Saying your wedding vows in public

saying your wedding vows in public
saying your wedding vows in public

The cake is in the oven. The flowers are in place at the venue. You’ve mastered your sky-high heels and your mother is putting the final touches on your hair. As you think about the next steps, the walk down the aisle and the recital of vows, that sickening feeling slinks back into your stomach.

You’re marrying your best friend in a room full of people who love and support you. So why can’t you shake the stage fright?

You’re not alone. A lot of people suffer from stage fright, but add to the stage an intent audience and personal vows declaring your commitment to the one you love the most.

Dealing with all that pressure should certify brides and grooms as superheroes! Much like the rest of your wedding day, with a little preparation, you can make it look effortless.

Master the Moment

Does the thought of dozens of eyes trained on you make your throat catch? Take a deep breath. No, really! Sometimes a deep breath can help you regain your composure.

With a pause allowing for a solid, clear start, you may find yourself gaining confidence by the word. Without giving yourself a beat, you might not be able to understand the words that tumble out of your mouth.

If you’re downright terrified, consider attending a public speaking class. Nothing solves a problem like tackling it head on, right? A direct approach will allow you to practice calming your nerves in front of an actual group.

If a nearby community college doesn’t offer public speaking classes, try to squeeze in a weekend trip to attend a seminar such as Fearless Presentations. Who knows–you may even meet some fellow frightened brides!

Sometimes you just get a case of the jitters. The easiest way to nip those nerves in the bud is–you guessed it–practice. Once you’ve got your vows down on paper, make a habit of reading them out loud at least once a day.

Say the words over and over until they roll off your tongue as familiarly as your name. Just make sure your fiancé isn’t within earshot!

Practicing your vows in front of a mirror is the most effective way to learn them. Once you know your speech by heart, study your mouth as it forms the words. After repeating this action, reciting your vows will become second-nature to you. Knowing the words–how they sound, how they look, how they feel coming out–guarantees that they won’t drop out of your mind the second all eyes turn to you.

Engraining the words into your mind allows you to build confidence and concentrate on the feelings behind your vows.

If you’d rather get instant feedback on your vows, invite your bridal party over for a girls’ night. Spend some time practicing in front of your girlfriends as though they are your wedding guests.

Having them in the know will prove a benefit for the big day as well. If you find yourself fidgeting once the spotlight is on you, look to your girls for comfort. Their warm, knowing eyes should provide the courage you find yourself lacking.

Getting Personal in Public

When you’re writing your own vows, stage fright can also sneak into your wedding preparations in the form of writer’s block. If you’re struggling to put such private feelings into such public words, just remember: by writing your own vows you have complete control over those moments.

Writing your own vows means you don’t have to say anything you’re not comfortable with. You can omit any words that might trip you up in a flash of nerves. You can control the mood of the moment; make it joyful, heartfelt, or funny.

Most importantly for those who suffer from stage fright, you can control the length. You can make your vows only two sentences long if you’d like!

If your heart is bursting with love but you just can’t seem to get it all on paper, borrow the words from someone else. Read up on your favorite author or spend a few hours in the poetry section at your local library.

Sure, those words have been said before, but never by you. You might be surprised how much personal meaning you can find in someone else’s words. If nothing else, you’ll at least have plenty of inspiration.

While writing your vows, keep in mind that it is your ceremony. You have the freedom to express yourself as you wish. You may step up to the altar only to lose yourself in your honey’s eyes and let loose with unplanned words–if so, take advantage of your courage! You earned it!

Trust in yourself

It’s natural to get nervous about your big day. A little bit of nerves is healthy; it keeps you on your toes! While planning your wedding, be sure to devote some time to learning how to control your nerves.

Express yourself without regrets and your marriage should start off on solid ground.

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Written by Steve Williams
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'.