Groom Duties

Why “DIY Wedding Planning” is Pronounced “Die.”

As regular readers now know, from time to time, we turn to one of the less-crazy bridal sites, OneWed, for “her” perspective.

From OneWed’s Marta Segal Block:

Thirty years ago, my father set out to build a family room in the basement. Two years ago a contractor came in and finished the job. My dad has embarked on similar missions to fix computers and cars, and build desks and dollhouses. Do I need to mention that few of these projects have been finished, and those that were completed needed a “little” re-fixing? My dad is not alone in this. You’ve probably known your share of guys who insist on looking under the hood of a car even though they know nothing about mechanics.

It would be great to blame this on testosterone, after all, that’s what those of us who write for girly sites usually do, but the truth is that women have a similar instinct. Despite the fact that I’ve never successfully replaced a button on a shirt, I once attempted to sew a dress from a pattern.

Given my gnat-sized attention span and horrible hand-eye coordination why do I attempt DIY projects? Why is your fiancée, who routinely sends her laundry out to the cleaners and has a list of delivery places next to the phone now reading Martha Stewart? The same reason that my father attempts to rebuild a desk, it’s about images.

Most of us have this idea of what a “wife” does or should be able to do. If Ma Ingalls could sew her own clothes by the light of candles that she also made, shouldn’t I be able to create a centerpiece? What kind of wife will I be if I can’t create a home by my own handiwork?

Of course, we forget that for Ma Ingalls sewing clothes, and creating those candles wasn’t about handiwork or hobbies, it was about survival. Also, she didn’t have Facebook.

So, what do you, the groom do when your bride suggests that she could save a few dollars by making the wedding cake or the bouquets? Run, run very fast. Or try and talk her out of it. Do NOT make it about your fiancée’s skill-set. Even if she can’t boil water, do not suggest that your bride is incapable of making a beautiful wedding cake. To do so will be to suggest that she’s going to be a horrible wife and mother (it’s not logical, but trust me on this).

Instead, point out that if you add in supplies, materials, and labor most DIY projects don’t actually wind up costing less money, and because professionals get discounts on materials, they may actually wind up costing the same or more. If that doesn’t work, try appealing to her inner princess bride by suggesting that DIY projects may keep her from truly relaxing and enjoying her wedding day.

Most importantly though, make sure your fiancée knows that you think she will be a wonderful wife (and mother, if relevant). That you aren’t looking for Ma Ingalls or Martha Stewart, that you’re looking for her.

Marta Segal Block writes the Ask the Wedding Maven advice column for, home to the Savvy Scoop, a daily blog of wedding information that’s actually helpful.

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