(Closed) Fiance unhelpful in planning

posted 10 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
1149 posts
Bumble bee

I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this! It’s not terribly uncommon, though, so I’m sure you’ll find you’re not alone in this.  

Since he’s expressed a concern about the budget, that could be the angle you use to spark his interest, by talking about ideas to save money.  

 Show him a list of wedding related areas (honeymoon planning, reception menu, music, etc.) and ask him to choose the ones he IS interested in, as a start.   Hopefully having him work on areas of interest will get him excited about the entire process. 

You could also gently remind him that you appreciate that he’s not interested in the elements of planning a wedding, but that you two are a team and this is the first big event that as a team you have to pull off, so you’ll be relying on him.  

Good luck!

Post # 4
1363 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Hi Kara,

I don’t think your story’s that unusual.  I know my fiance is going nuts because he’d rather not talk about the wedding in 10 minute burst here and there when I have an idea i want feedback on.  So we instituted an "All-Wedding Wednesday." (He’s in grad school and planning isn’t happening on any other nights, so we have a standing date.)

So far, our dates have been less-than-ideal, but it’s helped me to start thinking about running them like meetings: I draft an agenda in my head and whenever he has time to talk, I start with what matters ("Ok, here’s the guest list, what do you think."  "Tonight we’re talking about DJs.  Can I call this one?")

The system isn’t perfect, and neither one of us abides by it, but I *think*  that we’re doing better even when we break the rules.

As far as motivational tips, is there something your fiance DOES care about?  LIke can you put him in 100% charge of finding a photographer or finding the DJ/band or even something little like renting the limo/getaway car or booking your honeymoon?

Good luck!  (Just remember, we’re a good group to vent to when you’re ready to beat your head against the wall!) 

Post # 5
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Honestly, while your feelings are understandable, realistically you’re just going to have to adapt to being the wedding planner of the couple. My husband told me (immediately after proposing) that he considered "his part" done, and that he only thought his next responsibility was to show up at the wedding. And he stayed true to his word! Although he works in a design profession, he didn’t care about anything.

But here’s some tips:

— Be clear that anything he does not give input in (after you have showed him the options or your plan) he must accept. I told my husband that I was okay planning the whole wedding, but that he couldn’t later whine that it wasn’t what he wanted. He could pick and choose what he wanted to be involved about (it wasn’t all or nothing), but if he waived his right to input he also waived his right to complain. He never did.

— Ask him to accompany you on at least one apt with each vendor (preferably every appointment). You won’t feel like you’re making every decisions; he’ll have an opportunity to give input that he may not realize that he has.

— Give specific items for him to do. Like, "call this venue at this number to set up an appointment with this person at this day and time." Or, "drop this addressed package off at the post office." Find out what he prefers to do, either by asking or observing what he follows through with. For example, he may not care about the nuances of your inviations, but he may be happy to manage the payment or drop files off at the printer. 

— Be patient. The wedding clearly isn’t on his radar yet, but it will be at some point. Don’t feel the need to stop planning, but don’t get angry that he’s not yet interested. My husband got much more interested as the date got closer. He also "discovered" parts that he was truely interested in. He spearheaded the hunt for our band (because I told him straight out that I didn’t care enough to do it, but it was really important to him). He handled all the rentals. And of course, he was very involved in menu decisions and tasting 😉

— Take a step back. Clearly, you’re probably rightfully anxious to get your venue and photographer in place… but don’t rush for the other details. Let him "catch up." Also, when there is something you want him to do, don’t do it for him. Give directions (if needbe) or gentle reminders (if needbe), but leave it to him. I kept telling my husband that I wanted him to pick out his tux. I only said that I wanted a windsor tie, not a bow tie, and a black tux. He didn’t believe that I meant it until we stood in the tux shop (that I had researched and found, BTW), doing nothing. He stared at me, I stared at him, and then he went around and picked out a really nice tuxedo set, without me saying a word. I also told him to organize his Groomsmen getting their measurements to the shop. He stalled. I asked about the progress. He stalled. I asked about the progress and reminded him of the deadline. He eventually did it, because I didn’t step in.

Sorry. This got really long… hopefully it’s helpful. And if I can add one more piece of advice: Get used to it. Do you think my husband cared what stockings I hung on the mantel at Christmas? Do you think he cared what color the nursery furniture was for our baby? No and no. Focus on the good: you get to pick out what you want.

Post # 6
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I (and I’m sure a lot of other brides out there too) can totally relate! My fiance doesn’t care about much and if he ever does help me out with something he expects me to thank him afterwords…umm, thanks for doing a teeny tiny amount of work for your own wedding? How about you thank me for all my work, DIY cost saving projects, and not asking you to help out more mister?! haha I know he doesn’t care about all the details, but there are some things we’d still have to do even if it was no-frills so he can’t get away with the whole "it’s not my dream so I don’t have to help" excuse.

