Monday, January 30, 2012

There's no business like show business.

In a whirlwind weekend, we had three bridal shows booked for this weekend, though we only made it to two. Bridal shows, by name, tell grooms to stay away. There's certainly no reason you'd want to peruse a gaggle of wedding vendors and watch a runway show of wedding gowns with an endless sea of future brides, is there?


the cake is NOT a lie.
First, and I'm still a little bitter that no one clued me in to this secret earlier - Free Cake! FREE CAKE! There's normally at least one bakery exhibiting and trying to give you samples of their delicious cakey goodness. One of the shows I went to this weekend had 5 bakeries trying to make my diabetes worse. The well-seasoned-veteran bakeries might even have a to-go container for you to take home and "share" with your "mother-in-law." They know that you're going to keep the cake for yourself and scarf it down in the middle of the night, but they don't care. They're just happy that you're eating their cake. And you're happy to be eating their cake.

Second, even though the show might be crappy, you're almost guaranteed to get an idea for your wedding. It might be something you want to do, but more likely it's something that you don't want to do. There's generally always a DJ who plays their music so loud that you can't actually talk to some of the vendors - they're guaranteed to play the music too loud during your reception dinner. There will be photographers there with actual photo books. You can glance through their photos and ask them questions instead of having to deal with their horrible Flash-based website. (My next post will give you a couple pointers on how to pick out photographers.) It's also really easy to weed out vendors who won't give the time-of-day to a groom. Next! 

Also, most of these shows give out door prizes. You might just get an orange peeler donated by the Tupperware booth, but you might win a free engagement session with a photographer or a gift certificate to a jeweler. YOU ARE A WINNER! 

Many bridal shows will charge you to get in, but you can always ask around with vendors that you are thinking of booking with and see if they have any free or discounted tickets. Many do! If there's a show you really want to go to, check out their website and see who the vendors are - then stop by a florist or baker who is showing there and see if they have any tickets. Sneaky, but worth it! 

Bring a bag to carry all the brochures and fliers. Bring an appetite for the cake. Bring your bride - she'll be able to talk you down when you have an anxiety attack because there are way too many people trying to push past you and get to the cake.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


The very first time I tried to do any wedding planning, beyond idle thoughts, I stopped in a bakery and asked to look at the books they had clearly laid out with photographs of cakes. I was alone, as it was Saturday morning, and my fiancee doesn't like to get out of bed until million o'clock (a designation of time that we actually use around the house for this very purpose) and so I was denied my request.

The baker asked when our wedding was (a few years away, at this time), what our colors were (pink and orange in the winter?!), and a few other things that danced around the issue - but in the end, she told me she would rather I come back with The Bride.

I just wanted to look at the photo books. She didn't even need to stick around.

This was my first occurrence of groom prejudice. I was cock-blocked. By my own cock.

The entire wedding world today is a bride-centric marketing tool that leaves the other half of the wedding party out in the cold. But I feel that modern grooms need to take back the wedding. This is your first and best chance at collaborating on something huge with your partner. If you can't agree on something as trivial as table linens, how are you going to live together for the rest of your lives? Is one person going to always be in charge of certain things and the other  will always go along? I'm sure that works for some people, but wouldn't you rather find something you both like? Wouldn't you rather have a wedding that you both enjoy?

Well, maybe you wouldn't - but I do.

Roll initiative.

There are very few responsibilities pegged onto the groom of a modern wedding. Show up in a tux. Pay for things. Smile for the camera. Meanwhile, stay blissfully unaware of any of that silly planning business that the bride is fussing about. Every so often, you may be asked to choose a color or comment on a candle, but that will either be after the bride has discovered that all of her bridesmaids are dodging her phone calls or to make you feel important and lull you back into your testosterone-induced stupor. But you're not important; this is the bride's special day and you're just supplying the contrast so that her white gown looks even more radiant in the photos.

But is that what you want?

You. Guy in the tux. The groom. 

What if you want to be involved in your own wedding? What if you want to have a say in what goes on? What if you - you might want to sit down for this one - have an opinion of your own? 

That's the position I found myself in when we started planning for our wedding. It's scary, but I'm going to take you through the journey with me. Buckle your seat belts.