Grooms and the wedding industrial complex

Guest post by kendallgiraffe
Photo by Wild About You Photography.
Photo by Wild About You Photography.

My partner, Alex, and I took a day off from work to attend to some wedding-related appointments. First, we went to the event rental place to look at linens, extra chairs, silverware, etc. When we got there, the “Wedding Specialist” introduced herself to me and shook my hand. She then turned around and started walking us back to the conference room without even acknowledging Alex. During the consultation, she addressed all the questions to me, without asking Alex his opinion on anything. After she asked a question, I would turn to Alex and ask his opinion (partially because he's better at things like color and design than I am, but mostly because IT'S HIS WEDDING TOO AND I WANT HIM TO FEEL INCLUDED). He'd give his opinion and she'd just stare at me like he hadn't said anything at all.

It was weird but we got through it, only to encounter it again!

He felt like everyone was judging him and he was afraid to give his opinions because he thought the sales associates would think he was trying to take away “my special day.”

Next, we went to David's Bridal to look at a few dresses. When we walked in the sales associate that was assigned to us introduced herself to me (while squealing and smiling) and completely ignored Alex. She didn't even introduce herself. After I tried on the dresses, I (with Alex's help of course) decided on one and bought it. We left without the sales lady even saying a word to Alex the whole time. She did however congratulate me numerous times and thanked me profusely.

Now I know why men often don't want to be included in wedding related appointments. It's not because they're not interested, it's because they know that when they go they'll be ignored and treated like crap. This makes me so sad!

Alex and I talked about the events of the day that night and he told me how uncomfortable and offended he was. He said that he felt like everyone was judging him and he was afraid to give his opinions because he thought the sales associates would think he was trying to take away “my special day” and control me. It's just not fair that even when he tries to be a part of these decisions, he's basically told that this wedding has nothing to do with him. It seems the wedding industrial complex just wants him to shut his mouth and open his wallet.

In hindsight, I should have introduced him to the sales associates and forced them to acknowledge him, but I think I felt too shocked to do anything. I still feel really guilty about that.

But more-so, it hurts my heart that he's being excluded from this very important event in his life. The wedding industrial complex should be ashamed.

Who's got suggestions for ways to talk to vendors who may not acknowledge both partners' roles in wedding planning?

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Comments on Grooms and the wedding industrial complex

  1. I haven’t run into this YET but mostly because I’ve done all emails and what not so far.. not looking forward to the appointments to come if it will be like this.

    I think it’s this way for more than wedding’s though, My love and I went to buy a couch.. the sales lady excluded him from everything and even repeatedly joked with me that “he’s just a guy” and that “his opinion doesn’t really matter does it”… With that we got up and left and made a formal complaint to her manager.

    I think I’ll treat the wedding industry the same. If you can’t include my love.. I can’t find a way to include you in OUR big day. They won’t be getting my money.

    Also I do give them a heads up before hand via email etc that I’m bringing my love and that we’re in this together and his opinion matters just as much as mine.. If after that they STILL exclude him.. We’ll go elsewhere.

  2. I don’t have advice, but sadly it’s something that doesn’t just stop with engagements. I’ve always been shocked by the number of people who completely ignore my son’s father or my fiance when we’re at appointments for my son. Dr’s in particular are the worse. We’ve finally got my son’s pediatrician talking to both of them, but for a good long while they would barely even acknowledge the men in the room!

    • This is so true. When my husband & I just created a Babies R Us registry, I became so frustrated that I was automatically handed the registry form when my husband was the one who approached the counter.

    • People always seemed genuinely shocked that my boyfriend and I complete each other’s thoughts during conversations about our children. They don’t know how to react when we are both tuned in to how the kids are but guess what? We are both parents and that’s what we do.

  3. I noticed this when my future husband and I went to a bridal showcase together. After it happened the first time, I waited until they addressed the question to me and then turned to him and let him answer. Most of them understood to talk to both of us after that, and those who didn’t weren’t people that we wanted to work with. It was very important to me to present a united front, especially because, like you said, it’s his wedding too.

    • When we were in contact with vendors, we signed our emails from both of us (and it truly was our joint wedding account). If they couldn’t be bothered to respond to BOTH of us, then their stock went WAAAY down.

    • I think I’ve used this method subconsciously in the few situations I’ve needed too. I’m on the shy side so he usually does most of the talking when we meet new vendors.

  4. Unfortunately it’s not just the wedding industry that acts like grooms are unimportant to weddings. My husband was very depressed, because he kept hearing things like the phrase “It’s all about the bride” coming from everywhere–media, vendors, friends, family, you name it…I made it a point to tell vendors from the beginning that we worked as a team.

