Most of us have heard the term “bridezilla” associated with a bride-to-be that comes across as demanding and controlling or incredibly rude in some other fashion. Unfortunately, even the most even-tempered woman can succumb to the stress of wedding planning and lash out. However, modern times have also seen a rise in the number of grooms who display less-than-desirable traits during the process, popularizing the name “groomzilla.”
Upon research into this trend amongst some men, we discovered that there are typically two types of “groomzillas” that you may have to contend with: the type-A, tyrannical kind, or the hands-off, unwilling-to-help-in-any-way kind. Surprisingly, many planners have noted that they’ve had grooms that combined both types into one hard-to-work-with gentleman. Whether you’re a bride, a planner, a photographer, or beyond, this guy will not always be pleasant to be around. In order for everyone to come out of the wedding relatively unscathed, here are some tips on handling a “groomzilla.”
If He Is Controlling & Hard to Please:
- Focus his attention on “equal say.” He may be having a hard time expressing himself as, traditionally, men have been conditioned by society to stay away from planning – thus, his opinions may come across as demanding or “macho.” Subtly assuring him that his likes and dislikes are just as valid and important as those of his partner may help him to feel more comfortable in the process.
- Stay realistic. Perhaps he has very high, maybe unattainable, ideals for the wedding. If this is the case, involve him in everything he can make it to – selecting the venue, meeting with caterers, discussions with the planner, etc. – so that the budget and other constraints will be abundantly clear to him.
- Take care of yourself. Try not to let the way he comes across in the moment get to you. Of course, if he’s completely out of line, there are other issues that need addressing. However, if you’re sure that stress and nerves are causing him to lash out, it’s vital that you take time for yourself to let your own mind rest. Rationally discuss with him the negative way he is portraying himself – some people don’t even realize their words or actions are hurtful until they’ve been pointed out.
If He Is Too Laid-Back and Refuses to Contribute:
- Start off by asking his opinion on things that matter to him. If you know ahead of time that he will have no interest in wedding coordinating, ease him into it. There is bound to be some element of the day he’ll be excited about – besides marrying his beloved, of course. Even if it’s something as minute as what kind of vehicle he’d like to take the guys from “A” to “B,” the hope is that the more you both check off together, the more he’ll feel that his opinion matters.
- Overuse the term “our day.” In the same way that our culture can make grooms assert their wedding opinions too aggressively, it can also cause them to withdraw entirely. This behavior calls for the same “equalizing” talk from the first “groomzilla” example: make it about both parties. If you’re a wedding professional, you’ll likely emphasize the phrase “the both of you,” and if you’re this groom’s future spouse, continuously refer to your nuptials as “our day,” “our wedding,” “our reception,” and so on.
- Enlist limited additional help. While we don’t advise you air the dirty laundry between you and the groom to the general public, we do encourage you to lean on a small number of others involved in the wedding. It’s wise to stay away from members of the groom’s family in this case, as you don’t want to cause any familial friction. If you’re a wedding professional, the groom’s partner might be your best bet, and vice versa. Couples counseling may also be something to look into – these days, premarital sessions are almost common practice; most of the time, they can really help.
There is a chance your groom could start out wanting nothing to do with the wedding, then have an outburst of opinions right before/on your big day. It is important to maintain a reasonable level of understanding: it could be that he is redirecting his nervous energy in a not-so-constructive way. Keep a level head – you can compromise where it is easy, but the groom is still an adult and will know logically that wild changes cannot simply be made last minute. His mind will likely settle during the ceremony.
Read up on the “dos” and “don’ts” of communicating with your bridesmaids, find out why a wedding is not just the “bride’s day,” and view the signs that your wedding-planning style may just be too relaxed.
Opening photo by Troy Grover Photographers