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GROOMZILLA

Web site devises contest to find male version of Bridezilla

David Taggart is shown with his fiancee, Bethany Haneline, in Casselberry, Fla. Taggart, an event coordinator, is entered in mywedding.com’s Groomzilla contest as more grooms are getting involved in their wedding planning and taking over the role of the demanding bride-to-be.McClatchy Tribune (McClatchy Tribune / The Spokesman-Review)
David Taggart is shown with his fiancee, Bethany Haneline, in Casselberry, Fla. Taggart, an event coordinator, is entered in mywedding.com’s Groomzilla contest as more grooms are getting involved in their wedding planning and taking over the role of the demanding bride-to-be.McClatchy Tribune (McClatchy Tribune / The Spokesman-Review)
Jean Patteson Orlando Sentinel

So you think Bridezilla is scary, what with her tears and temper tantrums?

Just wait till you meet her opposite number: Groomzilla.

He’s bigger, bolder, louder. And increasingly, he’s muscling in on territory previously ruled by the bride, her mother and possibly a wedding planner.

“We’re seeing grooms becoming more involved in the wedding plans – everything from choosing the venue down to the minutest details,” said Rob Johnsen, 38, co-owner of mywedding.com, a leading online wedding guide.

“It’s the rise of Groomzilla,” he said. “We thought it would be fun to find the biggest Groomzilla in the country, so we launched a contest.”

The entries are flooding in. There are grooms demanding specific color schemes, flowers, food, china patterns and officiants.

Others are vetting the bridesmaids’ dresses – and even the bride’s choice of bridesmaids.

The contest deadline is April 21, but already several likely finalists are emerging – including David Taggart of Casselberry, Fla.

“I don’t see myself as Groomzilla. I think of myself as a concerned fiance,” said Taggart, who was entered into the contest by his betrothed, Bethany Haneline, an administrative assistant in Altamonte Springs, Fla. They plan to marry in November.

“Bethany gave the wedding plans a few shots, but got frustrated. So I embraced the challenge,” said Taggart, 36, owner of Innovative Party Rentals in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

“What I do for a living probably has an impact on the demands I have for a perfectly coordinated event,” he said. “I do have an attitude, but I don’t think I’m mean.”

Still, he did reduce a prospective photographer to tears. And he became so impatient with the cake designers, he stormed out of the bakery vowing to bake the wedding cake himself.

As Taggart explains it: “We talked to the bakery people for about 30 minutes, back and forth. Eventually I grabbed paper and pencil, did a sketch, chose some colors, and the cake was designed in 30 seconds.”

Yes, he admits, “I ripped them apart. I’m very sorry. But when I’m paying a fee, I expect perfection.”

Had Taggart gotten married when he was in his early 20s, no way would he have taken charge of arrangements. All he cared about then was “cold beer, hot women, and who the L.A. Lakers were playing.”

But now, he said, “I plan events every day of my life. My goal is to make (the wedding) the best event ever.”

Overall, his bride is grateful for his intervention.

“My mom is planning my sister’s wedding in July. She has no time to help me. I quickly became overwhelmed. David could see it, so he took over,” explains Haneline.

“He’s hard to deal with, but he gets the job done. He just wants to make it perfect for me and for himself.

“Basically, everything he’s chosen, I’ve loved. I feel like the luckiest girl. I just have to say, ‘Yeah, I like that.’ ”

Only the wedding seems to bring out the ’zilla in him, she said: “He supports me totally in my personal and professional decisions.”

Still, she was surprised when her Groomzilla changed the wedding venue and signed a contract with a musician without consulting her. And when he approved only two out of seven of her menu choices.

Haneline did select the colors for her bridesmaids’ dresses. But her fiance will have a say in the styles “since he can’t pick the bride’s dress.”

Not that he hasn’t tried.

“He takes my brides magazines and crosses out what he doesn’t like,” she said. “He took me to a bridal show, and when a model walked out in a certain dress, he said, ‘I want you to have that dress.’ ”

But that’s where Haneline is drawing the line.

“I will take into account his likes, but I’m not ruling out my taste. The dress will be my choice,” she said.

Grooms started morphing into Groomzilla about a year ago, said wedding consultant Susan Southerland, owner of Just Marry! in Winter Park, Fla.

“I think partially because some brides have busy jobs, other times it’s because the groom wants to keep the budget in line,” she said.

“I also think grooms want to have the day reflect their personality – maybe not with flowers and linens, but certainly with food and music and, oddly enough, cake. That seems to be huge with grooms.”

Johnsen, of mywedding.com, points out that today’s grooms are older – the average age is 29 in the United States. They have been in the workplace awhile and are used to calling the shots.

“And if a guy is paying, he’s going to want to control the outcome,” he said.

“It’s a new generation getting married. It’s less taboo for a guy to enjoy his wedding. It’s not all about the bride anymore.”

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