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Essay: What Being a "Groom" Means to Me

Redefining what it means to be a groom.

Groom? That’s for other people. I’m David Beahm. I only deal with them, I’m not one of them. Right? Not so much anymore. Because of my professional life as a wedding designer and producer—a founder; an owner; a protector of my company’s reputation (my actual name); someone from whom people seek opinions; someone who directs, designs, and leads; someone who has to be fabulous in public—I have had to live a very self-centered life. I constantly must think about the next move, for me. Enter Matty.

I have had relationships, but they always seemed to run in constantly converging or diverging paths, never side by side. I did my thing, they did theirs, and never did it occur to me that to make it all work, both people could make their pathways coincide. Sometimes leading, sometimes following, but always with the same goal. The goal is to get to the end of every day together.

Matty and I are diametrically opposed in almost every way. He is an All-American football player (literally)—a jock with a computer science degree, who now has founded a company that trains people all over the world and consults on their nutrition, virtually. I was a skinny band geek with three degrees in Music and Theatre, who founded a company that started doing little flowers for weddings. Now, it offers full-service event design and production services globally. Additionally, you may, or may not have noticed, there is a 30-year difference in our ages. The music choices for our wedding are going to be quite interesting…


Art by Cristina Cianci/Photo by Banga Studios

Despite all this, I can remember the first time we met, he looked at me and smiled the biggest, warmest smile. When he did, I remember hearing something but didn’t know what it was.

Over the next year, Matty made his interest known, but I had a really hard time accepting his attention. I kept pushing him away, not being able to accept that this handsome young man could have any interest in me—until one night it hit me. I figured out what the something was that I heard when we first met. It was my soul quietly saying “Ah! There you are. I’ve been looking for you.” For the first time, I listened, and we set out on our path.

Once I realized our connection was, indeed, extraordinary (something that Matty already knew), things started humming along and we instituted communicating openly, directly, and on a level of honesty that I’d not experienced before. We became a unit. We started walking side by side. Then, once we reached that level, I knew that this was a life I wanted to live in.

I could finally look at this marriage “thing” and not freak out by saying, “I am going to look at him in those beautiful blue-brown-green eyes and commit our souls together for the rest of time.” The old David couldn’t have done that. The old David would have been looking behind Matty wondering who or what is next. The new David is excited about forever. Excited about us accepting the moving into a place of promise, a place of quiet, a place of not having to worry about who’s beside me anymore. We are ever moving forward into a place of peace.

david beahm plane

Art by Cristina Cianci/Photo by Jose Villa

Are there moments of bliss and joy? Absolutely. Are there moments of tension and not-so joy? Sure. I’ve always said that if you want to ride the rollercoaster, you must enjoy the effort it takes to get up the hill as much as you do the ride down. If there is anything that has convinced me to be a groom, it is the fact that my partner on this side-by-side pathway not only brings joy into my life but also calls me on my B.S. He holds me accountable for my drifts from center; my drifts to self as opposed to us; my forgetfulness to communicate; my wanting to not stay on the predetermined path and go off on my own. He reminds me that ultimately, if I would just stick on our “us” path, it would lead me to the place I wanted to go anyway. And, it would most likely be a better place in the end.

I started working in the wedding industry when I was 13, helping my godfather in his flower shop. I’ve had my own company now for 23 years. Almost every day I hear myself (or hear my godfather in my head) saying to someone, “Take a deep breath. It’s not that bad. This is supposed to bring you joy! It’s a celebration!”

wedding planner

Art by Cristina Cianci/Photo by Shawn Connell

Suddenly, the shoe is on the other foot. I mean, Brides is asking me to write about my wedding and not just show my pretty pictures from other people’s weddings. Because of social media, people already know we’re getting married. They are asking about our plans, accompanied by a lot of questions that are personal, intimate, and sometimes awkward. I’m here to tell you, even just making the guest list is a daunting task in itself. I now realize the responsibilities, pressures, and influences on a groom are more today than they were even 10 years ago. 

Because of social media and the open, free-flowing lines of communication within our communities, there are a lot of stressors on grooms today. I remember way back in the day, a mother would come into the shop, spend 15 minutes ordering flowers, and we’d deliver them on the big day. Then, the brides with “dreams and vision” started coming in with their mothers. The meetings got longer, the weddings got larger, and more and more attention was paid to every detail, except for the groom—he got off scot-free. Hell, he wasn’t even seen until the day of the wedding where he had only one job, and that was to say, “I do.”

Today, no matter the couple, both people show up and both people have opinions, agendas, and lingering questions: “Will our pictures be Insta-worthy?” “Who is going to be upset when they realize they weren’t invited?” “What will mom think about our color choices?” There’s a lot more to consider and it needs to be from the couple’s perspective.


Art by Cristina Cianci/Photo by Lauradee

The thing I remember saying to Matty after I proposed (at sunset, overlooking the Argolic Gulf from Amanzoe, in Greece), “I don’t want our wedding to be a ‘David Beahm Experience!” I meant it. Now I’m realizing that it must, somewhat, be a David Beahm Experience because I’m, well, David Beahm, and a groom. I’m getting married here and it’s important! I want our voice in this. I want us to tell our story. So, maybe my definition of groom may take on more importance than for most, but I’m taking this groom thing very seriously. To start it all out of our path. To have it represent the life we already live in, and the life we want to live in.

I think being a groom and groom; a bride and groom; a bride and bride; or whatever combination one comes up with that defines the life you live in is all about determining how you walk your path. What will the rhythm of your walk be? What is the breadth of your stride? What’s the style of your gait as you walk down the aisle? I now know it’s our job, groom and groom, to make sure our wedding march is in sync, arriving and leaving together, side by side—forever.

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