Modern grooms getting more involved in wedding decisions
When Frankie Quirin noticed the cakes from Oakmont Bakery as centerpieces at a recent reception, he told his fiancee, “We need to have these cakes at our wedding.”
“We don't need flowers on the tables, because flowers are a waste of money,” he told his bride-to-be, Amanda Eremic. “The cakes are better.”
Quirin, like more and more grooms, has wanted to be involved in most of the decisions for the Brentwood couple's big day Aug. 15.
TheKnot.com says 95 percent of grooms are actively involved in the process, says Jamie Miles, managing editor. That number is up from 70 percent in 2007 for many reasons. Couples are marrying older — the average age for women is 29 and men, 31. Some couples have been living together and have made choices together already on other things. And the couples are paying for some or all of the wedding.
They should plan together, Miles says, because the wedding is a reflection of the couple's personality.
Wanting to help grooms navigate the wedding road, Eric San Juan, 42, of New Jersey, decided to write a book, “Stuff Every Groom Should Know” (Quirk, $9.95). Chapters include helping the groom with choosing the ring, budgeting for a wedding, a glossary of tuxedo terms, how to pick the best best man and 10 things every groom needs in his — or his best man's — pocket.
“This book is here for one reason and one reason only: to help ensure that everything from proposal to honeymoon goes as smoothly as possible,” he says. “I would like to have had this book when I was the groom. Knowing the details can help make the yearlong or longer wedding-planning process that much easier, and it takes off some of the pressure. “
It's not like the days when the grooms would turn all of the planning over to the bride, San Juan says. It is more about the couple. The Internet has really helped with the entire process, from dating to proposing to planning the wedding, reception and honeymoon to the rest of your married life together, he says.
It's like buying a new car. It's an investment, he says. Weddings are more expensive than ever, with the average cost of $31,213, according to TheKnot.com.
“It's a necessity that a groom be involved, because there is so much that goes into a wedding, and things can tend to go overboard if the groom is not involved,” says Quirin, 27. “Sometimes brides feel scrutinized for certain things they do or don't do at their wedding. But it should be how the two of you want it. And some healthy discussions are good. You need to discuss certain things because you will need to do that in life, not just during the engagement.”
Quirin and Eremic, 24, know about weddings. The couple will have attended 17 from last year to this year. One area in which they both went all out was the bridal party. He will have 13 in the party, counting himself, and she will have 11. They don't want to regret not asking someone.
“That's a good problem to have — lots of friends and family members,” she says.
Aire Plichta, who is engaged to Matt Reese, says if a couple plans the day together, it says something about their long-term relationship: If they have a united wedding, they will have a united marriage.
“He has surprised me and has been even more involved than I thought he was going to be,” Plichta says. “Even though people say, ‘It's the bride's day,' you are marrying the groom, so it is his day, too. I don't want him walking in that day thinking he is walking into Aire's party. It's our party.”
There are times Plichta, 32, has to reel in Reese, 30. She prefers to keep it more classic, and he wants to add more fun.
Plichta is the creative director of the big day, Reese says, and he is the financial planner. They will marry Sept. 19.
“I would say to other grooms to be patient and supportive and make sure the smallest details aren't overlooked,” Reese says. “You also have to keep things in perspective and be able to read her nonverbal cues. Aire has taught me so much. She is definitely my better half.”
Dottie and Bob Miller, co-owners of Wedding Clickers, produce bridal shows throughout the year. The couple say more and more grooms are not only getting involved, they are pleasantly surprised at how much fun there is in planning.
“With so many more nontraditional venues and themes, the men are enjoying planning everything from the ceremony to the reception and honeymoon,” Dottie Miller says. “Because, this is a time in their lives that means a lot to them, too.”
The involvement and knowledge of the groom really depends on that person, says Ashley Moss Kurkiewicz, owner and event director for wedding planner Hello Productions, with locations in Pittsburgh and North Carolina. She has noticed an increase in appointments the grooms attend with the brides.
“Grooms can be picky about certain things about the wedding in particular, the invitations and, surprisingly, the linens,” she says. “Music and food ranks up there too, of course.”
The wedding is becoming more of a celebration of both the bride and the groom, says Erin Calvimontes, owner and president of Divine Celebrations, a bridal show company based in Highland Park. The wedding becomes the couple's first project in which they work together, budgeting and planning. They also learn to compromise.
“These days, many of our couples are paying for their own weddings, so we find both brides and grooms take a role in the planning,” Calvimontes says. “The grooms might take care of such things as all the food, music and transportation, while the brides might take care of flowers, decor and linens. Both will be attending the cake tasting!”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.