The time has come for you to settle down. You know it, your woman senses it and you both recognize the fact that a wedding ceremony is in your imminent future together. Whether the proposal has been accepted and the date set or you have been consumed with the thought of marriage and have yet to make a move, the time has come to plan the big day like a man.

Once the exclusive domain of the bride and her mother or a professional coordinator, more and more men are placing their stamp on the wedding. As men realize that the wedding is not just for the bride and seek to have a hand in the day as well, the occasion has taken on a new dimension.

We deserve control!

The development is long past due if you ask me. Why should women have control over the entire wedding and remain the focal point while the man fades into the dessert table and open bar? I agree with the veneration of the beautiful bride, resplendent in her gown and about to be given away by her father. That is a classic moment. But the groom should share in the spotlight as well.

The day is about the couple and not just the bride after all. A wedding is a union between couples for life. As people gather to celebrate that bond, should the man sit idle and discover detail after detail about the ceremony and reception for the first time? I think not. The wedding should be a tangible manifestation of your love for each other. Sound corny? Maybe so, but why else would you go through with an elaborate event other than to represent how you both act, think and feel together?

As the man, do you want to sit back and have her signature all over the entire affair? If the day is a success, the guests will have her to thank, or her mother. You cannot take pride in having helped to plan your own wedding. Even worse, if something goes wrong, your bride will have herself to blame.

You may not be held accountable but without having participated, you will look like a loser who let his woman do everything. What kind of message does that send to her and her family?

The point is that the wedding should sink or swim based on the dual input of both the bride and the groom. No matter how hard you worked to find an engagement ring and offer the perfect proposal, it will go to waste unless you demonstrate similar enthusiasm for the wedding. Cold feet aside, the day will not hold the same significance unless you add your personal touch and consultation to make it a memorable event for you both.

The ceremony

Depending on your spiritual denomination and designation, you may not have the luxury of playing with your ceremony. But for the most part, the wedding couple can take part in an extensive consultation with the official in question to personalize the service.

As the man in the equation, you play a crucial role. If you sit there like a tool and let your woman dictate the pace of the ceremony, what good are you? Think about what you want to express as you exchange vows.

The most boring wedding ceremony I ever went to was where the couple stood at the altar and let the minister do all of the talking. They said “I do” and that was it. How lame can you get?

Be involved in what the official will declare about you and your bride. Let him know you and vice versa. And when you talk to your future wife in front of everyone at your wedding service, make sure to say what you want. Be the masculine voice in the relationship and take control of your part in the ceremony.

The reception site

The reception site is where men make the fatal error of not getting involved. The hours you gain in front of the television while she and her mother do the hall circuit are not worth it in the long run. Because the downside is that on the day of your wedding, you will despise everything about the place.

Go together and interview event coordinators. Ask about their pricing scheme and try to negotiate because in general, men are usually far more sensible about the financial obligation of a wedding than women. The bride is awash with a romantic notion of her special day and can lose sight of the fact that money is required to make her dream wedding come true.

So as the man you need to act as a buffer. Who knows? If you have a grandiose notion of the event, she may have to hold you back from going all out. The bottom line is that you should help choose the site. This is a party in your honor. Do you want to celebrate somewhere that was chosen for you?

The food

I know men who have left the food up to their significant other. They were shown a menu, but discarded it with apathy and let someone else decide what they would eat on their own wedding day. For shame. Will you let that happen to you? Is your interest in the food so low that you cannot devote an hour to devise a menu?

The risk you take if you leave it up to her is considerable. Imagine you sit down to enjoy your wedding meal and on the plate are pork tenderloin and asparagus. You hate pork tenderloin. You hate asparagus. But you never told her that. So eat up and smile.

Your masculine input is crucial in the area of wedding food. Do you want your crew picking at dainty hors d’oeuvres or chowing down some serious grub? And what about alcohol? If you feign interest, she may select a cash bar and table wine with the meal. No beer for you mister. The night of the big event, your boys will have to pay through the teeth to celebrate in proper style.

The music

The one detail that you want to have partial control over is the music. A typical wedding DJ will spin standard and trite records all night long unless you specify what you want to hear. Even if your bride shares an affinity for the same style of music, you should never leave her alone to compose the play list.

You know best what will make you and your people get up and move. And what about the ceremonial dances? How can you let her or the DJ have the final word? God help you if you approach the dance floor to the timeless sound of Air Supply.

The entertainment

If you want to spice the night up and give the DJ a rest, entertainment is a good option. Here again, men and women may have a difference of opinion. Compromise is king so let her choose the flamenco act as long as you can hire that hot soul singer you saw at a club last year.

Latin dancers? In. Ukrainian folk dancers? Out. The point is to voice your opinion and not nod in your head in tacit agreement before she takes over and books the wedding band from hell.

You can add your personal touch to the entertainment as well. If you have a wild group of ushers, use their skills to your advantage. Take a page from your bachelor party and organize a performance with your crew, without the benefit of escorts and strippers.

Film a scene from your favorite film with your wedding as the central theme and have it televised during the reception. Or better yet, practice a song and dance number (keep it modest) and dedicate it to the bride and the maids of honor. If you pull it off, everyone will have a huge laugh.

The registry

Why do they call it the “bridal” registry when the groom is supposed to share the gifts as well? Yet another example of how weddings are slanted toward the bride. Well men, this is your day too. So why not register for items other than china and crystal that you can enjoy as well?

There is no strict definition of what can go on a wedding registry. Because most couples are starting from scratch, they need bedroom and kitchen essentials, in addition to appliances and furniture. But maybe you have most of that covered. So why not get creative and designate one gift list for you and one for your bride?

You can still maintain a traditional registry for family if you want to. The point is that there are no rules. This is your wedding. Subscribe to an online registry and choose a list of items made for you. Anything goes. You would be surprised where and what one can register for. Let her have the standard department store. You can sign up at Circuit City, Home Depot or an acceptable alternative.

Get involved boys When you lend a masculine perspective to your wedding celebration, you authenticate the experience for everybody invited. Your tangible input will signal to people that you and your woman perform as a team and that you were not an innocent accomplice in your own event.

Take the same zeal you had for your stag and employ it to the big day. And when the night is over, make sure you know where your honeymoon destination is before the plane takes off.