“It’s a day where it’s all about you,” may sound like heaven to some people, but to myself and fellow introverts alike, it’s a concept that feels about as appealing as throwing hot noodles in your eyes.
As an introvert, I can accept a compliment, be outgoing, and love being the life of the party, but the thought of spending a whole day of socialising where I’m the centre of attention makes my stomach feel like a washing machine.
So, when my boyfriend at the time, popped the question, as much as it was a happy moment, I was inevitably forced to face the overwhelming question; how will I be able to survive my own wedding?
Well, the good news is, I did survive and not only that, I really enjoyed my wedding. Based on my experience, here are just some of the things I’d recommend other introverts consider in the lead up to their big day.
Be clear about what you want
Or more to the point, be clear about what you don’t want. I’ll take a run in with a spider any day before I consider public speaking, so I knew I didn’t want to do a speech, nor did I want to say vows in front of a big group of people. In fact, the idea of even walking down the aisle with everyone looking at me - and most likely crying - gave me the heebie-jeebies (again, I’d rather walk down an aisle spiders!). So I knew I wanted a very small ceremony at a registry, and made this clear to my other half very early on.
At this quintessentially English wedding, the couple held a small ceremony and a larger reception the next day.
Spread the festivities out
The key diagnosis of an introvert is that they lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, whereas extroverts gain energy from other people. So as lovely as the idea of spending a whole day and night with friends and family sounds, for me it begs the question ‘will there be time to take a nap?’
The idea of a wedding nap didn’t seem so socially acceptable, so my other solution was to have a small ceremony on one day, and our reception two days later. Having experienced a two day wedding (with a break in between), I can’t even imagine what it must be like to do everything in one day. Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.
Commit to managing your anxiety in the lead up to the big day
There’re wedding day jitters and then there are wedding day oh-my-god-I-can’t-breathe panics. If you fall towards the latter of the spectrum, its best to be conscious of this as soon as possible and create a plan for dealing with it in your regular routine. Start by making a conscious effort to meditate, write down a vision for the wedding, exercise and eat well. All of these things will make a huge difference to how you feel before and on the big day. For more advice, see our tips for dealing with pre-wedding anxiety.
Don’t feel pressured to have a huge hen do
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of a big production, it’s fine to have a small celebration or break it up into several ‘manageable’ dos. Our Chief Sub Editor and fellow introvert, Laura Eddy, knew she would find a big, traditional hen party too stressful to enjoy. "So instead I had a low-key sleepover (Prosecco and Cards Against Humanity) with my bridesmaids, plus a boozy karaoke night with my team at work."
The bridal party was kept small at this peony-filled wedding
Keep your bridal party small
You may struggle to shorten the list, but doing so will not only mean less drama in the wedding planning process, but less voices to drain you when you’re getting ready on the day. For my wedding, I kept my bridal party to a solid one, and gave her the title of my ‘Best Woman.’ If you’re struggling to cull the list, pledge to at least get ready by yourself or just with your maid of honour before the wedding.
If you do want to do a speech, make it loud
While I didn't do a speech, my fellow introvert Laura did decide to speak, even though she hates public speaking. "I thought I would absolutely crash and burn doing my speech, even though I really wanted to speak at my wedding," says Laura. "Turns out, half the battle is projection, and once you know the mic will do all the hard work for you, it’s much easier than you think. I ended up loving every minute!" Read more tips for making a bridal speech at your wedding.
At this intimate winter wedding in Liverpool, the bride and groom sat in the middle of a banquet table
Rethink the top table setup
The only thing that fills me with more dread than having all eyes on me, is having all eyes on my while I’m eating. Instead of the traditional on display top table, I opted to sit at a round table in the middle of our wedding breakfast. Our guests could still see me, but having my family and friends huddled around made it feel for intimate.
Ditch the soppy solo first dance
As long as your guests are fed and have a drink in their hand, no one will really care if you ditch the first dance, or better yet, opt to dance to a cheesy up-beat song instead. Whichever you choose, make sure you let your wedding DJ know and they'll be able to set the mood and make sure you're not left performing for everyone.
Lauren and her husband George making an entrance into their reception
Take solace in sharing the spotlight
While there might be times during your wedding where you want to hide, or take a nap, it’s important to embrace the day and accept you’re going to be the centre of attention of the day. But, one of the best things about this is, you're not alone. Embrace sharing the spotlight with your partner and don't be afraid to take a moment away from the celebrations together to soak it all in, and enjoy each others company.