wedding ceremonies for shy couples
Registry Office Wedding
Why not forgo a wedding ceremony altogether? Why should the first thing you do as a married couple be something that makes one or both of you uncomfortable? Just get married at the Registry office. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear a pretty dress or have a friend as a witness or that you miss out on a fun celebration. Many people who have registry office weddings throw a party afterward for family and friends. You sign some paperwork, say some simple vows, and you’re done. No speaking in front of people. No pressure. Wouldn’t this be the best option? Examine carefully your reasons for wanting a traditional wedding ceremony – are you going through with one because you feel it’s what you’re supposed to do, or to please a family member? It might be time to talk to the people concerned and put forward what you really want.
Trusting Your Celebrant
The wedding ceremony itself is usually the most terrifying moment for shy couples. Baring your soul in front of a room full of people – some of whom you may never have met or are still trying to impress – can be utterly terrifying. It helps tremendously to choose a celebrant you feel comfortable with. Your celebrant should be able to make you feel at ease at the altar and take some of the pressure off you. If your celebrant has an outrageous personality, a dynamic stage presence or a unique flair, that’s even better. They will absorb the attention and revel in it, creating a ceremony that focuses on the event itself, not you.
Prune the Guest List
One of the best ways to cut down on your anxiety is to make sure only the people you WANT at your wedding actually attend. This might mean having a courageous conversation with your fiancé, your family or some of your friends about invites. Ruthlessly cut people you don’t know or who make you feel uncomfortable. For every person on the list, ask yourself if you’re OK with him or her hearing your intimate ceremony. If anyone asks why they haven’t got an invite, blame it on finances and explain you’re keeping the wedding very small. I’m not saying they’ll understand, but you can try.
Alternatives to Vows
Time to Yourself
If you’re shy, nothing sounds worse than standing up in front of a crowd of people and saying your wedding vows. For many shy brides and grooms, their loathing of talking in front of others can mar what should be a happy day. Here are a few ideas to help!
One shy couple, nervous about speaking their personal vows in front of everyone, took my advice and wrote them down on paper, sealing them in envelopes to be exchanged and read in private later. This is a great idea - it gives you a beautiful, private moment to enjoy later in the day, and avoids the main issue many shy people have with the ceremony - having nerves ruin the most personal moment. There’s no such thing as the “right” way to conduct a wedding ceremony. As long as the legal bits are adhered to, you can come up with any manner of creative ideas to keep your ceremony stress-free. After the ceremony, schedule in time - even if it’s only 10-15 minutes - for the two of you to be together ... alone! Enjoy a walk through the garden or find a quiet corner to sit down. Laugh, smile, cry - just enjoy each other’s company. You could even develop a secret signal with your partner - like a tap on the arm or a “T” for “Time Out”. When either of you gives the signal, it’s time for the two of you to run off together for a few moments of alone time. You’ll come back from these little escapes feeling refreshed and ready to brave the crowds again. These precious moments - quiet, away from the chaos - will help to anchor you and keep you calm throughout the day.
Your wedding ceremony should reflect your personalities and comfort levels – and should be conducted in a way that makes you feel comfortable and respected. Talk to your celebrant about ideas for taking the stress out of your ceremony.
Steff Moore is an Auckland-based marriage celebrant specialising in alternative wedding ceremonies. Visit her blog at http://gothicweddingplanner.com for a feast of weird and wonderful wedding inspiration. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.