Ok, sorry for my own personal rant. To get back on point, you are not the only one. If I were you I’d try to stress to him how it’s better to get things done early so you don’t have to stress at the last minute. Also, it might help if you make a list for him to see what all needs to get done because I’m sure it’s way longer than he thinks. Last, give him things to do! When I started to get frustrated with my Fiance that he wasn’t more willing to take the initiative I realized that I just had to basically tell him what he needs do. I’m not normally bossy at all, but I’m not doing all of this myself, darn it! 


Post # 7
380 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I am sort of in the same boat.. we have just started our planning.. while he has no interest in colors, or flowers, he does seem to have an interest in WHERE we have our ceremony and reception. SOO.. I find this great place that I love, I love I love.. beautiful garden, within budget and he is not thrilled with it. OK so you would think he would look for a place he likes.. I have searched high and low and nothing else compares but he hasn’t given in yet. He has only found ONE place that we are supposed to look at. Otherwise he has done no research for an alternative. At this point I wouldn’t care if he helped with anything else I just want a venue already so I can get on with other planning!!!! grrr

Post # 8
1363 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

oh teeleaf, I had the same experience, if a little less fraught (he didn’t HATE the place I loved, and I didn’t HATE the place he loved, and at least he loved one of the ones I’d scouted out!)  It will work out!

Post # 9
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Getting your Fiance to help with this is a great exercise in teamwork and compromise, and trust me, you’re going to be dealing with issues like this your whole married life, so you need to work it out now.  You have some great advice already, but here are a few things I found useful:

1.  The two of you need to agree that for the big things, you work as a team.  Even if the thing in question is more important to one of you than to the other.  It’s not acceptable for him to say "the wedding/nursery/anniversary party for you parents/raising the kids is your thing" and then not help at all.  That’s equally true the other way around!  If he thinks that you’re going to be interested in every thing that’s important to him, he’s seriously deluded – but one of the things you’re agreeing by being married is to help each other through life, and often that includes participating in things that really aren’t of a great deal of interest to you, just because they are important to your spouse.

2.  Once you’ve agreed on that, you need to realize that probably he really doesn’t care what color the table linens are, or which ribbon looks better on the favors – just like he really doesn’t care which pair of black sandals you wear Saturday night.  If he’s like many men, it all looks about the same to him.  So you can make those choices all by yourself, or with your mom or your girlfriends.  And really, you’re just looking for affirmation in those areas, right?  So it’s all good.  Don’t overload him with the details that just don’t interest him.  It’s sort of like (to be hugely stereotypical here) when he starts describing performance specs for the fuel injection on his car.  You just don’t care.  You’re more interested in the sound system, or whether it has seat heaters.

3.  So – figure out what would interest him.  For most guys, the big hitters are music, food, drink, the guest list, and the vows.  Some guys also have a big interest in the invitations, general decor (not too girly) and their outfits.  You can safely expect him to have an opinion over most of these things, so making him a partner in the decision is a reasonable thing.

4.  Set up meetings.  Most guys really don’t want to talk wedding 24/7 – they don’t understand why we’re so obsessed, and they get overloaded really fast.  So the idea of Wedding Wednesdays is great.  We started out with a Planning Meeting once a month, over lunch, and worked our way up to every other week, and then every week during the last 6 weeks.  I would put together my research, narrow it down to a few choices, and present them – or sometimes just present my final choice.  Or we would make all the decisions together – in the case of going through catering menus.  But when we sat down to do it, he was in the mindset that we were now going to do wedding stuff, and that made it quite successful.

5.  You probably can’t expect him to do much research.  Face it, most guys idea of planning a party is buying a keg and making a few last minute phone calls (one of which will be for pizza).  The concept of spending hours and hours on the internet looking for just the right color and size circles of chiffon to wrap favors is just beyond him.  Some things that he might actually research could be:  DJs; bands; rented equipment of any kind (tent, chairs, tables).  You’ll have better luck if you’ve already established what it is you want, and all he has to do is go out and kill it and drag it home.  It’s what he’s good at, so go with it.

6.  Since you are a team, have some quality time together by acting like one.  Go to the vendor appointments together.  Taste cake together.  Walk through venues together.  Taste entrees together.  Go look at tuxes or suits together.  Interview officiants together.  (Maybe go to the florist with your mom.  Again, the more you can keep this to things that he has some actual interest in, the better luck you will have.)

And once you get him involved, remember that he’s going to do things in his own way.  If you’re a team (as opposed to you being the boss and him the employee) he does get to do things differently than you would.  That’s the way it’s going to be from now on, you know.  Just because he doesn’t do it exactly when or how you would doesn’t mean he’s wrong – and figuring out his style is going to be important, because again, you’re going to have this issue on every subject from yard work to house cleaning to child raising – from now until death do us part.  My husband can drive me absolutely crazy with his laid back attitude towards most things – but I have to admit that he does get them done, when it really counts.  I’m getting way better at biting my tongue and waiting.  I wish you a lot of patience, and creativity, and understanding – and I hope that in the end you have a lot of fun planning with your new partner and team mate!

