Men and Wedding Planning


Wedding PlanningI got married recently to a lovely woman named Jane, (now we are parents), and this little article comes from those hectic times when my life involved an inordinate number of decisions around the height of cakes, the thickness of paper and the width of rings. I was informed on numerous occasions along the way, by a wide variety of people, that the wedding would be Jane’s ‘special day’ and that all major decisions, including what I would be wearing on the day, belonged to her. Thankfully Jane always saw our wedding as a joint effort but this very common idea, that the wedding is a day for brides, needs some questioning.

While I am certainly pro-marriage I am not so sure that I am pro-wedding. I do not like the way in which the burgeoning wedding industry has taken the ideas of fidelity and self-giving love and associated them with make-up trials, chair covers and expensive cars. Interestingly the rise of the wedding industry and the amount of money spent is almost in direct correlation with the fall in the understanding of the nature and purpose of marriage.

My ideas about the nature of the wedding industry were confirmed when Jane and I attended a Bridal Expo with everything on show from jewellery to bonbonnieres to teeth whitening and even fitness training. One of the stalls was promoting a new wedding planning app in which the couple enters the basic details about their wedding to receive information showing the approximate cost of the wedding, according to industry averages. We had a go and filled out the few questions asked: date of wedding, style of wedding, number of guests etc. We were informed in no uncertain terms that our wedding, with 150 guests at the reception, was going to cost $105,936.09! This included $20,000 in outfits, $4500 in decorations (including $550 of balloons), $42,000 at the reception and $25,000 of pre-wedding expenses. Maybe this is the ‘industry average’ for a wedding, but if so, we all need to take a good hard look at ourselves and ask when exactly it became acceptable to spend more than a year’s wages on an event that is going to take less than a full day.

Now that I have been ‘within’ the world of wedding planning I can report that this is a world that has become overly feminised to the extent that male input is almost considered to be in the way. I assure you that wedding expos would not exist in their scope and size if men were playing a more substantial role in offering opinion. When one particular sex is solely responsible for weddings we find an imbalance in the end result. At one end, with women in charge, we find the costly princess-for-a-day model. At the other end, with men in charge, we see the disastrous results in TV shows such as Don’t tell the Bride.

While it is obvious that men and women are different this difference is meant to complement one another. Life is a not a competition to see which sex is most physically strong (that would be men) or which sex best nurtures children (that would be women). When men and women work together there is a wonderful balance. Where a husband might be happy to eat dinner every night straight out of a pizza box, it is the feminine charm of his wife that will civilise him and help him to see the role of a serviette. Where a wife might like to go shopping every weekend and continue to stock the house with ornaments that only exist to be dusted, it is the masculine practicality of her husband that stops her turning their home into a museum.

I am not blaming the many women who have taken over all aspects of wedding planning. Their leadership is often the necessary result of men who have scoured away like mice only wanting to know what date and time to turn up at the church. Just last week one newly married man was telling me proudly how he had left his fiancé to plan everything, as if this was some act of virtue! Both men and women need to embrace their roles in working with one another and using their natural gifts which at the end of the day will benefit not only wedding planning but life in general.

So ladies…share your stories…what were your experiences with the wedding industry? Good, bad or ugly?

Copyright Bernard Toutounji


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  1. Wow! Getting a wow from me is an Academy Award or Nobel prize. Remember that. Suppose the church you get married in didn’t let you do all this spending? Amen?!
    Yeah, guess you didn’t get that memo. These spending immature Veruca Salt *Willy Wonka Daddy Daddy women* need to take a chill pill and spend this on their educations instead of blowing it all on their saying “yess to the dresses”. That way they will get ahead with their hubs together. Imagine that? Imagine no debt and you did it YOURSELF WITHOUT A LOAN? THE DRESS? I bought mine at a store that was going out of biz because the owner was retiring. I am STILL MARRIED DUE TO NOT LACKING maturity to make this all work. I wonder if these gals now have that skill? They can all be and wanna be Mommy bloggers with floweee blogs and trophy kids. But can they be mature wives that can handle real real hard times life and live their life that God wants?
    Can we be mature to handle this message or have we prepared our hearts for reality? Marriage prep should be KEEP CALM AND STOP CATHOLIC VERUCAS!

  2. I and my boyfriend are discerning engagement and marriage (I told him I wanted *how* he proposed to be a surprise, not *that* he was proposing to be a surprise, because marriage is too important a vocation to say yes to without discussing a few things first), so we have lightly started talking about wedding stuff. I for sure don’t want to drain our savings or take out loans to pay for a day.

    But I am disappointed in the simplistic caricatures you present of both men and women…you only mention the extremes. The wedding industrial-complex is more a snake-devouring its own tail in terms of who’s at fault than to say it’s because women have been left in charge. Rather, I think it was just a few individuals whose expenditures got publicized and then the industry took over. Even if brides and their grooms were actively trying to avoid paying extra, higher rates and surcharges were set years ago simply by saying “wedding”. I by no means want to participate in it, but do want to make sure our relatives–a good number traveling at expense–who’ve come to see us enter this sacrament are fed a proper meal at the party we are hosting.

    Rather than trotting out such old (and now wrong) tropes about men and women, I think it’d be more beneficial to write an article still focused on the money/sacrament issue and give practical advice on how you and your wife managed not to spend 100K on your wedding but still fed 150 of your nearest and dearest (you are the hosts, it is proper to feed loved ones), as well as come together on decisions—when did you, a man, care about a wedding issue or not, how did you handle disagreements (say you wanted orange bridesmaids dresses and she purple or something), and how young couples or their loved ones can be advised on how to approach wedding *and* marriage planning.

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