Are you feeling a little nervous about your wedding day, anxious about being the centre of attention? If you are then you won’t be alone. I’ve had past clients share their nervousness about what they perceive are many eyes staring at them all day. But there are a few things you can do that will help you worry less and feel more confident.
It sounds obvious but everyone who you invite to your wedding is excited for you, cares for you and wants you to be happy. Try to remember this, particularly the moment just before you walk in to the ceremony – which is usually when I see my couples looking their most nervous.
My husband and I chose to get married surrounded by our immediate family only, I didn’t invite any friends to be present. This was our personal choice as we’re both pretty private people in some respects and one from a practical point of view our wedding was in Italy, two we also wanted to keep our wedding simple and very personal. So do remember you are in control here, however many people you want to invite is totally down to you.
If you are anxious about everyone looking you as you step in to the ceremony room, you could consider a ‘first look’, this is a moment an hour before the wedding ceremony where bride and groom see each other before the service. The first look takes place in a private location, away from friends and family and is a great way to ease your nerves and reassure each other, taking a deep breath together. Whilst this is far more common in the US, it seems more and more UK couples are arranging their own, intimate moment away from their guests before the ceremony,
Have some music playing, choose an artist you love and as you get ready enjoy your favourite tunes. When I’m photographing this part of the day there is a real difference in atmosphere when music is played or not, mainly as it helps fill silences which can heighten feelings of nerves or tension.
Wear something you feel comfortable in before you put your wedding dress on, but remember you’ll likely be getting photographed at this stage so a pretty dressing gown works well here.
Take a few moments before you walk in to your ceremony to pause and take a deep breath, then enjoy this moment. It really is just about the person you are marrying, so focus on them and remember you’ll soon be able to grab their hand for support! You can then deflect some of the attention from you here by breaking the ceremony up with a few readings.
A traditional receiving line where your guests line up to congratulate you one by one isn’t so common these days but it’s worth managing the expectations of your parents who may be expecting this on your day. A receiving line can feel a little daunting if you are shy – lots of people all waiting to see you, shake your hand or give you a hug. As an alternative you could both make time to speak to all guests during the wedding breakfast, whilst guests are seated at their tables. In this way you are more in control of the interactions and who you speak to and when.
A tip that I use alot when speaking to people myself is to flip a conversation so its about the person I am speaking to, so I ask questions about that person and their day. This will work if you want to take the pressure off yourself having to answer many questions about your wedding dress, the wedding planning etc. Instead you can ask guests how they are enjoying the day and catch up on their news.
A photo booth or a wall of photographs of you both growing up also works well as a distraction, guests love to see photos of you in your early days and it always gets a smile. This is easy to pull together in the lead up to your wedding day and provides a focal point for guests during the reception and evening.
Does the thought of a a first dance or the traditional cake cutting fill you with dread? You may find your parents or family really want you to have a first dance, if this is the case then ask the DJ to call friends up to join the dancefloor half way through the song. Prime your bridesmaid or groomsmen to hop on the floor at this point too. If you want to shift the attention elsewhere then there are various entertaining options you could consider from inflatable games to casino tables or even an energetic Scottish Ceilidh, which will have all your wedding party up on their feet and involved. Don’t want to cut the cake -no problem. How about a doughnut tower with everyone able to have a doughnut?
Whatever you do keep in mind that this is your day, it’s important to hold on to the key things that are going to make you happy. You don’t have to stick with tradition and can do things how you want. Getting married is a lovely experience and you will have an amazing day, so enter in to it knowing this and you’ll be in the right frame of mind to have a really happy and enjoyable wedding day.