Weddings For Anxious Introverts

A few weeks ago we were talking with friends who got married about a year ago. The topic moved to weddings, and the former groom said, “You won’t have time to be nervous. It all just goes by so quickly.”

“You don’t get it,” I replied. “When I think about the wedding itself I actually start to feel panicky, just sitting here.”

It’s true. I think I have a touch more anxiety than the usual pre-wedding jitters. Mr. Dragon is the same way. Neither of us can really start thinking about what it’s going to be like to walk down the aisle/wait at the front without having to shut it down immediately because we start feeling terror.

I really am excited about our wedding, as is Mr. Dragon. It’s just that as the days tick by, everything is becoming a lot more real instead of that nice, fuzzy abstract image of wedded bliss.

It’s not that we don’t want to get married, it’s just that there are going to be SO MANY PEOPLE staring at me. At least, that’s my problem. Mr. Dragon gets nervous when he’s stuck in a situation he can’t gracefully duck out of, and one can’t really gracefully duck out of a wedding when one is the groom. And now I’m at the point where I’m anxious about what to do if he faints from anxiety and we’re stuck in an anxiety cycle.

Another problem for me? I’m an introvert. I like small groups, quiet get-togethers, controlled scenes where I’m not bombarded by fifty people trying to hug me, talk to me, or otherwise engage with me. How the heck do introverts tackle weddings?!

I’m afraid that, with all the people to see and things to do before the wedding—and during the wedding—that I’m going to melt down into a puddle of leave-me-alone and hyperventilate. I’m really hoping that blissful bride feeling takes over before that can happen.

So, hive, can you help me out? Are there any fellow panicked people/introverts out there who successfully made it through their own wedding without fainting or hiding in the bathroom? I’m willing to entertain any and all coping mechanisms. Even writing this entry has me feeling a bit panicked!


Mrs. Dragon

Sioux Lookout/Brockville, ON
Wedding Date:
September 2012
Engagement Photos: The Not Quite Perfect Ones
Gallery of the Day
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  1. Member
    AstoriaK 1562 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:19 am

    I’m an introvert, too so I can definitely relate. I’m lucky to be marrying an extrovert and I’ve asked him to try to take the spotlight off of me a bit. The worst was my bridal shower. My mother, MIL, and sister planned for me to arrive later than all of the other guests and I walked into a room with everyone staring at me. That is my worst nightmare. I went straight to the mimosa pitcher to help me deal or I would’ve hyperventilated.

  2. Member
    Calybug 271 posts, Helper bee @ 7:21 am

    I completely understand how you feel. The FI and I both do not like being the center of attention. I have a feeling that we both may be taking double-doses of our anxiety meds on our wedding day! LOL

  3. Member
    ambereyez 225 posts, Helper bee @ 7:24 am

    oooooo! I totally want to see replies to this! I too am an introvert and prone to anxiousness! I like small groups of people i’m already comfortable with so I can be myself, I hate awkward conversations with strangers and I CANT dance! UGH!

    The icing on the cake…MY FI is an extrovert and so is most of his entire family LOL…why! My wedding day is already giving me stress headaches…. anticipating responses to this topic :)

  4. Member
    Mathis13 242 posts, Helper bee @ 7:35 am

    I agree with @ambereyez. I definitely need to see replies and thank you for this post! I wanted a low-key destination wedding with 10-15 people as I am a privater person. We are now having a 100+ affair which I know is “small” to many standards, but to me I might as well be in an arena on that day. My FI is also an extrovert and even wants to do choreographed dancing. Bless his heart he is having to do a lot of compromising because I just can’t. Lol.

  5. Member
    Ms Rocky Point 474 posts, Helper bee @ 7:44 am

    So, I haven’t been to my wedding yet… but I am very worried about needing some alone time because I HATE when everyone is staring at me, touching me, etc. I have informed my MOH, FI, and DOC of this, and all will be keeping an eye out. If i need a minute, they will approach me and need to see me about something stupid “real quick” so that I can step away from whatever is going on, without appearing rude. Also, my wedding reception is at my dad’s house. One of the upstairs bedrooms will be my getaway if I really need a minute. There is a cute doorhanger on the door that says “bride only” and there will be snacks and a cooler with bottled water in there for me. I anticipate I will need 2 visits there throughout the night :)
    Also, to help with anxiety as well as tie constraints, FI and I are to hold hands while visiting tables, AND DO NOT LET GO, per our DOC. this will help with fear/discomfort/etc, and keep things moving.

