Anonymous asked: I've been reading you awhile now, and I find that I identify with your social anxiety experiences/reactions more often than not. I find myself facing a family wedding & the paralyzing terror of saying vows in front of everyone! How did you get through that? I remember your stories of nerves the night before but not actual coping mechanisms in the moment. We really just want a private, just us ceremony, because our love is ours; but we also don't want to hurt our families who want to watch.
I was totally terrified on my wedding day. I took a lot of pain medication that morning for back and leg pain, and had a big glass of wine prior to the ceremony, so that helped.
Though it was kind of like birth in the way that you just sort of zone out and go into your own little world. You get absorbed in the moment of being with your partner, and tend not to notice all the other people there. I don’t remember anything but looking at his face, and his smile, and how he took his finger and tapped it against my wrist very quickly to tell me that his heart was pounding, and then quietly laughing. Everything else is all fuzzy and happy, and that’s what lots of other people report as well so I know it isn’t just me!
That said, we did NOT do the first dance due to both of us having crippling anxiety about dancing in front of people.
The stress of wedding planning and the social anxiety almost got to a point where we were considering eloping the month before, then having the ceremony as though it was a big party with friends and family. We ended up not doing this for time and money constraints, but I still think it’s a good idea. When you elope and then have the ceremony/reception as a party instead, it takes a lot of the pressure off… I’ve known a couple of people who did this and they all reported that it was a really positive experience.
AND ONE MORE THING: you’re right, your love is your love and it’s between you and your partner. However you want to celebrate that should be up to you two and NOT your families. If you want a wedding, have it on your terms. Once you let your family start getting serious input on how you plan the ceremony and reception, it goes to hell pretty quickly. That’s YOUR day - you and your partner - and it’s up to you how you want it to play out. As my sister in law once said, the mothers have three duties at a wedding: show up, shut up and wear beige.