No matter how well you think you know your fiancé, don't be surprised if his behavior during the wedding planning process still throws you for a bit of a loop.
By Hallie Goodman
As the big day approaches, some grooms begin behaving badly, often with comical (albeit frustrating) results. Here are simple strategies for dealing with five types of grooms-to-be. Which one are you marrying?
He's the one displaying the wedding inspiration board prominently above his desk.
How to spot him: Your wedding planner is in his Top 5. He recently said that he wasn't really "feeling peonies" and that he has a few dress ideas that he'd like to run by you. He just wants every detail to be absolutely perfect. So far, so good ... right? Wrong! The only thing perfectionism will get anyone (including you) is a first-class ticket to the dark side. And add to that the not-so-small fact that you've probably got an idea or two of your own.
How to deal: Stop pushing back. Relax; no one is suggesting that you need to take his balloon centerpiece idea seriously. Instead of getting wrapped up in his suggestions, take a step back and focus on the core issue: his sudden control freakiness. It's probably his way of dealing with inner panic, and he may feel overwhelmed and is overcompensating. So what do you do? Make him feel like an equal player — which, by the way, he is. Carve out a few things for him to oversee all on his own.
The Social Secretary
His address book looks like an encyclopedia, and he can't even walk to the mailbox without running into an old friend.
How to spot him: This week alone, he invited your neighborhood dog-walker, the checkout girl at the grocery store and "a cool guy from the gym." In fact, he's on his cell phone right now and you swear you just heard him say, "The more, the merrier." He means well, but with every "friend" he invites, you see your budget evaporating.
How to deal: His exuberance is adorable. But there are ways to express it without inviting the entire world. Here's what to do: Try the shock method. Sit him down and show him the cold, hard numbers. There's nothing more sobering than a quick tally of just how much all these extra people can drive up the bottom line (your expenses can soar well into the hundreds per guest). Then remind him of the type of atmosphere you two originally discussed. The words "intimate" and "300 guests" aren't exactly simpatico. But you can compromise. If your budget allows, create space for two or three "straggler friends" who may materialize at the eleventh hour.
The Mama's Boy
He looks like a guy who's stuck between a rock and a hard place (newsflash: you're the rock).
How to spot him: Even though you know that his taste is very similar to yours, he attempts to defend every one of your future mother-in-law's bad suggestions. Here's the most recent example: "A teddy bear theme could be cool."
How to deal: This can be a tricky one. Since your relationship with your future mother-in-law will continue long after the wedding day has passed, keep this from escalating into a huge tug of war. You need to work out the details behind the scenes and let him be the one to stand up to his mom. And keep in mind that she probably just wants to help. There are plenty of wedding tasks to go around; you can include her by asking her to do something that will play to her strengths (oh, come on — everyone's good at something!). Do you two have completely different decorating styles? Maybe she has beautiful penmanship and could address all of the invitations or create place cards or tags for favors.
The Big Talker
He's got it all covered. Yeah, right.
How to spot him: To hear him talk, it's like he's been planning weddings since the fourth grade. Researching venues? No problem — he's on it. Hiring a band? It's taken care of. But as months trickle by, it's clear that he's all talk.
How to deal: First, resist nagging — it rarely works and will just leave both of you feeling resentful. Instead, schedule a weekly check-in to give each other status reports on your progress. By corralling all wedding-task talk to one time, you'll be less tempted to bring it up over and over and risk becoming...you guessed it, a nag.
It's a good thing you took those engagement pictures. Otherwise, you may have a hard time remembering what he looks like.
How to spot him: Is this a trick? Sightings have been so rare that the wedding planner decided to nickname him Snuffleupagus. In fact, he's recently been making himself so scarce that you're really starting to worry he's getting cold feet.
How to deal: First, understand that his lack of involvement probably isn't an indication of a lack of love for you, or even a lack of interest in getting hitched. Second, there's a chance that he's trying to do you a favor. (Yes, really). Maybe he's heard horror stories from grooms who erred too much in the other direction. Or maybe he's seen couples bickering over wedding plans and would prefer not to go down that path. Or maybe (just maybe) he's totally clueless. The only way to know for sure is to talk about it.
Try to get him involved by asking him which details really matter to him (and let go of the fantasy that he should care about them all). And listen! If he cares about cake, crown him Cake Czar and let him set up tastings all over town. If he's into music, have him price bands, interview DJs or go nuts on iTunes. Remember: You get to do the fun stuff (go shopping for your dream dress ... hello!), so give him tasks that will make his experience equally great.