Hey, vendors: here's why you should never ever ignore a groom (…EVER)

The Offbeat Bride shirt for grooms says "I'm planning a wedding too. ASK ME WHAT I THINK."
If you work in the wedding industry, you've probably heard the the tired expression that the wedding is "the bride's day" or "all about the bride!" That's bullshit — and that way of thinking could be losing you money.

It's not the "the bride's day" — it's "the couple's day." One person isn't more important than another other when it comes to planning a wedding and a future together.

Why is it sadly an all-too-common occurrence in the wedding industry that vendors still ignore the grooms? And they're doing it to their own detriment!

Did you read the post we featured on Offbeat Bride recently where a couple who went into to a store to register ended up walking out after the groom was completely ignored? Here's an excerpt:

[The manager] found out we were there to register for our wedding and hopped on the intercom to call a consultant, "Can I have a registry consultant to the front of the store? We have a BRIDE IN THE BUILDING!" I was a little put off by this; but willing to keep it friendly, so I smiled and said to her, "and BONUS, you get a groom too!" The manager looked me straight in the eye and said, "Oh, he doesn't matter. Grooms don't matter at all! Everyone knows it's the bride's day!"

Flabbergasted, I looked over at my fiance who was clearly uncomfortable. "Um… should we leave?" he asked me. Meanwhile, manager lady was completely oblivious to our exchange because she was still going on about "THE BRIDE'S DAY."

I put on my serious face, looked the woman in the eye and loudly announced, "We're done."

I wish we could say that this is a rarity in the industry, but our readers have encountered this problem time and again…

Alex and I talked about [being ignored by several wedding vendors] that night and he told me how uncomfortable and offended he was. He said that he felt like everyone was judging him and he was afraid to give his opinions because he thought the sales associates would think he was trying to take away "my special day" and control me.

It's just not fair that even when he tries to be a part of these decisions, he's basically told that this wedding has nothing to do with him. It seems the wedding industrial complex just wants him to shut his mouth and open his wallet.

I know you guys have written before about wedding vendors who totally ignore grooms, but I'm looking for some super practical, step-by-step guidance on how to make it clear to my vendors that if they keep ignoring my fiance, they stand to lose our business.

We even sell Offbeat Bride t-shirts that say "I'm planning a wedding too. ASK ME WHAT I THINK" for grooms to wear to vendor meetings, in an effort to remind people that his opinions also count.

Wedding vendors, don't miss out on potential clients, or piss off your current clients. Make sure to be at the forefront of the involved groom revolution by doing things like:

  • Take a minute to think about if you're still subscribing to the old adage that it's "the bride's day."
  • Make sure to acknowledge the groom.
  • Ask his opinions and take them seriously.
  • Include BOTH partners on any and all emails and texts.
  • Remind anyone who says "it's all about the bride!" that is, in actuality, not.

How do you make sure to include your grooms?

  1. Yep. My now-husband and I walked away from the best buttercream frosting I've ever tasted because the bakery completely ignored my guy when we visited. We still had a fantastic wedding cake, made by a bakery who was respectful and welcoming of both of us.

    6 agree
  2. I hope this post gets around and results in fewer vendors ignoring the groom! My fiance definitely felt slighted by a few potential vendors. As I said on Facebook: I CC'ed my partner on all e-mails when shopping for vendors. Most of them still only replied to me. I'm not sure whether that was "ignoring the groom" or "not knowing how to locate the Reply All button," but either way it's a fail. Glad we found vendors who include both of us.

    6 agree
  3. We ran into this mentality at first when planning our wedding. However, I insisted on bringing my husband to all the meetings and including him in the conversations. At first, many vendors would direct questions to me and then I would turn and ask my husband what he thought. After a question or two, all of our vendors were asking both of us our thoughts. It was nice that our vendors were so responsive in including my groom. It was a bit unfortunate that I had to lead the conversation that way, but at least they were receptive and willing to change. I know it certainly isn't everyone's experience to have vendors listen to both sides of the couple, but I was very glad our vendors did for us. Hopefully they'll take that mentality into their future planning!

    11 agree
    • That's awesome. Small and constant corrections like that are super-important in the groom inclusion revolution!

      5 agree
  4. Yes. Yes. A trillion times yes. Every vendor that tried to crowd me out, misspelled my name in an email when my name is my email address, or who made me feel like a domineering tyrant every time I spoke up? Got the terse "We have decided to go in a different direction." email.

    4 agree
  5. Could you also do some type of 'I do NOT care about this wedding planning' T-shirt for the bride? I kept being asked what I wanted to do about things that I really did not care about and had made clear that this was something I did not care about. Such as the food, so long as there was some was all i needed to know, my then fiance now husband cared in great detail about the food.

    6 agree
    • My husband needed one of these. Getting married was basically a gift to me (I'm big on ritual and ceremony and he's not) and I did the lion's share of the work.

      1 agrees
  6. Unfortunately it seems to be something a lot of brides still subscribe to too. I was in a queue in front of a group of women recently, two of whom were complaining about how their fiancés weren't involving themselves in the planning and didn't help them with all the work… and then one said:

    "Well, in the end, it's the bride's day, isn't it"
    "Oh yes, of course, it's my day"
    [silence]

    Funny, that…

    2 agree
  7. I was reminded of this discussion as I was working through several collections of wedding photos today. Something I see *all the time* that drives me nuts (but won't really show up when people are booking, it's a disappointed-after thing) is wedding photographers who take a zillion pictures of the bride and almost none of the groom. So often when I'm laying out an album I have two or more whole spreads of the bride getting ready and her solo portraits, and then .. 3 pictures of the groom. I usually end up making them really large, but it's really sufficient.

