If the thought of standing in front of your friends and family on your wedding day gives you cold-sweat nerves, you’re not alone. Plenty of couples feel shy about speaking in public, but there are definitely ways that you can work around it. The goal of your ceremony should be to have a relaxed and enjoyable experience, and you can’t do that if you’re wracked with nerves – so, whether you alter the way you approach the day or tweak the format of your ceremony, it’s worth considering how you might overcome your shyness before the big day.
Change the way you think about it.
When you’re saying your vows, there’s no pressure to be Ryan Gosling and put on an award-winning rom-com performance for your guests. In fact, it’s not really about your guests at all. Instead of thinking about your vows as ‘public speaking’, think of them as a moment between you and your partner. Even though your guests are there as witnesses to your marriage, your vows are really an inimate moment when you’re just speaking to each other.
Remember, you can’t stuff it up.
If you’re reluctant to include personal vows in your ceremony because you’re worried you’ll ‘stuff it up’ – don’t be, there’s no such thing! Perfection is not a requirement when it comes to your vows. It doesn’t matter if you stumble on a word or lose your place, it only matters that you’re speaking honestly and from the heart. If you’re really nervous, you might prefer a read-after-me style delivery, where you can say your vows with the help and support of your celebrant.
Involve other people.
Having friends or family members play an active part in your ceremony can be a great way to take the attention off you – even if just for a moment. Whether you have someone read a poem, perform a song or speak their blessing, involving your nearest and dearest in ways that are meaningful can have the double benefit of making them feel special and also giving you a temporary break from the limelight.
Keep the wording minimal.
Your wedding ceremony can be as brief or as long as you want it to be. There’s only one thing you need to say on the day and that’s your legal vows. If you’re shy about speaking, you can add some personal vows into the asking (which the celebrant will read aloud, so you just only to say ‘I do’), or combine the legal vows with the ring exchange to avoid any additional wording.
Say your vows in a private moment.
You need to speak your legal vows during the ceremony and in the presence of your witnesses, but there’s nothing stopping you from sharing your personal vows at a different moment on the day, when it’s just the two of you. You might like to write letters to each other and exchange them before the ceremony or read them aloud while you’re having your photos taken, so your photographer can capture the emotion of the moment.