    I made it a point to ask my husband’s opinion for every aspect of the wedding unless there was something he felt more strongly about than I did (or vice versa). For example, he tackled choosing the cake by himself. I wasn’t really interested in the design and having a certain kind of cake meant a lot to him. He picked out what his groomsmen would wear, & I chose my bridesmaid’s dresses around his men’s outfits. When someone had a problem with my husband having say-so over something I gently reminded them that he was half of the wedding. There wouldn’t be a wedding without him.

    Allowing your husband-to-be the option to get creative on his own is a great recipe to get over some of the “I’m not the bride, so I don’t matter” funk that guys can easily get into. I also made him his own binder for wedding information labeled “Here Comes the Groom”, & I made him a mug that reads “It’s All about the Groom” with photos of him in his wedding gear once everything was said & done.

  5. Based on what I hear from my fiance – the Wedding Industrial Complex may have picked this up because BRIDES themselves have co-opted the day to make it “all about them” and leave the groom out of it. My fiance said that for his first wedding, he was completely shut out of the planning process and told by his fiance and her family that it was a “girl thing” to plan and he just needed to show up and that was all. No input required on his part. Perhaps if more and more brides at large include the fiance’s eventually vendors will start to get the hint. Maybe. We can hope.

    • “Based on what I hear from my fiance – the Wedding Industrial Complex may have picked this up because BRIDES themselves have co-opted the day to make it “all about them” and leave the groom out of it.”

      Yeah, that’s what the Wedding Industrial Complex has been pushing for, but you’re blaming the wrong party. The brides are being marketed to do that in the first place by the WIC.

  6. I know this isn’t always possible, but, the most influential thing you could do is spend your money elsewhere.

    • That is exactly my advice as well. If my partner and I talked to anyone who didn’t acknowledge us both equally or made any “How on earth did SHE drag YOU here?! Teehee!”-type comments after we were both clearly invested in the conversation, we just immediately looked elsewhere. Respectful vendors definitely exist! 🙂

    • Exactly, and it doesn’t just go for weddings. How long have women been ignored while buying cars, houses, electronics, etc? Even at restaurants I get visibly pissed when I ask for the check and they hand it to my boyfriend. It’s all about making it clear that you’re in this together (or you’re the one treating him to dinner this time), and if they don’t get that, leave.

      • I’m going off on a tangent here but with electronics I sometimes feel like you don’t even need someone else there to get the brush off.

        Like the time I went looking for a new USB stick. I kept asking what sizes they came in and this guy kept telling me they had 1GB ones in 5 different colours that could be used as keyrings or pendants. How silly of me, I’m female, of course I want a cute little novelty toy instead of something functional.

        Luckily the second shop I went into was very helpful.

        • I had a car salesman point out to me how “twinkly and pretty” the headlights were. I shit you not.

          • I had a car salesman suggest that I have my boyfriend drive to the toyota dealer in Savannah, GA (I was in MN – starting the hunt for a new car on my own) to tell me if he fit and was comfortable in a specific model so that I could buy it that day. Needless to say, I told the guy “No, I’m just starting, and he’ll sit in the cars that I like and we’ll buy one when he’s back.” Left toyota (don’t think I’ll ever like their brand b/c of this guy), ended up buying a different car from a female salesman who was patient and understood life had to get sorted out before I bought.

      • We had the same when getting quotes for our new drive. The builders who blatantly ignored me were not called again. Especially infuriating as I was the one making all the decisions on this project! The builder we chose addressed us bother equally and even shook my hand. He was a top bloke 🙂 My fella has the whole “the day is all about you, I’m just there to make up nunbers” mentality so he’s pretty much letting me sort everything. But I always run everything by him first and he often had great ideas. I don’t understand why it should just be focused on just women. It can drive a big divide between two people who are promising themselves to one another. How crazy is that?

  7. Wow, I thought the akwardness was because my “Groom” was a girl. Guess I was wrong

  8. ugh this is so awful, you aren’t marrying yourself!
    – in initial contact, include names and email/ phone numbers for both.
    – include in all email discussions.
    – discover your priorities, your partner’s priorities and your priorities as a couple. focusing on individual priorities will help bring them in.
    – have a game plan before meeting with vendors, so you can operate in a joined way.
    – don’t work with people who don’t acknowledge your future spouse.
    – introduce all parties and speak up for them, and let them speak for themselves.
    – there are inclusive resources and groom-only resources out there, find those and ignore the rest!

