Grooms behaving badly
He’ll invite his old college roommate … before running it by you
Why he’ll do it: Sure, they go way back. And, yes, he hasn’t seen the guy in three years, but who can forget that one time when Cody puked all over his laptop? Good times.
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How to respond: Use the cold, hard facts. Bust out the spreadsheet and show him the math. More than any other variable, the size of the guest list has extraordinary power to impact the wedding’s budget. Every extra guest will either: increase the overall cost or require tradeoffs. (So enough random Codys might mean that you can’t afford an open bar—that should get his attention.) Each guest is effectively a joint decision that the couple makes together, so it should be treated as such. How would he feel if you, without asking him, used $2,000 of a shared bank account to buy a cute rug?
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-- By Jeff Wilser
He'll want his friend to DJ
Why he’ll do it: Because the guy says he’ll do it for free. Plus, he once DJed this epic party in college that involved gelatin shots, cops banging on the door, two cheerleaders making out and the crowd crazily chanting.
How to respond: First, remind him of how much you adore this friend (even if you hate his guts). Then appeal to his sense of financial responsibility. Once you’ve plunked down $30,000-plus on a wedding, the easiest way to undercut your investment is to get a bad DJ who spoils the mood. The wrong songs, the wrong vibe and the wrong transitions between events (speeches, dances, cake cutting) can turn the reception into a laughingstock. Outside of the bride and groom the DJ or bandleader is the most visible face of the wedding. Choose this role wisely.
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He’ll let his mother communicate directly with you
Why he’ll do it: Honestly, it’s really nothing more than pure laziness. It starts with an innocent phone call: His mother asks him a question about the venue’s parking policy; he says, “I have no idea”; and then she calls you to get the scoop. She quickly realizes that you’re the brains behind the operation, so she calls you again, and again, and again, and now that she’s emboldened, she’s second-guessing your decisions and suggesting alternatives. Awesome.
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How to respond: This is tricky territory. Instead of complaining about his mother (that can misfire in so many ways), get specific and concrete. The next time she leaves a voice mail, ask him, “Can you call your mom back and help her out with the parking question?” He should get the hint. If the issue persists, you can get more explicit, and if it still doesn’t improve...well, welcome to the family.
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He thinks he doesn’t have to help you write thank-you notes
Why he’ll do it: The top five reasons: He’s burned-out—wedding planning was so last year; pen and paper—who does that?; he’s secretly thinking, “I know this sounds sexist, but isn’t writing thankyou notes, um, something that women do?”; he’ll say that he’ll get around to them but he never will, putting off this duty the way Congress puts off addressing the national debt; and his handwriting is so illegible that the recipients will mistake “Thank you for the Crock-Pot” as “Think you felt the crotch.”
How to respond: Brute force. No compromise on this one. Just let him know that you don’t really WANT to do this either but that it’s a chore that has to be done, like taking out the garbage or cleaning toilets. And, it’s also not acceptable to split up the task by his side/your side.
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He’ll idly stand by while his groomsmen forget to get their tuxes
Why he’ll do it:In his mind he did everything the task requires: He emailed his buddies with the tux-rental info; then he trusted his friends to get the job done. (So naive, you’re thinking?) He’s thinking grown men don’t need babysitters. That’s why after sending that email—six months ago—he never checked up on them. Not once, even just to make sure they got the email. Now, the day before the wedding, one of the groomsmen says, “So...where am I supposed to get a tux?”
How to respond: Make a preemptive strike. Two weeks before the wedding, ask him to confirm that the groomsmen are squared away. (Technically this is the job of the best man, but sometimes the best man isn’t, well, the best.) If the wedding weekend arrives with no tux? Most tuxedo-rental places (like Men’s Wearhouse) can (thankfully!) handle same-day requests. (Confession: How do I know all this? Because even after writing more than 100 articles on the man’s perspective on wedding planning, recently...I’ve still been that negligent groomsman who forgot his tux. It happens—trust me.)
He’ll say he doesn’t need a wedding band, or that his skin Is “allergic to metal”
Why he’ll do it: He’s not embarrassed of marriage, and he’s not trying to wiggle out of being a faithful husband. Some people have hang-ups about wearing the actual ring. Clarification: That doesn’t mean you should give in to his ridiculous mind-set; it just means that if he tries to pull this kind of stunt, you should know that it’s not that abnormal and that his intentions aren’t that shady.
How to respond: Laugh it off. Don’t even give it the dignity of a proper answer: “Ha! Nice try. Really though, you’d look good in this platinum band; it matches your eyes.”
He’ll ask to invite his ex
Why he’ll do it: Not because he’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend. He’s marrying you, not her. If they’re still friends, he probably thinks that it’d be rude to deny her the invite.
How to respond: This pivots on: how long they’ve been broken up (the longer the better); whether they’re still in each other’s lives (if not, then why the hell should some blast from the past show up?); and, most important, your comfort level. Have you hung out as a group together, and if so, have you been genuinely relaxed? If so, great, then let it slide. But if you’re uncomfortable, you have every right to issue an edict of No Exes.
He’ll get his groomsmen a tacky gift like beer funnel hats
Why he’ll do it: Much of the population has been brainwashed to think that when it comes to groomsmen, we must abandon all taste and get them something schlocky, like a shot glass with the phrase “Only 3 Months Left as a Free Man” stamped across the front or fitted black T-shirts that look like tuxedos. Your fiancé, who normally has good(ish) judgment, will think that he, too, needs to join the tradition and get them something that they will never, ever, ever use.
How to respond: Ask him, “What would you actually want to get as a gift? Not as a groomsman but, in general, as a person?” His eyes will open when he realizes that the gift doesn’t have to be wedding related. The best groomsmen gifts aren’t.
He’ll blurt out '$600 for a wedding cake?!?!'
Why he’ll do it: There are many versions of this: “$5,000 for a wedding dress?! Would anyone notice if we just spent 50 bucks on a white dress from H&M?” “$700 for a photographer? Can’t we just use Instagram for the whole thing?”
How to respond: Show him the context. Let him know that, yes, weddings are expensive and, yes, much of this seems silly and overpriced, but given the sober reality of what the industry actually costs, you’ve done your homework and found vendors with competitive pricing. And if he still balks, invite him to help you find other realistic options...as long as they don’t involve ramen, Burger King or Schlitz malt liquor.
He’ll skip the bridal shower
Why he’ll do it: Because it’s a bridal shower.
How to respond: Trick question! The groom did nothing wrong. Let’s get some perspective: A growing trend suggests that the groom should make a cameo at the bridal shower or, worse, even take part in some unholy bride-and-groom shower. Stop the madness. The bridal shower is for you, the bride, and it’s your opportunity to have girl-time, collect gifts and do whatever it is you do at these things.