First published on Ceremonies by Camille blog
We've all seen the photos; black rivers of mascara streaming down the bride's cheeks while her groom is gulping for air like a fish out of water.
It's not the most elegant look. It's also one of the most common concerns that my wedding couples have about their wedding ceremony: "How do I stop myself from ugly crying?"
The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize the "damage" (and embarrassing snotty snorts) as you're reciting your heartfelt vows in front of your nearest and dearest.
But first, a disclaimer: I've heard of several approaches that, in my humble opinion, are pretty extreme. If you honestly believe that being sedated with medication or pinching yourself mercilessly is the way to go, then this will not be of interest to you. However, if you are just a little anxious and would prefer not to drown in your own tears, then please read on!
Step 1: Assess past performance
Are you a "keep calm and get married" type of person or are you reaching for the tissues when a baby lotion ad comes on TV?
Identifying how you react in stressful everyday situations is a virtual litmus test for your wedding day.
That said, it is not an absolute science. Sometimes it's the bride who is the most concerned that ends up being the cool and calm one in the heat of the moment, while her fiancé dissolves into uncontrollable sobbing. And that's the kicker, people; you just never know how you're going to react on the big day. So once you've assessed how sensitive you're likely to be, you can start to prepare your meltdown mitigation strategy.
Step 2: Prepare
- Hire sensitive and experienced wedding vendors (in particular your makeup artist, hairdresser, photographer and celebrant/officiant) who can give you some time and space to gather yourself, if needed. Look for suppliers who you can relate to and can have a laugh with and that you feel truly comfortable being around. This keeps to keep the mood light and manageable, rather than testing and pressured.
Step 3: Do this on the wedding day
- use your safe/funny word. Most couples have a saying, phrase or funny word that makes them smile or laugh. If you can feel your emotions overwhelming you, just say the word!
- distract yourself (a little). Pushing your tongue to the roof of your mouth can help to stop uncontrollable sobbing. Wriggling your toes is a sneaky way to fidget without making everyone else nervous around you and it also helps to pump blood back up to your poor little oxygen starved brain. Or just pick a point on the horizon, or your fiancé's earlobe, and concentrate.
- yogic/meditative type breathing. It's calming and can help you to focus in the moment.
So if all else fails, just let it go. Tears of happiness at your wedding are a natural and beautiful thing. And after 420+ weddings worth of experience, I can guarantee that you will live to tell the tale.
Thank you to Vanessa and Andrew Nguyen for inspiring this article.
Photos courtesy of Mel Boulden Photography.
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