    So I would suggest discussing with your FI and your respective besties about a game plan/secret signal/etc…..

  6. Member
    katebydesign 3989 posts, Honey bee @ 7:44 am

    I suffer from serious anxiety. I lost 20 pounds without exercising or dieting before the wedding because even 6 months prior to the wedding I felt physically SICK with worry about everyone staring at me.
    I was exempt from public speaking in high school because every time I did it I would throw up!
    Needless to say, a part of me almost feared my wedding day. I got a prescription for Ativan to take it the day-of the wedding if need be.
    But let me tell you. All of the worry was for naught. There wasn’t an ounce of fear the morning, afternoon, or night of my wedding. Everyone always told me it was going to be that way but I didn’t believe them. I took every precautionary measure but didn’t need any of them.
    Trust me, when the day comes, all of that worry will fade away. You both will do great.

  7. Member
    Miss Feather 585 posts, Busy bee @ 7:50 am

    my friend was the exact same way, she said the worse part was when everyone stood up for the brides entrance she said it was really intense, but as soon as she saw her fiancee she felt totally fine so dont worry it may be nerve wracking at first but you will do fine :)

  8. Member
    gardendahlia 136 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:54 am

    I am also an introvert–if I can, I avoid large social situations at all costs. I prefer one-on-one or small group interactions. That said, I had no trouble at my 100-person wedding. What made it really fun (and not anxiety-producing at all) is that this is one of the few situations where all of your closest friends and family are there. At my wedding, I knew everyone really well, so my anxiety decreased. I wasn’t trying to make friends or impress anyone.

    Also, I avoided all of the “look at me” kinds of moments. I had a short aisle, we only did one refrain of a song as our first dance, and we didn’t do any family dances (mother/son, father/daughter). We also skipped the garter and the bouquet toss. The only moments that all eyes were really on me were during the ceremony (during which I forgot about everyone but my husband) and during the cake cutting. This really helped me!

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    PacNWbride, Guest @ 7:58 am

    @Ms Rocky Point: What a great idea to have a little “hide-out” set up for you to take a few minutes and compose. I also think that making a plan before with the importants (MOH, BM(s), DOC, etc) that know a signal or whatever that you need to skedaddle is so smart. Way to think!

  10. Member
    ambereyez 225 posts, Helper bee @ 7:59 am

    @gardendahlia: great advice I’m also skipping the extra dances turns out FMIL can’t dance either (win!) so FI and i figured it would look bad if I danced with my dad and he didn’t dance with his mom so we nixed those…

    I guess my biggest fear is being the center of attention I hate when people make a fuss over me the idea of people trying to get pics, asking questions, and wanting my attention

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Katie, Guest @ 8:00 am

    I am jealous of your 50 person problem – I had 200 faces staring at me! I got SO nervous before the rehearsal that I felt like I was going to throw up…I just concentrated on deep breaths and it got me through. The day of the wedding, I was a disaster – gave myself stomach problems! Breathing deeply was not an option (dress was a little tight – I am a stress eater!), so I just tried to remind myself to stay mindful of me and Ryan. Practicing mindfulness kept my mind off all of the other people there. Honestly though, the shot of tequila before leaving my house probably helped a little, too.

  12. Member
    steph01924 308 posts, Helper bee @ 8:04 am

    I get how you feel. I don’t enjoy being the center of attention, and I’m also not the most demonstrative person in public. Just imagining reciting my vows in front of everyone makes me feel squicky. My fiance is a total extrovert himself, so I plan on letting him take lead during certain things throughout the day. I’m sure I’ll get through it…just with a red, blushing face and an awkward smile.

  13. Member
    mdglass 85 posts, Worker bee @ 8:16 am

    This is exactly why I decided from the very beginning that we were NOT writing our own vows. Standing up there with everyone staring at me is bad enough, the thought of having to say more than the minimum just made me a wreck. I will definitely have a plan to be able to hide away for a few minutes when I need it during the reception.

