At long last, the big day has arrived! Weeks, months, and perhaps years of planning have culminated in this moment. As the bride, you’re spending hours getting the finishing touches done on your makeup, perfecting your hair and getting into the dress of your dreams. As the groom, you’re spending hours trying to figure out how to tie your bowtie while hoping the aspirin kicks in soon to cure last night’s overindulgences.
Whichever side of the house you fall on, there will be one constant – your nerves! Whether it’s your first wedding or your fifth, your anxiety level will ramp up significantly. This is the day. The big one. Friends and family everywhere, and you’re center-stage. So how do you calm these nerves and enjoy what should be the best day of your life?
Embrace the fear and release your inner performer.
Make no mistake – on this day, you’re putting on a show. All eyes are on you, watching your every move and reaction. So rather than shrink from the moment due to that nagging pit in your stomach, relish this unique opportunity to deliver a memorable experience for you and all your guests. Here are some ways to do exactly that, before and during the event:
1) Have a “Day of You”.
Find a day leading up to the wedding and spoil yourself. What was your favorite candy as a child? Eat a whole bag. Watch your favorite movie. Call the one friend who makes you laugh harder than anyone in the world. Focus exclusively on what makes you happy and dive in, head-first. These exercises will help your mind decompress and release the anxiety that’s been steadily building up.
2) Bottle up your funniest memory.
Most people have that one thing that triggers a hysterical, uncontrollable laugh. Perhaps it’s a scene in a movie. Maybe that time someone smashed a pie in your brother’s face. Or when your best friend slipped on a wet floor in school and her 8 books went flying down the hallway. Find that memory and bottle it up. When you find the anxiety starting to overcome you, release it. It will immediately diffuse the stress and trigger a nervous and healthy laugh.
3) Work the room.
Smile at your guests from across the room individually. Create one-on-one moments. Seeing them smile back at you will immediately lighten your mood. Choose the people you’re most at ease with – not your aunt who hasn’t smiled since 1987.
4) Be demonstrative.
A show of excitement, rather than solemn observance will go a long way towards helping you and your guests remember that this is a wedding, not a funeral. Work within your personality. What kind of gestures make you feel alive? A fist pump? Waving your hands in the air? Dancing and clapping? Twerking? (Ok, let’s not do that). By becoming an entertainer yourself, you bring the crowd to life. In doing so, you’ll immediately feel those nerves melt away while you have the room eating out of your hand.
Yes, this seems fairly obvious. Not breathing will create bigger problems than the minister forgetting your name or your three year old nephew mauling the wedding cake. Nothing will help you relax quite like regulating your breathing, so when you feel the tension build, take a deep breath, hold it for five seconds, then slowly exhale. Repeat often and you’ll find your heartbeat stabilizing and your mood improving as oxygen re-circulates in your brain.
Your wedding day is supposed to be a fun, joyous occasion, so don’t let nerves get in the way of you having the time of your life. By keeping your frame of mind light and easy, you can engage your guests in the revelry, further relaxing you and allowing you to live in the moment. So take a deep breath, laugh, smile, laugh some more, and if all else fails, have someone smash a pie in your brother’s face.