  9. We encountered this in the beginning; my husband had just as much input in our wedding as I did. We planned our wedding from two states away, so almost every vendor was contacted by phone and e-mail first, and I made it a special point to quite literally say “My fiance is just as, if not, more informed about our wedding than I am.” and even if I hadn’t said that, my husband is very friendly and talkative, and people tend to gravitate towards him anyway, since I am not friendly and rather caustic. Because we represented a united front when speaking to vendors, they addressed us as a unit. Anyone looking at just me would be verbally corrected IMMEDIATELY. There are so many ways to become upset or frustrated when planning a wedding, I advise controlling the ones you can as soon as they happen. Have confidence! There is no “right way” especially with offbeat brides (and grooms!)

  10. Construct a contraption that starts with a walking stick, and put honker horns, bells, and flashing lights on it. Give it to your dude, and whenever you’re in a situation where he’s being ignored, he should turn on the flashing lights, honk the horns, and shake it around so the bells jingle while shouting “I’M THE MOTHERFUCKING GROOM, BITCHES!! OW-OWWW! THE GROOOOOOOOM! YEAH!” Some wide-eyed stomping, bizarre dancing, and accompanying ululations will ensure you’ll never be forgotten.

    Well, no.

    I mean, that would be awesome, but realistically speaking, I’ve found it helpful to kind of sit back and let The Boy answer. I’ve also always referred to him genderlessly as “my partner,” and I would bet money that several vendors were expecting two ladies. When he shows up, I’ve taken advantage of their surprise. I always introduce him (although venders haven’t been such raging idiots with us), and – most importantly – he always takes an active role in the conversations. He’s not the kind of guy who only speaks when spoken to. Get your dudes to voice an opinion. Jump in. Make it so they can’t ignore him.

    And if all else fails, see the first paragraph. If you do that, you’re pretty much required to take pictures and let us know how it goes.

    • I’ve decided to take a cue from an episode from season 7 of Bridezillas (yay, Netflix!), where when I’m getting ignored I’ll state, “She may be the bride, but I’m the diva, bitches!”

      I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. Emphasis on “yet”.

      Thanks to your post, I’m inspired to make myself a scrolling LED belt buckle that says “I’M THE MOTHERFUCKING GROOM!”

    • *dying* Had to share this with my partner who I’m sure will experience this when we start to plan. I just got to experience it when we walked into the car dealership this weekend.

  11. As a man who runs a wedding website for grooms (sorry to promote but it informs my opinion) I hear this all the time. The fact is that men are interested in their own weddings and more so since the end of the era when the father of the bride paid for the wedding.

    In some ways though this set the precedent for how grooms engaged in the wedding. Previously it was about the dad creating the daughter’s dream day. Now the couple is paying it makes more sense for the groom to be interested in where their money is going.

    Add to that the fact that most men are modern enough that they can discuss flowers without sweating and feeling dangerously metrosexual and you have the melting pot for the conundrum of the modern groom.

    Currently the wedding industry is set up to market to the bride. They are slowly catching up to the idea that the man exists though. Sorry y’all husbands-to-be have had a rough time but tell them they’re pioneers, they’ll dig that.

    Best wishes,


  12. We have had the worst time with this. I had wanted to elope but fiancee (for very good reasons) wanted a ceremony, so in the end, he won.

    Everytime we try to do something, every talks directly to me. We have had to argue our way through the planning process because it’s just ‘unusual when the groom wants the wedding and the bride doesn’t’.

    And our families are just as bad as the vendors. They cannot understand why I would want the guy I’ve been with and had help me with every major decision for the last 10 years to help make the decisions with the wedding, particularly my dress.

    The worse thing though I thought was the bridal ‘shows’. There was a local expo a few weeks ago where the flyer actually said “Brides, make sure to bring your groom. We will be having a special ‘Groom’s Room’ where we will have a big screen TV showing the play-offs so even he will have a good time”……After I saw that, we elected not to go.

    Good luck with your planning,


    • Yeah, there was a “man cave” at one of the shows we went to. It was so weird. Of course, my boyfriend didn’t like sport anyway, but he still wanted to look around with me since it was OUR wedding we were planning!

      • I just ran into this exact thing. Here is an update for a local Bridal show FW and I were PLANNING on attending, but not anymore:

        “A little over a month away … it’s coming! Signature cocktails and bites from xxxxxx xxxxxxx Tavern and more! xxxxx xxxxxx Entertainment – Music Entertainment & Event Production spinning tunes, henna tattoos by xxxxxxx xxxxx Creations and so much more!
        Grab your fella and he can hang in the sports bar while you mix and mingle with your tribe.”

        The response I gave:

        “Way to show the minimization of a groom’s input in things… ‘just shove him off to the bar while you sample and pick all the “minor” details like food and music for YOUR big day!'”