  14. Member
    Dela2012 133 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:22 am

    What if you embrace the jewish custom of Yichud (alone time together right after the ceremony)? That will give you a little break and re-centering time.

  15. Member
    music11 74 posts, Worker bee @ 8:41 am

    I’m a bit of an introvert, but FI is a total extrovert, so I think we’ll balance each other at the wedding.

  16. Member
    priyathescientist 1514 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:44 am

    Is it possible that you can embrace the moment? This is a day where everybody is showing support for your union and are playing happy, encouraging roles? Don’t look at them as an audience, but as the most amazing support group!

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Future Canadian, Guest @ 8:47 am

    I really like mdglass’s suggestion: we didn’t write overly personal vows for that very reason. It was just too much for me to handle thinking of spilling my heart out in front of everyone.
    My introversion was a huge thing for me as well – at big parties I always have to leave and have a breather by myself. We made sure to schedule some more “just us” pictures between ceremony and reception to have some alone time.
    Also, I made sure that I had ZERO wedding tasks to do the day of – just get ready and show up – so I didn’t have the weight of details increasing my anxiety.
    And, make sure you eat! Everything is harder to handle if you’re hungry.
    Overall, give yourself over to the happiness you will inevitably be feeling. It sounds pollyanna, but the fact that everyone there feels only the most profound joy for the couple makes the big group more bearable.

  18. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 9:11 am

    @AstoriaKatie: Oh, jeez. I’m really happy I’m not having any showers!
    @Mathis13: I think choreographed dancing would probably legit make me throw up. I think we’re gonna high-school shuffle our way through ours…
    @Ms Rocky Point: Great ideas! Mr. D and I have already established that one does not go anywhere without the other knowing, so we won’t lose sight of one another.
    @KateByDesign: I really hope I can come back here post-wedding and repeat all of that!!

  19. Member
    anemonie 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:20 am

    I admit, although I’m looking forward to marrying my FI very much, I am a little bit dreading the walk down the aisle. I used to day dream about eloping just because I can’t imagine walking slowly down a pathway while everyone STARES at me. Of course, that’s now how plans have unfolded, but at least we’re still keeping it small.

    Where the heck am I supposed to look? Do I talk to people or pretend there’s a glass wall between us? What if I haven’t had enough practice walking in heels with a poofy crinoline and can’t walk gracefully or have to keep my eyes glued to the ground? What if I trip on the stairs on the way in and fall on my face? And don’t even get me started about how I feel dancing with my groom, who’s a foot taller than me and like me, cannot dance, while people stare at us and take photos.

  20. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 9:32 am

    @gardendahlia: Mr. D really wants to do the garter/bouquet thing so we’re on for that, but I’m hoping I’ll be a bit more chilled out by then, once the hard part is over.
    @Katie: A shot of tequila sounds like an excellent coping mechanism!!
    @priyathescientist: Oh, they definitely are! But I’m still scared of them. 😛
    @Future Canadian: We’re actually doing our own vows, which is kind of confusing and hard for people to believe, but I’m hoping it all works out for the best.

  21. Member
    coasterkim 61 posts, Worker bee @ 9:55 am

    I consider myself an introvert and hated the thought of everyone’s eyes on me…but the blissful, happy bride came through and I totally enjoyed our wedding day! The only awkward part for me was the special dances. I didn’t enjoy those too much, but the rest of it was amazing! I think you’ll do fine….just concentrate on each other and smile!

  22. msfairy Member
    msfairy 976 posts, Busy bee @ 9:58 am

    Oh no, good luck sweetie!! I hope you feel calm and peaceful during the walk down the aisle!

  23. hyena Member
    hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:13 am

    OMG yes! I was terrified that I was going to have a panic attack and have to dash out of my own ceremony just because so many people would be looking at me! But I survived, and other than having to take several minutes to focus solely on my breathing at the beginning of the ceremony, I was okay. But Mr. H held my hand and let me lean on him, and as soon as we were actually facing each other and saying our vows, all my nerves went away completely. Try to focus on each other and not on everyone else. You’ll be okay!

