There’s a new man in town these days: the groom. He has his own wedding cake, his own magazines and guidebooks, and his own ideas about the big day. It’s no longer just her wedding day.
Today’s groom gets involved. In the past, the bride may have planned the couple’s celebration alone, but today she may have a demanding job, which leaves her with little time to oversee every detail. That’s where the groom comes in.
Enter the groom, who today may attend cake and food tastings, florist meetings and other planning sessions for the nuptials and reception, helping to leave his mark on a signature wedding.
Couples also wait longer to tie the knot – possibly even paying for the event. That means striking the fine line between not having to fulfill every parental expectation, while welcoming feedback. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age for a first marriage in 2010 was 28 for men and 26 for women.
It takes two to tango. The bridal industry seems to be reacting to that change, recognizing that it takes two to tango. Vendors pay more attention to the man of the hour with special groom’s rooms at bridal fairs and the publication of new magazines like the Sophisticated Groom, based in Atlanta. Articles in the latest issue range from how to propose, asking for the in-laws’ blessings (complete with talking points like how seriously you take this commitment), to less spiritual terrain like plastic surgery options for men and couples’ exercises to get in shape for the big day.
It’s highly unlikely that a bride’s magazine would advise saving money by eliminating flowers or using a family heirloom as a wedding gown, but these suggestions appear in one article targeting the groom. Bachelors get their thrills with extreme sports – not X ratings Best men are replacing traditional X-rated bachelor parties – often a sore point for brides – with extreme sports.
These male-only adventure trips might include paintballing, indoor skydiving or day fishing trips that provide thrills without rocking the marital boat. Another popular option has couples celebrating their last nights of single life together. Los Altos wedding planner Megan Ahalim of La Vita Bella Events said she often books unisex bachelor/bachelorette parties that replace the traditional but controversial last fling of singlehood. Last summer, her company organized a Bridal Party Camping Trip package.
“All 14 groomsmen and bridesmaids, along with the bride and groom, packed up for a weekend trip filled with cold beers, s’mores, poker night, barbecuing, day trips to the beach and more,” said Ahalim. She has coordinated unisex parties held on a party bus that stops all around the city. Other brides, however, shrug their shoulders and plan their own bachelorette parties with their friends.
“There are also a few standard parties that people stick with, such as the classic trip to Las Vegas,” according to Ahalim. Ahalim can also arrange a brunch and spa day for the bridesmaids. Rekha Sachania of My Event Designers said that in the past 12 years of her career, the groom has become more aware of the wedding.
She still sees grooms who have an attitude of “let’s just get it done and then I’ll have time to party with my friends,” but many want a hand in the details, too. Sachania says she likes to see the bride and groom together, at least at the first visit, to learn what their expectations are. Karen Garcia, of Mountain View‘s Precious Planning, said most couples come in together.
The groom often wants a say in the colors, now. He doesn’t want it to be an all-pink event, and may insist on colors that are more subdued.
“The grooms do like a small part of the event dedicated to them. Groom’s cakes are more and more popular because of that,” she said.
In general, there’s a trend toward bride and groom working together, instead of just the bride, according to Garcia.