'Groomzillas' Take the Lead in Wedding Planning

Brides move down the aisle to make way for wedding-planning grooms.

June 20, 2011, 12:35 PM

June 21, 2011 -- It's the day many young women spend their lives dreaming of and planning for: their wedding day.

And it's a day that some brides get so absorbed in, micromanaging every detail from the color of their flowers to the color of their bridesmaids' hair, that it can become a crime, making them into a true "Bridezilla."

But now more and more brides are bringing a partner-in-crime to their wedding planning fury, and it's not their mothers.

It's their husbands-to-be.

"The only thing that I don't have a voice in right now is the gown," groom-to-be Jonathan Nowling told "Good Morning America" of his involvement in planning his upcoming Sacramento, Calif., wedding to fiancee Nicole Johnson.

Nowling's extreme involvement in planning his Sept. 18 wedding to Johnson at Sacramento's Arden Hills Resort is just one example of the latest trend in weddings, the rise of the "Groomzilla."

"Seventy-five percent of my brides now bring their fiance along," New York City-based wedding planner Danielle Elder said. "Traditionally you would just meet with the bride and, perhaps, her mom.

"Now, I always have the initial consultation with the bride and the groom," Elder, of Classic Events NYC, said. "And from the onset, the groom has very specific ideas."

In the case of Nowling and Johnson's affair, his specific ideas and desire to be intimately involved with every wedding detail were clear, even before Johnson could say "yes."

"We were talking about getting married and he was already sending me emails saying, 'What do you think of this one?'" Johnson told "GMA."

For some grooms, taking wedding planning into their own hands is simply a matter of wanting to help out their future bride, and wanting more input as they leave behind the tradition of the bride's family covering all wedding costs and foot more and more of the wedding bill themselves.

"I think that a lot of brides out there won't say it now, but they probably wish they had a 'groomzilla' there to help," said Nowling of how his involvement has helped take the load off Johnson and her full-time job.

"Just maybe not an over-the-top one," he added.

A 'Real Man' and a Wedding Plan

For other grooms, it's a matter of being OK with showing the world their feminine side.

"A real man is a man who's not afraid of cooking, washing the dishes, helping his wife," said Carlos Reyes, who took a leading role in planning when he and his wife, Alison, were married in a beachfront ceremony last June in Stonington, Conn.

Reyes, the owner of Verdant Floral, a New York City floral shop, went beyond just his flower-arranging expertise to oversee even the most minute details of his wedding day.

"I ordered chairs, white chairs, and we received natural chairs," he said of one anxiety-provoking snafu he and Alison encountered on their wedding day. "Some things happen but, in the end, they work out."

Alison, for one, said she loved that her groom took charge of their wedding day, but not the negative associations she saw associated with his involvement.

"I hate it," she said of the term "groomzilla," which could have been applied to her husband. "I think it's grown to have such a negative connotation because of what we've seen on the 'bridezilla' side.

"The reality is I think more couples should be planning this event in their lives together," she said.

But for every groom out there like Reyes, who views the wedding planning process as the first, important stage of a new couple's partnership together, there is another groom for whom the term "groomzilla" defines control.

Just like the "Bridezillas" you see on TV, men who take charge of their wedding days are not afraid to show their interest, or let their opinions be known.

"There are times that it is embarrassing to be with him," bride-to-be Johnson said of her fiance, Nowling. "Especially at bridal shows when he becomes very vocal. He can be loud. ... And I'm sitting over here going, 'OK,' and turning every shade of red."

Wedding planners like Elder describe the extravagant male requests they've received, from a flaming red Lamborghini in place of a traditional limousine to cigar rolling and bonfires, and even scotch tasting.

Elder said, nonetheless, that from her experiences in planning the biggest day of an engaged couple's lives, the rise of the "groomzilla," is a good thing.

"I'd say embrace the 'zilla' in yourself," she said. "I don't think it's a bad thing. It just means you want what you want, and that's OK."

And sometimes, even for the bride about to walk down the aisle, letting the man have what he wants makes things even better.

"Every wedding needs a man's touch," said Alison Reyes, the bride who was happy to just sit beside her groom, Carlos, on their wedding day, "natural" chairs and all.

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