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Why The Groom Should Be Involved In Wedding Planning

Regardless how enthusiastic your partner is, there's one major reason to plan your wedding together: It can save you money.
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To celebrate my engagement, my maid of honor gave me a four-pound binder bearing the title "The Bride's Essential Wedding Planner: Deluxe Edition." The gift was at once heartfelt and tongue-in-cheek. She knew I wasn't the type to fuss over every detail of my wedding day, and she wore an impish smile as she watched me heave the planner out from under the tissue paper.

In the illustration on the cover, a woman perches on a footstool in a white gown and veil holding a phone with an antenna in one white-gloved hand and a teetering wedding cake on the other. My fiancé asked later if the gray figure kneeling at the bride's feet was supposed to be him, but a closer look revealed a seamstress dutifully sewing a hem. The groom was entirely absent.

This struck me as an idea more antiquated than the bride's cell phone. I found a black Sharpie and bifurcated the word Bride's with a proofreader's caret, just before the apostrophe. Above it I wrote, & GROOM.

To be sure, many grooms couldn't care less about wedding planning. Why should they bother scouting DJs when they can get away with tuning it all out until the tuxes come in? However, plenty of men who might otherwise do more are no doubt cowed by the wedding industry's general disregard for grooms. No wonder that mine assumed his place was there on the ground, bowing before the bride's every whim. Regardless how enthusiastic your partner is, there's one major reason to plan your wedding together: It can save you money.

Here are four ways to get a reluctant groom to help you achieve an ideal day within your budget.

1. Have some skin in the game. At one time it may have made sense for the bride to call the shots, given that her father traditionally paid the bill. These days the groom's family often contributes as well, and Reuters reports that three out of four couples cover at least part of the cost themselves, citing Anja Winikka, editor of wedding website The Knot. Anyone putting up their own hard-earned cash is probably more likely to make sure they get their money's worth. I spoke with a groom who had no interest in flowers at first but found himself bagging up clear glass pebbles the day before the wedding to ensure that each individual arrangement the couple had paid for would have just the right amount.

2. Meet with vendors together. While you want to involve close friends and family -- especially if they're paying -- be aware of the effect they can have on you and your budget. If you and your mom or maid of honor tend to feed off each other's excitement, it can be helpful to have someone to stall the resulting runaway train. (If only the groom could be there to steer you toward a cheap wedding dress.) Even when it's just the two of you, help each other resist the upsell. You can raise an eyebrow when his eyes light up at the mention of a rented Rolls-Royce, and he can bring you back to earth when you're tempted by towering centerpieces -- or vice versa.

3. Solicit his input. Your partner may not be offering any help, but have you asked for it? You may appear to him to have everything under control -- or worse, to be uninterested in his opinions. Ask him to brainstorm ways to save on the aspects of the event you haven't thought about yet. Two heads are better than one when you're trying to come up with cheap wedding ideas. And be sure to clue him in on what you're doing. Even just CC'ing him on emails can go a long way.

4. Use his talents to your advantage. Has he mastered Photoshop? Design your own stationery instead of paying for pricey invites. Is he handy? Ask him to DIY some of the décor. If negotiation is part of his day job, have him take the lead with potential vendors and see if he can get you a deal. Let him introduce himself first to establish up front that they're dealing with both of you, not just the bride. Tap into your fiancé's circle of friends as well. He may happen to know a skilled photographer or accomplished baker willing to work for cheap.

You never know -- before it's all over, you could have him in the middle of a wedding fair with a coconut cocktail in one hand and a tote full of swag in the other.

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