One of the things we hear so often about our wedding films is “I love how you show what the guys are doing!” We have been lucky enough to get couples that have some awesome plans for their wedding day or wedding weekend, it would be a tragedy to NOT include that fun in their films.
The other reason those story lines appear is that we’re very intentional about capturing what’s going on on both sides of the aisle and including that in our films. A wedding is, in its very essence, the very first thing that happens in your marriage. Just like a marriage isn’t about one person, neither is a wedding. We want our wedding film to reflect that; two different individuals, becoming a team.
We don’t always see this in the wedding industry. Even looking around at wedding websites, journals, and magazines…most of the time, it’s all about the bride. Unless two guys are getting married*, sometimes his details aren’t even featured alongside hers, and some publications don’t even shot portraits of the couple, opting to use bridal portraits instead.
*In the wedding industry, same sex weddings definitely get the leg up on showing both spouses in publications. A little bit of equality goes a long way! Even within same sex relationships, one partner may not have the same love of weddings and planning as the other, so here are my tips on surviving and enjoying the wedding planning process together.
Create the big picture.
Often when one spouse isn’t active in wedding planning, it’s because the wedding being planned isn’t one that they’re comfortable with. If one person’s dream wedding includes 500 guests with live music and swans, but the other is seriously shy and would rather have a quiet elopement, you’re going to have to compromise. Either plan is likely to leave one or the other very uncomfortable on their wedding day, so meet in the middle and plan a day that may not have been the dream wedding for either party, but is one that both are comfortable participating in.
Surprise – when you’re marrying your best friend it turns out that any wedding is kinda a dream wedding. Even if you don’t get the swans or do have to put up with all the cousins.
Formulate a plan. Together.
Weddings contain a lot of details. It’s a complete and utter myth that women’s brains are better designed to deal with those details; it’s an idea that has been implanted in us by our culture. These cultural limitations are likely to pop up within your marriage, so planning a wedding is great practice for keeping up a house, raising kids, planning a vacation, and planning your finances. Unless one person says to the other “Hey. This is something I really enjoy doing on my own, for you, forever and always.” then tasks should be divided.
There is finally some talk about the mental load that goes into managing a home and family, which can be really overwhelming, stressful, and lonely (if you’re the only one managing it). Don’t wait for your partner to tell you what to do. Think about your skills and the things you care about, and volunteer to take on that task from planning through execution. Set deadlines together on when tasks are completed, and provide updates to each other along the way to avoid anxiety about things not getting done.
You don’t have to be interested or involved in every little detail, but take part in the ones that you are interested in, and take ownership of some of them as well. It’s also okay to be honest with your future spouse about the details that don’t particularly interest you, but be prepared to listen as they share their excitement.
While guys can (and do) plan any portion of their weddings, here are a few ideas on things the guys we’ve worked with have particularly enjoyed putting together for their weddings:
- Activities for the guys on the wedding morning. Prep for guys usually doesn’t take nearly as long as it does for the ladies. Without a plan or activity, you might spend the day sitting around getting bored and anxious (or worse, starting the wedding day drinking a little TOO early. A pre-ceremony cocktail might calm the nerves, but a pre-wedding binger is always a terrible idea!) Be sure to leave plenty of time for the actual wedding prep, and travel time between locations. You don’t want to feel rushed and running down the aisle. Consider including your partner’s family members in whatever you’re doing if they don’t have hair and makeup to deal with.
- Transportation. Lately, our weddings have been stepping up the game on how everyone is getting where they need to be! We’re still seeing plenty of horse drawn carriages, but also classic cars, trolley buses, modern sports cars, and even a helicopter ride. These little details will take your wedding, and your wedding film, to the next level.
- Reception entertainment. From live bands to DJs to games and fun, everyone loves something to do to break the awkwardness of talking to family that you only see when someone gets married. If you’ve included children in your guest list, be sure to include activities to help keep them entertained.
- Food and Drink. This is definitely the most fun thing for couples to plan together. Basically, there is no wrong choice in this category, as long as whatever you do is done well. When else in life do you get to sit around and taste plates full of yummy things as you make your choices?
- Your actual clothing and prep. Sorry guys, in my opinion, the details on this should be all up to you. Decide on the overall look together, but you should be the one making sure that your crew has been appropriately fitted, that everything gets picked up and delivered where it needs to be, and that you are appropriately groomed for your big day.
- Gifts for your groomsmen. The last wedding we filmed had swords. SWORDS, y’all. These guys have likely invested a decent amount of time and money to proudly stand beside you on your wedding day. Show them your appreciation.
- Rehearsal dinner and activities. Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner has been the responsibility of the groom’s family. With many young couples paying for their own weddings and less family involvement, this tradition can easily fall to the wayside. This is a great way for you to step up and take ownership of one big important task in preparation for your wedding.
Many men (and even women) are raised in a household where it’s not okay to show your emotions, and we’ve learned to keep things reigned in. Your wedding day is among one of the many days in your life that will be made better by allowing your genuine emotions to show. I’m not saying you have to cry. (It’s totally okay if you do….but if you’re absolutely not a crier, it doesn’t mean you love any less!) Find some way to go above and beyond what has been planned to show that your love matters more than the craziness of wedding planning of any detail of the day. If you’re at a loss on where to start, take this Love Languages quiz and have your partner do the same. You’ll get a really good idea of how to show love to someone in the ways that will mean the most to them.
In media, weddings are often painted as these lovey-dovey, over the top, everything is perfect displays of emotion. Everyone cries just the right amount, at just the right time. In reality, sometimes being in the spotlight (especially if this isn’t a role you’re especially comfortable with) and the uncertainty of doing a thing you’ve never done before can get in the way a bit; causing emotions to be a little out of control or seemingly non-existent. Plan a part of your day where the two of you can just be yourselves, with each other.
If you’re a guy who has recently planned a wedding (or you’re working on one now) leave me your comments on your favorite tips to make the planning process easier! Want to get tips like this right in you inbox? Sign up for our newsletter so you’ll never miss a post!