When I was planning my wedding, I was excited about everything except for two parts: spending money (obviously) and being the center of attention for an entire day.

I am a shy introvert.  Introversion and shyness are often used interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.  Introverts gain energy from spending time alone and feel drained after spending long periods of time with others.  They need time by themselves to recharge after socializing.  As a shy person, I feel self-conscious and uncomfortable being the center of attention.

Some of the following tips are more relevant for introverts, and others are for shy brides and grooms.  Some of these may not be right for you – I am a big believer that what is right for one person is not always right for another.  Follow the tips that make sense for you and ignore the ones that don’t.

Face the officiant instead of each other.

I was very nervous about standing up in front of 100 people and being the center of attention.  I was uncomfortable enough standing up in front of everyone as a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding, but as the bride?  Everyone would be staring at me!  Facing the officiant allowed me to focus on only the officiant and my new hubby.  This helped my nerves quite a bit.

Skip the receiving line.

Hugging and chatting with 100 people in a row sounded overwhelming to me.  We had our officiant let the guests know that the bridal party would be taking photographs immediately after the ceremony, and the guests were welcome to head over to the reception location.  If you feel guilty for not talking to all of your guests, you can still go around to all of the tables at the reception with your new spouse and chat with guests at that time.  The best part is, you can space that out however you want to – you don’t have to talk with all 100 guests right in a row, which can be overwhelming for an introvert.

Keep the ceremony and the reception fairly short.

Our ceremony (the most nerve-wracking part for me) lasted 20 minutes.  The reception lasted about six hours, but we were so busy, the time flew by.

Ride to the reception with your new spouse instead of the entire wedding party.

I am so glad my hubby and I did this for two reasons: we didn’t waste money on a limo (we drove his car) and it allowed us to have a little time to ourselves.  Our ceremony and reception locations were about 30 minutes apart and we hit some traffic , but it worked out well because it gave us both time to recharge before the reception.

Don’t give a toast.

I get anxious just thinking about giving a speech.  There is nothing wrong with skipping a toast if it makes you uncomfortable – it’s your day and you should enjoy it.  You can always thank each guest individually.

Traditionally, the maid of honor and best man give toasts as well.  If either of them are shy or introverted and would prefer not to give a toast, respect their wishes (unless you want to get stuck giving a toast at their weddings!).  Consider asking an extraverted family member or close friend to give a toast instead.

Ensure that you have some time during the night for just the two of you.

Because of where our reception was located, our photographer whisked us away several times to take photos in other areas of the building.  There were plenty of great alcoves and other interesting spots for photos.  Although the photographer was still with us, it allowed us to get some time away from the party.  Being around so many people for several hours was exhausting, and these breaks helped.

Photo courtesy of Studio Delphianblue

Photo courtesy of Studio Delphianblue

Have a round table for the wedding party instead of the classic rectangular table.

Typically, the bridal party sits at a rectangular table facing the guests.  The table is often elevated, which draws guests’ attention to the bridal party.  I am self-conscious and did not like the idea of being on display.  Instead, we decided to seat ourselves and the bridal party at the same type of table (round, not elevated) as the rest of the guests.  The table was still at the center of the room so the guests could easily see us, but it made us less self-conscious.  (Some of our bridesmaids and groomsmen were also shy introverts, so I’m sure they appreciated this too!)

Another option is the “sweetheart table”, a small table for you and your spouse only.  If you feel you won’t have much time alone with your spouse (due to the timing and/or location of your ceremony and reception), this ensures that you will have at least a little time alone together.

Remember that everyone is there to celebrate you and your new spouse.

I was much less nervous at my wedding than I expected to be.  People are not there to judge you (and if they are, they shouldn’t be there) – they are there to celebrate the love between you and your new spouse.  I was amazed by the outpouring of love from my friends and family.  It’s an incredible feeling when everyone is supporting you and sharing in your joy on your special day.

(Featured image courtesy of Megan Bailey)

What tips do you have for surviving a big wedding as an introverted bride or groom?