I’m sure this isn’t something you struggle with but I was wondering if you might be able to use your infinite wedding wisdom to help me none-the-less. I am a painfully shy introvert. I suffer from crippling social anxiety and although I desperately want to marry my fiancé, the thought of being the centre of attention for the day fills me with dread. I’m worried about so many things especially what our guests will think about the wedding. We don’t have a huge budget and I’m worried it will be boring because we can’t afford more than an iPod playlist as entertainment…
I was just hoping you might have some tips or advice you could share?
The wedding industry is pretty much built around the idea that your wedding is supposed to be this big entertainment circus where you are the main attraction. It’s enough to make even the most extroverted of us hyperventilate with stage fright. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth and if I try to do one thing more than anything else with this blog, its to demonstrate to you that you can – and should – do YOUR wedding YOUR way!
For the record, as you probably guessed, I am not an introvert. While I love spending time at home with my husband and my cats, I adore nothing more than being surrounded by people – laughing, chatting and catching up. I feel energised by talking to others and much prefer to be with someone else than spending time alone.
You probably know this already but while extroverts draw their energy from others, introverts recharge their batteries by being on their own. Gareth is a classic introvert by the way (which actually works well for us, I can be out doing my thang while he’s perfectly content to hold the fort at home!) The fact the we are at opposite ends of the extrovert/introvert spectrum is not a problem for us, as long as we respect each other’s needs.
But I digress…
Here are a few simple tips for those introverted babes amongst you who are feeling worrisome about being the centre of attention on your wedding day:
Realise that it’s not all about you
The notion that this is “your big day” can be terrifying for introverts but weddings are as much for the family and friends of the couple as they are for the couple themselves. Weddings bring people together. In fact your wedding day will probably be the first day in a long time that everyone you know and love is in the same room.
Your family and friends are not there to be vicious energy sucking vampires. They simply want to share in your joy and to show their love and support for you and your marriage. The bride and groom do not have to be constantly at the centre of everyone’s attention. You are but the reason for everyone to be there together.
Most of your guests will be perfectly happy catching up with each other, reminiscing, laughing, drinking, dancing… I promise, you do not have to put on a massive show for them! For many people forced entertainment is a lot more annoying than the old classics anyway – flowing wine, good tunes and a little bit of dancing!
Have a small wedding
If having all eyes on you is something that fills you with dread then why not have a small wedding? Or at least keep the ceremony (often the most nerve-racking part) intimate? Legally, you only need to have two witnesses at a wedding ceremony (in the UK) and there is no law saying you have to invite everyone you know along for the ride! If a full on elopement is out of the question for whatever reason, a low-key ceremony followed by a more casual reception might be the way forward.
Take the focus off the bride
There are definitely small adaptations you can make throughout your wedding so you are not the focus of everyone’s attention. Have a think about what parts of the day are making you the most anxious – is it walking down the aisle, saying your vows in front of everyone, the first dance? Then change them!
Honestly, who says you have to walk down the aisle anyway? Did you see this wedding where the bride didn’t? Or this one where the couple walked in together? So good! Remember rules are made to be broken and if any of these big wedding traditions really aren’t your bag, then get rid – immediately!
Take time away regularly
For a lot of introverts, having to be sociable for a long period of time can be especially daunting. The first thing you could do to combat this is to have a shorter wedding day. If the idea of being tucked up in bed with some wedding cake and your new husband by 8pm sounds like your idea of bliss then do that!
Secondly, allow yourself time away regularly. Maybe there’s a side room in your venue that you could slip into when you need a moment? As long as the key people (your parents, your new husband/wife) know what’s up and that you haven’t done a runner (!) this could be a great way to take the pressure off.
Finally, you could also have a longer gap between the ceremony and reception so there is some time in the middle for you to rest and recharge.
Honesty, most people wont even notice if you slip off for some alone time at various intervals through the day so don’t feel weird about having to do so!
Appoint an on-the-day co-ordinator
If you’re panicked about having to be the organiser and ‘in charge’, then hire a day-of co-ordinator to take the reigns. You could even appoint a responsible bridesmaid or parent with the role.
Make sure this person understands your introvert-related concerns and that anyone else involved in the wedding knows to go to them if they had questions or issues. Doing this will mean you won’t be spending your precious energy on dealing with last minute details or stresses, and you can hopefully enjoy yourself more knowing that someone else is in control.
Your wedding day is a day for you to celebrate with the people that you love and because of this the energy at a wedding is very different to a regular party – There’s nothing like the same anxiety you might get trying to impress strangers, for example.
While the reason for the day is you and your fiancé, you won’t always be the centre of everyone’s attention. A wedding is about so much more than just the two of you. It’s about love, it’s about family, it’s about everyone coming together and having jolly a good time. So don’t worry about all eyes being on you all the time, because they won’t be. You might be the reason for everyone to be there, but you don’t have to be headline act.
- Photography: Jacob & Pauline Photography