Watch out ladies, Groomzilla is on the rise. A survivor tells his side of wedding-planning insanity.
I asked my wonderful wife, Tara, to marry me on October 19, 2004, in a tiny black box theatre in Brooklyn, New York, where we first met. I took a knee in that ugly little room because of its sentimental significance for both of us—and because the swirling sky was spitting bullets of freezing rain in the park under the Brooklyn Bridge, where I'd originally planned to do it. But everything turned out great in the end. She said yes; she cried; she called her mom. And now, when we tell the story of our engagement, it seems as though I had planned to pop the question in that dank, windowless room all along.
There's a lesson in there for me, and for all couples planning a wedding:
Adapt. Compromise. Breathe. Don't hold on too tightly. Everything will be beautiful and wonderful. Everything will be exactly what it should be.
It's too bad no one shared this lesson with me when I was caught up in the whirlwind of my wedding planning, but I probably wouldn't have listened anyway. I was too busy coveting designer suits, snarling at my in-laws, and generally trying to muscle every single detail of the event with all the gruesome effort—and all the success—of a man trying to steer the planet Mars into a compact parking space at the mall.
Groomzilla doesn't get the same press as his twin sister, Bridezilla. In fact, some people still don't know he exists. But believe me, he's out there. According to Bridal Guide magazine, an astounding 80 percent of grooms are now full planning partners in their weddings. And the results are unsettling.
Today's groom has scales—and an entire niche industry has popped up to cater to his expensive, effete whims. Salons like Exclusively Male in Cincinnati advertise a "Groom and Groomsman Special" that includes hair, manicure, and pedicure for $90 a person. Exclusively Male's owner, Marie Stokes, told Time magazine, "If you're wearing a tux and have a nice shoe on … bad hands stand out." Personally, when I'm sizing up another man, I check for nice teeth, firm chest muscle implants, and then bad hands, in that order. But that's just me.
Clearly, something's up. Something's happening to men from all walks of life—men with nothing in common, save the fact that they are getting married.
Why? What's changed? People who chart social trends (let's call them nerds) point to lots of reasons for the birth of Groomzilla. For instance:
- Couples are waiting longer and longer to get married. The average age for first-time grooms is now 27.5 years old (up from 22 years old in 1987 and 13.7 years old in 1607.)
- Over 70 percent of couples live together before tying that goofy knot.
- The average American wedding costs $26,000 and change.
Put those stats together and you've got an older, more sophisticated groom who can't escape from wedding fever even in his own home, and who wants to se where the hell all his money is going.
As a Groomzilla survivor, I feel it's my duty to share what I've learned with the brides of the world, so they can survive, too. Plus, I figure, with all the cash I'll make on a book about Groomzilla, I might actually be able to pay off my wedding (sure, laugh at my dreams.)
So that's what I intended to do. Because I believe in the cause. And the need is great: 2.3 million couples tie the knot every year in the U.S.A. You know what that means?
Hold up, I'm doing the math.
That means, every day of the year, 6,200 potential Groomzillas are out there, flashing bleached chompers, terrorizing wedding guests. It also means that, every day, 6,200 more brides are caught unprepared. Brides who don't have the benefit of this book, who look to the heavens and cry, "Why, God? Why"
I'm here to change all that.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "My fiancé doesn't care about weddings. He won't turn into Groomzilla." And that's when you're wrong. Here's the news:
* EVERY MAN IS A POTENTIAL GROOMZILLA! *
Let's get it out in the open: this is not a gay thing. The Groomzilla phenomenon has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It prays solely on a man's vanity, where he's weakest (the "vanity" is a tiny muscle located right next to the humility tendon, at the crown of a man's head, where his hair is most likely too thin). So, wedding planning, like finding your dress, or taking out a second mortgage
You must prepare for Groomzilla. Be like the industrious squirrel. Pack away the tasty little nuts of information you find here. Save them for winter. You never know when you'll need to, um, eat one.
In closing, don't take changes with your wedding. It's too important. And too friggin' expensive.
The readiness is all. That's what Hamlet said, you know. And then he was poisoned by his old friend, Laertes.
So make yourself ready, little squirrel. Groomzilla is coming.
Want to prepare for Groomzilla? Buy Surviving Groomzilla: A Bride's Guide.
Copyright 2009, Craig Bridger. All rights reserved. Reprinted by arrangement with Citadel Press/Kensington Publishing Corp.