"Modern Brides": It's a good start, but we're still not there yet. Photo courtesy of http://thealisters.typepad.com/

It Takes Two

Since five minutes after Marvin proposed, people have been asking me wedding details.

I remember calling one of my friends with the ring freshly placed on my finger.

“Congratulations!!!” she exclaimed. “So, where are you going to have it?”

I hadn’t even had a chance to sit down yet, and I was already being asked what my plans were. Though the stigma is that many women have been planning their weddings since age 5 and had already worked out the details far before they even met Mr. Right (in fact, I have even heard of people even going so far as to reserve the reception venue due to a long waiting list), the more I am involved in my own wedding planning, the more I see that these are merely the outliers.

After all, it takes two to get married.

"Modern Brides": It's a good start, but we're still not there yet. Photo courtesy of http://thealisters.typepad.com/

Involving Marvin in wedding planning has been wholly necessary, and, to be honest, much more difficult than I expected. Shows like TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Four Weddings“, and websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire bombard us with arguments that the wedding is all about the bride, and the groom merely “shows up”. Left and right, a bride’s days are filled with people giving her their opinions (from both sides of the family), advertising campaigns with images focused on happy brides embraced by their blurred-out grooms (see this, this and this, oh, and even this if you don’t know what I mean), and, if it couldn’t get any worse, the lack of a single groom planning his wedding on the many wedding-related message boards.

If that doesn’t drive you nuts, I don’t know what does.

Throughout my life, I always knew that my husband-to-be would be as much of a part of my wedding planning as I would. But when we got engaged, it seemed the world tried to take us on a different path. Even Marvin said to me that he wanted me to have the wedding of my dreams (what he didn’t mention until later was that he thought every woman already had her dream figured out, so he didn’t want to “ruin” it for me). I pushed him for his opinion, but he refused to give it. And since he didn’t seem to care anyway, I left it to my own devices.

I quickly learned that, despite what the shows tell you, it takes two to plan a wedding. Though Marvin wouldn’t give me his advice directly, I could read him like a book. I would announce that our wedding ceremony would be outside in a park and he would sigh and say, “Whatever you want. This wedding is for you.”

If there’s one way to get me angry, it’s to say I can do “whatever I want” or that it’s “my wedding”. And finally, after days of hearing Marvin quietly condone my ideas, I had just about had enough.

“Tell me what you want!” I demanded. And, finally, when I had all but beaten it out of him, the comments flowed freely. I’d nearly wished I hadn’t asked. It turns out, this guy really did have an opinion. And a lot of it was completely opposite my own.

The point is not that we had come at odds with each other. Despite a few days of conflicting interest, we were finally able to agree on some things, and divide and conquer the rest. I would take care of anything that was “creative”, from centerpieces to favors, and he would take care of the “logistics”, like transportation, working with the DJ and what the groomsmen wore. Every couple works this out differently, but I think the worst thing you can do is get caught up in the celebration and forget the marriage. In one of my former articles, Baking Your Cake (And Eating it, Too), I mentioned that couples should pay for at least a portion of their weddings, as it’s a good lesson in financial responsibility for later down the line. I also think that couples should plan a wedding together for the same reasons. If you can’t make a one-day event work to represent both you and your spouse-to-be evenly, how can you possibly make a 20, 50, or 70-year marriage work? It’s how you work together, how you synergize, that makes all the difference in the world.

Now, when anyone asks me about my wedding details, I gladly tell them my plans. But nothing comes to Marvin as a surprise, because we’re in this together. For better or for worse, if you will.

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