20 tips for introverted couples to feel more comfortable on their wedding day, according to experts

20 tips for introverted couples to feel more comfortable on their wedding day, according to experts
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A couple embrace in front of a small table with cake, candles, and flowers.
Finding moments of reprieve to celebrate or relax with your partner alone was a common suggestion from experts.Shutterstock
  • Even if you hate being the center of attention, you can still have the wedding of your dreams.

  • Insider spoke to 11 experts to find out what to remove and what to add to your wedding day.

  • Tips include reimagining your procession, adding mini breaks, and nixing the first dance.

They say your wedding day is supposed to be one of the biggest and best days of your life — it's a celebration of love where all eyes are on you. But if you're someone who hates being the center of attention in your everyday life, you may have anxiety about being in the spotlight on your wedding day, too.

So how can you make your "big day" feel less big?

For introverted couples who want to celebrate their love but don't want to make a spectacle while doing so, we've compiled tips from experts to help. Guided by wedding planners, wedding site and event founders, life coaches, and therapists, everything from excluding certain traditions to including private moments made the list.

Be honest with yourself before you start planning

After the question has been popped and you've taken a moment to soak in this exciting life change, it's time to start planning. This can be very exciting but intimidating, so it's important that you account for your and your partner's wants, needs, and emotions along the way.

Holistic psychotherapist Devon McLeod said people should acknowledge their internal struggle of being the center of attention.

"Journal your feelings out or speak to a trusted friend or therapist [...] If feeling like the center of attention brings up feelings of being judged, imagine kind eyes on you from all of the people in attendance and visualize this before your wedding," she told Insider.

Communicate concerns with wedding planners and vendors, and manage guests' expectations

Consensus among experts is that it's imperative to voice your concerns and needs to key players in your wedding: planners, officiants, photographers, DJs, hair stylists, the wedding party, and so on.

Couples should also set the tone for the wedding to their guests in advance. Janessa White, co-founder and CEO of Simply Eloped, an elopement planning service, advised "managing expectations so people aren't walking up to the bride and groom the day-of expecting attention."

For example, if you wish to skip a receiving line to greet guests, White recommended communicating this in a note in the invitation. Instead, you could say you look forward to having a private phone call or dinner with your guest after the wedding day.

Find an intimate and casual wedding venue

A couple gives a toast to a single table of guests in an outdoor setting during the day.
A backyard wedding and/or daytime wedding can help your wedding day feel more casual and familiar.Shutterstock

Not every wedding needs to be in a large wedding hall or "wedding factory." For introverted couples, a more casual ceremony and reception may be the better option.

Lindsey Nickel, owner of and wedding planner at Lovely Day Events, said, "For smaller, more intimate weddings, you can do something more casual like a daytime wedding or a brunch wedding. That will help it feel less formal. More easy breezy, so to speak."

Backyard weddings, for example, allow couples to feel more comfortable in a space they know, she said.

Consider having a multi-day or dual-part celebration

It might seem counterintuitive to be the center of attention for longer than you need to be, but there are benefits to it.

"If you plan a couple of events over the course of a few days, there's less pressure on any one event for everyone to fit everything in," Hannah Nowack, editor of "Real Weddings" at The Knot, said. "Instead, the whole event can take on more of a laid-back reunion feel."

Katie Brownstein, director of marketing and communications at Joy, a free wedding-planning website, has seen this trend coming out of the pandemic. "Couples are planning a variety of events, from welcome drinks, to daytime outdoor activities, in addition to the traditional rehearsal dinner and wedding," she said.

But if a multi-day wedding doesn't seem like the right fit, you can avoid being in the spotlight too much by splitting up the day.

"Because of the pandemic, many couples started having dual-part weddings with a more intimate or even private ceremony, and then a larger reception later," said Emily Forrest Skurnik, director of communications at Zola.

Be intentional with your guest list

A bride and four bridesmaids celebrate in robes on a bed.
Smaller bridal parties and guest lists are beneficial for positive energy.Shutterstock

Slimming down your guest list and bridal party is an obvious way to have fewer eyes on you during your wedding day. While an elopement may be a good option, a smaller gathering in general could help. It may not be the easiest decision to figure out who you don't want in attendance, but it is important that you put yourself first.

In deciding who to remove from your list, Skurnik said, "If you feel like having your coworkers at your wedding will cause you added stress, maybe don't extend the invite. The same goes for plus-ones."

