Wedding Wallflowers

8 Tips for Shy Brides or Grooms

I’ve spoken with many couples who were concerned about being the center of attention on their wedding day, for both the ceremony and the celebration. It’s a bit ironic, because the wedding is really all about the couple. But for shy, introverted people, it can be terrifying. Large social gatherings can be stressful for many people. It’s not unusual, and there is nothing wrong with being uncomfortable in the spotlight.

A wedding should not be an ordeal, but sometimes it is. Our culture puts so much pressure on people, with a very homogenous idea of how this should all look and feel. The best day of your life? The day you’ve been waiting for, forever? That’s a high bar indeed! Your wedding does not have to be like other weddings, whether friend’s weddings or in magazines, movies or television. It is unrealistic. It’s crazy.

I have a few suggestions for you, if this is sounds familiar.

1. The ‘first look’ phenomena will really help – seeing each other for the first time on the big day can be stressful. A first look, a private moment together (with or without photography) can help with the jitters.

2. Skip the ‘first dance’ completely. If you wish, replace it with something else, like an anniversary dance, or just have everyone join in. The couple in the spotlight dancing for the first time as married, blah blah blah – it is not necessary. Let your band or DJ know – and stick to it – don’t let them tell you otherwise. They work for you, not the other way around.

3. Speaking of music, you don’t have to throw a big dance party if it’s not your style. You might choose a duo or trio to play some quieter selections. This can be very sophisticated. A luncheon instead of a dinner tends to be more casual, too, which can also help.

4. Choose clothing that feels like you. Don’t get pressured into a big gown or tuxedo if you don’t feel comfortable in it. The same goes for hair and make-up. It’s not a glamor shoot.

5. Limit the guest list. A smaller wedding will be easier to deal with. What’s a smaller wedding? Good question! Under 100? Under 50?  Or even very, very small. Speaking of numbers, keep the attendants, (bridesmaids/groomsmen) to a minimum, too, or have none at all. Yes, it is totally ok NOT to have these specially selected people stand with you. The entire bridal-party situation can lead to lots of stressful interpersonal conflicts and anxieties. You really can get married without this.

6. The ’sweetheart’ table is the table just for the couple at the reception, the one where they sit by themselves. Perhaps it’s better to sit at a group table with closest family and friends, rather than be isolated. Come to think of it, this is a good choice for lots of couples. Being at your own table cuts you off and plays into the isolation, and you may wind up feeling alone at your own wedding. My intent here is to suggest things that will help you feel a part of your own weddingwithout the stress, not to have you run away from it…

7. …but you can have a designated retreat location for the two of you. If you get totally frazzled at your reception, take five or ten minutes and go to your special place and take a breath, then go back to it.

8. Giving a speech at your own wedding is not required. If you feel you must do it, write it ahead of time. Instead, visit each table and simply thank them for coming. That truly is enough. Your guests are coming to support you. They know you, and love you, so likely they understand you are shy. A simple ‘thank you for coming today’ is really just fine. Your guests will say lots of nice things – smile and nod your head.

Staying true to yourselves, and limiting stressful situations, will enhance your comfort level and even save money. You should have a wedding that works for you. And if you can’t, consider eloping! I’m always available.

  thanks to Lisa Rhinehart rhinehartphotography


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