Breathe in, Breathe Out: Calming Brides' and Grooms' Nerves
Published: Thursday, Sep. 5th, 2019
We recently worked with a bride that straight up warned us that she might have a panic attack during the wedding ceremony!
Spoiler alert, she was just fine, and the wedding ceremony went off without a hitch! But as anybody who has experience with these matters can attest, nerves are a huge part of the ceremony experience and it’s best to address the problem head on, and find a solution that works for the couple. That way, everyone is relaxed and happy on the big day.
Our first line of advice is the following: Your wedding is going to be an emotional day and there will be plenty of nerves to go around. Once you accept that, you can create a plan to address or accomodate these feelings, because they are natural.
Let’s get started...
As the officiant, there is a lot you can do to help the couple. For starters, arrive early. Spend a few minutes talking with the couple (either together or separately) before the ceremony kicks off. During this conversation, ask how they are doing, how they are feeling, what’s running through their minds. Give them a chance to vent. Check if there is anything they need, and let them know that “we” got this.
Calm, collected, and happy... you got this!
If you happen to be a friend or family member that was asked to officiate (not a professional) it’s important to realize that the couple will still be looking to you for direction. If you demonstrate, and assure them that you do in fact have matters under control, you will be helping since it is one less thing they have to worry about.
Some other things we recommend to help control nerves on the big day are:
1. Before the ceremony, ask the couple to look at each other and take a deep breath, or two. This usually helps to calm them down and “centers” them.
2. This one is pretty standard practice, but make sure that during the ceremony, the couple is facing each other and holding hands. This will have a calming effect. However, if that makes them more nervous, it is okay to have them look at the officiant, while still officially facing each other. Find what works...
Drawing strength and assurance from eachother...
3. The officiant should always be the ceremony director, meaning the officiant should be giving cues to the couple. For instance, if/when it’s time for the couple to move (e.g. for a sand ceremony) it’s your job to let them know. In addition, the officiant should be asking for the rings when he/she needs them; the officiant should have the vows ready to hand to the couple if they are going to be reading vows to each other; etc. The couple should not have to worry about memorizing or remembering anything, that’s your job as the officiant!
4. If you know that the couple is going to be nervous or emotional, start the ceremony with something light hearted. Make sure that you have a reading or quote ready that will make them smile and laugh. This will reduce the nervousness.
If this is your first time officiating, you might also be nervous… just remember hide your nervousness. You need to be on point so that you can calm the couple and be in control of the ceremony so that the couple and guests can just kick back and enjoy it.
Want help with that? We’ve got that covered in this blog post here!
And if you need more general advice, we’ve got lots of great tools available here on our website. We’ve also got our popular book that covers planning and officiating wedding ceremonies available on our store. Click here to grab yourself a copy!