Wedding planning involves shopping for a lot of big items — a venue, a caterer, a professional photographer, and myriad other services. All are unique in their offerings, but almost every vendor we’ve encountered has shared a fundamental assumption about weddings: the groom is just dead weight.
One venue toured us through the luxurious bridal suite with four-poster bed and adjoining private bathroom, and then through the groom’s room with some chairs and a poker table. At our actual venue the bride is promised chilled champagne and a plate of fruit, while the groom should expect a twelve-pack of domestic beer. (It’s the “domestic” that really sells it.)
Conclusion: I will be so bored at my own wedding I’ll want to bring a deck of cards and get drunk with my friends while my bride carries out the celebration on her own.
At dress shops (catering legitimately only to women) brides-to-be can bring their friends to solicit advice as they try on sample gowns and evaluate the elegance of various designs. At Men’s Wearhouse, I was handed a book with ten glossy photographs of models in tuxedos and asked to point to one like a kid ordering off a children’s menu. The clerk took measurements and ushered me out the door, without so much as a peek at a physical tuxedo. (We canceled our order there and went to Al’s Formalwear where we were able to see real products and choose the best style shirt, tie, vest, jacket, and pants — and even try on a sample tuxedo. And with the total $70 less, the moral is: never go to Men’s Wearhouse.)
One department store recently invited us to a “Sip & Scan” party in order to create a wedding registry. They’d be serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and promised consultants in each department to help us choose the items we’d most like to guilt our friends and family into buying for us. And in each e-mail urging us to come, the bride is reminded to “bring your fiancé (he’ll love the scan gun).” I won’t care what dishes we have or what color our sheets are, as long as I can scan some barcodes!
With the gender stereotypes this overpowering, the wedding industry should be enthusiastically supporting same-sex marriages everywhere. While male couples would unfortunately never set foot in a wedding venue, female couples would be free to spend billions of dollars on their weddings without the restrictive dead weight of a groom.