        Their response was to laugh…

    • Hah! I ended up in the “Man Cave area” at our local bridal show when I went alone. The frou-frou, poofy, and prices got to me and I started having a bit of a panic attack. Then I noticed the comfy couches and college football in the corner. 0.2 seconds later, I was reclining and rooting on whoever was playing. My brain calmed down after that.

      • So awesome 🙂

        That would probably be me as well, though I don’t even like sports. I like being a girl but frilly stuff gets to me after a while.

  13. Have to say i’ve not experienced this so far at all, and i’m very glad. I hate making decisions with my partner. Every appointment we’ve been to we’ve both been intoduced to and included in all discusson, it hasn’t even seemed like they were making an effort to involve him. It was all just very natural. Maybe this difference is because im from the UK? is it a cultural difference?

    • I do notice cultural differences with US weddings, but in this case I have no idea. We haven’t had such experiences either and we’re dutch. Maybe it varies per country, maybe we are just lucky…who can tell?

      • im an american living in Holland! from what i can tell, weddings here have been paid by the bride and groom as a couple for a lot longer whereas in america it is just starting to be the Way Things Are Done. that, and (at least here in hilversum) a lot of guys are confident enough to care about flowers and their suits and other things that sometimes seem girly in america. my friend made the bouquet for his bride and she was SO THRILLED and proud that he made it for her.

        • bad phrasing, guys arent more confident to do “girly” things, the gender stereotypes just are not as strong here, which gives men the freedom to care about things usually “reserved” to women in america.

    • same, I’m American but live in the UK and my partner gets included in all our discussions with vendors.

    • Same here. I leave the talking to him usually and he has a list of things that he is sorting I have a list of my stuff and the rest is a joint effort

  14. I deinfately ran into this when my boyfrined attended bridal shows, etc. with me. Everyone was so SURPRISED that he was there.

    There is the negative situation some of these associates may have been fearing though, and I’m seeing it with my best friend and her boyfriend right now. Their wedding is in just a few months, and he is saying NO to absolutely everything. He is telling her what kind of dress to wear, and refusing to allow any of her cute “off-beat” ideas (that aren’t even that outlandish.) Nothing but tradition. period.

    His controlling attitude is putting up red flags all over the place and I’m only hoping I can help my friend manage it.

    • Oh my! I’ve heard of this groomzilla? (kidding!!)

      Perhaps her betrothed is blissfully un-aware of how much support there actually IS for her offbeat ideas? (To be honest, I was myself!)

      Maybe if she gave him some resources to check out, seeing how awesome weddings that aren’t solely traditional can turn out, he will open his views.

      On the other foot, I have known ladies to literally sulk and pout if not getting their way ABSOLUTELY, and the groom-to-be let’s her have flaming skulls or whatever, even though he wasn’t comfortable with it. There should be understanding and if not all ideas are agreed upon, compromises should be made that leaves everyone happy!

      I can personally relate, my beau and I are both “offbeat/traditional” but he is far less comfortable with “letting it all hang out” in situations where people have automatic expectations than I am. And seriously, whether or not people think the man could care less, if he shows up you need to freaking acknowledge BOTH parties.

  15. We ran into this somewhat- If it were up to me, we’d have eloped quietly but he’s an only child, so it was important to him that we had a ceremony. Okay, said me, you plan it then.

    He did. He contacted people and set up appointments. When they talked only to me, we didn’t go with them. We wound up our location because they talked primarily to him and while they did cc me on emails, they addressed everything to him and never 2nd guessed what he asked for.

    Spend your money at places that treat you the way you want to be treated. There’s no reason to swallow bad behavior just because you’re getting married. You can always find another venue, florist, baker, dress shop, whatever. Don’t reward the awful by giving them your business.

  16. Unfortunately, my fiance experienced this with his first wedding. His former MIL highjacked the wedding and ignored everything he wanted. He didn’t even want much, but he did want certain small things like a cake that he wasn’t, you know, ALLERGIC to!

    Now he’s convinced that he shouldn’t be involved and that my mother is going to veto all of my less than traditional ideas.

  17. For future brides: Having a mental plan can be quite helpful, i.e. “What will I say/do in icky situations?” I may have gone a little overboard in mental preparedness, as I was almost eager for some sort of feminist fight that never happened…. sigh. I want to talk about HIS engagement ring! And all the other ‘unusual’ choices.

