Over the last 4 years I have taken multiple tests to help me better understand how to be my truest self. The aim was to try and better align myself to couples – clients who have similarities with me, because I’m a huge believer that if there is affinity, it’s so much easier for you to make a decision between a planner or another. One thing I didn’t anticipate at the time was how much I resisted the results of those tests.
Turns out, I’m an extroverted introvert.
Now, if you have had the chance to meet me, you’d have probably realised I’m not shy or quiet. Far from it! In school I would always try to be at the very back of the class, but I’d regularly get in trouble for being outspoken and loud, which, you guessed it… would land me the classroom’s prime spot for becoming a teacher’s target – the front seat. And boy, did I hate that! I liked my own space, I enjoyed solitary recreation, like journaling and reading, but I was okay with mingling with others as long as it was on my own terms.
The more I read descriptions of extroverted introverts, the more I found myself reflected in those attributes. Essentially we are people who may actively choose to be around others (although, we’d much prefer a quiet night in) but who feel drained after social activities.
So that’s why I loved planning my wedding, but found the idea of having loads of people around me absolutely inconceivable! [We still ended up with 135 guests, and that was a compromise to make both me, and my extrovert husband, happy!].
If, like me, you’re an introvert, or an extroverted introvert, I want you to know that I get you. I really do.
I get that feeling of not wanting a big wedding and not knowing how to explain to your parents that no, you don’t want to invite to your wedding that huge list of guests you barely know.
I do get why just the thought of walking around tables or doing a greeting line makes you feel like running in the opposite direction [elopement anyone?!].
And if you are dreading being at the centre of attention for an entire day, I do know exactly what that feels like, because as I’ve said earlier, I’m okay with being at the centre of attention, as long as it’s on my own terms and as and when I feel like it – for someone who feels drained when mixing in large group, that was quite everything I wanted!
If this is how you feel, you may find these simple suggestions to help you plan a joyful wedding day useful. I don’t expect all of them to work for you, but as a wedding planner we get joy from seeing our couples having the best day ever, so I just want to validate the feelings you’ve probably had about doing things differently, even if that’s totally opposite to what people expect of you:
- The only people that should decide who’s invited is YOU:
Socialising even with the people you know best can be draining; just imagine how exhausting it would feel to spend a day surrounded by 2nd cousins you’ve seen once in your life, family acquaintances, or parents’ friends you have no connection with! It is okay to want to keep mum and dad happy, but it’s the one day you need to be relaxed and happy, so be firm on that guest list and don’t cave in if it doesn’t feel right.
- Stick to a reasonable number of guests that doesn’t fill you with anxiety:
If being surrounded by too many people makes you feel anxious, stick to a reasonable number of carefully selected guests. There is no right or wrong number of guests you should stick to. The only right answer here is: what would make you feel most comfortable on that day?
- Traditions are meant to be broken:
Just because in your culture people do receiving lines, it doesn’t mean you have to have one too. There is zero pressure to do that. Personally I’d rather float around during the aperitif or in between courses during dinner, than undergo such a formal ritual of greeting guests one by one and have to entertain conversation with some of the guests I might have not seen in forever.
- Carve out some alone time for you and your other half:
Make sure you’ve set aside some time between the ceremony and dinner for quiet couple shots without anyone else around you. As difficult as it is to be in front of the camera, believe me, for introverts that quiet ½ hour is a chance to recharge your energy and be in the moment.
- Make sure one of your BMs / groomsmen or trusted friends have your back:
If you find yourself overwhelmed at any point, make sure you have a bridesmaid or a trusted friend ready to “extract” you from obnoxious guests who are draining your energy with too much chit chatting, or suggest a powder room pit stop when they notice that you’re getting quieter and quieter. I’ve seen a friend refusing to leave the dinner table for the whole night at her wedding once, and would never want that to happen to anyone else!
- You don’t have to be the centre of attention:
If the idea of being at the centre of attention freaks you out, make a conscious decision to reduce to the bare minimum any situations that would put the spotlight even more on you. And please, just remember that while it’s your wedding and naturally you’ll be centre stage, you truly don’t have to constantly perform for others! If a first dance isn’t for you, so be it – no first dance. Let your DJ / Band and planner know and tell some of your friends and family, so that there is no pressure for you to open the floor with a dance. If you’re dreading the cutting of the cake moment, then don’t do it!
- Keep bridal preparation intimate:
When I got married I asked that no one would come to the house on the morning of the wedding, with the exception of my close family and my closest friend. And yet, as soon as I came out of the bedroom, I found the house full of people. In the end it was okay, but the stress led to me forgetting my way to the ceremony hall. We had a trail of guests’ cars relying on us to guide them to the ceremony, while I made the driver drive around looking for the place for ages [it wasn’t the driver’s fault… I completely messed up there, but be kind, I wasn’t a planner at the time!]. So be strict if you think that having too many people there with you is going to stress you out. Tell the friends you want there in advance, and warn the family that you don’t want anyone else there. If needed tell everyone that you may be getting ready somewhere else and you’ll decide a few days before, so the best thing is for them to head straight to the ceremony.
MORE THAN ANYTHING: Remember this is a celebration of YOUR LOVE, not a people pleasing party!
You don’t have to change yourself to make others happy. If there is a day when you should be yourself, feeling relaxed, free and joyous, this is it! Make choices that make you feel happy and excited; don’t stress about other people’s opinion. Listen to your parents’ desire, but don’t feel under pressure to do something that will make you feel anxious or that will drain your energy.
I hope these tips will help you have a day that feels authentic and free.
Happy World Introvert Day!