Wedding Ceremonies for Shy Couples

If you’re shy, nothing sounds worse than standing up in front of a crowd of people and saying your wedding vows or giving a speech. For many shy brides and grooms, their loathing of talking in front of others can mar what should be a happy day.

If you suffer from shyness, here are a few ideas to help you make your wedding day more bearable.


Courthouse Wedding

The first thing to mention is that if you’re so worried about how you’re going to feel about the wedding, then forgo a wedding altogether. Why should the first thing you do as a married couple be something that makes one or both of you so uncomfortable you can’t sleep at night?

Why aren’t you just getting married at the courthouse? This doesn’t mean you can’t wear a pretty dress or have a friend as a witness or that you miss out on a fun celebration. Many people who have courthouse weddings will have a small party afterward for family and friends. A courthouse wedding is definitely a cheaper and more casual option for shy couples.

Examine carefully why you’re pursuing a wedding in the first place. Is it because you really want one? Is it because that’s what you think you have to do? Is it to please family or friends or your spouse? Rather than going through with wedding planning, it might be time to talk to the people concerned and put forward what you really want.


Having a Wedding Celebrant that You Trust

The wedding ceremony itself is usually the most terrifying moment for shy people. It’s the idea of standing up in front of everyone you know and even a few people you don’t – including your fiance’s family why you’re still trying to impress – and having to say things that are heartfelt. It’s baring your soul in front of a room of nosy people, and it’s utterly terrifying.

If you’ve opted to go for the wedding ceremony in front of your guests, it helps tremendously to choose a celebrant you trust and feel comfortable with. Find a celebrant who’s outward personality reflects your inner, someone with a bit of stage presence and a real unique flair. They will absorb the attention and revel in it, creating a ceremony that focuses on the event itself, not you.

(If you’re looking for a New Zealand wedding celebrant, I’m available to conduct ceremonies across the country).

Prune the Guest List

One of the best ways to cut down on your wedding anxiety is to make sure only the people you WANT there actually attend. This might mean having a courageous conversation with your fiance, your family or some of your friends about invites.

Ruthlessly cut people you don’t know or who make you feel uncomfortable. For every person on the list, ask yourself if you’re OK with them hearing your intimate ceremony. If so, they stay, if not – they don’t need to come to the wedding. if anyone asks why they haven’t got an invite, blame it on your finances and explain you’re keeping it very small. I’m not saying they’ll understand, but you can try.

Alternatives to Vows

I performed a ceremony for a heavy metal couple. They were killer when performing on stage, but quite shy when it comes to talking in front of crowds, especially about the way they feel about each other. Instead of saying their vows aloud, they chose to write them down on paper, seal them in envelopes, and exchange them to read in private later.

This is a great idea – it gives you a beautiful, private moment to enjoy later in the day, and avoids the main issue many shy people have with the ceremony – having nerves ruin the most personal moment.

Remember, you’re not bound by traditional rules or regulations – there is no such thing as the “right” way to conduct a wedding ceremony. As long as the legal bits are adhered to, you can come up with any manner of creative ideas to keep your ceremony stress-free.


Time to Yourself

After the ceremony, schedule in some time – even if it’s only 10-15 minutes – for the two of you to be together … alone. Completely alone. Wander away from the wedding group, enjoy a walk through the garden or find a quiet corner to sit down. Laugh, smile, cry – just enjoy each other’s company.

You could even develop a secret signal with your partner – like a tap on the arm or a “T” for “Time Out”. When either of you gives the signal, it’s time for the two of you to run off together for a few moments of alone time. You’ll come back from these little escapes feeling refreshed and ready to brave the crowds again.

These precious moments – quiet, away from the chaos – will help to anchor you and keep you calm throughout the day.

The Dreaded Speeches

For shy people, speeches fall only a couple of steps behind the wedding ceremony in terms of terror factor. So how do you make your inevitable wedding speech less mortifying.

Well, you could cut it out altogether. Have another family member or wedding party member give the thank yous. Sure, some people are bound to be miffed, but you’re not having a wedding to please other people.

Readers, what other tips can you offer for shy brides and grooms getting married? Were you shy at your wedding? How are you dealing with wedding issues like the guest list, toasts and the wedding ceremony?

For more etiquette tips and ideas for creating unique and offbeat weddings, check out my Gothic Wedding Planner book.