you said you have an artsy eye... i had my guy design the website, most of the paper goods, table numbers, etc. take your talents and apply them where they'll best fit.


    and kudos on the suit decision. josh spent some extra cash to buy his dinner jacket, and da-yum was it worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sadly I don't have much groom advice. But I second everyone above in that you should definitely have a groom blog, or regular posts on this blog would be great (kind of like A Chocolate Lover above) I love reading your take on this blog and Chocolate lovers fridays with Mr. Milk.

    For groom style I heard a lot of people get inspiration from The Sartorialist blog.

    ReplyDelete
  10. First and foremost, thank you so much for the shout out.

    Jason, you and I are are the first in what I believe is the Groom revolution. We are infiltrating a girl's club but we're being welcomed with open arms. I dream of a world where guys wake up and realize that it's not femmy to throw a great wedding. A world when our fellow brothers wake up and realize that a wedding is one of the most memorable parties he'll throw. It's the time when it's socially acceptable, nay ENCOURAGED for one to spend thousands on alcohol. No longer shall we just be a warm body at the alter, or someone that is as clueless as a guest as to what the reception will hold.

    Yes there are blogs and sites out there that are geared towards men. Blogs that explain best man speeches, or how to properly tie a bow tie, but they lack the individuality and personality of the little man. Of the single groom going through wedding planning. We have to be those men Jason. It's our density... our destiny. There will be others after us that read about today in textbooks. That's right, you heard me... our groom blogging will be taught in history classes in high schools. You will be a legend. Together, we will lay the blueprint for future weddings.

    So yeh, in conclusion, I think you should totally start a groom blog. There aren't too many of us out there! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Have you checked out The Groom Says? thegroomsays.blogspot.com - hilarious blog by a groom, for grooms, but enjoyed by LOTS of brides as well. If you haven't already, check him out!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think that this is great. I think there should be more blogs on ways to get the groom involved that aren't hashing out which flowers are better with his mother in law to be.

    I think that a more equal planning approach that use both the groom's and bride's time and creativity is going to become more popular, and that you will find yourself less alone the more you talk to people.
    Looking at my friends who are getting married, the brides are in medical school, graduate school, career driven--- or at the very least, BUSY. I think of myself and how it's hard to get to the gym 3 times a week, so the thought of planning a wedding anytime in the near future is loco...

    ReplyDelete

I love active conversations, including (civil) disagreement. I don't love spam or people who use internet anonymity to be rude and disparaging. Spam and rudeness will be deleted.