Wedding planning can be a stressful time, there's no doubt about that. What, with all the to-do lists and budgets and family requests and...I'm sure you're no stranger to it all, especially if you've been on this path for a few months.
And then there's the actual wedding day to think about. You're excited and nervous all at once. You look forward to the celebration with all your friends and family, but you might also feel anxious about some of the details, like giving a toast, dancing with your partner, or posing for photos.
What if you trip or mess up your speech or blink in the photos?
First, take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Then read on to find our top tips on how to nix those wedding day nerves and rock your big day like the boss bride you are.
Saying "I do."
I love this quote by psychologist Laurie Helgoe: "Your big day doesn't have to be a show that's choreographed by our culture; it should be choreographed by you."
It's easy to get hung up on the details when you feel like the details are dictated by the guests sitting in the chairs along the aisle. Am I doing it right? might go through your head, but here's the thing - there is no right way to exchange vows.
Your vow ceremony is a personal moment and you don't have to worry about anyone in the audience. It's about you and your partner. Focus on him and recite the words you've either written or the ones you're repeating after the officiant.
When you have that tunnel vision, the rest of the world fades away. Only love remains. And isn't that the most important thing?
Making a Toast
Three things you can do to ace your wedding speech:
1. Practice. Practice. Practice. The more you rehearse your speech, the more confident you'll feel when it's time to actually give it.
2. Envision the moment. As your wedding gets closer, take a few moments each day to envision yourself giving your toast. See it going exactly how you want it to go. Feel the confidence.
Research shows that visualization can actually increase performance and help one attain one's goals.
Dr. Frank Niles says, "According to research, using brain imagery, visualization works because neurons in our brains, those electrically excitable cells that transmit information, interpret imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to 'perform' the movement. This creates a new neural pathway — clusters of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors — that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined. All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity, yet it achieves a similar result."
3. Fake it till you make it. Did you know that you can use a simple "power pose" before your wedding to boost your confidence. Even if you don't feel confident in the moment, stand with your hands on your hips, feet hip width apart, chin up. Try it for at least 30 seconds and see how you feel. Studies show that if you act more confident, you'll feel more confident.
Striking a Pose
One thing I think most people can agree on is that standing in front of a camera can be frightening. How do I pose? Where do I look? Somebody help me!
Like with most situations in this article, one of the best things you can do to calm your nerves is practice. Take selfies, find your best angles, play with expressions.
If you've hired a professional photographer, set up a bonding or engagement session so you can get to know your photographer and practice in front of the camera. Plus, a professional can help guide you through poses and recommend which ones are best for you and your crew.
If you're interested in learning how to pose, read this article by Kat of Rock N Roll Bride.
It's your first dance as a married couple, the spotlight's on you, there's no one else on the dance floor. Eek!
No need to freak! A few dance lessons should do the trick. Even if you're just doing a slow dance, you can pop in a twirl here, a dip there and really wow the crowd.
And remember, you don't have to follow tradition - your wedding should be choreographed by you, and that includes actual choreography! If you don't want to dance to a whole song, cut it short or invite others to join you on the floor half way through.
Most importantly, no matter what happens, it's only a moment in time and often our biggest fears never come to pass. And if they do, they are WAY less scary than we imagined.