  18. I have tried everything to include my dude in the planning but he’s not interested. However, that’s not because it’s a wedding and he’s a guy. My dude’s just not into parties. I love parties. I throw a costumed birthday party for myself every year and my dude has only had one in the 6.5 years we’ve been together and even that one was planned/thrown by me, only had 3 other people, and was at an arcade/restaurant.
    Aside from my clothes, the bridesmaids, and the bridesmaids clothes, my dude will have a say and be asked his opinion on everything whether he likes it or not (he’ll be slightly annoyed unlees he’s playing video games and then he might not hear or be pissed). The only thing that I won’t have a say in are his clothes, the groomsmen, and the groomsmen clothes.

  19. Saw this when I went with a male friend to Jo-Ann’s to buy parts for his sewing machine. They kept asking me questions and I would just say “I don’t know” and look at him.

    …that technique might be more disturbing in wedding planning land though.

  20. Oh my god, super Bride centric wording and photography drives me insane. I see posts from photographers that seem like it’s a photo shoot for the woman only, as if the man is some kind of accessory! I absolutely love it when grooms are involved. My husband was quite involved and I’m so glad he was. 🙂

    • Regarding the photo thing, to the photographers I say, I love the photos of my groom more than some of the photos of me! It’s because I want to remember his face on that day too. My groom is the one photographed above, btw.

  21. I’m really glad for this article! I can’t tell you how many times I have told people that it’s OUR wedding rather than my big day. I also try to check-in with him as much as possible to ensure that we’re still on the same page about everything. He has been an excellent partner and has been very patient about my over-zealous DIY plans. I agree with everyone who has said they will only work with vendors who respect and acknowledge both partners.

  22. I haven’t seen this yet, but I think that’s because my fiance has taken care of almost all the vendor negotiation for us. I like to find things and come up with ideas, but when it comes to dealing with sales people I get really uncomfortable. Thank goodness he comes to the rescue! Also, almost all of our vendors so far are men, so I think that helps.
    Maybe that’s the trick, have your significant other make all the appointments, so they get used to the idea that he has a say in things before you meet in person.

  23. Ugh, this makes me feel icky – though we didn’t experience it to this extreme in NZ. Vendors etc seemed to address us equally, though I tend to be more organised by nature so a lot of the details fell to me by default, not because he wasn’t interested.

    Lately I’ve been watching a lot of wedding stuff on TV, movies etc (bad idea) and it’s HORRIBLE. The movie Bridesmaids? Hardly a mention of the groom, in fact the main male role seems like just a prop to help the main female character find balance. Some other show featuring 4 competing brides comparing their weddings, again hardly a mention of the groom.

    If I was a groom being treated like this, I’d be pissed. It would be like being treated like a guest at your own wedding. Sad.

  24. Luckily I haven’t dealt too much with this issue when visiting vendors in person, though I get it a lot from online wedding sources. My Bride is a shy, soft-spoken woman who will more fade to the background than step up and speak for herself (I’ve been slowly helping her get out of her shell these past 4 years though). She also has no idea what goes on or into a wedding since she has never been to one. So, I’ve had to step up many times to coordinate the entire ordeal. I still consult her for her opinions and we work as a team, but I’m typically the one doing the talking.

    When we go into a vendor, I’m the one who steps forward and says “Hello, I’m GroomName and this is my Bride, BrideName.” I shake hands, etc. Doing this gives both of us the vendors attention, they still talk to her because she is the Bride, but they also talk to me and look to me for finality since I made the choice to be more assertive in my position.

    Sometimes I worry that this makes me look controlling, but that is far from the case. The most comments I get from vendors is typically an incredulous “Wow! How do you know so much about weddings??” and my Bride typically responds cheerfully “Trust me he knows more about it than me!” and laughs. Though this has given me strange looks that I know are questioning my sexual orientation as if it some how matters. Male stereotyping (whether gay or straight) is a whole ‘nother problem in and of itself. So the frustration I feel at that is more about the idea of men liking and being good at design must be gay, and not being called gay. Labels! Stereotypes! Barf. Anyways…

    It can be a bit off putting to be treated as second class in the WIC, which I only get from online sources (I have yet to find a blog or website dedicated to an enthusiastic wedding planning groom.) Its all “Bride this” and “Bride that”. Men are expected to not to give a shit about it and it has become pretty alienating.

    But I’m glad Offbeat Bride has welcomed me with open arms 🙂

    • Really sorry you’ve had a bad experience. If it’s any consolation, I really have seen it change in the last couple of years. *Finally*, vendors are starting to look at grooms in a different light. It’s a slow process but at least there’s movement. In short – your kids will salute your work…

  25. So we need to challenge these people don’t we, if we want it to change? I’ll bet if we asked them ‘why aren’t you introducing yourself to my fiancé or speaking to him?’, they’d actually be forced to realise what they were doing. You can ask that fairly politely, as a matter of interest, doesn’t have to be a challenge.

