My best friend in the world and I enjoying the fruits of our labor! Photo by SK Photography
As I get ready to celebrate my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman, I can’t help but feel like I’m more than overdue to talk about Matt’s role in planning our wedding. I’d like to think that Matt and I have pretty equal roles in everything in our relationship. Somebody recently commented about how we have “non-traditional gender roles” in our marriage, which I guess is true in many ways, but I think that’s because we more so fall into roles that speak to our strengths so that we can both do the best to take care of one another. That’s just our dynamic and so that was how it went with the wedding as well. Many people told me how lucky I was to have a groom that was so involved with the wedding planning, and I know that’s something many brides struggle with when it comes to their grooms, but it can also can be more complicated than that.
Matt is extremely personable and easy to talk to in meetings and on the phone. My prefered method of communication was through emails because it gave me an opportunity to compose myself and make sure I had everything in order I needed to talk about. This was great because it meant that we split up contact duties. Different vendors prefer different methods of contact and that’s not always immediately obvious when you first reach out to them. I’d email people first and Matt would call after if that didn’t work. When we’d meet with a vendor, we’d confer with one another first to get on the same page, and then Matt would do the talking based upon what we had both discussed ahead of time. We always waited until after we had left meetings with vendors to make final decisions so we could comfortably discuss them with one another and both really have a say about what we had heard and thought in the meeting. Being on the same page was huge for us. Early on in our relationship we went through some drama that has caused Matt to be extra vigilant in remembering that in our life together, even if we might disagree with one another, we are always on the same team working towards the same goals. I think that way of thinking helped us avoid what could’ve been a lot of drama as we planned the wedding.
Once our vendors were decided upon, we’d split up how we dealt with them based upon their preferred method of communication. Our florist for instance was more of an emailer. Our DJ preferred to discuss matters by phone. Once, Matt emailed our florist from our joint email account and she was certain I was mad at her because it was so different from our usual conversations. He was very short and to the point whereas I wrote more flowery (pun intended) emails that were full of gratitude for her services and very descriptive information on what we were looking for. Our DJ probably thought I was crazy because any time he called me, I’d talk to him for about a minute before I’d say “uhhh let me talk to Matt and get back to you on that,” and sure enough Matt would ultimately be the one to give him a call back. That didn’t happen every single time, but it did happen often enough that in previous centuries I might’ve been committed.
We did work together as a great team, but unfortunately, as always, there are other people who play roles in the planning process and can upset that. Many vendors we dealt with weren’t really down with the dynamic of a groom being very involved in the wedding, and regardless of what Matt had to say, they’d ultimately defer to me or they’d take my silence as disinterest and try and come up with ways to get me excited about working with them. “Ohh Julie, You’ll love this feature!” they’d exclaim and then typically they’d show me something that didn’t really mean anything to me. While I think more and more grooms are starting to take part in the planning process, I don’t think it’s hit the mainstream WIC that the mythology that it’s all about the bride isn’t quite true, so Matt was like this weird anomaly to a lot of people we met with. The vendors we worked with in the end understood and accepted our dynamic and I think even respected the equality between us when it came to decision making.
It also is tough because sometimes I think, as brides, we fall into that same mythology that the wedding is all about us. From the start, Matt and I were both really excited about the wedding so we discussed the many parts of it from the get-go, but I think even early on I thought a lot of the final decisions would be mine alone. I didn’t recognize immediately that he would even have parts of it that were important to him, but there were major things about all aspects of our wedding that meant a lot to him. For instance, one major thing that mattered a lot to Matt was that our venue had windows. We found a great hall about an hour outside of Boston that was super cheap on the rental price but that wasn’t exactly appealing to the eye and lacked the natural light he was looking for. I was all set to write a check, but when Matt and I discussed it, I realized that while my priorities were met by it, his were being ignored. So we continued our search and finally found a venue that thrilled both of us and satisfied both of our priorities. Honestly, I’m grateful he didn’t let me choose the place I was ready to write the check for. It would’ve cost us way more money and effort sprucing it up and our venue that we did find was so perfect for us in every way.
That’s the thing about planning your wedding with your groom. It’s awesome because it means everything doesn’t fall to you and you can have something that is really representative of both of you because you arrived at all your decisions together, but it also leaves some room for disagreements. Brides who don’t have their grooms extremely involved in their weddings are not only left to make decisions all by themselves, they also GET to make decisions for themselves. It’s kind of a double-edged sword no matter how you look at it. Ultimately having Matt deeply involved in the process of planning our wedding gave us some great quality time together, some amazing memories, and practice in discussing and making decisions as a family instead of individuals. I’m glad he was as involved in the wedding planning process as he was, and I hope that his involvement is part of a bigger trend in the industry….not just an anomaly I lucked out to be part of. If you’re in the middle of your planning process, and you find it’s all falling to you, maybe sit and talk to your significant other. See what might be important to him about the wedding. I think what made it so easy for us is that despite shortcomings we might have in how we communicate with others, we’re great at all sorts of communication with each other so that was the very first thing we did when we set out to make our day happen.