I’ve heard a lot of talk on APW lately about people’s fear of being the center of attention on their wedding day, and I thought we needed to chat. Because here is the thing: the whole wedding industry is built around this idea that the wedding is a SHOW, and you are the STAR(s). Which… of course that’s enough to make an introverted girl freak out. But more to the point, we’re so stuck in this idea of the wedding as a show, that we put a huge amount of thought, energy, and stress into the idea of entertaining our guests.
But here is the thing: Your wedding is not a show.
Before we get into this, let me just state my biases up front. Both David and I have our degrees in theatre and co-produced several shows, and a gala. And, for the record, I have never, since the beginning of time, been scared of being the center of attention. But. But. I did not feel like the center of attention on our wedding day, and it was wonderful.
Weddings are about two things, and we only ever talk about one. Weddings are about everyone gathering to see two people make vows of lifetime commitment, and to celebrate that. But weddings are also about something else – they are about old friends and family getting together, sharing stories, catching up, hugging, laughing, talking… and making new friends, and creating new memories. The two of you are the reason why everyone is gathered together, but (blessedly) when a wedding goes right, it is about so much more than the two of you. The secret is that a happy wedding looks like this:Or like this: The bride and groom are not the center of attention, but they are the reason.
So if your wedding is not a show, or a constant-entertainment-marathon, you don’t need to worry if your guests will be bored if you don’t provide *something to do* (croquet, board games, scavenger hunts, mixers, dancing, mad libs, god knows what), you don’t need to worry about finding a substitute for dancing if you don’t want to have dancing (as David wisely weighs in, “There is no substitute for dancing. You either have it or you don’t. That’s it.”) Because this is what no one tells you: no matter what you provide for your guests to do (we provided dancing) many, many, many of them will want nothing more than to sit back, to talk, to laugh, to reminisce. I know our wedding was successful because we have pictures of old friends, hanging out, looking like this:So be showy if you want to (I understand showy). Provide entertainment if you want to (I understand entertainment), but remember, in the end if your guests decide what they really want to do is laugh, and drink, and tell tales? You’ve done your job. One day, in twenty years, the story they’ll be spinning will be the story of your wedding. And there will be laughter, and faraway looks, and maybe even a few happy tears of memory.
So don’t worry about being the center of attention. Because you’re not really. You’re just the center. And that will be enough.