The love and support that surrounds you on your wedding day is so incredible that there are no words to perfectly describe it. It just envelops you. You’re walking on air. If you aren’t eloping, that amazing feeling comes with a lot of other people around. No matter how wonderful you feel, that can also be exhausting if you’re an introvert. If the thought of talking to so many people (no matter how much you love them!), being the center of attention, and feeling like you need to be “on” all day is stressing you out, you’ll want to make a plan to thrive on your wedding day.
Weddings Can Be Extra Challenging For Introverts
A wedding is a big undertaking for an introvert, as either a guest or the one getting married. According to Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, “introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation they need to function well.” An extrovert can go to a wedding, mingle and talk with almost everyone, enjoy all the activity swirling around them and leave feeling energized. They thrive off interaction and external stimulation. Meanwhile, you go and talk to people but find yourself needing to escape to a quiet place even if that means spending a little more time in the bathroom and are completely exhausted by the time you leave. You need quiet, downtime, and time to be alone to be your best. No matter how much fun you have, weddings can wear you out.
Add to that the expectation that as the happy couple you’ll circulate and talk with everyone, be the center of attention, and be “on” all day? No wonder planning this wedding is stressing you out!
Wedding Day Strategies For Introverts
Luckily for you, there are certain things that you can plan for the wedding day itself to help keep your energy up. And hopefully allow you to have an incredible time! To start, think about strategies that already help you. What do you normally do to get through events full of people? Can you adapt any of those to your wedding?
If you can’t think of any or want more, here are some additional ideas to get you started.
Pick An Introvert-Friendly Venue
If you do better one-on-one than in big groups, try to find a venue that encourages people to split off into pairs or smaller groups. A venue with lots of nooks and crannies does this well and allows for more intimate conversations. Something that has both indoor and outdoor options can naturally provide this to some extent as well.
If you’re locked into a large rectangular space like a ballroom, consider ways to break up the room. Bring in screens to partition off areas or arrange furniture to encourage small groups to gather. 10 people around a round table often means big group conversations. Try smaller tables or provide small seating areas away from the dance floor. Many of your guests are likely introverts too and will appreciate your efforts!
Since entertaining lots of guests is likely to wear you out, breaks will be your friend. At the very least, take a break with your new spouse (!!) after the ceremony. Its the perfect time to take a breath, acknowledge what you just did, and come down from the stress of being up in front of everyone. Go somewhere out of sight so nobody tries to reach you or someone is guaranteed to try and come talk to you. Recruit someone to guard the door, if necessary. Your guests can mingle or appreciate any other entertainment you’ve provided.
You can also schedule a longer break between the ceremony and reception (or reception and afterparty). This option works best if you’re changing venues. Use this break to take a nap. Seriously! Factor in time to change clothes and touch up your hair and makeup, if necessary. You’ll be a much better host once you’re refreshed with a nap. Yes, long break may confuse or annoy some guests unless its a totally normal part of weddings in your culture. You can provide ideas for guests to do during the break if you’re concerned about it.
Consider Your Seating Chart
The seating chart is totally up to you so make it work for you. You can sit with your new spouse at a “sweetheart table.” This has the advantage of making guests come to you while eating, which can mean fewer people at once. Or you can sit next to people you are super comfortable with (or even people you know aren’t super chatty). Where you sit and who sits next to you can have a big impact on your interactions.
Have A Small Talk Escape Plan
Being part of the happy couple gives you the perfect excuse to use this strategy. Everyone knows and expects you to need to make the rounds and have lots of things going on, so use that to your advantage. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need a break, just say, “excuse me, I need to go say hi to _______” or “will you excuse me, I need to go check on _______.” Its perfectly polite - and even better than that - its expected. Excuse yourself and find a place to have a moment alone.
If a certain wedding “tradition” is stressing you out, skip it. You don’t HAVE to do a grand entrance, first dance, toasts, cake cutting, etc no matter what anyone else says. If you hate being the center of attention, cutting out those things can help.
Likewise, you can write the ceremony to be as short as you want. Or even have a private ceremony and invite guests to the reception only.
Give Everyone Something To Focus On
Interacting with people, especially in an unstructured way like mingling at a wedding, can be especially exhausting. Having something to focus on - like a game or performance for example - lets you and guests take a mental break from the mingling and get absorbed in something else. It also provides an easy thing to chat about with strangers. Your introverted guests will love this strategy too.
Hopefully these strategies for planning an introvert-friendly wedding day give you comfort. There are always multiple ways to achieve a goal and planning a wedding you’ll love and enjoy is no exception. So adapt these ideas to fit what works best for you.
Next up, we’ll look deeper into ideas for that last strategy - giving your guests something to focus on. Subscribe below so you don’t miss out. When you do you’ll also get Wedding Bingo - the free game we’ve developed to make the wedding planning process more fun. Just enter your name and email below.