To get your grooms actively involved in their wedding, you need to know what type of groom he is.

Grooms come in many varieties. Some want to be involved in every planning decision, while others think their job is done as soon as they get up off of one knee. As a planner or wedding industry pro, getting the groom involved means it’s important to know more about the characteristics of grooms and how to handle them. Here are four different “types” of grooms and the best way to approach each:

1) The Hands-Off Groom
What He’s Like: If he’s present at planning meetings, he may or may not be streaming a football game on his phone under the table. Others take it to the extreme and are completely absent throughout the planning process. “I had one groom that I didn’t meet until the actual rehearsal,” says Chicago-based event planner Frank Andonoplas, MWP™. While some of his grooms want to be involved in every decision, says Andonoplas of Frank Event Design, on the other end of the spectrum are the guys who say, “I’ll just show up on the wedding day and get married.”

What To Do: Let this type of groom be. Don’t force him to participate or care, but do keep him in the loop. While the groom may be completely content letting his soon-to-be-wed handle all of the details, his carefree attitude may cause friction. “If his significant other starts getting frustrated with his lack of participation, I usually try to get him involved by including him in all of the meetings and emails,” says Phoenix-based wedding planner Jo Ann Grant, CWC, of Apropos Creations. This keeps him in the loop without pressuring him to make decisions or feign interest in the details. Grant suggests directly asking the groom, in the initial meeting, what he would like to be involved with (if anything) so everybody is on the same page. Shannon Johnson, event venue director of NOAH’S Event Venue in High Point, N.C., suggests that couples plan a monthly date night to connect about the wedding in a positive environment. “They can review things that still need to get done, just talk, and build excitement about their big day,” says Johnson.

2) The Micromanager
What He’s Like: Whether he loves weddings or is just used to being in the driver’s seat, this groom wants to be involved in every single decision. His significant other may sit back and happily let him plan, plan, plan, or may feel like he’s a little too opinionated about the big day. Either way, the emails you receive at 2 a.m. are likely coming from him.

What To Do: As long as his take-charge attitude is not a problem for his soon-to-be-wed, allow him to act as the leader, but set up boundaries to ensure you are able to do the job you were hired to do. You may have to earn his trust through more frequent communication and follow-through, but delicately managing the micromanager may be the key to a smooth, stress-free, and successful wedding. If you see that he’s stepping on his partner’s toes, be sure to keep that person involved in emails and meetings. Assign each of them projects to own. It can be refreshing when a groom takes an interest in the details. Celebrate his involvement, but make sure you can still do your job at the end of the day.

3) The “Whatever Makes You Happy” Guy
What He’s Like: He cares, he’s present, and he has opinions, but those opinions take a backseat to his overriding desire to let his significant other have his or her dream day. For some, this is the dream groom. Others may be frustrated by his agreeable nature (“I want you to tell me what you really think, not just what I want to hear!”).

What To Do: Solicit opinions from the groom, value his input, and give him kudos for attending meetings and sincerely wanting his partner to be happy. If the partner is frustrated by his apparent lack of opinions, more time may need to be spent managing that person’s expectations rather than trying to change the groom’s behavior. “The reality is that most grooms are not as opinionated about all of the details that go into wedding planning,” says Johnson. “To be frank, many of them just don’t care a whole lot about these decisions, but they still want the day to be everything their soon-to-be-wed has dreamed of.” Remind the partner not to fault the groom for this, to solicit his opinions, and to value the fact that he cares enough to be at meetings.

4) The Specialist
What He’s Like: He may not care about table linens or the style of the chargers, but some things may be on his radar. “Most grooms’ priorities are the food, liquor, and the music,” says Andonoplas.

What To Do: Play up this groom’s strengths. Get him involved, and give him a pass on the things about which he truly doesn’t have strong opinions. “I typically ask the groom what is most important to them about the wedding and reception,” says Johnson. “Then I suggest that they take ownership of the things that are important to them.” She encourages these grooms to do the research, book the vendors, and be the main contact during planning. “This gets them involved, takes some work off of their partner’s plate, and shows that person he really does care,” Johnson says. This frees up the partner, so she or he can get back to those important decisions—like the style of those darn chargers.

In the end, a wedding is about two people. Understanding what type of groom you’re working with (and the best way to approach him professionally) can create a planning process that runs as smoothly as the big day. WPM
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Kristen Mussi, NOAH’S Event Venue, Gilbert, Ariz.