    (And not only might this irk the couple, but the in-laws.)

    Don't be that photographer, I don't care if tuxes bore you.

    4 agree
    • At the wedding of a (guy)friend of mine, there were more solo pictures of the dress (without bride inside) than of him. And his seemed like taken in a hurry at the church's entrance. He found it funny, but I was heartbroken.

      Please, please don't be that photographer.

      4 agree
      • Yeah, we had two photographers and when we arrived they were both in my dressing room. "The guys are getting ready, too and THAT is what Im missing out on. One of you go photograph that for me."

        I found that, rather than counter the "bride's day" mentality, I just indulged it in a different direction. This is my special day! Dont let me miss any of it! Take pictures of everywhere I'm not. I know what *I* am up to.

        Same approach to attire and doing things my groom would like. "Its my special day and Im going to be spendibg it looking it him. He needs to look his best- which includes looking happy and comfortable"

        6 agree
  8. I'm doing most of the contact-point planning, because FH doesn't really want to be involved in it (he doesn't like talking to people… other than me; I can never get him to shut up unless I invite friends over haha (mostly kidding)), but I've definitely REALLY appreciated that most of the people I've talked to have said "Yes, we'd love to talk to / meet with you & your fiance to discuss / show…".

    3 agree
    • Yes! This! The photographer I found was totally understanding that I wanted to wait a month to actually meet with her, so that we could do it as a couple. I'm also doing most of the contact-point planning because my fiancee gets overwhelmed by the whole thing pretty easily, but her opinions absolutely matter. I'm the scout–but the decisions are still made as a team!

      I'm HOPING since we're both "the brides" we won't run into too much of this as we start really contacting vendors, but I fear because I am spearheading planning and she is naturally quieter that she might get brushed off anyways. 🙁 We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.

  9. As a male wedding photographer (yeah, we're quite the minority I find… it's kind of intimidating at bridal fairs), I find I get a lot of couples who are pretty equality minded. I think just _being_ a male photographer drives away a fair number of bridezillas and ME-ME-ME brides because they assume you're not going to subscribe to that culture. Which really, is fine by me.

    I prefer my couples as well, couples. Not one person rolling their eyes and trying not to fall asleep while the other obsesses about details that nobody's going to care about three days after the wedding. Takes two to get married, you know?

    2 agree
  10. A decent vendor doesn't ignore the groom, but I've sat in many consults where every time I attempt to engage the groom, he either has no opinion, or I catch him off guard and he wasn't paying attention (so he has no idea what we are talking about), or the bride answers for him. I always start meetings talking to both, but if one completely checks out mentally, I stop addressing that person directly because it just gets awkward for everyone there.

    I recently had a meeting where the bride answered all the questions I asked the groom and said "He's being shy today". Like seriously, is he three?

    That said, we've had more and more grooms being the point of contact over the years. This year we had three grooms who were the ones who researched and picked the photographer, we coordinated everything through them, and in one case, we didn't even meet the bride until the wedding day.

    I find that we unconsciously do end up taking more photos of the person we have the strongest connection with through the planning process. It's a habit I'm aware of, so I make sure I definitely do get a reasonable amount of coverage of the other person too. I think it boils down to just feeling like you know that person better, and maybe they give you a bit more access or are just a bit more open in front of you because there's more trust there, so you get better candids. But the timeline also plays a key factor in how many photos of a groom alone are delivered. If the groom's prep isn't being photographed, it's hard to find time later in the day to photograph him alone. And it almost seems rude/awkward to take the groom off to the side when the whole bridal party is waiting to be photographed and you have 30 minutes for portraits before dinner starts.

    That said, I don't do a lot of shots of bride alone either. If she doesn't give me time alone during prep, I don't pull her aside and shoot her alone during portraits. But if we are covering bride prep, there will obviously be a lot more focus on the bride, whether she's the only subject in the frame or not.

    1 agrees
  11. This was a big problem we encountered. Only one vendor we visited actually cc'd the groom in on quotes etc, and several seemed surprised he had an opinion.
    Worse was his suit fitting – they seemed snitty the bride wasn't there to pick. When they asked him if I was wearing ivory or white they nearly had a breakdown when he said matching didn't matter, he HAD to match. He knew my dress was ivory (I'd told him), but if it didn't matter to me that he wasn't a perfect match was should it be to anyone else?

    2 agree
  12. I blogged about this exact topic back in July, at the time I was worried I was saying something a bit too controversial for my industry peers, but it was well received by brides. I think we assume brides want to be the centre of attention and we pitch it that way, and then the bride will respond expecting to be the centre of attention, and the groom will assume that he's SUPPOSED to take a back seat because he doesn't feel valued or noticed. Then brides complain that their other half isn't helping or doing anything. From chatting to male friends who are engaged, their response to why they aren't more involved is because they feel their input is just going to get ignored, told it's wrong etc.

    Let's change this!!
    http://www.mariannechua.com/the-bride-centred-paradigm/

    3 agree
    • I'm quite glad you included this link, but it doesn't seem to work anymore and a google search for the title is coming up dry. Would you happen to have an alternative place to view what you wrote? I'm very interested in reading it!

  13. For me and my fiance it really doesn't make sense to include him if its not about food or music because well he honestly doesn't care I ask and his response is always which do you like or whatever makes you happy

    1 agrees

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