The Introverts Guide to Surviving Your Wedding Day
Are you the kid who always chose to sit in the back row of classrooms? Hated raising your hand to participate? Hate to be the center of attention? If you’re like me (Sheena of P.S. & Associates Event Planning), you know what it’s like to grow up as an introvert, in a world that seems to celebrate extroverts.
You made your way to this guide, so it’s safe to say that you’re either planning a wedding or heading in that direction. By now, you may have noticed that weddings to are tailored for the outgoing souls of society. Everything from first dances to photoshoots, to sweetheart tables on elevated platforms – happen to be the attention lovers’ dream but can be the introverts’ deepest source of anxiety-ridden wedding jitters. Thankfully, this is your big day, and modifications can be made to so many traditional approaches, even if that means throwing tradition out the window altogether. Although not all introverts are shy, many of us are. Even if you are not a shy introvert, weddings take so much mental energy and you’ll want to conserve this energy. I mean, let’s be honest, most of us need at least a week to recharge after one night out with friends. Now imagine yourself at a party, where everyone in attendance wants to talk to and interact with you. Putting up some serious mental energy shields can help to ensure that you are able to conserve your energy and enjoy your celebration – until the very end.
Mental Energy Shields
OH SHIT A PHOTOSHOOT!
(Photography on right: Tiffany J. Photography)
One of the best ways to ease this awkwardness is to do an engagement shoot with your photographer. This shoot happens several months before your wedding and not only allows your photographer to learn how to best shoot you two as a couple, but it also allows you to get a little more comfortable in front of the camera. There tends to be less pressure than there will be on the wedding day and there is definitely less of a crowd around. Your photographer can give you tips on how to focus more on each other and less on the camera itself. All in all, wedding day photos are likely to turn out better and cause a lot less stress if you opt for this trial run.
Bonus points --> you get a lot of cute engagement photos that can be used for your Save The Dates and/or can be printed out, framed, and sprinkled around your wedding as a source of personalization of the space. Framed engagement photos also make the perfect gift for your parents, if you plan to give them a gift for helping in any way with the wedding festivities. Ceremony Sweats Can’t wait to exchange vows with the love of your life but also kinda want to throw up at the thought of having all eyes on you, during one of the most important moments of your life? Totally understandable. The simplest advice to give here and something that applies to all situations is to keep your focus on your soon-to-be spouse. Forget that everyone is watching you and keep your gaze on the person who you are committing your life to. I know, easier said than done but let that be your anchor.
When that’s not enough, explore these options:
One of the best strategies to recommend for this anxiety is to do a “First Look”. Traditionally, couples would see each other for the first time, right as the bride begins to walk down the aisle. This was the big moment. More recently, couples have been opting to see each other before the ceremony. This moment happens in a spot of the photographer’s choice (unless you have a specific spot in mind) and obviously takes place with more privacy than the ceremony. You will have photographers and, possibly, videographers capturing the moment, and probably a coordinator or two hiding around a corner (holding back tears or failing to do so). There are many fewer factors that you have to block out and seeing your soon-to-be spouse before the ceremony helps to calm your nerves. The two of you can opt to read your vows to each other right here (as a trial run for the ceremony, taking A LOT of the edge off) or you can choose to simply keep this moment as is, without vows (still taking the edge off of ceremony by a fraction). The photo and video footage of this moment come out unobstructed and act as a beautiful representation of your first sight of one another.
We tend to push for a first look, even outside of couples who have ceremony jitters. Reason being that you are able to get a huge portion of photos done before the ceremony since you’ve already seen each other. So, a first look is a double win because now you can take some of that time post-ceremony, while guests are in cocktail hour, to have a small window of time for a private “cocktail hour” between you and your new spouse. Even a short 20-minute window, with no one else around, is a huge bonus for an introvert looking to recharge before walking into a reception with a whole lot of people waiting just for you. It’s also just a rare moment that the two of you actually get the chance to be alone, in the midst of being herded around all day.
Another option to reduce your ceremony anxiety would be to hold a smaller ceremony, with a larger reception to follow. Keeping the ceremony to your closest friends and family might be the best and most personal option for you. Essentially, you would have two sets of invitations. One set would include a ceremony invitation + information for the reception and the second set would only include information for the reception. Still, want the rest of your guests to feel included in the ceremony portion somehow? As everyone is taking their seats for dinner, you can open with having your vows read out loud to the room. This can be done by the two of you or by two people who are close to you (such as the best man and maid of honor or a brother and a sister).
