Sisters, happy mothers, and excited maids of honor flocked to the BMO Centre on Jan. 26, all in support for the brides-to-be in their lives, but this year there was a new, more masculine, supporter to be seen.
You can mark down 2014 as the year of the grooms.
It happens twice a year at the Bridal Expo and the Bridal Fair. Vendors set up booths for brides on a mission, frantically scouring the aisles in pursuit of the best deals on caterers, venues and dresses.
These events typically attract mainly women, but Rev. Andrew Findlay says over the past few years he has seen more and more grooms stepping up to help their brides.
“There was more men here than ever this year,” said Findlay at the fair.
He wasn’t the only one noticing a change in traditional gender roles.
“We saw a lot of grooms this year. Some by themselves and some with the maids of honour because their brides couldn’t come,” said Raf Andronowski, owner and photographer of One Edition, which specializes in wedding photography.
Women have typically been known to take care of, and have strong opinions on, all the details for their big day. Sometimes, they earn themselves the title of “bridezilla” but now they have met their counterpart, the groomzilla.
In its annual What’s on Brides’ Minds’ survey, David’s Bridal revealed that 83 per cent of grooms are now taking a more hands-on role when it comes to wedding planning and decision making.
Rob Nicholl, a sales representative for Ed Williams Mens Wear, said that he has noticed a lot more men taking an active interest in what they wear on their wedding day.
“We make custom suits. The men who like clothing and have an interest, are the ones who come to us and who want a personalized look.
“A lot of brides even come in and say ‘I trust you’ to their guys, and they know that we will help them with their styles,” he says.
“It’s a different time. Men have their own opinions on this stuff.”
A lot of planning and time can go into making a wedding day special, and the men these days seem to be stepping up.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a groomzilla. I’m not going to get all scary and start demanding things but I definitely want to help out as much as I can and know what’s going on with the process,” said newly engaged Jordan Collins.
“That’s why I came today,” he said, as he toured the booths at the fair.
Just in case the men at the Bridal Fair needed a quick break from flower arrangements and centrepieces, there was even a ‘groom’s room’ complete with a jumbo TV screen and bar.
As if it was possible to make this man-cave even more masculine, barbers from London Barbers were busy giving hot shaves and trims.
“A straight edge shave is the latest and greatest,” says Hugh MacPherson from Avalanche Artisans, whose booth was set up right beside the groom’s room.
“We were trying to give grooms a reason to come to the show,” he said.
Avalanche Artisans is an Alberta owned and operated retailer that sells handcrafted luxury items like pens, razors and brushes.
“I’ve definitely noticed more men asking questions,” said MacPherson.
With specialized booths geared towards grooms, it was evident that the Bridal Fair is no longer just for brides.
“They need to change the name or something to incorporate grooms now,” said Meg Andronowski, of One Edition.
“Usually I talk with the brides about setting up photo shoots, but recently I had my first experience corresponding with a groom about an engagement shoot.
“He said that it had to be after Movember, but before his winter beard came in,” she said.
“I’ve never had to organize a session around someone’s facial hair before.”