What a year 2012 was for grooms. Our not-so-little corner of the wedding industry had a banner year with new male-centric blogs popping up along with increased media exposure for grooms' topics. Sites like mine continued to fight the good fight and show that wedding planning can easily be an equal opportunity experience for both him and her.
With 2012 already ancient history, it's time to look ahead at the unique groom trends that couples tying the knot in 2013 will enjoy. While there were many nominees, these five won out as personal favorites:
1. Bourbon Bars
The crowds you see gathering at the reception won't necessarily be on the dance floor. With last year's "signature cocktail" trend paving the way, grooms in 2013 will be getting creative on a whole new level -- an entire drink station dedicated to their favorite bourbon (or scotch). This mini bar can be completely separate from the actual bar and will often be paired with a "lounge" area where guest mingling is encouraged.
Need suggestions for your reception? Popular bourbon brands are Jim Beam and Evan Williams while some personal favorite scotches are Johnnie Walker and Oban. Of course, if a groom wants to get really creative, he can age his own batch just for the occasion. Just be sure to remind everyone that it's a requirement that they hit the dance floor after they enjoy their drink(s).
2. Socks That Make a Statement
If fun ties were big last year, flashy socks might be even bigger in 2013. Thanks to the photo-crazy Internet, it's easier than ever to see the different options on the table. Men opting to go the more casual route for wedding attire are experimenting with stripes, dots and argyle designs to complement their suits. On the opposite end of the spectrum: formal grooms can still enjoy a sophisticated look that makes a statement. Cashmere, wool and silk socks might not cause as many heads to turn, but they'll make a guy feel great.
Just remember: it goes without saying that if the wedding party wears loud/hilarious/obnoxious socks, it must be captured in a photo for all to see.
3. Pinning Grooms
Would you believe me if I said more grooms were using Pinterest than brides? Well, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration; however, grooms are finally softening up to the photo sharing site. Men are visual learners, and with images ranging from engagement ring styles to attire options to honeymoon destinations, why wouldn't they want to utilize the power of Pinterest in making the big day as perfect as possible?
Of course, the stigma that the site is "just for girls" does still exist. So while they may be pinning their rears off, don't expect to see too many grooms bragging to the groomsmen about where he first spotted their gifts.
4. Co-ed Bachelor(ette) Parties
While previous generations may dismiss it as sacrilege, couples are increasingly starting to combine the bachelor and bachelorette parties into one blow-out event. Not only does this create a pre-wedding bonding opportunity for the entire wedding party, it opens up the itinerary for all different sorts of events. Camping trips, sporting events and good ole fashion backyard barbecues are suitable, but for my money, you can do a lot worse than a day-long trip to favorite local microbrews and wine vineyards aboard a party bus.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with also having a smaller, guys-only event before the wedding day. I always recommend a group trip to a men's salon or barber shop right before the wedding for the groom and groomsmen. Everyone can get classic shaves, puff on cigars and reminisce about the groom's bachelorhood days.
5. Male Engagement Rings
This is the trend that won't die. For years, I've resisted getting behind the male engagement ring movement. My reasoning has been this: it's easy to explain this "trend" as simply a new marketing scheme to get young couples to spend more of their hard earned money on jewelry. Things, however, have changed for me. In 2012, at wedding expos and book signings across the country I met and spoke to many men who are wearing an engagement ring. When questioning their motives, I was blown away by the responses. The men I spoke to wanted to be able to publically reciprocate their dedication to their fiancées. I repeatedly heard: "If she's wearing a ring, why shouldn't I be?"
As a guy who embraces changes in traditions and fights for equality in the wedding planning world, I'm not too proud to admit I was wrong about male engagement rings. I hope this trend has its best year yet in 2013.