There are other benefits to having a smaller wedding. Having fewer guests generally "minimizes any drama," Nickel said.

"Keeping a smaller group of people getting ready with you in general would help because you have less opinions, less people running late, and less questions," she said.

Prepare for crowd-viewing moments

Consider some rehearsals to better help you mentally prepare for the more daunting moments.

"Schedule a rehearsal so you can practice walking down the aisle," Skurnik suggested. "You can even practice reciting your vows [...] Practice your first dance, practice small talk, and yes, practice your kiss."

This is true for your wedding photos, too.

Emily Monus, owner of Emily Monus Events, an LGBTQIA+ and vegan event-planning service, said, "By working with your photographer in a low-stakes setting, such as an engagement shoot at your favorite park, or even in your own home, you are able to build a rapport with your photographer and practice being in front the camera."

Creating a photo list of poses and additional guests you want in the photos will also help lessen the attention on you.

Have a peaceful wedding eve and wedding morning

"The night before your big day, don't invite all your friends over," Lisa Phillips, life coach at Amazing Coaching and the author of "The Confidence Coach," told Insider. "Make that a night for 'yourself.' Make sure you create a good energy surplus."

She also recommends a low-key morning with few people involved.

"Introverts gain their energy from being alone, so find some quiet time for yourself to fully charge your batteries for the day," she added.

Designate a point person for questions

When you already don't like being the center of attention, the last thing you likely want is for everyone to come directly to you with their questions. This is the perfect opportunity to hand off that responsibility.

"Designating your most type-A, organized wedding party attendant to be the point person will save you from being inundated with a plethora of queries on your wedding day," Nowack said.

White agreed, suggesting a maid of honor could be a "blocker" for the bride. "All details or lines of communication go through the maid of honor instead of the bride or the groomsmen instead of the groom," she said.

Consider doing a 'first look'

A bride stands behind her groom and covers his eyes before he can see her.
Couples are opting to do first looks so they can see and spend time with their partners before the day gets busy.Sergii Sobolevskyi/Shutterstock

The teary moment when a couple sees each other for the first time at the altar is often one for the movies. However, it might make some couples uncomfortable to share that intimate experience with an audience. So, doing a first look is a nice way to ease your anxieties about that moment.

"What the first look does is it actually gives you alone time," Rachel Silver, founder and CEO of Love Stories TV, a wedding-focused online marketplace, said. "It actually makes the whole day less stressful because if you don't see each other until the ceremony, then you're potentially skipping your cocktail hour in order to take pictures, which you might not want to do."

Nickel added that some couples choose to spend their time together from the first look until the ceremony. This is beneficial when you want to be alone, but not fully alone.

Recite your personal vows in private

It's quite custom now for couples to read personalized vows. However, since this element of the wedding is so personal, you may be nervous to speak vulnerably in front of your guests.

Katie Kortebein, head of editorial at Love Stories TV and an introverted bride herself who is currently planning her wedding, suggested reading these vows to each other earlier in the day.

"Another reason for a first look? You can exchange your vows privately and then simply repeat after the officiant in front of guests," she said.

Another option that Skurnik suggested was including a special reading or a performance from a loved one at your ceremony in place of reading your personal vows.

Reinvent the procession and receiving lines

A couple waves as they walk down a less traditional aisle surrounded by flowers.
Couples can redefine their walk down the aisle by making it more casual or walking together rather than separate.Shutterstock

Walking down the aisle may be intimidating if you don't want to be in the spotlight.

"A great alternative is to enter the ceremony space with your partner," Nowack said. "Alternatively, you could flip the script and kick off the wedding day with a casual cocktail hour time of mingling. Then effortlessly transition into the wedding ceremony and skip the processional altogether."

Similarly, a receiving line may push you out of your comfort zone.

"Decide not to include this in your schedule," Phillips said. "Allow your guests to get settled in the reception area and then join them after you've had a quick rest."

Celebrate with your partner alone after the ceremony

After the whirlwind of marrying one another, couples should be able to step away to reflect and celebrate on their own. Brownstein told Insider that a rising trend is for couples to eat dinner separately from their guests after the ceremony.

Nickel incorporates this into her wedding services through an element called "Bubbles & Bites," a break where she gives the couple a private space with drinks and food to relax together.

"That really goes a long way for introverted people to step away from the spotlight for a few minutes and be with the person they love before going back out to greet everybody," she said.

