There’s no way around it: your wedding day is going to be at least a little stressful. But for introverts, the big day can be especially overwhelming, as it combines some of their least favorite things: being the center of attention and engaging in lots of small talk without much ― if any ― alone time.
Eloping is always an option, of course, but for introverts who choose to have a wedding, how can they minimize the stress and maximize the fun?
“Be sure you are planning the wedding that suits you rather than succumbing to other people’s ideas of what a wedding should be,” Sophia Dembling, author of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After, told HuffPost. “This is good, all-purpose advice, of course, but introverts in are often shamed for low-key preferences. Don’t let others decide for you.”
Large social gatherings can be challenging for introverted wedding guests, too. So when planning your celebration, just remember that not everyone you invite is going to be into dancing, playing party games and giving toasts.
“Some people love that kind of thing, some don’t,” Dembling said. “Let your guests enjoy the party however they feel most comfortable.”
Below, we’ve compiled 15 wedding ideas that will make the big day more manageable for introverted brides, grooms and guests alike.
1. Consider a more casual celebration, like a brunch wedding.
A traditional seated dinner can feel a bit formal or stuffy for some. A daytime brunch wedding or a backyard fete, on the other hand, can add a low-key feel to the day that will put you and your guests at ease.
2. Keep the bridal party small.
“Big bridal parties often lead to bigger problems,” wedding planner Tracie Domino of Tracie Domino Events told HuffPost. “From trying to find a dress that will fit everyone to one of your girls complaining that her hair appointment is too early, the less opinions the introverted bride has to deal with, the better.”
Plus, having too many people around you while you’re getting ready the morning of the wedding can mess with your zen and add unnecessary chaos.
3. Create a “call anyone but the bride” phone list.
Create a phone list with all of the important numbers for your guests and vendors. That way, people know who to call for what and won’t need to bother you with pesky last-minute questions. Oh, and because introverts really don’t like talking on the phone.
4. Do a first look before the ceremony.
Waiting until you walk down the aisle to see your bride or groom may seem romantic, but for introverts, it’s a whole lot of pressure. Plan to do a private first look before the ceremony, just the two of you, to relieve some of those wedding day jitters.
5. Try sitting during the ceremony.
We said it before and we’ll say it again: Introverts do not relish being the center of attention. Consider sitting ― not standing ― during your wedding ceremony. If your knees get wobbly and your palms get sweaty just thinking about all of your guests staring at you so intently, sitting down may help you feel more grounded and allow you to really soak in the moment.
6. Skip the speeches.
Standing up to give a big speech in front of lots of people is a nightmare scenario for many people, especially introverts who loathe public speaking. (Note that some introverts actually find public speaking easier than making polite chit-chat with an acquaintance. It depends on the person.)
Instead, ask your bridal party and wedding guests to write a heartfelt message, a piece of advice, well wishes or just a funny story in a guestbook or some other creative alternative, like the “Words of Wisdom” box pictured above. This way they’ll be able to enjoy the day without having the speech looming over their head.
7. Provide some conversation starters to prevent painful small talk.
Small talk is anxiety-inducing for innies, and unfortunately, it’s all but unavoidable at weddings. Providing some fun facts on the reception tables (see the “5 Things Her Side Should Know About Him” cards above) can serve as talking points for introverted guests who are searching for common ground.
8. Come up with icebreaker activities that don’t feel forced.
These Guess Who sets, personalized with your guests’ faces, will help family and friends get to know each other a little better under the guise of a childhood game. It’s fun and less awkward than just asking again and again, “So, how do you know the couple?”
9. Plan some activities that aren’t dancing.
Hitting the dance floor is the best part of weddings for some, and for others, it’s the most dreaded. Set up a table with puzzles and other games that don’t require a whole lot of talking to give non-dancers something to do.
10. Skip the sweetheart table.
It will eliminate the fishbowl effect. Instead, sit at a small table with your closest family and friends. It make you feel all warm, fuzzy and relaxed to be surrounded by your people.
11. Set up a quiet area away from the dance floor for chilling.
Setting up an area with comfy chairs and couches will give your guests a place to rest their bones tucked away from all the action.
12. Designate a special spot for you and your new spouse to slip away when you need a break.
Before the wedding, choose a quiet hideaway where you two can retreat to when you need a moment to regroup.
“Taking 10- or 15-minute solitude breaks through the big event can help you keep going for hours,” Dembling told HuffPost. “Scope out someplace in your venue where you can flee. Maybe a garden or courtyard, maybe a bathroom, maybe just a remote hallway. One introverted couple in my book, Introverts in Love, ducked into the kitchen from time to time to chill out. The staff was busy and ignored them, and they got a breather from all the fuss. This tip works for wedding guests too.”
13. Ditch the solo first dance.
Who says the first dance has to just be the newlyweds, slow dancing all by themselves? A ask your guests to join in too so you don’t feel so much pressure.
14. Delay your honeymoon.
Consider not jetting off for the honeymoon right away. Having to rush off to the airport will make you feel frazzled. Give yourself time to bask in the post-wedding glow; it will help you start your honeymoon off on the right foot, too.
“A day or two of rest first and you’ll embark refreshed and less cranky,” Dembling told HuffPost. “Introverts can get cranky when they’re overextended.”
15. Give used books as wedding favors.
Introverts enjoy reading, and after spending all night socializing, nothing will delight them more than hopping into bed and curling up with a good book.