PSA: The groom doesn't have to cry on the wedding day and it's totally fine if he doesn't!
The groom shedding some tears, overwhelmed by the beauty of his bride and their impending union... it comes up all the time during wedding planning. When some girls imagine their wedding day, that's the first thing they picture - making their partner tear up. Now, let me say, if you want your groom to cry and you think he will, then - you do you, girlfriend. Whatever works for you and your partner is perfect!
But this post is coming from my experience in the wedding industry learning that there is an unfair expectation (from people other than the bride) that the groom should cry when he sees her. Whether it's bridesmaids, moms, guests or vendors - I'm always frustrated when people express disappointment when the groom doesn't cry.
At my own wedding, my photographer encouraged my husband to cry. She told him before our first look, "If you don't cry, I'm going to punch you." It was meant as a playful joke but she was serious about the crying part. I WAS SO ANGRY. I'm actually still pissed about it now almost a year later. Why? Because I didn't want Kyle to feel pressure to cry or be emotional at all. I didn't feel emotional at all - I didn't think I would cry at all (I did, during the ceremony a bit but that was unexpected and totally just out of relief that everything went perfectly). We are not an outwardly emotional couple and for us, the wedding day was a big celebration not a "beginning" or the "start of forever". It's also just not who Kyle is. If he cried, I would have instantly thought something was terribly, terribly wrong. In my mind, I expected a smile, a kiss, a spin and everything to just be normal. Crying would have been extremely out of the ordinary for us and it would have felt awful.
Why do I share this? Because my personal experiences affect my approach as a wedding photographer. I will encourage emotions that I already see bubbling up in a mother while she zips her baby into her dress. I will tell a couple to just take a minute to comfort each other privately while I walk away. But I truly, truly stomp out the notion that the groom has to cry.
If you're a person playing an important role in a wedding of a loved one, before you share that you really hope the groom cries... remember that it's not for everyone! Dry eyes do not mean failure.
- Groom's can feel a lot of pressure when the ceremony starts and all eyes are on him, waiting for his reaction. Remember, maybe the couple did a first look and they got all of their anxious emotions out privately. Now they're just excited! Crying is a really private thing. It's totally cool if he's not comfortable letting that emotion out in front of 200 guests and professional photographers documenting the moment for generations. Ceremonies are NOT private moments AT ALL. Like, not even a little.
- Maybe this couple doesn't share their emotions with tears and snot. Kisses and twirls and big giggles are just as lovely! A soft grin might be exactly how a bride expected her groom to react. I cry at little things like puppies getting adopted and sad, frustrating news on the TV. I don't cry during big life moments. My emotions manifest in other ways which is the case for a lot of people!
- During the ceremony, the officiant is literally standing immediately next to him and he's also flanked by his best buds, brother or maybe even his dad. While the groom might be comfortable choking up privately with his partner, some dudes just cannot cry with their friends or strangers standing that close to them.
- He's thinking about 50 other things. Did he button his jacket correctly? Shit, where are the vows? When do we kiss - will someone tell me?
- However he reacts is great because it's authentically him. Whether a mom, a guest or a bridesmaid... please know that encouraging or expecting tears can be really stressful for both the bride and the groom. Unless you're the other half of the relationship, it's best to keep your hopes on this to yourself and know that his reaction, whatever emotions come to light, are perfect just the way they are. If you're the bride and you've never seen your groom cry in the entirety of your relationship, have some realistic expectations about this! Don't beg him to cry if he is the type to express joy with belly laughs!
The internet and the wedding industry are filled with overly romanticized notions that the groom should be so overwhelmed by the bride's beauty, the importance of the day and the once-in-a-lifetime moment. He should be brought to tears. And truly that's just unfair. A couple should cry when they want to and if they want to and should not be judged for just rejoicing in their day with dry eyes.
Getting choked up at the wedding is totally normal. But you know what else?
It is perfectly okay if the groom doesn't cry!