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Allison, Guest @ 10:17 am

    Oh girl. I feel your pain! I have to sometimes take medicine while ordering things. Even the simple things like my hair flower…. it starts my heart racing and getting tight. I dont know why!!! I am so excited to get married. I dont want to take medicine on our day so I have been going to yoga and acupuncture to help me. They are kind of working, but what brings on the worst panic attacks is thinking of the walk and the first dance. I hate all eyes on me, so that is a problem. Also my nightmares about not fitting into my dress usually wakes me up with an attack. My sister told me to have a mimosa before hand… haha. If you find a way to calm down, let me know!!
    Good Luck!

  25. mswizard Member
    mswizard 554 posts, Busy bee @ 10:24 am

    Oh gosh, I am feeling the exact same way (and my wedding is Saturday, so it’s an immediate concern now, haha). I never like being the center of attention with all eyes on me for too long because I just don’t know what to do with myself. I am just trying to remind myself that the people surrounding me that day are people who love me and know me inside and out, so they are not expecting me to “act” a certain way — they know me, and they aren’t going to be analyzing and scrutinizing my every move, because even though I’m *The Bride*, it’s still just me in that big white dress.

  26. Member
    dragonlover 578 posts, Busy bee @ 11:02 am

    I’m not quite an introvert, but i get “Big crowd” syndrome. I do not like feeling I’m the center of attention in a crowd –

    FH is the opposite. He thrives on spotlight.

    He will be doing our thank you speech.

    Also – we’re not sitting at a traditional head table. We’re doing a sweetheart table – and god no, not in the middle of things, off to the side. That way we, the newly weds, can eat in peace without feeling stared at (or I won’t eat at all).

    I figure if they want/need us for something, its not hard to find me in the all-white dress. We don’t need to be seated at the center table of a three-ring circus to be found.

  27. Member
    pinkwaterlily 35 posts, Newbee @ 11:05 am

    As an introvert who got married a little over a year ago, I am here to tell you that it will be OK! I stressed out a lot over being the center of attention and feeling so uncomfortable during the day, but it turned out all that worrying is for naught.
    As a bride, you are always met with so much love and affection on your wedding day that it overshadows any anxiety you might normally feel during social situations. Everyone is basically there to cater to you, and to congratulate you, and to smile at you — not to judge you or expect something out of you.
    Some things that helped:
    – We did not write out own vows, because I couldn’t imagine standing up in front of everyone and gushing about my husband-to-be out loud. I just focused on my FI’s face during the ceremony, and was able to stay calm that way.
    – I had a drink at the beginning of the cocktail hour which had a stronger-than-usual effect since I didn’t have much to eat that day. That *really* helped to calm my nerves, and made me a lot more social. I wasn’t sloshed during the reception or anything, but having a slight buzz definitely helped to take the edge off.
    – We did not do a big speech to welcome out guests at the beginning of the reception. DH said some sweet words about us being finally married, and I just said “thank you all for coming!” and raised my glass of champagne in a toast. Short and sweet!
    – I had one close friend be my go-to person if I needed to vent about something or just take a break. She knows my personality well, and was always there to keep me company if I needed to leave the a few minutes and relax. It made it look less weird than if I had just left the room by myself to take a breather.

    All in all, despite my extraordinary capacity to worry and stress out about social situations, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I handled my wedding day. It really does go by much faster than you ever expect; so many things happen in such a short span of time that you don’t even have the chance to stress out about things.

  28. Member
    Bias 98 posts, Worker bee @ 11:29 am

    Hi Miss D, I’m really enjoying your posts and this is a great topic. I got married last month and I have to say the single biggest fear was being the centre of attention. I kept saying to my fiancé that I need to get through three things: 1) our vows (and the whole ceremony), 2) our speech, and 3) our first dance. All three were killing me to imagine . . . although I am comfortable with teaching (my part-time work), I am in a controlled role at the front of the classroom, not bearing my heart for all to see at my wedding!