    If we do that upfront, we’re giving these people an opportunity to change their behaviour. The ones that do change how they interact with you at the time, will probably think twice the next time a groom is interested enough to attend.

    I for one, am completely frustrated with my groom insisting that every possible evidence (except what I say/do) suggests that its better if he doesn’t have any opinions. I’d love to see this attitude change, so any grooms out there with an interest – Make people acknowledge you!!

  26. To answer your question, my advice is to NOT talk to vendors who don’t acknowledge my fiance 🙂

  27. When we started planning contacting the venues was one of things on his list. It’s worked really well for us because the people at our venue have only meet me a couple of times but ALL communication is done through him. He is the point of contact and cannot be ignored.

    We tried to split the list up as equally as we could and I think this has helped us feel like we are equally involved.

  28. I think I’ve been really lucky in that my husband to be has been treated, by in large, really well by any wedding related people we’ve spoken to. Some better than others, but I do recall particularly the ladies in the shop where I bought the engagement ring were lovely to him and offered to pop out and get him a tea and teased him gently and made him feel totally at ease.

    The good ones are out there, buy from them!

  29. JoeBear and I went to the Men’s Wearhouse (emphasis on MEN’S), and still ran into this. I wanted to ask the lady “Do you think I pick out ALL of his clothes, or is this just supposed to give me a good feel of what it would feel like to care for him if he becomes a vegetable in an accident?”

    • This! We went to a privately owned men’s specialty shop (they did suits, tuxes, and finer clothes)and they wouldn’t listen to anything my husband had to say about his clothing choices. I finally told the guy that I never pick out his clothes any other time and I’m not about to start today. He finally conceded to let him pick out the style but not the colors. I threw a huge fit, but my husband insisted that we go there because they were very personable when selling him a suit earlier in the year.

  30. As for suggestions on how to deal with vendors, or anyone, who treats another person so rudely, I suggest you LET THEM KNOW! whether right then and there, or with an email or note if you are more comfortable that way.
    with vendors, the bottom line is they want your $ so let them know that goes to the vendor who offers what you want – including respect. I repeat LET THEM KNOW because hey, they’re (probably) not psychic.

  31. I must be lucky or something cause I haven’t found this at all! My MOH is a guy and every store we’ve been to, he’s been acknowledged though we do have to explain that he’s not the groom, lol. When FH came along for our cake tasting, the baker was great, involved us both, and was really excited about our design which we both had a hand in and is totally unisex in design rather than the usual girlie deal. I have found however that the smaller the operation is, the friendlier they are to guys. Perhaps this is because they’re more of a boutique deal and thus are really attentive to personalized service, but either way, it has encouraged me to continue going with the little guys since I know I’ll leave happier.

  32. It’s not just men who are excluded. Try being the overweight bridesmaid, or even the lone bridesmaid of colour in an otherwise Caucasian bridal party. Imagine being the MOH in a wheelchair or with a walker for mobility. The whole industry is built on a fantasy, Prince Charming and Cinderella – and there is rarely room for anything that fits outside that pre-fabricated ‘ideal’. Hence why so many brides and grooms are favoring ‘alternative’ weddings instead of going the traditional route.

    • I 100% agree with you on this. We’re an interracial couple and we’ve run into similar problems.

      When we went to check out one venue, I came in first and was immediately acknowledged. My fiance, who is Caucasian, came in right after me and placed his hand on my shoulder. The venue manager gave us a quizzical look and then asked me if my fiance would be joining us. Because the guy with his hand on me is a total stranger?? When I told her the White guy with his arm around me was my fiance, she just blinked. We don’t live in a small town and interracial couples aren’t a novelty, so her attitude confused me. Needless to say, we opted not to use that venue. And I let her know her attitude was the reason we were going with another location.

      Fast forward to us meeting a photographer. My fiance and I came into the shop together, holding hands. The photographer shakes my hand and then says he usually likes to meet the bride and groom together. Because I like holding hands with complete strangers.

      My fiance is on the quieter side, so he often takes a back seat when we meet new people. But he’s been very much a part of the planning of OUR wedding day, as he should be. So to have vendors negate him because of his gender and skin color burns my biscuits.

      On the plus side, this behavior has helped us weed out a LOT of vendors and we now have a kick ass set of vendors we adore.

  33. What you’ve described is good old-fashioned bad customer service! The vendors behaved rudely when they did not welcome your fiance and inquire as to his relationship with you. And there’s no excusing rudeness. Given the first impression they created, I’d be concerned about the quality and care of the work they’ll do for you.
    Are these people you want to do business with if they don’t have the common customer sense to respect your fiance?
    I’m writing from the perspective of someone who is a man, is a wedding officiant, and who does customer service training. While the wedding industry is a gender divide, with much attention focused on the bride, really good, creative, gracious professionals enjoy (and prefer) working with the couple as a couple. I’d like to believe that the folks you encountered do not represent the wedding industry in its rich breadth and diversity.