Schedule check-ins and mini breaks

A couple embrace and talk on a chairs alone.
Finding a quiet space to take multiple breaks with your partner can help you both unwind.Shutterstock

It's not selfish to have alone time. In fact, experts recommended scheduling breaks throughout the day.

Monus also suggested planning check-in points with your wedding planner, saying, "Offering yourself the opportunity to take a break and knowing it will be built into the timeline for you can be such a relief to a nervous, shy marrier."

Guests might not even notice, Silver said.

"The further you are into the wedding, the less people are going to notice," she said. "No one's going to notice if the bride's gone for five or 10 minutes. And that can feel really powerful if you're just emotionally exhausted."

Reformat the first dance

The first dance is possibly one of the most nerve-racking portions of a wedding, but there are several alternatives.

Sarah Wintersteen, owner of Sistered States, an event-planning and design company, shared a few suggestions.

"You can ask the band or DJ to fade out the song after the first chorus so that you are only dancing for about a minute instead of 3 minutes," she said. Or "you can ask other married couples to join in on your first dance so it is not just the two of you dancing."

If that still concerns you, Brownstein said, "You could even opt to do your first dance in private before joining the reception, if you want to keep that tradition without the attention."

Make the reception setup more comfortable

A family smiles at the camera as they sit in a sectioned off spot with couches.
Creating spaces like lounges for guests to mingle off the dance floor is a great option.Shutterstock

Rather than a traditional ballroom with tables circling a dance floor, you can incorporate more intimate and unique setups into your wedding. This is beneficial especially if you don't want the focus to be on dancing.

For example, Nickel suggested to incorporate lounges, saying, "Give people a place to go hang out where they won't have to be on the dance floor."

"That would give the bride and the groom an opportunity to still mingle and see their guests in a literally and figuratively more comfortable setting," she said.

Consider having a sweetheart table ... but only if it will make you feel more comfortable

A couple sits alone at a private table with floral decor on it.
A sweetheart table that's not in the center of the room can be a good option for couples who want some time apart from guests.Shutterstock

You can have your own personal bubble with a secluded and separate sweetheart table. It can be positioned off to the side so you aren't the focal point of the space.

"If you are truly introverted or shy or this experience is giving you anxiety, it might be a nice rest bit to have some time at a table with just your partner," Silver said. "Then you're not having to turn to a whole bunch of people between every speech and acknowledge it and chat about it and make conversation."

For some introverts, however, a sweetheart table might be more intimidating. If this is the case, consider sitting with those who put you at ease and lift your energy.

"Sit at a head table instead of a sweetheart table," Wintersteen said. "Sitting amongst the wedding party will create less of a spotlight than if you were to sit at a table alone with your spouse."

To speech or not to speech: It's up to you

Several experts said that speeches can be reimagined if the idea scares you. Perhaps make your speech short and sweet; pre-record the speech and show it as a video; have members of the wedding party speak instead; or simply limit how many people speak. Beyond that, you can exclude all speeches entirely.

Alternatively, "schedule speeches and toasts for the rehearsal dinner instead of the wedding," Wintersteen said. "Rehearsal dinners are typically a more intimate, smaller setting, so less people will be staring and it will be less awkward to get speeches out of the way the night before."

Add cute distractions

A male couple smile and hold their pet dog.
Having a companion dog can help ease couples' anxieties and serve as much-needed distractions.Shutterstock

No, pets and children are not props. But they are sneakily great additions to your wedding day if you're an introvert.

"When in doubt, add a dog or a kid to your wedding party," Skurnik said. "They always steal the show, in a good way."

In addition to distracting guests with cuteness overload, animals can help distract you too. White said having your companion or service animal be a part of your wedding day can help calm your nerves. If your venue allows this, your pet can be another member of your support system.

Cake cutting doesn't need to be on full display

Cutting the wedding cake is typically a pivotal part of a reception, sometimes with photo-ops of couples smashing cake into each other's faces. If this turns you off, you can work your way around it in a few different ways.

Do the cake cutting discreetly while your guests are busy eating or dancing. Wintersteen suggests that "instead of having everyone stare at you while you cut the cake, just have your planner grab you, your photographer, and your parents and go cut the cake."

Monus said you can forgo the tradition altogether.

"If you're nervous about cutting the cake in front of everyone, it's going to be on your mind all day, taking you out of the moment," she said, adding: "So, don't do the thing you don't want to do. I give you permission."

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