The other night I was out at the bar when a co-worker asked me how the planning was going for my upcoming wedding. I told him my fiancée and I had been busy: just the night before we'd been up until almost 2 a.m. sealing and stamping over 100 invitations.
"Wow," said my co-worker, who'd gotten married a year or so ago. "I never had to do any of that stuff." When I asked him why, he answered: "I just couldn't be trusted."
Wait, what? Couldn't be trusted to lick envelopes? Was he serious?
He was. The alarming thing is that my co-worker's disconnection from his own wedding planning isn't unique to him. Many guys -- perhaps most -- rely almost entirely on their significant others to plan their nuptials. "Girls just care more about this stuff," said a male friend of mine recently whose now-wife planned pretty much his entire wedding, despite the fact that she works long hours at a high-stress job.
My male friend is right -- a lot of the time, women legitimately care more. But not 500 percent more, which is about how much more work they do than most of us.
As anyone who's done it knows, wedding planning is an extremely labor-intensive process, especially if you want to have a unique experience instead of just a generic hotel package deal. Vendors must be interviewed, contracts drawn up. Excel spreadsheets have to be created to keep track of everything from budgets to guest lists to gift registries. Menus must be curated, centerpieces designed. The list goes on, and on. And on.
My soon-to-be wife and a small group of women were recently helping a friend package the friend's wedding invitations. It was a big job, and required four people to do it. When the friend's fiancée got home from work that night, did he sit down to help? Nope -- he went straight to the couch and flipped on the TV.
That kind of behavior is what gives us guys a bad reputation. But, almost-married dudes, I'm here to tell you: we don't have to have one. We can (Breaking news!) help plan our weddings. Is it so hard to spend a Saturday afternoon at Crate & Barrel choosing garlic presses, placemats, cheese boards and crock pots for the registry? Will it take that long to make a custom playlist of songs that are special to you and your fiancée? And is it too much to ask that we run a few Google searches like "What is thermography?" and "Why would I ever need table-runners?" so that we can be knowledgable about such things?
Some guys reading this will probably say, "Well, I paid for my wedding, so I don't think I need to do all that work." Maybe that's true. But did your fiancée know that was how things were going to be when you proposed? I'm guessing you guys may not have had that conversation.
It's true there were many things my fiancée -- and her parents, God bless their generous, Midwestern souls -- did without any help from me. There were times, after a long day at work, when the discussions about guest lodging or the flowers did me in. But if I stepped away from the wedding planning, I made sure to be helpful in other ways. I ran errands for Adele; I did the dishes and the grocery shopping; I cooked countless dinners for us; I packed us lunches to take to work.
Basically, I carried my damn weight, because to do otherwise would have been unacceptable. After all, marriage is supposed to be a partnership. You may as well get started.