Blog

News and musings about my life as a civil celebrant
Wedding day Jitters?
Wedding day Jitters?

17 August 2020

Who isn’t going to get some wedding day jitters? Even these days, when you might only be allowed a couple of dozen other (socially-distanced) participants.

Adrenalin is good, after all. And let’s be honest: people do survive the experience, and some even thrive.

Of course, not everyone will enjoy the experience.

A few may suffer from near-paralysis, mood-swings, depression and plain despair.

So let’s see if I can alleviate things for you.

Why the nerves?

Jitters often surface because you’re unsure of your role and what will happen. You may also fear what might happen.

To counteract that, work with reliable suppliers, and get as far ahead as you reasonably can. Make sure you reconfirm in good time. All this will go a long way toward calming you on the day.

General remarks

  • Be prepared for your role. Ensure in advance that you understand expectations.
  • Arrive in good time on the day – allowing for traffic delays and the like.
  • Try and be as relaxed as possible. If things go wrong – and small things will – they can often be remedied with a cool head and a dose of goodwill. Most people will be understanding, helpful, supportive and good-humoured at a wedding. They have come to participate in a great day, and will want it to succeed as much as you do.
  • If you are getting stressed, though, stop and take three or four deep breaths and get back in control.
  • Don’t get tanked up on alcohol (well, not until you have completed your particular role!).

 Parents

If the bride’s father is making a speech, the best advice is that it should be short and simple. He can read from a card, if necessary (although preferably not verbatim). His main task is to smile and speak slowly and clearly.

Otherwise, parents’ participation in the ceremony may include walking the bride up the aisle, perhaps, but there will be nothing unexpected or trying. Moreover, the celebrant will be in charge, and can guide you.

The money’s been spent – there’s nothing more you can do. Don’t criticise or fault-find. Relax and enjoy the special day!

Best Man

This role differs enormously from ceremony to ceremony. It usually involves holding and handing over the wedding ring, when requested. A good tip is to put the ring on your little finger until needed – but not to put it over your knuckle!

Your job may entail guiding the groom at every stage; it may even involve being a kind of master-of-ceremonies and photo-shoot organiser.

It will surely involve giving a speech. Keep it clear, decent and and avoid inadvertently excluding people.

 Ushers, bridesmaids etc.

Possibly, not really relevant Post-Covid, but worth a mention.

In most cases, you have been given an honorary position, so you have a limited (but important) role. The bridesmaids are there to support the bride and – to be honest – to look pretty. The ushers will need to help get people in to (and possibly out of) the ceremony venue. There may be other jobs later, but there is no need to be nervous. Smart, punctual and charming are the watchwords here. Enjoy.

Groom

The groom’s job is to remember the ring, turn up early and welcome people as they arrive (which should be enjoyable, as almost everybody will greet you with a big smile – and being nervous isn’t going to help you socialise!).

You don’t have to do much at the ceremony – the celebrant will prompt you. You will have to put the ring on the bride’s finger and you may need to recite the vows. (You can learn them off by heart, but much less stressful would be to use notes or read them from a 3 x 5 card – or even repeat them after the celebrant.)

The ceremony will whizz past and then it’s normally a question of signing the register (not too arduous!), the photos and eventually cutting the cake.

The only thing I have not yet mentioned is your speech. Make sure you thank relevant people (such as the bride’s parents) and it’s appropriate to say how much you love your bride!

Bride

Ordinarily, the bride shows up just a few minutes before or after the official start time. Her job is to be admired, – a beautiful dress and a lovely smile will go far. Sure, she will be the centre of attention, but she will be on a cloud of goodwill, so she needn’t be apprehensive.

Just remember that everybody is rooting for you all, and thousands of people have done what you are doing and survived. Some have even rather enjoyed themselves!

For any further help, let’s have a chat!

Photo: Boram Kim (Unsplash)

Author:

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe. Telephone me now on +44 (0)7931 538487 or contact me directly by e-mail.

Archives
Discuss Your Special Ceremony