What To Do If Your Fiance Doesn’t Get Wedding Etiquette
Work together on wedding planning
Wedding etiquette exists for a reason, but oftentimes, your other half doesn't always get it. While many women grow up knowing what is considered traditional good manners for a wedding, many men do not. There are some things to do to avoid clashing with your fiance on every idea for your wedding, and to avoid offending anyone with bad etiquette.
Find strategies that work
There are steps to take when a groom is going rogue on wedding plans, said Jodi RR Smith, founder of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting.
“While he may be unwilling to follow etiquette, do not bother reading to him from an etiquette book. It is more likely that he simply needs to be heard. Try giving him something that he can have full control over such as the signature cocktail, the music playlist, or the venue for the morning-after brunch,” Smith said.
Or perhaps your fiancé is feeling overwhelmed by all the planning, so ask if he needs a break from the details and you will fill him in as decisions are being made. There’s even the possibility that he has a different vision for his wedding day, she said. “Ask what he hopes to have as part of the celebration. Or, ask if there is a reason he does not want to follow the typical wedding procedures. He might have a wonderful alternative.”
“No matter what the cause, how you handle this blip in the wedding planning sets the stage for future communications during your marriage. Listen to what your groom is saying and what he is holding back. Ask for his opinion and instead of reacting, tell him you will think about it and will talk about it more tomorrow. Make him feel like a valued part of the planning too,” Smith said.
Show that you appreciate his input
Even if it’s painful, include him in on the decision, and don’t automatically dismiss his input, said Aviva Samuels, founder of Kiss the Planner.
“Culturally speaking, men are used to being in control and even though they don’t want to decide what shade of taupe the napkins will be, they do want to have a say so in the things that matter to them,” Samuels said.
“Men respond to appreciation. Showing that you appreciate his interest in the wedding plans can make a big difference in the way he responds. If you value his involvement and see him as competent in decision making, you’ll have a lot more success in finding yourselves on the same side of the decisions that you need to make. Furthermore, men strengthen their relationships with their partners through doing things together and the shared bond of deciding these important things as a team will leave him open to making the right choices,” Samuels said.
“Find out why he feels as strongly as he does on the etiquette issues that divide you. Is it more about taking back his manhood that he might feel that he lost when he put that ring on your finger, or is it a practical issue that he is not communicating well? Find out if it’s really about the guest list or whatever etiquette issue you are facing, the cost, or something much deeper than that. Bear in mind that your happiness is important to your man, but only if you treat his opinion as something of value. If you can tell him clearly how you feel in a way that doesn't bruise his ego, he'll listen,” Samuels said.
And if after this step, your fiancé is still bent out of shape, ask yourself if it’s really worth it to disagree. “If it really is, find the words to explain why you feel strongly about it, respect his response and consider offering up a compromise. It will be good practice for the marriage to come. Be open-minded yourself and know that the right thing might be exactly what he wants to do. Chances are if you were right anyway, he’ll come over to your camp when all is said and done, but maybe just needed some time to get there,” Samuels said.
Be positive when you talk to him
Despite all of this, if you still have concerns about your fiance’s potential behavior at the wedding, let him know in a positive way how you envision the day turning out, said Dr. Jane Greer, marriage and family therapist and Shrink Wrap media commentator.
“Explain the way in which you'd like to move through the wedding day together, i.e. spending time with both families plus friends, when to do pictures, etc. Give him an overview of what you'd like the day to look like, and ask him if there are things he'd like to do on that day as well. This will give you an idea of what he's thinking and planning,” Greer said.
“When it comes to decisions about planning the wedding itself, go over the ones that are typically under the umbrella of the bride and her family and the ones the groom would typically handle - tuxes, bachelor party, etc. Also discuss the things you'd like to plan together - music choices, for example. The most important thing is to inform and include him,” Greer said.