Add this to the ‘honey-do’ list: Plan wedding

A wedding with a Parliament Hill backdrop (Wayne Cuddington, The Ottawa Citizen)

Mike Wagner, McClatchy-Tribune News
Brandon Berlin travels all over North America as a field engineer, but he drove 560 more kilometres on a dark highway to make sure the cake is perfect for his June wedding.

“Yes, I want just the right cake and the food to be memorable. The photography and a formal, classy setting is important to her. We are good at compromise, and planning the wedding together is a good test of that,” said Berlin, 26, as he and fiancée Karen LaPointe, also 26, made the rounds of a bridal show.

The days of the groom showing up for his tuxedo rental, and then the wedding, while the bride-to-be and her mom plan the nuptials have faded away for many couples.

Men, maybe more than ever, are helping plan nearly all aspects of weddings, including the venue, guest list, style and food. They’re even making suggestions on what their fiancée’s wedding dress should look like, according to wedding experts and event planners.

In a survey conducted by the wedding-planning website The Knot, 36 per cent of grooms said they were “significantly” involved in the planning, and 57 per cent said they were “somewhat” involved.

One reason for the trend is that nearly three-quarters of all couples are living together before they marry, according to the same survey. And after living together and establishing their identity as a couple, planning the wedding together seems natural for many couples.

The other main factor is linked to money. More couples are either paying for their own weddings or contributing some of the money. And in some cases, men are responsible for the couple’s finances and want to monitor an event that can easily cost more than a new car.

Industry statistics show that most couples spend between $19,000 and $33,000 for their weddings, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of a honeymoon.

“I have some weddings that are almost exclusively being planned by the groom,” said Sabrina Suri, owner of Joie de Vivre Events in Columbus, Ohio. “More men are taking on the typical role of the bride in planning. In several cases, the women are still running the show in terms of overall style and design, but the men are taking the lead in meeting with vendors and checking the finances.”

“I know there is a manhood issue or whatever with a guy getting involved with wedding planning, but it was for us both to create it together, along with our wedding planner,” says Phil Jonas, 32, who took the lead in planning his and his wife Renee’s formal wedding in 2010.

“It was ours, we paid for it, earned it and wanted to host it together,” says Jonas, who estimates he paid for 75 per cent of the wedding.

Adrianne Mellen Ramstack, owner of Adrianne Elizabeth wedding and event planning, welcomes a groom’s increased input when a couple is working together in the planning process.

“The wedding is a reflection of who they are as a couple, so it’s better when both the bride and groom are involved,” Mellen Ramstack says. “They are going to have to compromise with each other the rest of their lives, and this is a good start.”

There wasn’t much need for compromise when Ashley and Dana Aminian wed in October 2010 in a Napa Valley vineyard, followed by a reception in San Francisco. The couple both wanted a formal but fun ceremony, and they can’t remember having real disagreements with each other as they worked with Mellen Ramstack.

“One of my best friends had got married, and he planned his wedding almost exclusively,” says Ashley, 33, a patent attorney. “Guys shouldn’t worry about the stereotypes of getting involved, and the planning together can create as many memories as the wedding itself.”

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