Weddings have traditionally been all about the bride. But experts say male participation in all things "I do" is on the rise — which could be a good thing.
"Over the last year, I've definitely seen more grooms getting involved in the process," said Christopher Dillon, divisional manager of Macy's Bridal Salons. "Both grooms and fathers, actually. We had three fathers in yesterday. ... Things get more civil when a man comes to the bridal fittings."
Dillon said the groom involvement often helps speed up the decisionmaking process.
"Men shop differently," he said. "They don't want to shop four times. When they see a dress that they love they want to buy it. When we have 30 women come in, there's competition, and everyone has a different opinion. Nothing gets done. But some men get so into it you go, 'really?' "
The tradition of having the bride choose the wedding dress in secret is not as important as it used to be, Dillon said.
"A lot of girls take their cues from the show, 'Say Yes to the Dress', which has fathers and grooms coming to fittings more and more," he said. "It's the opposite of 'it's all about me' these days."
For those who still want to keep the wedding dress a secret, Dillon said there is a way to compromise.
"One bride brought her groom in, and she got his feedback on what he liked, and they narrowed it down to three dresses," he said. "She chose the one she liked the best so he didn't know which one she was going to wear. He got to have input but it was still her decision."
Nancy Lee, president of myregistry.com, said in the last 18 months there's been a switch in registry.
"Couples are choosing things from Lowe's and Home Depot or Best Buy," she said. "A tool set has become a regular registry item. I see lawn mowers now. I never saw this a couple years ago."
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, editor of "Southern Living Wedding Planner & Keepsake: What To Do Before Saying, 'I Do'," said she's seeing more men participate in choosing where to have the wedding reception.
"Lots of couples are paying for weddings themselves these days and a wedding reception is really about entertaining their friends now," Whitman said. "It really is a celebration and the grooms are concerned how the money is spent. I find that brides make decisions based on what's beautiful and the men join in they want something more meaningful — such as — men are more interested in getting married where the parents got married — or a city where they met."
"I'm very happy to see a rise (in groom involvement.) I see this as a good thing. But that moment when the bride walks in and the groom sees here for the first time — it's so magical to me," Whitman said. "I feel a lot of that is diminished if the groom knows that a bride is wearing. That's the only part of the trend that I'm not in support of. But in the end, this is supposed to be a special day that defines the couple — not just the bride."