Nervous standing in front of peopleHow many of us do you believe DON’T get nervous standing in front of people? Professional speakers? Teachers? 

Can you repeat after me: “I shall not place anyone on a pedestal.”

Being in the public eye

Many couples tell me they’re really nervous about their wedding because they intensely dislike being in the public eye.

So okay. I get that. I’m so used standing in front of people to make a presentation that I AM used to it. But the “IT” is being nervous. It’s not that it doesn’t happen, but I’ve learned to manage the nervousness. 

I appreciate you reminding me of that fact so I don’t get you to do some crazy dance in front of everyone at your ceremony.

Kidding — really — well, it could be fun… but no. I won’t ask.

Flashbacks of other times

Yep, that’s how my mind works, flitting from one thing to the other. And when you’re nervous, that’s what your mind is doing too. Your overactive brain is jumping between thoughts of  looking gorgeous, all the decisions that had to be made to get you to this point, probably a flashback or two to when you first met the person you’re about to marry, and wondering if everyone is going to like your wedding gown or how you look in your tux. 

Flitting is fodder for nervousness. So here’s an early key:  focus. Learn to meditate sooner than later?

If you’re having a very small, intimate ceremony, you might not be QUITE as nervous. In my experience, the number of people in attendance doesn’t matter. Large and fancy, small and simple — either way, people get nervous.

The Nervous Elephant in the Room

Least I forget the elephant in the room, you’d be abnormal if the obvious — “am I making the right decision by marrying this person?” wasn’t also flitting across your mind. Let’s talk about that more below. And I wrote this about making decisions and questioning them. Make the Choice.

Two Things to Ease Being Nervous Standing in Front of People

I ask my couples to do two things when we begin their ceremony to help them handle being nervous standing in front of people:

  1. Face me for the beginning of their marriage ritual
  2. Act like you know each other so hold hands, stand arm in arm, etc.

Facing me helps them put their focus on me and move forward with the event. This begins to take their attention off of the people staring at their backs and release some of the mind flitting that’s taking place about things that are immediately beyond their control.

Result:  Nervousness gets distracted

Holding hands or touching somehow lets my couple lean on each other and in fact, it’s a memory they’ll always have. Those supportive touches during their ceremony can go a long way!

Result:  Nervousness is shared and distracted.

A great idea gone bad

I remember one wedding I’d just read something by another Officiant who asked her couples to turn around and face all their friends when the ceremony started. The point was for them to see how many folks were there to support them. It sounded like a great idea, an act that would show the couple how safe they were surrounded by friends.

But that was not what happened when I tried it on Jill and Jack. They got super-strained looks on their faces. Their bodies noticeably stiffened. 

I should have asked their permission before I asked them to do that, but it was an impromptu moment which fell flat. 

Needless to say, I don’t ask couples to do that anymore unless they’re prepared ahead of time and okay it. 

Acceptance is still the key

Now that you REALLY trust my judgment let’s just say for the record, that the best way to overcome nervousness is to accept that you’re going to get nervous. Acceptance is the key to working through almost anything. Why does it work? Because it changes the energy from being totally grounded in fear to being more in control of the fear. 

Then doing little things like facing your officiant and touching each other are small acts of kindness to each other that offset the discomfort of being nervous standing in front of people. 

And here’s a few more tips rolled into one about being nervous standing in front of friends, family and the occasional stranger: being jittery is not the end of the world. You can handle it, trust yourself. The feeling will go away, eventually. Keep your knees bent, and take deep breaths. Remember to take deep inhales and exhales. Practice now reminding yourself to touch, breath, bend, focus. That’s it! See, you can do this!!

The Elephant is Still Here

What about questioning your decision to marry this person you’ll be meeting down the aisle. How could you not wonder about that? You don’t have to dwell on it. You don’t have to shove it away. You don’t have to let that question incapacitate you.  But you DO HAVE TO GET A HANDLE ON YOUR ANSWER. 

If you question whether this person is right for you, you need to stop.

It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve shelled out.

If you’re NOT SURE, if your feelings of nervousness are way out of proportion, then you may indeed be getting signals from your Inner Self that you may be marrying the wrong person.

In that case,  do not take one more step forward. You’re going to spend a lot more money disentangling yourself through divorces, therapy and paying someone to help you move, not to mention buying all those mind altering substances you might be inclined to take comfort in. 

You Can Handle It

The truth is, whatever happens, whether this nervousness about your decision, allowing yourself to ask that question is not only normal, but it can also point to this response to ANY NERVOUSNESS. Which is YOU CAN HANDLE WHATEVER HAPPENS, including being insanely happy. 

You’re bound to grow in love. Love also takes a dip down and around and even disappears sometimes. You can handle these ebbs and flows. Do you need to talk your emotions through with someone? Maybe you need to take an extra few hours to settle yourself. What would happen if you let everyone party and come back to your yes or no with a small, inexpensive ceremony in a month or two? The world would not end, I guarantee it!

Trust Yourself

Trust yourself. Regroup. Take the energy of worry and turn it around. Try trusting the heart of Love that brought you together more than worrying about what might NOT happen. Love’s nature IS to point you to the source of Love within yourself.  Knowing Love is within you means it can never be taken from you by death, disaster, illness, betrayal. Or being nervous standing in front of people (the latter which seems like a small thing when propped up against those biggies like death and disaster).

Last but not least: if you want to get the energy of nervousness out and away, just send me an email and we’ll figure out how to proceed from there. Or pop into my Facebook page, Michigan Wedding Officiants and see what support info is there for you. There’s lots.

Being nervous is small when compared to the underlying Love that’s within you. 


Rev Crystal