My fiancé and I are shy and reserved people. We had plenty of anxiety between us before we started planning a freaking wedding, and now as the day grows closer we feel like we’re losing control. In particular we just can’t seem to reconcile our desire to enjoy the time with our friends and family and our anticipation of feeling uncomfortable due to having their eyes on us...plus the lens of a photographer all over our intimate moments. WTF should we do?
—Introverted and Engaged
Dear Introverted and Engaged,
First of all, take a deep cleansing breath. Now another. Okay, here’s the deal. This is about the union of you and your partner, not anyone else. You know this but I just want to remind you in case you forgot for a second along the way. Yes, your families are also joining, and your friends are becoming increasingly intermingled, but this day is about the two of you. With that out of the way, may I suggest the following practical advice?
Sit down with your loving partner and have a talk about what is really making you nervous. Can you leave it out? The answer is almost always yes! There is no one way to have a wedding, no perfect formula, so choose to do it on your terms.
Consider instead a quieter ceremony with just your immediate family. Your friends can join you at cocktail hour, and I promise they will be fine with it!
Most couples have anxiety about their ceremony, after all it is the highlight of the day and movies have taught us that we’re meant to freak out. Consider instead a quieter ceremony with just your immediate family. Your friends can join you at cocktail hour, and I promise they will be fine with it! When you say private ceremony, guests understand. If they don’t, tough for them. Remember, you can always get married in total privacy with just the two of you and still have a wedding reception with everyone! It’s a thing, and it’s awesome.
If you really want to have everyone at your ceremony, lean on your partner, and let him or her lean on you. Do a first look, and have some personal time before the wedding to connect and remind each other that you’re here for one another. If you want to, you can practice your vows and get the tears out of the way and be impossibly cool for your ceremony. If you don’t want to be apart, then don’t! Help each other get dressed and walk each other down the aisle. Really I can’t think of anything sweeter.
As for the photographer, ask yourself if the anxiety is really about the camera or about the person holding it? You might not know a professional photographer (and you should hire a pro if you go that route), but that doesn’t mean you can’t hire someone and make a new friend in the process. Look at their work, but also meet with them, and evaluate their personality. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do engagement photos with them, and have regular conversations so on the day of your wedding you are not greeting a stranger, but a lovely friend who is also a badass with a camera. Photographers still give you the willies? That’s cool. Don’t have one! Have a photo-free ceremony, and put disposable cameras around the reception. Rent a photo booth or stage a selfie station. Your parents will get over it, and you will be rich with candids.
As for everything else, the cake cutting and dances, etc...skip them if you don’t care about them. Dances can be awkward for everyone, and you can shove cake into each other's mouths all night without a scheduled photo op. Oh but make sure you remove the garter where everyone can see. Just kidding!
Heather joined the Wood Grain & Lace Events team in the summer of 2015. With a background as a Craft Service Professional and Art Director in the film world, Heather strives to bring a creative and organized approach to event planning. Educated in Journalism, English and Art History at Randolph Macon and VCU on a swimming scholarship, she fell into film work in 2011 and has freelanced since. She is a lover of good food, cake icing, all the top 40 hits of the 1990s and especially books.
Heather has lived in Richmond since 2003 and met her partner here in 2011. They live in Montrose and have a happy little girl who loves the water like her mom and dancing to the Beach Boys! She loves to see family come together and hopes to share in the joy of your big day.