Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Well-groomed wedding

Sometimes, Casey O'Toole prods fianc? Kelli Hooten to blow off their July wedding, elope to Vegas and have an Elvis impersonator officiate. He's joking. Hooten has put way too much effort into the wedding to blow it off. He booked the Detroit Lak...

A television tuned to football

Sometimes, Casey O'Toole prods fiancé Kelli Hooten to blow off their July wedding, elope to Vegas and have an Elvis impersonator officiate.

He's joking.

Hooten has put way too much effort into the wedding to blow it off. He booked the Detroit Lakes, Minn., reception, lined up the church ceremony and even tagged along with his sister on a bridesmaid dress shopping outing.

"I certainly won't walk into the church and be surprised," he said Sunday, as he filled out a vacation giveaway form at a cookware booth during the 13th annual Wedding Show at Fargo's Ramada Plaza Suites. He had pitched the idea of scoping out the show and brought it up again when Hooten almost forgot.

It was the second year the Radio Fargo-Moorhead-sponsored show's organizers put extra thought into luring grooms.


Hence, the beer and NFL playoffs on a big-screen television.

But many grooms like O'Toole snubbed the game and focused on the 56 booths showcasing cakes, flowers, makeup, honeymoons and more.

By most accounts, such grooms are becoming less of a rarity.

"In the past, the DJ was the groom's only responsibility, but now they're really branching out," Wedding Show coordinator Alicia Nelson said. "The wedding as a prerogative of the bride is on its way out."

Granted, plenty of groomless brides scoured the displays.

Half an hour before the event wrapped up at 4 p.m., brides outnumbered grooms 463 to 263 on the attendee list. And some grooms who did show up seemed a tad less than ecstatic to be there.

Take Cameron Smart, who took advantage of the beer and game after making the rounds with fiancé Jeana Cade. Cade appreciated the company but said her strategy to pull Smart in by fishing for feedback failed.

"She's like, 'What do you want to do about this?'" a worn-out Smart said. "I'm like, 'I don't care.' The unity candle? It's just a candle."


But for most of the afternoon, visitors were much less likely to spot a groom in front of the big-screen TV than brides and their girlfriends sipping on Shirley Temples and comparing notes.

Guys caught the hourly fashion shows, including four riveted gentlemen in the female-dominated front row.

Grooms nationwide are becoming more actively involved in wedding preparations. According to a poll on the popular site theknot.com, more than 40 percent of guys say they're "very involved" in planning and about a quarter say they're "pretty involved."

The trend has spawned some new wedding planning terminology. A couple shower is a bridal shower turned joint venture by the bride and groom. A "groomzilla" is, well, self-explanatory.

Rand Allrich of Alan Evans Bridal said the trend has been slow to catch on in Fargo: "Grooms play along because it's a big event for the bride. But I don't think they're any more involved now than they've ever been."

But La Nei Groshong of the new wedding decorating business A Grand Affair was stunned by the number of attentive grooms who turned up at her booth. One even inquired after a purple flower he'd seen at another wedding, vowing to track down photos and e-mail them to her.

Ryan Sott took his beer to go that afternoon and readily joined fiancé Nicole Olson on a stroll in the Ramada's bustling Crystal Ballroom.

He had already made arrangements for the reception. He had pored over wedding fashion magazines and endorsed some halter-top dress designs. "I figured it's my day, too," he said. "I'm not going to make her do all the work."


Couples who team up on planning said the experience had proved reassuring in the run-up to their weddings.

True, Andy Peterson keeps pushing the unpopular plan of making the wedding cake instead of buying it. ("I hate the idea of spending $400 on a cake. Betty Crocker can do just as good a job.") But overall, he says: "We're both in charge of everything, and we cooperate pretty well."

If you go

- What: KVLY Bridal Prevue.

- When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

- Where: Fargo Civic Center.

- Info: (701) 241-1480.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529 Well-groomed wedding Mila Koumpilova 20080107


A television tuned to football

What To Read Next
Get Local