Chances are you’ve already shed one or two (or many) tears during the marathon that is planning a dream wedding. Your groom? He’s keeps his inner-drama-queen on the down low. He probably doesn’t share your concern over whether the table linens classify as “white” or “ivory,” or obsess over the seating chart until one o'clock in the morning. But that’s not to say he doesn’t care or isn’t paying attention. While more and more grooms are (thankfully) becoming involved in wedding planning, they still operate by a different set of rules and choose to expend energy on different things. So we asked Jeff Wilser, founding editor of the Plunge — a site where guys can go for the full rundown on all things grooms — to give us a little insight on what exactly he is stressing over, and how you can help him solve each of those dilemmas.
1. He’s having trouble picking groomsmen.
First: Blood trumps friendships; tell him his buddies will understand. Second: There is no legally mandated number of groomsmen. It’s fine to have fewer or more than the number of bridesmaids.
2. He’s stressed about cash.
Not surprising. As you (painfully) know by now, weddings ain’t cheap. The average cost is $26,522 for 135 guests, and 48% of couples foot the bill themselves. If every new expense floods him with anxiety, get hyper-organized with a spreadsheet itemizing every cost. The simple act of consolidating the numbers helps keep spending on track. And if the spreadsheet stresses him out? Go Big Picture. Forget (momentarily) about the nickels and dimes, and remember that the budget is a total; prioritize and compromise to meet that number.
3. He’s excited to be involved — but can tell you just wish he’d do less.
If he’s stomping on your toes, be honest. Tell him you’re thrilled he’s so excited and that you want to tackle this as a couple, but you’ve got XYZ covered, so he can take care of ABC instead.
4. He feels like the planning is taking over your lives.
There’s one very concrete thing you can both do to avoid an unhealthy wedding obsession: Keep dating. Splurge on a nice dinner (where wedding talk is off-limits), go out for drinks, or catch some improv. Keep real life in perspective. The wedding should be about your relationship; your relationship shouldn’t be about your wedding.
See More: The 50 Mistakes Grooms Always Make
5. He doesn’t realize his mom is all up in your business.
One of his most important responsibilities — whether or not he believes it — is to serve as a buffer between you and his parents. You’ve got a lot on your plate, so if his mother is making too many demands of you, kindly request that he intervene. (You can put your foot down; he’ll get it.)
6. He’s worried about living up to your parents’ expectations.
Maybe he’s self-motivated to do this already, but if not, kindly suggest that he take the initiative and talk to your parents about their expectations. Patricia Rossi, etiquette coach and author of Everyday Etiquette, says: “Try questions like ‘Is there anything I can work on to be the best husband for your daughter?’” Scary conversation? Potentially. But it opens a dialogue to preemptively avoid conflict — an investment that will pay dividends for decades.
And the same applies for the dynamic between you and his parents, because guess what? Weddings — and marriage — are a team effort.