Why The Millennial Man Loves A Wedding
Once upon a moon, a wedding invitation pushed through the post would have been met with moans and groans and a least one set of pass-agg eye rolls from the men in our lives. The thought of spending a day, or God-forbid a whole weekend, witnessing nuptials instead of, frankly, anything else, would have been too much for male-kind. However, in more recent times, men appear to be more up for a good wedding than even us ladies! It’s now us who begrudge the fact we have to search for yet another outfit which hasn’t already found it’s way into our Facebook-tagged pictures. And the reason behind this, dear readers, is nothing other than the rise of the millennial male. More concerned with etiquette, style and social approval than ever before, men are embracing their growing interest in interior design and other cultural endeavours. Which has resulted in 2017 being the year that men have welcomed weddings. And I never, in a million years, thought I would be writing that sentence.
Recently, my partner and I were invited to my uncle’s wedding. It’s his second marriage and he pre-informed us that it would be a relaxed and low-key affair. Being thrifty, and also selecting an outfit which matched the brief of the invitation, found me opting for a rather lovely dress from Miss Selfridge which I found in the sale. Given that I’ll wear it again and bought it to go with the majority of accessories already languishing in my wardrobe, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was not strictly a wedding purchase. My partner, on the other hand, went all out on a Tommy Hilfiger suit. Granted he probably ‘needed’ it for the 9-5 job too, but on heading to Regent Street on the morning of purchase the focus seemed more prominently fixed on ‘wedding-style’ than ‘office-outfit’. Not only that, he spent a couple of hours trawling the internet to select a tie which perfectly complemented the hot pink hue of my dress #CoordinationGoals. Funnily enough both my dad and brother also did this very same thing to match in with their dates for the wedding, encouraged to do so by no-one.
During the wedding itself, I felt more like a judge on some Great British Bake Off-esque spin off show, where I was rating the overall wedding design against a multitude of factors. A bit like “Four Weddings” meets “The X Factor” (and if you want to compare me to Cheryl Cole then just go right ahead…). Not that this was a position I had self-righteously appointed myself - no. It was forced upon me by select few in attendance. At weddings, as a guest, I like to blend into the background and enjoy every single second. For once in my life I shy away from the limelight, wanting to fit right in with everyone else and indulge in a pre-wedding breakfast Pimms in peace. When I’m not there as a wedding planner I don’t want to look at my watch, or make sure that the vegetarians have received the meal option they asked for. I don’t want to ensure that tables are cleared of empty glasses and that the bride has remembered to eat. I don’t want to analyse the table decorations; re-aligning wonky candlesticks or checking the seating plan for spelling mistakes. And to the credit of the women in attendance at this wedding, they all left me alone. The men, on the other hand, were obsessed with wanting to know my opinion. What did I think of the ceremony? They loved the colour scheme, did I? Was it tacky of the celebrant to stand at the front with a bright blue plastic folder containing his prompts? (Yes). Would I have changed anything?
You could almost see the cogs in their head spinning with excitement as their eyes moved across the room, seeing how the whole day had pieced together like some colourful, confetti-laden jigsaw. And I totally get it - it’s what drew me into the wedding world from day one. It’s the reason I spend months with a couple debating the exact shade of a table runner (“is this sage? Or very light teal?”) Why I make 6-hour round-trips to celebrate their joy in booking a wedding photographer and making even more perfect plans. It’s why I stay up at night writing blog posts and pinning pictures to inspire brides. This is my job; my passion; my career. For men, it’s none of those things and yet their interest is rivalling the pros.
And it’s not just among male guests that the interest in weddings has peaked. Grooms, more than ever, are showing a far greater interest in their own weddings too. It used to be the bride who was concerned with all of the little details of the wedding day but now guys are wanting a say in everything from the type of flowers (since when did they learn the difference between a hydrangea and a hyacinth?!) to the favours that guests are given to remember the day. In fact, especially the favours. They’re even the ones selecting the suppliers to make it all happen; from the cake designer to the wedding planner.
Ten years ago it would have been very rare to get a man participating in conversations about future weddings. It was always us women who schemed and planned about our future vows, carefully snipping out pictures from magazines to stick down neatly in our scrapbooks. (If you didn’t do this you missed out on a lot of fun, and I strongly suggest you nip out to Paperchase and indulge in this daydreamy pastime immediately). In those risky and intrepid conversations where the subject of weddings was broached, it was always “if we get married”, not “when”. Nowadays, in this fluid and ever-changing new world in which we live, pretty much anything goes and it’s allowed us all to lighten up one hell of a lot. Men do not feel the need to conform to any preconceived role of stoicism, and if they want to wear a pink shirt and drink cocktails and make plans for “when” they get married then they bloody well can! Sitting down to brunch with my partner I can almost expect him to come out with a little gem like “I think a sushi buffet would be great for our wedding! Maybe mexican food for the breakfast but definitely a sushi-rotation for the evening”. And although my little wedding planner brain may whur and hiss whilst trying to process the logistics of installing a conveyor belt loaded with raw fish in a forest in Essex - which has also been pushed as an idea - I have to give him points for creativity. And that is what a wedding is all about.
Personally, I think this is something to be massively celebrated. After all, a wedding is not just a day for brides as it was once regarded. It’s a day for two people who both want to celebrate their relationship in a way that reflects them both. And I have to thank all of the men in the world for wanting to get more involved for two reasons. One, because you’re giving us women a well-deserved break. We are exhausted at trying to get you to be excited about John and Suzie’s wedding in The Lakes, so it’s great if you can get to that point on your own. We’re tired of badgering you to try on your suit just in case it no longer fits or fastens at the waist. And to be quite honest, we just want someone else to be enthusiastic on our behalf for a while. And the second reason is more of a personal one - you men, inserting yourselves in the wonderful world of weddings, have pushed me in my wedding planning game. You have the wildest ideas that I desperately want to action for you with a whoosh of a magic wand, and I will work my butt off trying to achieve it for you. Men are often hailed as the more practical sex, but when it comes to weddings it’s the women that will try and talk them down from the ceiling. So, thank you for keeping the dream of the creative, wonderful, and enigmatic wedding alive - you’re the ones who will continue to make weddings the beautiful beasts that they are. And, from the bottom of my heart, I am ever so grateful.