Post # 10
773 posts
Busy bee

Oh my goodness, my fiance and I had a lot of arguments at the beginning of planning about this.  For example, when we were looking at photographers, he would shoot down everything I showed him, but he never looked for anything on his own to show me what he DID like.  After a LOT of discussions (and some arguments) I realized that he was just incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into planning a wedding, and so I gave him a list of tasks and deadlines (with his input!) and it made everything better.

Post # 11
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

It’s important to sit down and talk with him – I simply said to my fiancee, I want you to help, so just do it because I want you to.

Also, let him know well in advance what you expect him to do. There were certain vendors my fiancee was "required" to come visit (photographer, caterer, location) and some he didn’t have to come visit with (florist, linens), and I let him know about it way ahead of time. I also gave him a groom’s checklist, and then I sat back and let him finish it…I just made sure that he had it waaay before he needed any of it to get done.

Also, trust that as it gets closer, he will get more excited. With less than 40 days to go, my fiancee is counting down the days with me and getting just as pumped as I am, and just as nervous…not exactly how he was acting 10 months ago.

Post # 12
2404 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

such great comments and tips from each of you!! wow! i’m in a similar boat with the Fiance…he doesn’t seem interested in ANYTHING! we are a ways out from the wedding, but i want to start researching vendors and reception sites and whenever i show him a website to a reception space his response is usually, "yeah whatever". hmm, excellent feedback!

i will definitely take all your advice and sit down and talk with him about us being a "team" in this… while also keeping in mind that as our plans progress and the date becomes closer he will become more excited! (also i should be more understanding that no, he will not be overjoyed about the chocolate brown table linens i’m thinking about ) 🙂

Post # 13
108 posts
Blushing bee

I don’t have any suggestions, but I can completely sympathize!!  My Fiance and I sat down for a talk bc I felt extremely overwhelmed and kinda resented having to do all the work.  He told me that since he wasn’t "interested" in the specifics, he didn’t feel "inspired" to help (::cue smoke billowing out of ears, high-pitched whistling sound, eyes turning red::)  I think it would be different if HE wasn’t the one that wants the big wedding.  I could care less and would rather save $$ by going to city hall.   I don’t feel "inspired" either!  Just ’cause I have the ovaries, it’s my job?  Argh!! <end of vent>  🙂

Post # 14
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I feel your pain!  My fiancee hates talking about wedding stuff.  Last night I was trying to get him to look at the Save-The-Date Cards and he didn’t want to even want to think about it.

I definitely agree that you should tell him that if he’s unwilling to help, he can’t complain/whine about your decisions.

One of the best pieces of advice I received right when I got engaged was to give him choices.  Meaning, narrow down your photographer/venue/videographer/etc to 3-5 that you really like and can’t pick between and have him pick the one he likes.  Of course, this means that you should go with his decision and not pick a different one!

Also, I started asking him what he thought about ______, and if he had a strong reaction, then I gave him that duty.   For example, my fiancee hated the DJ at an event we went to, and talked about how the songs were bad, so I put him charge of the song list. 

I also bought him (and made him read) a book "The Engaged Groom" which he read through pretty quickly and he became much more helpful after reading it.  It’s actually a pretty good book (short too!) and I’ve been flipping through it for advice as well!

Hope this helps!

Post # 15
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

My husband told me right away that he wouldn’t be any help when it came to the planning. He said he didn’t care about the details and just wanted to marry me. He is one of those guys that has no clue as to what it takes to put a wedding together and doesn’t have a vision in mind unlike us women. It wasn’t until I actually started telling him about the details and decisions that I’d made that he started putting in his two cents. He was good about doing something if I asked him to but I was fine with doing mainly everything myself, I loved doing it all. I would just make sure to include him in what you’re doing and ask him what he thinks. I wouldn’t take his lack of interest personally, it’s a guy thing. We are detail oriented and let’s face it, they are not. I think a majority of them feel that this is our day and they only do it because they know it makes us happy.

Post # 16
277 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Basically my guy is the same way, he could care less.  So what I have done is I narrow things down and show him.  Do you like this?  Yes or No?  The only time it’s irritating is when he says no to everything and I’m like WHAT do you like then and he’ll say "I don’t know"…so then I have to start the process all over again. 

 This sums it up…we met with a photographer regarding engagement photos and she asked him what he wanted to do picture wise and he looked at her and said "Really…it’s all up to her I’m just here for the ride and to make her happy"

 I don’t think you can take it personally…most men aren’t designed to care about things like a wedding.  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you and doesn’t care about getting married, it’s just not a passion for him.  

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