Wedding season is soon upon us. And as someone who joyfully got married under a tree — just my husband and me, and two dear friends as witnesses — I am intimately familiar with the desire of many introverted brides for a quiet celebration. So I was very glad to find this piece, by Adrienne Jung and Karl Moore, on the introverted bride’s guide to getting married. (Adrienne actually had over 100 guests at her wedding, so her advice applies to those of you who are going the traditional-wedding route.)
Please share with the quiet brides you know!
I am, and always have been, the embodiment of a typical introvert. I enjoy time to myself (perhaps too much), live in my own bubble when out and about, and rarely speak if not spoken to. It should therefore come as no surprise that my vision for my wedding has always differed slightly from your classic fairytale celebration. Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to elope, just me and my husband-to-be (and a witness, if legally required). Beyond the appeal of not becoming a spectacle for a crowd to gawk at, I was (and still am) attracted to the notion that a wedding is the start of a marriage, a lifelong commitment between two people and one that I do not take lightly. Having, for lack of a better word, a party to celebrate it has always seemed so, well… cavalier.
And as it turns out, I’m not alone. While the reasoning behind the decision may vary, intimate wedding or elopements are gaining in popularity. Let’s face it, it is the easier and cheaper option. A growing number of firms are helping couples elope. Unfortunately, as in my case, it’s not always a possibility. For reasons I won’t go into, my fiancé convinced me to have a rather large (by my standards) wedding, upwards of 100 guests. This has me stepping outside of my comfort zone, so I recently reached out to a group of brides on social media and asked for feedback on past experiences from more introverted brides.
Here’s a small compilation of their suggestions:
- Keep your support system close, both before and during the wedding. Choose 1 or 2 family members or friends that you’re particularly close to, and lean on them when you need to during the planning process. Activities such as wedding dress shopping do not have to be daunting. Contrary to what rom-coms or reality shows tell you, this does not have to be a huge production: many brides go alone or even just buy their dress online. Having your bridal party at your head table (or no head table at all!) can help keep you grounded on the day-of.
- Plan some quiet time during the actual wedding. Going back to my initial point: your wedding is the start of a lifelong commitment to your husband-to-be, so take the time to enjoy it. As chance would have it, the “first look” is all the rage lately, giving both of you private time and allowing you to experience seeing each other for the first time without all of your guests staring at you. Further along, during the reception, ask your maid-of-honor or someone else you can lean on to whisk you away when the socializing becomes too much. And don’t feel badly about it: taking a short break will allow you to recharge and come back stronger. Introvert breaks really do help and really are necessary.
- Let others do the talking. Many think of the bride as the hostess, and the one around whom the festivities revolve. And if you’re anything like me, that sounds like a recipe for the worst evening of my life. But if you have an extroverted partner, let him take on the social responsibilities for the evening. Or enlist your bridal party to help you navigate small talk and introductions. Even your wedding planner or day-of coordinator (which is a great idea regardless) can help you deal with guests and vendors. Finally, ask questions! People love to talk about themselves and are surprisingly quick to do that if you genuinely express interest — and as an introvert, chances are you’re genuinely happy when the focus is on someone else.
- You don’t have to walk down the aisle if you don’t want to. I purposely saved this point for last, because it’s a big one. Ask any introverted bride and she’ll tell you that her first fearful thought immediately goes to that iconic walk down the aisle, with all eyes on her. But nothing is set in stone anymore. Traditions are changing and weddings are becoming more unique. Walking down the aisle is not mandatory. If you’re set on it, though, have someone accompany you, whether it’s your father, your bridal party, even your husband-to-be. In the end though, nearly all of the brides I spoke to had the same comments about that particular moment: when the time comes, you forget that everyone is looking at you, because you’ll be mesmerized by the person waiting for you at the end of that walk.
Ultimately, as with your career, friendships, and passion pursuits, there are ways to hone in on your introversion and use your personality to have a really “successful” and meaningful wedding day. Rather than dread the large crowds, I choose to look forward to the opportunity for intimate and thoughtful conversations at my wedding. There’s no part of life that we introverts can’t learn to navigate. Sometimes it’s just about working together to learn from each other, and learning the “introvert way” to thrive. For better or for worse, introversion is part of my wedding day, my marriage, and who I am as a person – ‘til death do us part.
This was written by Adrienne Jung, Director of Administration, International Political Science Association, with Karl Moore, Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University.