WPW: Working with Alpha Grooms

Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Business Advice | 2 Comments

While I know that a lot of men read our blog, and I love and appreciate your time and readership, I do know that the wedding industry is, by and large, a female dominated space.  That said, we ALL work with male clients.   While most of the grooms out there are LOVELY and amazing people who love confident and assured women… every once in a while you find someone who “has a problem” with  you, despite having been a part of your hiring process.  It’s something that is never discussed, but I am confident that it happens to many of us, because I know that it has certainly happened to us.

After years of learning how to manage relationships with brides and their mothers, we now (especially in the Luxury Space) have a new animal to learn to understand: The Alpha Groom.

Perhaps,  they reject your “professional opinion” again and again. Or, perhaps they simply ignore you and your correspondences.  Or they take on parts of the event (like finding a band) and refuse to communicate with you about it.  Despite having hired you to oversee a process, they seem to be unwilling or unable to relinquish control over the situation and allow you to do your job.  I know that there are also brides out there who can be like that, but, in my experience it’s a more frequent issue with grooms- especially grooms who have been extremely successful in a field, and particularly when they are footing the bills.  As millenial grooms are more and more interested in being a part of the planning process, we in the industry are needing to learn more and more how to deal with them being a part of the planning process.

I found an interesting article directed towards female scientists on the blog “Tooling Up” that I thought I would share parts of.  He describes the Alpha Male as  a man who is driven, constantly pushing himself and those around him. This person may be an entrepreneurial CEO or an associate professor working his way up the academic food chain. Whoever he is, he would be happiest being the biggest fish in the pond or (in some cases) the great white shark of whatever water he’s swimming in.

Interesting! Well, that is certainly A LOT of my grooms and perhaps it’s some of yours as well.

In short form, the article, which is worth reading in full, advises the following advise on dealing with these Alpha  Grooms.

First- understand what matters to them: “If you want to adjust your relationship with an alpha male, you must understand what matters most to him. ….the most important alpha currency: reputation and respect. “Reputation is an alpha’s strongest currency and the one we will fight hardest to protect. … If you build a strong enough reputation, you’ll have all kinds of freedom. If you bankrupt your reputation, you are absolutely worthless,” he wrote in his book. This person’s reputation is like a bank account. When you promise something and deliver it, you’ve made a deposit. Your reputation goes up and so does his.”

Wedding Translation: If the purse strings are carried by an Alpha Male, front load your process with tangible deliverables.  Yes to the perfect venue! Yes you found the most obscure Klezmer bluegrass band!  The mood boards and fun stuff can come once you have delivered some tangibles and gotten some respect.

Lesson 2: Be Direct.  Your alpha has so much on his mind (or so he believes) that he really has no time for a description of the process. He’s solely and exclusively interested in the bottom line. Of course, we know he’s being closed-minded; a manager needs flexibility to accommodate different personalities and working styles. He doesn’t have it.  Another important suggestion, right from my heart: Don’t take things personally or make things personal. Don’t bring feelings into the conversation.

Wedding Translation: While in the past you may have prided yourself on explaining the nuances of French Service over Russian and why you think French is best for them, when dealing with an Alpha Groom, cut to the chase.  Make your emails as concise as possible and involve him in in person meetings that have a set agenda and start and end time.

Of course, these are just a couple of thoughts/ strategies.  I’d love to hear yours.  And, remember, sometimes they might just be difficult. After all, just because you’re getting married doesn’t mean you’re not a jerk.  :-)


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