If your party anthem sounds more like Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” than Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” this one’s for you. If you’re an introverted bride, it’s easy for you to feel somewhat conflicted about your rapidly approaching wedding day. On the one hand, you’re giddy with excitement over the thought that you’ll soon marry the love of your life. You’re likely also excited about the chance to spend time with your closest friends and family, some of whom you haven’t seen in years.
But we know you can’t ignore that hint of dread at the prospect of being in the spotlight for an entire day. For a person who can typically be found standing “in the corner” in social situations, the thought of being the center of attention on your wedding day probably leaves you angst-ridden. And every step you take in the planning process—from trying on wedding gowns, to selecting cake flavors, to meeting with your officiant—is a reminder of the discomfort to come.
A lot of us have been there and while we haven’t found the antidote for eliminating this anxiety (although a generous glass of wine certainly helps), we’re here to offer ways to lessen it by shifting your perspective and structuring the day in a way that feels comfortable for you.
It’s not all about you
Wait, what? Yep, you read that correctly. You won’t actually be the center of attention on your wedding day. At least, you won’t be the center of attention the entire day. Yes, you and your soon-to-be spouse are the reason that family and friends are gathered together, but you’re not the only highlight of the day. Just as you haven’t seen many of your guests in quite some time, your guests haven’t seen each other in a while, or may have never even met. Weddings often become reunions, as well as opportunities for guests who have heard about one another for years to finally meet. There’ll be a lot of reminiscing and “getting to know you” conversations going on between guests, which means all eyes will not necessarily be on you. There will be one person, however, whose radar you’ll be on the entire night—you’re about to marry them.
You don’t have to put on a show
One concern we’ve heard from several introverted brides is that they’re worried their guests won’t have a good time at their wedding. A four hour reception seems like an excruciatingly long time to keep folks entertained, and let’s face it: the introverts among us aren’t known for being the life of the party. But when it comes down to it, free-flowing alcohol and a good playlist is all you really need to keep boredom at bay. If you want to add in an extra attraction like a photo booth or a s’mores station, be our guest, but don’t feel like you have to star in your very own three-ring-circus to keep guests occupied. After all, they’re adults who know how to handle themselves in social situations. Or so we can hope.
Ditch the head table
Is it just us, or do head tables feel like mini stages whose sole purpose is to put the newly married couple and their wedding party on display for guests to gawk at? Not an ideal set-up for an introverted bride. Instead, opt for a sweetheart table for just the two of you. Or, place yourselves at a table with just your maid of honor, best man, and their respective dates to replicate the normal dinner-with-friends feeling (albeit a super fancy dinner, where you’re dressed to the nines in a white dress). Or consider nixing a sit-down dinner altogether, choosing instead to arrange food stations where guests can serve themselves and sit where they like.
More guests = more stress
Introverts often find large groups to be overwhelming, preferring one-on-one or small group conversations. We know it’s not always possible, but do try to keep your guest list low. It’ll go a long way towards making the event feel more manageable and comfortable for you.
Opt for a first look
We love the idea of a first look—especially for introverted brides or couples. Seeing your partner one-on-one, away from all of your guests and even your wedding party, will make you feel instantly at ease. This quiet, private moment spent alone before the ceremony will calm your pre-wedding jitters and will leave you ready to embrace the excitement of the day.
Customize the ceremony
The ceremony is the most important part of the day. But for an introvert, it can also be the most anxiety-inducing, as you really will be the center of attention here. Now, don’t freak out just yet, because we’ve got a few ideas to help you breathe easier. We don’t think we’re reaching to far when we say you might even enjoy the ceremony.
Here’s our suggestion: if you and your partner are planning on writing the ceremony yourselves, customize it in a way that respects your personalities. If public speaking makes you feel like you might throw up, pull a D.A.R.E. and just say no. Simply state, “I do,” when asked by your officiant at the appropriate moment and be on your merry (and ahem, married) way. Some couples choose to read personal vows to each other privately during the first look, and then rely upon the standard repeat-after-me strategy during the actual ceremony. This is a great way to relay a meaningful message to your spouse-to-be while avoiding the risk of stuttering your heartfelt words in front of an audience.
Hire a day-of coordinator
If you don’t already have a day-of wedding coordinator, get one. Trust us, the last thing you want is to spend the morning of your wedding day overwhelmed with phone calls from confused vendors and family members, then become frazzled when things go wrong (because yes, something always goes wrong no matter how meticulously you plan). Consider this an investment in your sanity, introverted brides.
Spend the night before your wedding alone
This one might be controversial, but staying alone the night before the wedding can be one of the best wedding-related decisions you make (besides choosing the love of your life, of course). As much fun as a post-rehearsal dinner slumber party with bridesmaids might be, don’t run the risk of waking up drained and in need of a break—after all, introverts recharge by spending time alone. This will allow you to decompress from the rehearsal dinner before the excitement of the wedding day begins. Use the morning to wake up however works best for you: slowly, with a cup of coffee in hand; on a quiet trail run; or by doing a few pages of reflective journaling. You can also use this time to write your spouse-to-be a wedding day letter to open, either as he or she gets ready or during your first look. You’ll find that easing into the day with some quiet solitude might be just the thing you need to prepare for the whirlwind that is your wedding day.
Get creative with traditions
The way we see it, the couple’s first dance, the father-daughter dance, the cake cutting, and the bouquet toss are all opportunities for the spotlight to focus on you. If this attention wigs you out, throw the rulebook out the window and skip these traditions all together. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you’ve elected to scrap the bouquet toss or cake cutting—that is, if they even notice it’s missing.
A couple of other helpful strategies for reducing the spotlight: choose short songs (or cut regular songs short) for your first dance, or do an anniversary dance instead of a first dance. This is where you kindly ask all married couples to take to the dance floor, then slowly eliminate couples based on the number of years they’ve been married. At the end, the longest married couple receives a round of applause (or your bouquet, depending on your preference). Or combine the father-daughter dance with the mother-son dance to diffuse a little of the attention.
Remember whom you’re with
The last piece of advice we have for introverted brides is to remember whom you’re with. You’re not being showcased in front of a crowd of strangers; rather, you’re surrounded by loving friends and family which, sure, might still be overwhelming, but in the best possible way. After all, these are the people that have supported you and your fiancé(e) individually and as a team over the years, and who are committed to continuing to support your marriage in the years to come. Focus your attention on how honored you are to have their love and friendship, and you might just discover that your worries disappear.