Groomzilla: Breaking the mystique that a straight male groom cannot plan a wedding in 2019" one event producer’s story on breaking gender norms.

By

Tyler Hollinger

Did you ever notice that in the movies the wedding planner is always gay? Or Female? Who could forget Martin Short’s charismatic turn as the effervescent Franck Eggelhoffer. Or the seminal classic ‘The Wedding Planner’ staring an Oscar worthy performance from JLO and McLo (that’s McConaughey when he plays opposite Jennifer Lopez). In fact I have been planning and producing events for almost 10yrs now and out of all the wedding planners I know. I cannot name a single straight male. Is it because straight men generally aren’t detailed orientated, they don’t know the finer points of floral design, they can’t comprehend intelligent lighting or various levels of invitation card stock?

In the current marital landscape it is widely agreed that it is ‘her day.’ I rarely hear brides to be talking about their wedding being ‘their day’ or even a non-gender normative ‘day of love.’ Perhaps it’s the social media pressure heaped on females in our society to live their BEST LIFE, or showcase only the GREATEST MOMENTS, when in reality the pressure to always look your best, be your best, and show the world that your wedding is better than all of your ‘friends’ whom you don’t really like that much anyway, is far too much responsibility for one day. Remember getting out of bed to put make up on and then getting back in bed and take a photo of yourself — yea everyone knows that’s fake. Or maybe ‘her day’ is an archaic vestige left from a pre-#meetoo era where the wedding constituted a sumptuous dowry that went along with the bride. Wouldn’t that be nice for all us grooms out there.

It is my opinion that the role of ‘wedding planner’ has always been played by a gay man or a woman because the bride would not feel comfortable with a straight man planning ‘her day’. Would a straight male planner be able to adjust the bust of a wedding gown on the fly, gab & joke with the bridal party, or supply emergency tampons?

There is so much more that goes into planning what many consider to be the 2nd most important day of your life (I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the inevitable birth of a child…?) Not only is marriage permanent (right?), it’s a celebration of love with all your closest friends and family, and ultimately, in most cases, the most expensive party of your life. It is a culmination of your adulthood, a pronouncement to live your life for someone else, an invitation to defining what is important in your life and a chance for you to brag about how much money you have.

This brings me back to my movie metaphor. Did you see Crazy Rich Asians? For what reason is the entire wedding sitting in neck high field grass during the ceremony. To talk about over-the-top wedding celebrations for a moment; this pressure to show people how happy, successful, wealthy, you are has obscured the point of the whole affair. Marriage is a celebration of love and a chance for both families to converge and have a great time. Comparing your marriage, your life, your decisions to others is a death blow that only leads to unhappiness. After all comparison is the thief of joy; I think Kylie Jenner said that. Oh, and thank you Instagram for making it so easy for us to visually compare ourselves to each other before I’ve even had my morning coffee.

So why can’t I plan our wedding? Is it toxic masculinity for me to assume that a straight man could do this? Am I man-splaining to much what my design vision, detailed floorplans, and seating arrangements are? Are my color schemes to masculine on a date that in the history of the world has been regarded with adjectives like blush, whimsical, airy, delicate and gentle. Are men not capable of these adjectives or is it everyone around us who assumes this. You know what happens when you assume right? Good thing my fiancé don’t care what others think.

This much hyped day is fraught with so many unrealistic expectations that every Bride should have a talented planner and a best friend behind them. Good thing I am both. Talented planners not only come up with the overall vision, the design schematics, the vendor negotiations, but they also offer the gray hairs of experience that only time can provide (my greys are actually natural blond highlights). Smart planning does not require big budgets. It requires thoughtful moments that are budget optimized for exponential impact. Spending money on the best bang for your buck and on your priorities. If having a dope AF oyster bar with 9 different kinds of regional oysters, giant Alaskan crab legs, and cockles that would that would make your mother-in-law blush is a priority for you; then go for it. (And invite me!) If you are more discerning in your budget spends then finding artful ways to achieve your vision is how you maximize your dollar. Did you realize that white carnations are making a comeback and white roses are significantly over priced (and a cliché). Since I have a wealth of experience in the events industry I am able to call upon favors from my favorite vendors. That’s just an ‘inside perk’ Here’s another secret. Every vendor wants to do your wedding and if you give them a budget they will tell you what you can get as opposed to them telling you what it will cost. Managing expectations is often times the hardest of mountains to overcome. That and explaining to your bride to be that the venue only holds 150ppl and your mother’s cousins cousin might have to get left of the list!

Ah compromise. The bedstone of our relationship. It is this aspect of team work and compromise I wish on all newlywed couples. Having the self-awareness to realize who is better suited for what tasks, is an important lesson that allows us to divide and conquer. Planning a wedding is part of the journey to getting married, it is a test of your relationship and a solid foundation for a lifetime of marriage. Patience is another virtue. I am still working on this one.

Tyler Hollinger

Lauren Maffettone

Wedding Date 9/14/2019

Stone Harbor, NJ