Some couples absolutely love the idea of being the stars of their wedding day and welcome the spotlight.
Some couples truly are lost in the bubble of love that surrounds them on that day, and so focused on each other, that they never notice what is happening around them during the ceremony.
Then there are those couples who are feeling nervous about standing in front of friends and family to be married. Some agonize a little about how they will make it through, with all eyes on them. Sometimes one partner is a little shyer and more concerned about this than the other.
One of the best ways to counteract concerns about standing at the wedding altar on the big day is to simply figure out how you will be with one another, in advance.
I will often have couples "practice it" during the wedding rehearsal, just so they have a sense of what it will be like. Knowing, in advance, where you will stand, and how close together you can be--and want to be--will help you both feel more comfortable at the altar.
I learned a long time ago that people of different cultures, religions, and personalities have been raised with different ideas and concepts about what they are "supposed to do" at the altar. Many couples who are about to marry have seen so many weddings where a couple stands with backs to the audience, or where the couple is standing with so much space between them that they seem too formal. Or then have traditional ceremonies in their faith origin where the couple is seated, standing, or kneeling in ways that doesn't demonstrate intimacy or a sense of deep connection.
Although this may not be the right approach for every one, I like to tell all of my couples: it is better for your wedding photos--and your marriage--to face each other as much as possible and stand relatively close together.
If you are nervous about the big day, or hail from a culture where couples do not really show a lot of affection at the wedding altar, ask yourselves these questions:
1. Do you want to face each other the whole time and look at each other; or will you be more comfortable looking at your officiant for part of the time and at each other during certain parts, such as the vows , "I dos" and the pronouncement?
2. Do you want to hold hands? One hand or both? Or do you want to link arms and huddle close together, leaning into each other?
3. How close do you want to stand? What distance--or closeness--will be most comfortable?
4. How do you feel about kissing each other before the big kiss at the end? Some couples can't help themselves from sneaking a few, because it's natural. (That's fine with me, by the way, but I know some couples worry that it will take away from the big smooch in at the end).
Suggestion: During your wedding rehearsal, or even at home, practice standing there together and figure out what feels natural.
If you you take a moment to practice your most comfortable stance at the altar before the ceremony, you can just flow right into it when you arrive there on your wedding day and you will avoid any awkward feelings as you settle into the moment.
If you get nervous, just hold on tight to each other and look into each others eyes. And just feel the love.
Its really is an extraordinary feeling when you are finally up there, saying, "I Do."