Groomzillas and bridechillas
Gender roles are being turned on their head with men becoming much more involved in wedding planning. By Deirdre Reynolds
Kim Kardashian did say that Kanye West can have "whatever he wants" for their wedding.
Now it seems the rapper is taking his wife-to-be at her word -- by ordering fighter jets for their big day.
Groomzilla Kanye pulled out all the stops when he proposed to the reality TV star at a baseball park in San Francisco last month.
And he says the sky will be the limit when they tie the knot next summer too: "I've only got two words in my mind, and that's 'fighter jets'.
"I wanted to marry that girl from the first time I saw her," the 36 year-old added. "I've got to apologise to the race of males for turning it up so much!"
But bridechilla Kim (33), who was previously married to Kris Humphries and music producer Damon Thomas, isn't the only one taking a back seat on the way to the church.
"Men are definitely getting a lot more involved in wedding planning here," says Aoife McMorrow of Mrs2Be.ie.
"Lots of our real weddings feature 'Groomzillas' or 'Men of Honour' who played an active role in the planning.
"Nowadays there's no reason why the groom shouldn't be just as involved as the bride."
Here we meet the couples turning traditional gender roles on their head on their big day.
Newbridge Silverware communications manager Marie Brennan wed long-term love Gary in Tipperary last month, and advises other brides "not to panic".
"As a communications manager, I've always been a very organised person, so I wasn't about to turn into Bridezilla just because I was getting married! Gary and I got engaged last December, and once the celebrations wound down, we decided on a date and booked all the important stuff like the church, venue, band and photographer.
"After that, we gradually ticked the smaller things off our 'to do' list until everything was done. From the beginning, my goal was to ensure the whole process was as stress-free as possible. I found a wedding planning timeline (which tells you what to book when) online, which was very useful. We also got lots of help from both our families, such as my sister-in-law, who made our invites and Mass booklets. By the time our wedding came around, I felt very on top of things. My advice to other brides is not to panic.
Once you book your suppliers, trust them to do their job. Things will go wrong on the day, but you've just got to roll with it. Our wedding day was everything we hoped for and more. I'd do it all again in a flash!"
Groom-to-be Brendan McCormack, an advanced quality engineer, and fiancee Jenni McGinley, a Montessori teacher, are set to exchange vows by Lough Derg -- halfway between their respective homes in Limerick and Galway -- next summer.
Brendan says: "When it comes to wedding planning, some guys prefer to remain as a 'consultant' to the bride. Personally, I love being involved. So far, I've organised the venue, food, drink and band. Unbeknownst to Jenni, I'm also taking dance lessons so I can keep up with her on the dance floor, and have lots of other surprises in store too!
Most of my ideas come from internet searches. However, I've also flicked through wedding magazines and attended wedding fairs for inspiration. When my friends read this, I'm sure they'll slag me off for being a 'Groomzilla'. But I think it's much better to be a Groomzilla than not get involved at all like so many grooms.
Jenni works, goes to college and has three children, so it's only fair that I do my share of the planning. After all, it's my special day too. Ultimately, I want our wedding to be a decadent extravaganza. Most of all though, I just want to make Jenni smile."
Jenni says: "As a bride, I'm so laid-back, I'm practically horizontal! But I do love a good party, so after we got engaged, I told Ben (Brendan) my wedding wish list, and know he's working hard to make all my dreams come true!
Ben is absolutely amazing. Within a fortnight of proposing, he had found the perfect location. Since then, he has arranged everything from a humanist minister to perform the ceremony, right down to the wedding favours.
Ben knows me inside out and has impeccable taste. I have complete faith in him. One thing I did pick on my own, however, is my dress. I can't wait until he sees me walk on to the shore in it on our wedding day."
THE MAN OF HONOUR
'Man of honour' Paul Lynch even helped best pal, TV chef Louise Lennox, into her frock when she wed presenter Gordon Hayden last year.
Paul says: "When Louise asked me to be her man of honour, my first response was: 'Of course! Eh ... what is a man of honour?' Then she explained it was the manly name for a maid of honour, and I was like, 'I'm in'. After all, it's not everyday a bloke gets to be a bridesmaid! From the beginning, I embraced the role -- going dress shopping, organising the 'sten' [stag and hen] party and running around on the big day. Both Louise and the other bridesmaids were great and made my job very easy. For the record, I didn't wear a dress -- maybe next time!"
Louise says: "I've known Paul since I was seven. As he has no sisters, growing up he always treated me like one -- consoling me when my first boyfriend dumped me and coming with me to collect my Leaving Cert results. When I announced he was going to be my man of honour, there were endless questions: 'Is he gay?' (He isn't), 'What is he going to wear?' (Clothes, I hope!), 'Will he be there when you're putting on your dress?' (He helped lace it up!)
As my man of honour, Paul did all the same duties as my bridesmaids, and more. He even danced with the best man during the first dance! Having a man of honour is much better than having a maid of honour. Men get things done faster, are cheaper to kit out, don't disappear to the toilets to fix their makeup and will never upstage you on your big day!"
THE BRIDESMAN & GROOMSWOMAN
Newlyweds Jim Matherson, from Meath, and Kirstyn Knowles tied the knot in Edinburgh, where they live, three months ago, surrounded by family and friends, including 'bridesman' Marky Blanford and 'Groomswoman' Tanya Hughes.
"From the outset, we knew that our wedding was going to be different," says Jim. "I had my friend Adam as my best man and his wife Tanya as one of the 'groomsmen', while Kirst's friend Marky was among her 'bridesmaids'. We also had a joint hen and stag party."
"People should just pick the most important people to them, regardless of their gender," reckons Kirstyn.
"If my bridal party had been limited to girls, I would have missed out on having one of my best friends by my side, which just doesn't make sense. Marky was thrilled to be involved too."
"Most of our guests didn't bat an eyelid at our eclectic line-up," adds Jim.
"There was one person who asked: 'Can they do that?' Who was going to stop us -- the wedding police?!
"At the end of the day, old gender roles are gone. We couldn't have asked for a better bunch of people to stand beside us on our wedding day."