  34. I wonder if there is an assumption that, particularly in the case of dress shopping, he is not the groom. However I do think it is bad customer service not to acknowledge everyone in the shopping party.

  35. I only experienced this when we took his sons to all get fitted for tuxes. My only input was no tails and something in our colors (brown and green)
    Once I said anything the tux guy seemed to ask me everything from that point on. What kind of lapel do you like? (I don’t know jack about lapels!) Pocket square or no? (Pocket whatnow?)
    Finally I reiterated my few requests and said that I was only here to give the ok once FH picked something they liked, ask him.

  36. When it first happened to me I said “it’s our wedding, not mine”. Most got the hint and spoke to us both. A couple of vendors continued to speak to just me, at which point I got up and said” I just told you it’s our wedding, not mine. You just continued to ignore my partner. Goodbye” It was actually kinda funny trying to watch them backpeddling as our business walked out the door.

  37. I work in the bridal industry and unfortunately, Ive witnessed this happen to many couples. It truly sad because it is the union of two people, not just one…thats why we have so many “BRIDEZILLAS” walking around thinking that the wedding is all about her, because the groom isnt acknowledged. Also, its just just plain RUDE for anyone, bridal vendor or not, to meet two people and only acknowledge one person during your entire conversation. If anyone experiences this, SPEAK UP, businesses and vendors need to understand that this little mistake can have big disappointments for couples!

  38. I was working and he was in school during the planning process so he sent most of the initial e-mails/made most of the first contacts. That said, when after all that prelude vendors ignored him and talked only to me that made it pretty clear which vendors we did and did not want to work with.

  39. I encountered this the FIRST day I did anything wedding related. The owner of a venue we were interested was horrified when I mentioned my FH would prolly attend the open house as I had to work. After she chided me for ‘letting him contribute to such an important decision’ I politely informed her that it was OUR day, not mine. We will definitely not be using said venue, or any other that refuses to include him in the process.

  40. I actually had kind of the opposite problem with a caterer. I’m planning a vegan wedding and after mentioning that the groom was not vegan he told me I should “talk to your fiancé” and decide if that’s what I really want. Like somehow he would set me straight so we would serve chicken. I was completely offended. For one we already discussed it. Two he actually doesn’t want to be really involved in decisions and is happy for me to get the wedding I want. Three, how can you tell a vegan to serve meat? Seriously?

  41. Being ignored by salespeople, used as an accessory, assumed to unquestioningly follow his bride-to-be’s lead, movies that don’t include any real male characters… gee, this sounds familiar! Women usually get treated this way in most non-wedding and non-“nesting” situations, like trying to buy a car or computer. The WIC seems to me like the exception that proves the rule.

    That said, what these guys are experiencing DOES suck and it’s wrong. And it sounds like you awesome commenters are doing your part to set things right. But this might be an excellent time to point out you two will probably face this situation again, many times throughout your lives, though often with the genders reversed (if y’all read as male and female, that is). After my husband & I married I was ignored when we were trying to get a mortgage. But I was glad we’d talked about the issue during the wedding planning because I knew my husband got it.

    • I sell wedding gowns, and while I hope I never ignore anyone, it is unusual in most circumstances for grooms to go shopping with the bride. Sometimes the bride really has no-one else to go shopping with (or has had a bad experience in another salon and needs some moral support), and there are also cultures where it seems to be part of the courting process (and where the groom’s family is paying for it). However, wedding gown shopping can come across as “control freak”, sometimes to a really scary degree. We think it odd, since not only is it not that common, for every couple of guys we see who are along to support their fiances, there’s one who sends up red flags. We get men who are rude and dismissive to their fiancees, veto everything, try to flirt with the employees, etc. Of course there are guys that just want to be part of the process, but for the gown in particular, it can come across kind of strangely.

      While you shouldn’t ignore your husband’s likes and dislikes (for example, he thinks halters are tacky), I always think it makes a nice surprise. You’re going to look amazing, and it has more impact if he hasn’t seen it before.

      I have a friend who sells wedding photography, and she does expect that men will show up for appointments and have questions about the process, so it probably does depend on what aspect of the business you’re talking about.

