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Nerves at Your Ceremony
Tim Manger
Civil Marriage Celebrant

"...Eat a banana, shrug you shoulders, and remember to smile...

There are a number of reasons why brides and grooms get nervous on their wedding day, and there is a range of ways you can prepare and reduce your tension levels.

The Wait

For most couples, it is in the hour (or so) in the lead-up to their wedding that nerves really develop. Is important to know that nearly every couple suffers from nervous tension prior to their ceremony. It is also important to note that nerves are often mistaken for excitement.

One of the greatest moments for nervous tension at a wedding ceremony, is when the guests are mingling at the chapel, and the groom and groomsmen are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bride. Remember that your guests are also anxious and excited. The collective nervous energy can be quite overwhelming.

The longer the bride takes to arrive at her ceremony, the more nervous energy will develop.

Outpouring of Nervous Energy

The most notable way guests and brides (and sometimes grooms) deal with nerves, is to simply cry. Crying is an excellent way to release nervous tension, as is laughing.

As a Celebrant, Tim often begins a marriage ceremony with a lighthearted introduction, to facilitate the outpouring of laughter (and hence nervous tension). This is a perfectly acceptable way to commence a ceremony, and is often appreciated by guests and bridal party alike.

During the Ceremony

As the marriage ceremony commences, the bride and groom will be facing the Celebrant, with their back to the guests. This is comforting, because it can reduce the incidence of nervous tension, since the couple's focus is no longer on the congregation (which is now physically behind them).

However, at some stage during the ceremony, the couple will turn and face each other. This means that they will be (once again) confronted by all their guests, who are baring witness to this significant occasion.

During this period where the couple faces each other, they will usually utter some words (vows), and may find that their voice cracks, or nothing comes out (at all). Couples may also choose to read personal vows, which is often the point at which nerves reach their peak.

Personalised Vows that Won't Make You Nervous

Since the reading of personalised vows is often the moment that most couples dread, it is important to have a contingency plan. As a Celebrant, Tim's best advice is to either read your vows from a piece of paper, card or device, or to memorise your vows.

If you are planning to read your vows from a piece of paper, then you will need to consider the length of the text, the size of the font, and the colours you are using (eg. simple, bullet pointed, black text on a white background, with large (size 18+) font is optimal).

If you are planning to memorise your personalised vows, then you will need to have previously rehearsed (at least in part), your intended monologue.

As far as nerves are concerned, the better option seems to be memorising, since the added pressure of reading in front of your guests could prove to be overwhelming.

Bananas, Potassium and Relaxation

For many couples, nerves may be difficult to get under control. If this is the case, then turn to simple measures and nerve suppressants such as bananas, or foods that contain potassium.

Apart from getting a good nights rest, some other ideas for dealing with nerves on your wedding day include:

1. Rolling your head gently in a circular motion
2. Shrugging your shoulders and holding (releases nervous energy)
3. Taking some deep breaths and holding (letting the air out slowly)
4. Controlling the speed of your breathing (and heart rate)
5. Focusing (or thinking) about a quiet, peaceful, happy place
6. Smiling (this promotes the release of endorphins)


Ask Tim a Question
Question Answer

How do I deal with Nerves in the lead up to my ceremony?

Related to Ceremony

I suggest any of the following: 1. Rolling your head gently in a circular motion 2. Shrugging your shoulders and holding (releases nervous energy) 3. Taking some deep breaths and holding (letting the air out slowly) 4. Controlling the speed of your breathing (and heart rate) 5. Focusing (or thinking) about a quiet, peaceful, happy place 6. Smiling (this promotes the release of endorphins).

Highly Relevant Answer

Nerves At Your Ceremony Nerves At Your Ceremony
How do I deal with Nerves in the lead up to my ceremony? How do I deal with Nerves in the lead up to my ceremony?
 

Should I still get married if my parnter and I have had a major disagreement in the week leading up to our wedding?

Related to Relationships

Quite often, the pressure and anticipation of an impending wedding ceremony can be overwhelming for couples. It is very easy to mistake frustration, nerves, stress and tension for a partner that appears not to care.

Highly Relevant Answer

Relationship Services Relationship Services
Should I still get married if my parnter and I have had a major disagreement in the week leading up to our wedding? Should I still get married if my parnter and I have had a major disagreement in the week leading up to our wedding?
 

What if I have second thoughts before I walk down the aisle?

Related to Relationships

This is a relatively common issue, and often has more to do with nerves and fear of the day that is about to unfold. If you are seriously having second thoughts, I advise seeking the services of a marriage counsellor.

Highly Relevant Answer

Relationship Services Relationship Services
What if I have second thoughts before I walk down the aisle? What if I have second thoughts before I walk down the aisle?
 
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