How to be a Confidence Queen

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to be the centre of attention in life, however on your wedding day it can be kinda tricky not to be.

Everyone is there because they love you and your partner so It’s inevitable that they’re going to want to spend a little bit of time with you, take your photo (because you look incredible) and shower you with compliments. The amount of attention can leave even the most confident person feeling overwhelmed, but don’t give up on your dream day just yet.

There are a million reasons why getting over your ‘confidence wobbles’ is worth it for a wedding, for example: Seeing the look of love in your partner’s eyes when you see them at the end of the aisle, getting ready with your best friends, sharing a special moment with your mum or mad (if you have one that you’d fond of), seeing your friends throw shapes at the party of your dreams that all your friends have to come to (even if it’s a death metal or rainbow sparkle theme they would on any other day not agree to).

There’s no getting around it, for one day only you’re going to have to learn to love the limelight. To help get you through, I’ve got some killer tips to help even the most introverted babes.

Utilise your bridesmaids

This is your buffering crew! Give your pals strict instructions to save you from certain situations. Arm them with a list of people you would rather avoid getting stuck talking to (sorry not sorry, Auntie Doreen) or perhaps simply tell them that if they see you lost in a sea of people, they are to throw you a life raft immediately. If you don’t have a secret hand gesture, now is the time to make one.

Instruct your photographer

It’s likely that even if you don’t like being at the centre of it all, you’re going to want to capture something of this magical day. In my experience, investing in a photographer is one of the best things to spend your budget on. A professional photographer can not only make you look like a movie star but they’re also used to dealing with drunken wedding crowds, and they can follow any instructions you give about shots you do or don’t want. Don’t want to spend hours doing a thousand traditional family portraits? Don’t do them then. You can even ask a good photographer not to take any formal photos and just capture the whole day without even knowing that they’re there. You don’t even have to look down the lens of a camera in order to receive a magical set of memories back if you don’t want to!

Have a photography ban for your guests

Worried about unsolicited photos ending up on Facebook before you’ve even said ‘I Do’? Then place a photography ban on your guests and tell them that you’d rather they were present at the day than lost in their phones. That way you don’t have to worry about someone snapping that particular angle you hate* and sharing with the world. (*Just a note of support for your body, it’s likely that there’s really nothing wrong with that body part or angle, so tell your inner critic to jog on). Make sure to ask your photographer to make photos easily accessible to guests after the event.

Practice ‘4 – 6’ breathing

This breathing pattern is life changing. If there’s one tip for making ANY life situation less stressful it’s this, so please take a moment to practice it. Start by breathing slowly in through your nose to the count of four. Allow the breath to fill your belly if you can. Pause at the top, then blow the breath out through your mouth to the count of six (using pursed lips, as if you’re about to blow out some candles on a birthday cake). The ratio isn’t that important as long as the out-breathe is longer than the in-breathe. Continue this pattern, in for four (through your nose), out for six (through your mouth) until you feel a sense of calm come over you. If you feel a rising sense of panic at any point during the big day sneak off and do some 4 – 6 breathing. Nervous system game changing, I swear.

Practice saying thank you to compliments

There’s a bit of a myth that receiving compliments is difficult. Here’s a secret. It’s not. Tell your inner critic to pipe down and simply say “Thank you”. I promise this little trick can be game changing. No more excusing their words away,”This dress? Oh, it’s not me, it’s just a good cut.” No more batting it away with a counter compliment, “Well, you always look amazing, Zahra”. No more squirming or blushing because you don’t know what to say.

If someone says that they think you look beautiful, or that they like your hair or think that you’re cool, all you need to say is, Thank you”. Then move on.

Plan in some alone time

Many people say that their wedding day goes too fast. If you’re not careful, it’s possible to have one of the most memorable days of your life but not spend more than 10 minutes with the person you’ve just married. To counter this and to give yourself a moment to breathe, schedule in some breaks from the masses. Your partner is your rock and taking in some alone time will be something you’ll treasure – both on the day and in retrospect. It’ll give you time to come back to yourself and talk about how you’re feeling while you’re in it. This will help you to remember the big day as it happens, rather than piece it all together at midnight when it can all feel like a bit of a blur. Give one of your bridesmaids the job of time keeping and coming to find you both to take you off – otherwise this good intention may get lost in the madness.

Get rid of the top table

Traditionally, the bride and groom sit rather on ceremony in a line facing their guests to eat. If eating like this fills you with horror (as it did me), then change your layout. Have a round table or long tables or don’t sit at all if you don’t want to. This is your day, so feel free to take out any bits of tradition that make your chest tighten in panic.

Ditch the first dance

As above. If the thought of swaying slowly to Ed Sheeran is your worst nightmare, don’t do it! If you’re rather plan a skank to the Mad Caddies or mosh to Marilyn Manson, feel free darling! You might get a few raised eyebrows from the oldies but hey, it’s 2020 and the future is here. Alternatively, if you’d rather have a jiggle without any of the ceremony then that’s your prerogative.

Practice saying “no”

If you’re an active or recovering people pleaser (I know how that feels) I know just how hard it can feel to say no. It can feel like you’re being a rude bitch, but hear me, it’s totally OK to put up a boundary and politely decline something you’d rather not do. If someone is trying to drag you into the centre of the dance circle and you really don’t want to shimmy in the middle of everyone, then smile and say “No thank you”. If you’re getting a lot of pressure to add in a heap of traditional hen stuff that would put you front and centre, then stand your ground. “No” is a complete sentence. You don’t need to give a reason or make excuses.

Remember the love

Your wedding is going to be the most love filled day of your life. It’s hard to describe the amount of soul filling joy that comes from being surrounded by all of your favourite people. I say that with complete confidence. Even if you’ve had months of planning hell with a mother-in-law that makes the Antichrist look like a pussy cat, you will have memories that make you misty eyed for a lifetime. When things start to feel scary in the run-up to the Wed date, remember the ultimate reason you’re going through this – love. Let that overrule your insecurities.

If you would like to learn new techniques for building your self-confidence then check out The Confidence Club, our 8-week email course which is available RIGHT NOW. You have until Sunday May 10th to sign up and the class begins on Monday 11th.

This article originally appeared in Rock n Roll Bride magazine, issue 30. The current issue, issue 32, is now available.