Attack of the Groomzilla and other media constructs
by Melissa D’Agostino
Hello again! Thank-you for reading these posts and for all of your wonderful feedback!
Today’s post is about grooms and how they are talked about, categorized and stereotyped in this wild and wacky wedding industry.
It would seem that for every article about princess brides obsessed with bling and opulence, there is an article about how to ‘handle’ your groom. Is he being too strict about the budget? Is he watching football instead of helping with the seating chart? Or has he become the dreaded…duhm duhm duhm…GROOMZILLA!!!
Yes, these are the horrible, shallow and grossly narrow-minded categories for men in the wedding industry. It makes sense that if women are so clearly defined by wedding vendors, men would have to be equally categorized.
Now I know that there are plenty of gentlemen who aren’t into wedding planning — there is some truth to that. But I know very few men who didn’t have SOME involvement in their nuptial plans, even if it was only a couple of areas. I also know women who aren’t really into wedding planning. So, once again we are being given a template for gender roles that exists mainly to sell us products and services.
Side note: part of the reason I stopped auditioning for commercials (and there were several reasons), is that I couldn’t handle the horrible scripts of nagging, irritated wives and their lazy, buffoon husbands. This is not my experience of relationships between men and women. And I resent that ad companies perpetuate these ideals to turn a profit and keep us buying merchandise.
In the case of our wedding, my fiancé, Matt, has been actively and excitedly planning the festivities. It has been a real team effort. And there has been no ‘groomzilla’ in sight.
The one item that he was really particular about was photography. He’s a filmmaker and quality images are important to him, and I respect that. So we compromised to make room for this element in our budget, and agreed to tighten the reigns elsewhere, in areas that were less meaningful for us both. There have been no tantrums, no hissy fits, and no major conflicts. I consider that a positive sign for our marriage. Because the reality of our relationship has nothing to do with gender roles as seen in Wedding Belles Magazine (to name but one).
When Matt and I went to meet vendors, we were greeted with very traditional expectations in terms of our relationship. Many vendors made jokes about me being a ‘bridezilla’ right off the bat, and then very quickly changed their tune if they noticed me addressing the budget and Matt wanting to splurge on an item. Suddenly I was a shrew and Matt was the fun-loving groom. Or sometimes they were taken aback at how clear and vocal Matt was about what he wanted – how present he was. And most of the time people were genuinely surprised at how collaborative we are in our decision making. They were confused that Matt was there and so involved, and that I not only wanted that, I thrived on it.**
**I want to note that we didn’t actually select any of the vendors who treated us this way. All of our vendors are fantastic, and enjoy the dynamic of teamwork in our planning. It wasn’t intentional, but we were so put off by these gender assumptions that we weren’t compelled to work with anyone who didn’t get how we work and respect our dynamic.
The most glaring example of how grooms are viewed in the industry for me was when we attended the WedLuxe Wedding Show. They had a room full of free samples, but according to the information on their site men were not allowed to partake of said free samples. You can check out our adventure here:
Truth be told, most of the samples were geared toward women, and most of the people at the show were brides without their grooms. But it made me consider the marketing of these shows: this focus on females as the sole consumer of wedding merchandise, and the idea of exclusivity, of ‘women only’ that the industry continues to perpetuate. Perhaps if the show wasn’t so geared toward brides, grooms would feel more included in the process. Perhaps it would foster a more collaborative view of weddings, and in turn, of marriages.
Because let’s face it, your wedding is one day — one lovely and loving celebration of your relationship and the commitment you are making to one another. But the marriage exists long after that party is over (hopefully). And what kind of conditioning is happening when the predominate message being put out there is that men are either completely disinterested, there to reign in a woman’s impulsiveness, or control freaks who need to be in charge of everything? I mean: a little nuance, please.
But I guess if I don’t know which of those categories my man fits into, I won’t know which vacuum cleaner to register for. Right?
I often wonder what our society would look like if we didn’t buy into stereotypes about married couples, and disgruntled husbands, and all the rest of it. What would happen if I didn’t believe that I had to get those tough grass stains out of my husband’s shorts because he’s off watching a soccer game with his buds, and I have to do the laundry? Would I still need to buy Tide? Could we break free from these ideas?
Also: I don’t buy Tide. Largely because of their ad campaigns. (And also because of the product itself.)
I’ll leave you with another exciting discovery at the WedLuxe show: WeddingGuard Insurance. Apparently you can get wedding insurance: in case your cake falls, or your limo doesn’t arrive, or your Dad (who is obviously paying for your whole wedding because it’s 1954) loses his job before all the wedding bills are paid. Sigh. One thing leads to another, I suppose.
Have your own experiences around this? I’d love to hear what you think! @melissadags