You know he loves you. You know he’s pumped to get married. But when it comes to grooms and weddings, have you ever wondered what other thoughts—and occasional fears—are swirling around in his head? We asked a recently married groom to walk us through the internal thought process of husbands-to-be everywhere, and here are the secrets he revealed:
1. “I do want to be a part of wedding planning.”
Some grooms will be right there with you, mapping out seating charts with the same passion they bring to a fantasy-football draft. Others may have opinions about the venue but say “Whatever makes you happy” about the flowers. At the outset of planning my wedding, I quickly realized just how many things I didn’t care about: napkins, chairs, envelope liners—the list seemed endless. If I had mapped them all out on a Homeland wall of pushpins and string, it would have looked like a vast web of indifference.
But as the planning progressed, I began to discover the things I did care about—a welcome-night karaoke party, a set list peppered with New York City house music—which made it really feel like our wedding.
2. “Weddings are expensive. I know that. Doesn’t mean I like it.”
He may explode with a sputtering spit take: “Rectangular farm tables cost what?!” But he won’t really be surprised. He is aware that a wedding is the most costly party you will ever host. Fearful of seeming cheap—which is to say unromantic—he will bottle up the pressure of his financial worries until finally, like an expensive French champagne, he pops his cork. Allow him to vent, consider his opinion, and then make any pricey decisions as a team.
3. ￼“If you really want my opinion...”
...not just a cosignature on the decision you’ve already made, don’t present options as equals if they’re not. If you have a preference, explain why, and I’ll probably agree.
4. “Can we please put some boring stuff on the registry?”
What’s actually more useful, a crystal serving dish you’ll pull out once every five years or a 40-buck coffee grinder he’ll use to make you freshly brewed coffee every morning? For my wedding, I was perhaps most thrilled to receive an Ikea gift card, which I used to buy and assemble bookshelves that combined our two libraries. Practical gifts might seem dull, but there’s nothing unromantic about imagining a lifetime of normal days together.
5. “I don’t enjoy arguing about who gets a plus-one.”
If a wedding is a complicated machine with many moving parts, each disagreement adds friction. Create enough friction and the whole process feels like a grind. If you find yourselves arguing to no avail, put down the spreadsheets and go out to dinner. Planning can resume the next day, when cooler heads prevail.
6. “Cake is cake.”
The last time he really loved a cake, he was six years old and it had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on it. He’s happy to let them (the guests) eat cake—and to let you pick it out. Don’t overthink his ambivalence on this one.
7. “Yes, give me monkey work!”
Wedding planning can feel endless because it’s largely invisible: You don’t see results until the big day. This is why he loves a tedious, repetitive task. When he licks envelopes, folds ceremony programs, or stuffs welcome bags (an endeavor preferably done with his beautiful bride and a cocktail), he sees tangible progress that makes it all the more real.
8. “Your frenemies are exhausting.”
You know that bridesmaid who needs all the extra attention, who complains about stupid things but you’re still oddly protective of and will not let him utter a critical word about? Your groom doesn’t get the intricacies of female friendship and will ask himself why you even want her in the wedding. But he knows now is not the time to be honest about how much her drama irritates him. He will keep his mouth shut and listen when you need to vent. Mainly because he knows there will be plenty of time to dodge conversations and skip dinners with her—after the wedding.
9. “My mom isn’t going to change.”
He doesn’t want to hear you pick her apart but acknowledges that he may have to run interference to keep the peace. For example, he should know from experience what kind of thoughtful peace offering his mom would appreciate—and which would defuse any tension. (But take note: Instead of a spa-day gift certificate, show a little more respect with something personal.)
10. “The whole bachelor-party thing is kind of embarrassing.”
It’s the rare groom who truly loves a bachelor party. His friends, on the other hand, love that it grants them permission to party like spring breakers. When he tells you, “Nothing that interesting happened,” don’t press for details. First, the groom often gets so wasted that he genuinely can’t remember. Second, he’s likely embarrassed for his friends—and, possibly, for the way he’s behaved in the past.
11. “Writing vows is way harder than I thought.”
I’ve been a professional writer all my adult life, but after months of wrestling with my vows, I couldn’t think of any better lines than “for better, for worse” and “till death do us part.” Why? Because they carry the weight of all the other tongue- tied grooms who have spoken them before me—including my father.
12. “I get the white-dress princess fantasy, but I want you to look like, well, you.”
13. “I also want you to look hot.”
As my bride thumbed through magazines on our couch, I’d cringe at poufy confections that had so little to do with what had attracted me to her when we first met at a Brooklyn bar: her black-leather-jacket swagger, her hips in tight jeans. I worried that on our wedding day, she might look less like the woman I love—and more like a sparkling cloud of sequins and white satin. But when I saw her step into the aisle, I reeled with the feeling I’d had that first night as I noticed the way her elegant, simple gown hugged her hips, much like those jeans.
Her wedding dress wasn’t just pretty; it was hot.
14. “I want to look hot too.”
It’s not only the pocket-square-obsessed peacock grooms who want to look good in a suit or tux. He knows all eyes will be on the bride—but he wants to feel like he belongs next to her. And he wants you to think that he looks good. Help him navigate his way to dapper by gently steering him with positive comments like “That suit is gorgeous on you, and it would be even sexier if you had it tailored.”
15. “I’m afraid of becoming a cliché.”
Leading up to the wedding, some of his idiot friends are going to make dumb, retrograde jokes about how his life is over: no more sex, no more excitement. He’s going to laugh them off. He knows they’re wrong; he’s excited to marry you. He wants to be a husband—just not the lame sitcom version of one. To that end, plan a few hot nights before the wedding. This will help ease his mind—and yours.
16. “This is really happening.”
As you walk down the aisle, his internal monologue will go something like “Wow, she looks gorgeous” to “Keep it together, don’t cry” to “I am so hungry” to “I do. A thousand times I do.”
17. “I’m bummed the wedding is over.”
￼￼￼Your groom might gripe over the hassles of planning with an occasional “I can’t wait till this is over.” But when it is, he will feel something unexpected: sadness. He’ll miss the week- end venue tours, the calls from old friends, even the arguments that, in the end, brought you closer. He’ll truly wish the party never ended. That said, he will likely never want to get married again. Because he loves you. (And also because weddings are a lot of work.)