You're not one of those brides who've dreamt of her wedding ever since she was a little girl. If it were up to you, you'd cut the guest list in half and/or elope. You like people, you really do; you just hate being in the limelight and forced to chat up folks you barely know. You're shy, and that's perfectly fine because there are so many ways you can make the most of your big day without letting anxiety get the best of you.
Stay in the moment
As crazy as it sounds, when you're feeling overwhelmed it can really help to take a mental snapshot of the moment, says wedding expert Karen Bussen, author of Simple Stunning Weddings. "Just directing your attention away from stressful thoughts and onto something real and specific, like the smile on your groom's face or the centerpieces you designed, can immediately calm you and bring you a sense of joy."
Do wedding portraits in rounds
To get rid of those pre-wedding jitters and make yourself feel more comfortable, start the wedding portraits off with just you and your intended, advises Bussen. A first look will go a long way at putting your mind at ease. You can then invite your bridal party to join in, followed by immediate family and build the list from there. "This lets you encounter people in more controlled, intimate ways where you won't be overwhelmed by a giant group all at once."
Skip the receiving line
Instead, Bussen suggests arranging for a quiet place to sit with your new spouse for 10 or 15 minutes after the ceremony. "Have some refreshments, laugh a little and maybe share some hors d'oeuvres and a favorite drink. After a little time alone time, you'll be relaxed and ready to go out and greet your guests."
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Keep your eyes on the prize
AKA your groom! When you walk down the aisle, lock eyes with the person you're about to marry and it'll seem like no one else is in the room, reveals NYC wedding photographer G.E. Masana. "You can also pick out a friendly face or two in the crowd, or simply look at people's foreheads instead of their eyes to create the illusion that you're making eye contact."
Take a dance lesson
Kick those first dance nerves to the curb by taking a dance lesson or two with your fiancé before the wedding, recommends Danielle South with Flutter Fete Wedding Planning & Event Design. "You can also instruct your DJ or band to keep the song short," she says. Another idea? After a minute or two, have your DJ ask other couples to join you out on the dance floor.