October 28th, 2011 by Will Entrekin

A Gentleman’s Guide to Being Affianced

A year from yesterday, I’m getting married. Which means that, in less than one year, my life of singledom will end.

I met the girl I’m marrying several years ago, and we were best friends for a long time before anything more than that developed between us. Then, when it did, the relationship that grew began to (and continues to) surprise me in ways I never thought possible.

Being affianced (which just means engaged, but sounds like I should be wearing a monocle to go with my bowtie, which is why I like the word) is interesting, especially on the gentleman’s side of things. When I first became engaged, many seemed to think my role was over for two years while my fiancee and her mother took over the planning and execution of our wedding.

This is not what occurred. Because who wants that?

Me, I like parties. I love my girl. I’m pleased to say that I love my mother-in-law-to-be, as well. So although popular notions seem to be that I sit back and let them do all the work and plan all the things and make all the choices, I don’t think I’d have ever been happy with the idea.

And I thought I’d share a little about my side of it, if only because, so far as I can see, it’s rare for a guy to discuss it. There are plenty of wedding blogs and wedding sites and bachelorette etc., but when it comes to dudes, it seems like there’s tuxedo, bachelor party, choice of groom’s party, and end. Which is totally not the approach we’ve taken.

I asked my girl to marry me a little more than a year ago, and over the course of the year we’ve chosen venue, band, and florist. Also taken care of is catering, which is tied to the venue.

Through it all, I haven’t simply “been involved”; I’ve actively participated.

Now I admit, I haven’t looked through wedding magazines (all of which are targeted specifically and solely to brides. I’ve not seen a single Groom magazine though I’ve seen just about every potential derivation of Bride, be she modern, contemporary, American . . .) to the extent my girl has, but that’s because a huge swath of said magazines is devoted to dresses, and I’ve got that covered. I decided from the start I was going to purchase a midnight blue tuxedo (because I feel a gentleman should own a tux for such occasions as require one), and I’ll decide cut and fabric and such when I get to that point.

My fiancee has myriad more options when it comes to dressing. And ruffles. And rouching. WordPress is saying I misspelled that, and I might have, but I can pronounce it and even know what it is off the top of my head (it’s like a sorta sideswept look and seems to have a bit of a slimming effect).

While I leave those magazines to her, she shares any ideas she has. And moreso, she knows my tastes, which are basically simple, elegant, and timeless. I sometimes like modern and accents and such, but when it comes down to it, I’m the sort of gentleman who would buy a tux because I know that a real, great tux never goes out of style and looks fantastic.

So we discuss colors and design and decoration and . . .

Yeah.

Now, with just less than a year to go, things get more crazy. Our first year of engagement was easy-breezy. We went to a venue, checked out a band. We did things whenever we got around to it. We had plenty of time. Date wasn’t for, like, a year and a half.

Not the case anymore.

Sadly, I was unable to participate in the most recent evolution of planning, which was meeting with our wedding planner, because I got very ill (my fiancee came down with the same illness just the following day, which I’m guessing is basically how such things work in a marriage. You share everything, including mistresses and illnesses). On the other hand, from the sound of it, nothing was actually decided during said meeting, only discussed, and plans were made. Said plans included things like going shopping for linens. Which you have to do, because tablecloths!

That’s next week. Also, we have to talk to the florist and figure out the rehearsal dinner and hotel arrangements.

This should be fun…

Comments

7 Responses to “A Gentleman’s Guide to Being Affianced”
  1. Congratulations!! I remember the run up to my wedding, largely because it had to be packed into gaps I could carve out in my life at the time, which was my final year of university, so I was swotting for exams and trying to find a venue as we had not done any planning beyond setting the date until six months before the date.We also neither of us had a job or a home at that point; but by the day, all but a job for me had fallen into place.
    The only advice I can offer is simply that in the end, it is just one day. It is also the first day of your married life, but still only a day. Worrying too much about the accessories is counter productive. Just enjoy time with each other as much as you can.
    We never had a honeymoon either, but we plan on having one next year for our silver wedding anniversary….

  2. Thanks Viv. I’m very excited. Sounds like a stressful time you had. But congratulations on your silver, and hope you have a great honeymoon!

  3. My fiancee has myriad more options when it comes to dressing.

    Oh, man. There are so many dresses out there it’s ridiculous. For my wedding I went with something simple without beads and with a ruched (you were close, by the way. Minus the “o”) style. So many hours of looking! My husband just went to Men’s Warehouse once, found the fabric, style, and cut of his tux, and that was that. I was jealous. I admit, I’m not really, well, womanly. I wear jeans all the time and a dress three times in my life (the third time being for my wedding), so this parade of dresses and such was really hard.

    I will say that my husband helped me pick out the dress (totally taboo there, I know, but oh well), my shoes, flowers, everything. He was really active in the process, and his family members kept calling him whipped and stuff.

    I think men can be involved, but a lot of them are told they don’t have to, their women exclude them, so what else is there to do? Answer: go play more video games while the lady freaks out about beading and ruched bodices and flowers and hair (oh, Lord, do we flip out about hair) and veils. You get the point. Haha.

    Oh, and a fun piece of advice: something will go wrong or not turn out ideally how you or your lady wanted, but that’s half the fun, that imperfection. And, almost always, you will be late by at least fifteen minutes. Hope you have a happy day and try to enjoy the process! It’s stressful, but you (hopefully!) only go through it once, and man — it goes by fast!

  4. For a long time, I wanted to be involved in dress selection, but we’ve reached a compromise there, and one I’m more happy with. And I think you’re right, though I don’t think it’s so much that women actively exclude men; I think society tends to just naturally assume men don’t want to be involved so there’s no reason even to address them.

    And I’m not saying that’s not true in many cases. But it’s not true in all of them, for certain.

    You can rest assured, for example, I will be worrying over my hair. I sheepishly admit I sort of always do.

  5. I think you have a point about society just assuming men don’t want to be involved. Most people were surprised that my husband wanted to be involved in the process, and he really did, mostly to make sure it was perfect for the both of us. Something super special, you know?

    Honestly, hair is worth worrying over. But, being a woman, I could be slightly biased. Haha. Though I don’t think worrying over your hair is truly a gender-only thing.

  6. Big congrats, Will!

    Here’s what I tell everyone: make sure you spend at least one night in your own place before leaving for your honeymoon. You’ll have more fun and be a lot less stressed out that way.

    And well played, giving the shout-out to your mother-in-law-to-be.

  7. Thanks, Greg. Sounds like sound advice! I think we’re going to actually honeymoon quite a ways after the ceremony. Our plan right now is Sandals Antigua, which seems to be best in January. Give us something to look forward to over the holidays.

    I totally agree with super special, Elisa. And about hair, too. Ha!

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