Dinner Of Dread Feeling nervous about the timeline of elements during dinner that sends all eyes in your direction? Let’s look at some ways that you can work around being the center of attention, or at least reduce the attention.
Photography: Katie Beverley Photography
First of all, if you don’t like to be the center of attention, maybe a sweetheart table isn’t for you. You can opt to be at a table with some of your closest friends and family (maybe stick with a group that doesn’t poke any of your buttons, if you know what I mean). If you’re sitting at a square or rectangular table, a good strategy would be to leave the two seats directly across from you empty. This way, there are no floating heads blocking possible shots for the photographer. It also gives the rest of the guests a little more visibility. They are there to see you two, after all.
Another part of dinner that many shy couples worry about are the dances. Your First Dance, the Father/Daughter Dance, and Mother/Son Dance traditionally happen with an empty dance floor (other than the two dancing, obviously) and a room full of people with nothing else to do but watch you. Well, there are more modern ways to work around these 2-3 minutes of pure stomach knots and awkward sways.
Try some of these tips:
- Use the first portion of your first dance to be alone as a couple (even if that’s 30-45 seconds, you can do it) and follow that up by asking your MC to invite
(1) the rest of the couples up to finish the song with you or
(2) the rest of the wedding guests to finish the song with you. You can follow this song with a fun, explosive song to set the tone for the night (if that’s your kinda vibe). It’s a great way to get the energy up and not allow your guests to get stagnant or bored at their seats.
- Combine your Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances into one.
Yep, that’s a thing. We do it more and more and find that couples are a lot more comfortable to have that buddy system. You can also use the same strategy as above and have the MC invite up more pairs halfway through the song. Make sure you check with mom and dad though, sometimes this special moment is important to them. They’re often okay with the combined dance but they may not want the entire guest list joining in on their moment.
- Keep all of the dances to a designated time. There is no minimum amount of time that you have to dance for, and you definitely don’t need to stay up there for an entire song. It can be helpful to have a coordinator nearby, watching for a facial cue to cut the song. If not using a coordinator, designate a bridesmaid or family member to take this role or simply ask the DJ to fade out of the song by a certain mark.
- If none of these modifications feel right for you, you are free to forgo any and all of these dances if that’s what is right for you! Forget about tradition and listen to your heart. If stressing about this element is going to keep you from enjoying your day, simply remove that stress altogether.
At A Loss Over The Garter Toss You didn’t think I was going to make it through an entire survival guide for the introverts wedding without talking about the dreaded garter toss, did you? Could there be a more cringe-worthy experience for an introvert (or even an extrovert) than having your parents, grandparents, in-laws, and well, everyone that you know and care for watch as new husband dives his head underneath new brides’ gown? Oh and let’s not forget, using only his teeth to remove the garter from her upper thigh…while Pony by Genuine is blasting over the speakers. Do I even have to tell you that it’s okay to SKIP THIS? Maybe you don’t even need my guidance on this one but I am here to tell you that more and more couples are opting out of this…interesting tradition.
On that note, you may not feel like you want to do a bouquet toss either and that’s also fine! Definitely not as awkward as the garter toss but also not a big deal to opt-out of. If you do move forward with bouquet though, try not to wait until too late in the evening. Often times, if many people have left already or if many people are already drunk, you end up with 3 ladies up on the dance floor waiting to fight it out for the bouquet. It tends to fall a little flat without a larger group of single ladies up there…so make sure you time it right.
CAKE CAKE CAKE Here’s another moment that can feel stressful with all eyes on you. It used to be that the MC would announce to the room “ladies and gentlemen we now invite you to bring your eyes to the cake table, where the bride and groom will now cut their cake” or you know, something like that. People gather around, cameras are flashing, the whole nine yards. Well, if this sounds like an actual nightmare that you’ve had, the solution I offer you is to have a private cake cutting. A coordinator can be instructed to gather a few of your closest family members (moms and dads usually appreciate being included in all elements) to gather around the cake area. There is no formal announcement, so the rest of the guests are left to continue having fun on the dance floor or getting a drink at the bar. Yes, some people will see what’s happening and may tune in…but it won’t be such a big deal. Snap a few photos, feed each other some cake and it’s over before you know it. Again, if this isn’t for you…feel free to forgo cake cutting altogether.
All in all, I hope this information helps to shield your mental energy and keep you floating on a newlywed cloud throughout your big day. From one introvert to another, my final tip for you is to have your coordinator or your maid of honor carry around some lavender essential oil for your sniffing pleasure. If you’re feeling anxious, breathe in deep my friend.
Photography: Liv Life Studio