An introvert bride’s survival guide to her own wedding

Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. For any introvert, it can very well become one of the most exhausting ones too. With the first anniversary just around the corner, I started looking back on the whole wedding experience and gathered a few notes on the small things that made a difference in my case:

Wedding dress shopping

There is a tendency (and some pressure) these days to invite a bunch of people to go shopping for the wedding dress. Bridal boutiques even had to set guest limits to avoid crowds. I knew there was a high chance I would feel exposed in front of a big group, so I decided early on that I would keep it cosy. I only visited small boutiques (instead of big stores) and kept my guest list to a limited number of two very close friends. The whole process, from selecting the dress to getting it tailored, is quite long and full of not-so-glamorous moments, and this way I managed to feel perfectly comfortable all the way through.

The guest list

If there is anything birthday parties have taught me is that whenever I invite lots of people, I always end up with a nasty feeling of not having paid attention to everyone. Introverts usually prefer one on one conversations, and these tend to go deep, which is an impossible mission when you’re hosting a party for a bunch of friends. We decided from the onset that our wedding would only have 100 guests, so that we could actually spend time talking to everyone, not just checking in on each table. This was probably the hardest commitment to follow through. Coming up with the final list was tough, and something we kept pondering about. We decided to call or meet with people we would like to have invited but couldn’t and explain them our reasons; I believe most of them understood.

The bridal shower

20+ people on weekend-long trips abroad is the standard practice for bridal showers these days, and one I couldn’t see myself enduring. For me, this was a moment to gather a small group of intimate friends who knew me from the inside out. Just the girls around whom I felt 100% comfortable being myself, quirks and all. I made sure my maid of honor knew how I felt about this, and it paid off. They planned the day for me, not for instagram, not for storytelling. And it was just perfect. A combination of partying, talks, good food, good wine, and we even went dancing (shocker, I know, an introvert who likes to dance!).

The day before

It’s quite normal to spend the day before in wedding-related activities, surrounded by family and friends doing their best to help sort everything out. Luckily we had everything under control, so I planned for a quiet day: a special lunch with my fiancée, the afternoon to myself, dinner with my best man and a restful evening at home watching a show I’d been meaning to see for a while. It made me feel completely relaxed and helped me have a great night’s sleep.

The wedding day

I knew I would have a full day under the spotlight so I wanted to preserve my energy levels for the important moments. Preparations were to be made at home, so that I would be comfy in my own environment, and I decided not to have the traditional family get together before the wedding. Also, I did not want to have pictures taken by a professional photographer during this moment; as a bonus the photographer who was supposed to cover my preparation ended up going to the wedding venue beforehand with time to spare and took gorgeous pictures of the scenery and decor before the guests arrived.

I got up, had breakfast and went for a walk by myself in my favourite park in the neighbourhood. On my way there, I listened to a podcast. Then I went back home and read until the maid of honor, the best man, the hairdresser and the make-up specialist (both of whom I already knew and was comfortable around) started to arrive. It was a fun, laid-back, relaxed morning without the pressure of having to look good or behave in a certain way. We took pictures, sure, but they were spontaneous, dorky snapshots instead of perfect poses for framing purposes. My parents and my brother came in later, just before leaving for the wedding venue.

To the introverted bride, the idea of having 100 people waiting for her to show up might be a daunting prospect. In my case, as I was walking down the aisle, talking to people during the cocktail or entering the dining room, I tried as much as possible to avoid thinking about the crowd and to focus on each person individually. That kept the tension off and helped me store happy memories from their smiles, their looks, their jokes and their moves on the dance floor.

Planning your wedding should be about celebrating love and having fun. Being an intense emotional experience, with high expectations from all parties involved, it might be hard to manage pressure. But to avoid total energy depletion, you’ll have to stay true to yourself and protect your boundaries. And that’s true for introverts and extroverts alike.

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