Are you experiencing pre-wedding jitters fueled by the fear of being the center of attention on your big day? You’re not alone. Many soon-to-be brides and grooms grapple with this common anxiety as they anticipate walking down the aisle. Whether it’s the thought of all eyes on you during the ceremony or the pressure of being in the spotlight at the reception, the fear of being the center of attention can cast a shadow over what should be a joyous occasion.

I want to share with you a story about a couple I recently met with.

Excited to finally be getting married and meeting with me to discuss their wedding ceremony, I sensed something was off. The bride was holding back and being fairly quiet, not the normal response I experience with a bride.  She finally shared what was going on.

Hesitatingly she said, “I don’t like being the center of attention.”

I meet with numerous couples every month and the fear of being the center of attention is real.  I do not have scientific data to back this up but in roughly 1 out of 5 consultations, one of the parties has this fear… and it’s typically the bride who will admit to it.

After squelching my desire to climb through the computer screen and hug her anxiety away, I said:

Um, this is your w-e-d-d-i-n-g; it’s kind of hard to NOT be the center of attention.

Preparing to get married is not the time to dive in to the psyche as to what prompted your fear of being the center of attention, it IS the time to minimize your anxiety.  There are things you can do to reduce the anxiety and not just GET through the ceremony, but THRIVE through it.

This sounds like such a simple thing, but concentrating on your breathing can reduce anxiety.  Take a few moments (you’re the bride, you CAN take 5 minutes for yourself; I assure you the wedding will wait), close your eyes, and focus on each breath.  As you breathe in, quietly say “calm in” and as you exhale say “fear out.”

Make sure you’ve been drinking water and eating nourishing food as you’re getting ready.  This is SO important as a hydrated and nourished body can actually reduce anxiety!

If you’re planning to write your own vows, I advise you share them privately.  The fear of public speaking is the cornerstone to the fear of being the center of attention so do not put yourself in that situation!  You can share your vows privately after the rehearsal, during the first look / first touch, at breakfast the next morning, on your honeymoon, or any other time!

If your officiant is aware that you are uncomfortable being the center of attention, there are three things the officiant can control to minimize your anxiety:

  • Limit what you have to say to repeat-after-me responses (vows, ring exchange, etc).
  • Have your partner go first every time OR instead of repeat-after-me separately, suggest that you say vows simultaneously.
  • Keep the microphone away.  Oftentimes hand-held microphones are used so guests can hear the couples vows.  This creates additional anxiety for someone who doesn’t like to be the center of attention and can be eliminated.

If you’re looking for an Officiant to support you, I highly recommend someone from our team! 😉

Remember that your ceremony is only 15-20 minutes of the rest of your life.  By taking care of yourself, minimizing or eliminating the most fearful parts, and open communication with your partner and officiant, you can THRIVE on your wedding day.

Best wishes to you!

By Denise O’Malley, Managing Officiant

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