  42. Oh, my goodness, this happened to us, too! My fiance and I registered everywhere together, because, and here comes the shocker: we’re going to use all this stuff TOGETHER, and we wanted to be sure it was stuff we could both use. We sat down with several registry consultants, one of whom looked at the information sheet we filled out for her and said, “Oh, we’re just going to use Anna as the primary contact.” When we insisted that my fiance was the better contact (I’m at work a lot of the time and can’t answer), she laughed and said, “No, she needs to be the first contact. We wouldn’t want a miscommunication!” My fiance is a master’s candidate in writing. I’m pretty sure he knows how to communicate. We un-registered there and won’t do business with any vendor that refuses to acknowledge and appreciate that my fiance is an equal part of this planning thing.

  43. This is Dylan, a groom. GASP! I totally feel for Alex and was treated equally rotten at David’s Bridal. The sales woman asked me to match up color swatches as her and my fiancee went around picking dresses. We put a stop to that immediately and I helped out but not without a bunch of strange looks. I felt like the sales woman thought I was a controlling man trying to not allow my bride any say. This sickened me as the reason I wanted to help was purely because picking out dresses are fun!! I have found some very offbeat vendors who embrace my involvement and I think that is the key to a happy wedding.

  44. It’s pretty rare for guys to be on the receiving end of being ignored & dismissed because of their gender. Aggravating as it is, I think this is a good opportunity to open up a conversation with your guy about what its like as a woman to have this happen ALL THE TIME OUR ENTIRE LIVES! Personally experiencing something really can give it more meaning than just knowing of and thinking you understand it.

    Also – I am so impressed with all of you that can walk out on someone for being so rude. I usually have to process after the fact and identify what was going on to figure out why I was so frustrated in a situation.

  45. This is really scary to me. 🙁 We just started planning, and I’m really not looking forward to experiencing any of this.
    The decisions we’ve made about our wedding have been done as a team (me, my fiance, and usually one of my best friends who is also a guy). To be quite serious, my fiance is the one who put his foot down about the location and being in love with it, he also came up with the idea for the invitations, and the style of the cake. Everything I have chosen has been seen and approved or tweaked to match with what he envisions for us.
    I don’t want a wedding where the focus is me and it’s so upsetting to hear that it’s my day, his opinion doesn’t matter, or whatever. I guess this is why I also never understood the point of a separate cake for the groom. I am definitely the planner in the relationship (I call/write emails/ask questions), so I guess I need to pay attention also to the way that vendors treat us more since I know he won’t say anything even if they’re completely rude.

    This actually makes me want to find a local wedding expo to attend and see what the outcome is though!

  46. Oh, my. I had no idea it was this bad, yall. We’re getting married in a very, very small town, the venue owner is my brother’s girlfriend’s next-door-neighbor and is awesome. She asked me a question about something, like lighting or music or some piece of the wedding that he’s handling. I said “Oh, he’s handling that part.” She readdressed her question to him and that was it! If only all vendors were so respectful, it breaks my heart what some of you have had to struggle through!

  47. Ugh see this just terrifies me, because we haven’t had to start dealing with vendors yet, but I know my FH is going to be with me wherever we end up going. The one thing I’ve done is look at dresses at David’s Bridal, which surprisingly enough went rather well. I was with my mom, my future MIL, my FH’s sister and my man of honor for the wedding and they were really nice about things. I mentioned that next time I come I’ll be bringing my FH and they were like “okay, sounds good.” I know the venue is really offbeat so hopefully that won’t be a problem and the caterer we’re looking at seems pretty inclusive too, but still. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, so chances are he’ll be fielding a lot of questions for me, because I tend to get really quiet. He’s definitely the people person in our relationship, so hopefully he’ll get treated right. And as conflict-adverse as I am, I plan on making sure we get treated as partners, rather than as “THE ALL-CAPS BRIDE” and her tag-along.

  48. My partner and I planned our wedding together. We were talking one night and the subject turned towards our wedding so we grabbed pecils and paper and started sketching layouts, color themes, etc. giggling the entire time. We chose to work with a celebrant to help us map out and translate our vision as forwent an officiant. She also gave us homework assignments that were a lot of fun to do individually and together. We explained upfront that mutual respect, love and equality are the pillars of our relationship and thus we (I, bring the groom) didn’t experience anything negative. Had we faced something like what the OP descibes, we would have worked with someone else. I absolutely loved planning our wedding together and hope partners include eachother when you feel the other is being left out.

  49. My fiancé once emailed a potential venue signing off with both our names (his first). In their reply they only addressed me and completely ignored him. In our case the wedding is more for him whereas I’m only interested in the marriage. When I’ve mentioned that I’m not looking forward to the wedding day (I hate being the centre of attention) I’ve been accused of not wanting/ready for marriage – if a groom to be said the same no one would bat an eyelid as they’d consider it normal for men not to be interested in weddings!

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