    The night before the big day, I spent some time journaling which was great to just come back into myself after so many visits with family. In the morning, I spent 15 minutes doing yoga/stretches, which also helped me to assert that “today is for me,” and I think the day really got off on the right foot. I became, magically, that blissful bride. Nothing could interfere with our wonderful day. The ceremony was easy-peasy (there’s actually a great photo of me laughing at how ridiculous it was to hold microphones while we said our vows), and I almost didn’t care about our speech and dance after that. The day is just so busy and it does go by quickly, but like others have said – you are truly surrounded by love and comfort from your friends and family that have come to support you. Sure, the day is about you, but it wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be! I can honestly say I have never felt as much bliss as I did on my wedding day and that’s an awesome thing to remember! As I have come to realize, all your planning is just that – planning. The day of will be a new day, and it will be just spectacular.

  29. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 11:38 am

    I definitely felt some fear having so many people watching us the. whole. day. but, I remembered that everyone was there to support us. With that in mind, it made things so much more bearable throughout the day. Good luck staying calm, and remember that everyone there loves you :)

  30. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 11:45 am

    You guys are all so helpful and reassuring! Thank you!!

    @Allison: Thinking about the walk is a really scary thing for me. I’ve made it down the aisle at other people’s weddings with a small amount of terror before, but in all of the photos I’m kinda shoulders-up, gritted teeth. Add in the fact that I’m likely going to be a big ball of emotions… yikes.
    @Miss Wizard: Good point Miss Wiz — and good luck! :)
    @Bias: I’ve seen quite a few brides get into that state where nothing can bug them so I really hope that magic takes over for me!

  31. Member
    Future MrsB 865 posts, Busy bee @ 12:10 pm

    @anemonie: Don’t worry about the aisle. Just look at your FI and you’ll be at the end before you know it. All I remember from mine was searching for his face to see his reaction, and then it felt like a second later I was there next to him. I don’t think I looked at anything other than him. No one will expect you to acknowledge them. If you happen to look at someone else, just smile.

  32. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs.Farmer, Guest @ 1:36 pm

    I was the exact same way when I got married last year! A couple months before the wedding I felt so anxious about our ceremony and standing up in front of everyone. The “What if’s” were starting to take over. My Aunt is a homeopath and recommended I get some “rescue remedy” drops at Whole Foods. They are basically a natural stress relief (liquid drops that are made of all natural stress relief’s like flowers etc.) You put a couple drops under your tounge and it helps ease any anxiety, stress you’re feeling. It totally helped and I was fine the day of my wedding. Once I saw my soon to be husband standing there, I focused soley on him and made it through. Best day of my life! Don’t worry!

  33. Member
    repeart 8 posts, Newbee @ 2:45 pm

    This post describes my feelings exactly — I’m so glad I’m not the only person out there feeling like this!

    Thank you for sharing <3

  34. Member
    HummusGal 178 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:56 pm

    Thanks for this post, I loved reading all of the responses… and may refer back to it closer to the big day for me :) Good luck ladies!

    PS – @Mrs.Farmer: Totally going to look into that Whole Foods remedy!! Thanks for sharing.

  35. Member
    Lakeside003 1586 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:46 am

    I’m so nervous just to be a guest at a wedding… my SO is a groomsman and the bride is his cousin, groom is his best friend. I’m SO anxious to go to the wedding and it’s today! They have a guest list of nearly 150 and I know about 3 people total… I’m super nervous because the bride changed her mind from letting SO’s sit with the bridal party for the reception and also the ride to the reception, so now I have to drive over an hour away, show up to a large wedding, not know anyone, sit by strangers, wait 3.5 hours for the reception (with no where to go since it’s out in the middle of the country) Drive ANOTHER hour to the reception alone, and have no clue who I’m supposed to sit by for the dinner. It’s utterly terrifying for me and it makes me tear up and have a panic attack thinking about being alone in a crowd of strangers… Idk how I’m going to deal… The groom said it’s ok if I just go to the reception dance but then I feel bad for not attending the wedding and having that memory. It’s not that I don’t want to see the ceremony, it’s just that I’m horribly terrified and afraid I’m going to have a panic attack around strangers and have no where to go and no one to talk to!

  36. Member
    sweetbee29 525 posts, Busy bee @ 5:44 am

    @ crisy- I probably wouldn’t show up. If they say anything about you RSVPing yes and not showing, I would let them know that you committed based on the prior info that you would be driving in and sitting with your S.O. For me, attending wouldn’t be worth a panic attack

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