The wedding industry, while helpful, sometimes feels more powerful than the military industrial complex. It is recession proof, ever expanding, gets more expensive every year, but still remains absolutely irresistible when planning such an exciting day. Thank goodness for the thousands of blogs, Pinterest pages, DIY mania and online support to get you through it.
Most women seem to discount men from the majority of their wedding planning (and the majority of men seem fine with that). Of course, every couple is different, and there are many hands-on grooms, but for the most part, wedding planning is very ladies only. However, without fail, brides make decisions that they assume their groom is on board with only to find his disapproval or passive aggressive suggestions that he would have done it differently. Or brides can have a hard time explaining why the cost is spiraling to an uninvolved groom. Not only that, but it can be hard to get men to discuss the minute details of a wedding. If you ask most men what flowers they prefer, they'll shrug their shoulders and give a: "Whatever you think."
In the early stages of planning your wedding, ask each other this simple question, "What were your favorite things about the last wedding (or weddings) we went to?" I find this one question an absolute must for couples, but what the majority of brides, wedding planners and mothers forget to ask. Brides spend so much time looking forward during planning that they forget all of the awesome (or not so awesome) inspiration that they've seen from past friends and families' weddings. Pinterest looks pretty, but it's no comparison to the real experience of a wedding. Ask your groom to list his favorite moments, touches or elements from a past wedding, and you'll be surprised how illuminating it is. Maybe he loved the bride and groom's personal vows, the DJ, or the specialty cocktail. Who knows, maybe your groom loves a tall centerpiece? Either way, rather than asking him vague questions about colors, flowers and votives, it's easier to look back and recall your favorites.
How does this save you money? Every time your venue, your mother, your wedding planner or any merchant tries to convince you that you have to get something (i.e. chair covers, runners, gift bags, more candles, you name it), ask yourself if you remember these details from the last wedding you went to. Do you remember the chair covers? Do you remember the gift bag at the hotel? Do you remember the aisle runner? If you do and it was a lovely detail you adored, then you know it's probably something you want. If you can't remember these details from any wedding you've attended, then you can probably cross it off your list. And know that if you want to spend money on that particular detail, that's fine, but more than likely, your guests will forget it as well.
This is also a great tool when caterers, venues and other suppliers tried to up-sell bride and grooms. When I was planning our wedding, our venue stressed the importance of chair covers. I looked at my fiancé and asked him what he thought of the chair covers at the last wedding we went to. Neither one of us remembered, which was a clear indication that they were insignificant to us. It's a simple question that allows you to focus on the areas that mean the most to you and best to allocate your resources.
We have a ton of great photo booth pictures on our fridge from friends' weddings, so we knew it was a priority to us to have one. I was happy to spend less on centerpieces (which I find a highly overrated place to spend excess money and time) and spend more on getting a great photo booth and attendant. But each bride is different.
While planning a wedding is definitely a woman's world, I do believe most brides want their groom to enjoy the day and feel a part of the decision-making. While a majority of men tend to have a "whatever you want" type of attitude, I'm always amused when they are very invested in certain parts of the planning. Find out his priorities and then pass off that responsibility, and enjoy knocking things off your list and saving a buck or two.