For many brides, becoming engaged means an exciting year of wedding planning and parties held in their honor. This is the year they get to shine and let their family and friends shower them with love and attention. For some, what could be better? Others shudder at the thought of being front-row-center during this very significant time in their lives.
There is nothing wrong with being an introvert, and especially nothing wrong with being an introverted bride. As an extremely introverted middle child of three girls and rather quiet, shy person within a very large extended family, I decided to face head-on the parties and celebrations that awaited me during my year of engagement. One significant event was my family’s wedding shower. This was to be the ultimate shower, complete with both sides of my parents’ siblings, cousins, nieces, etc, as well as my bridesmaids and friends (we’re talking 50+ attendees…might as well have been a mini-wedding!).
I decided I could either cower in fear of the prospect of being in front of all those people, awkwardly opening gifts and meekly expressing my gratitude, or I could let loose and enjoy every moment of the special day that I would only get to experience once in a lifetime.
I accepted the challenge and chose the latter. Most importantly, I did not want to disappoint my family and friends that cared so much about me to take the time, effort, and money to be there for me. In return, I chose to thoroughly enjoy myself and put my happiness on full display.
Here are my tips to conquer the butterflies and bring on the merriment at your wedding shower:
- Relax. Take a deep breath before entering a crowded room of your nearest and dearest and try to focus on engaging in conversation with as many of those present as possible. Think of a few ice-breaker questions ahead of time and put your relatives and friends on the spot with “how’s the house hunt going?” or “congrats on your new job, how are you liking it?” and one to keep them chatty, “Tell me about your recent vacation! What were your favorite places?” The more prepared you are, the more pressure can be taken off your shoulders and flow onto those who really relish in sharing the latest goings on in their lives…leaving you to sit back, listen, and enjoy.
- Surround yourself with #trusted advisers. Lean on those you are closest with and feel most comfortable around to help you navigate the awkward small talk. Opening gifts in front of millions – er, I mean 50 guests? Enlist the help of a sister or your maid of honor to sit with you and assist in ripping off wrapping paper, jotting down names of the gifters, and pitching endless mounds of tissue.
- Speak loudly and clearly from the start. Everyone there is wanting to hear what you have to say. This is your time to make your mark – so take advantage! Begin the event with intention by responding clearly and deliberately to any questions thrown your way. Remember all your guests are interested in your response and you are not boring anyone with the story of how you and your #S.O. met. Guests at wedding showers love this stuff! Delight your audience by being yourself.
- Need a moment? It’s okay! Excuse yourself for a quick bathroom trip and take a few minutes to surround yourself in quiet alone time. Any good introvert knows that crowds and socializing are the fastest way to deplete your energy. Sneak in a few moments alone to re-energize and collect your thoughts so you can continue to enjoy the party fully from beginning to end.
Always keep in mind the purpose behind these wedding events – your loved ones are there because they want to be. They want to shower you with gifts to help you and your S.O start your lives together. Your guests want to be there for you. Enjoy every minute of being #front-row-center. It’s right where you deserve to be!