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Ask the Expert: How do I overcome my fear of being the centre of attention?

16 May 2017

Being the centre of attention isn't for everyone; here, Marie Haverly of Isabella Weddings Planning and Consultancy offers her expert advice

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Marie Haverly is our wedding planner-turned-agony-aunt and is back this month to answer another bride's burning question.

Q. I’ve enjoyed planning my wedding but now I am worried that I won’t like everyone staring at me on the big day, can you help?

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Image & featured image: Judy at Cherish Ceremonies

Not everyone loves being in the limelight; just take a look at how some celebrities fare under the pressure of the public eye. Family and friends will tell you that you will look like a princess, everyone will love you, they will watch your every move and wait on your every word – it’s like being queen of your own celebration and that can bring about both excitement and fear: what if you trip? What if you ugly cry? What if you forget your words?

Over the years, while working with brides, I have found that the stress of being in front of everyone you hold dear, stating personal and deeply emotional words can be so very daunting. I can fully understand this and I offer them the same advice I shall give to you now.

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Image: Mia Hooper

It is all in the preparation. Be sure that you know exactly what is happening when, where you will stand and what you will say so that there are no surprises on the day. Follow these eight top tips:

1. Have a rehearsal

This is a must for many reasons and also so that you can see the big day’s events played out before having to do it for real.

2. Talk to your vicar, celebrant, registrar and express your concerns so they can help you

They will guide you through the vows and ensure you don’t forget anything.

3. Hire a talented singer or musician for the ceremony

That way the focus won’t be fully on you and perhaps the distraction might help you to focus on your walk down the aisle as well.

4. Practise that walk

With parents if you are being given away and towards your husband-to-be so you can be prepared for the actual day. Do this with music if you can so the emotion is slightly dampened for the day. Believe me, you won’t be ruining any ‘moment’ at all; on the big day everything will feel so very special.

5. Find a focus

If not the musician or singer then a spot on the wall, or a flower on the table; put one there purposefully if you wish so you can keep this as your goal.

6. Avert your gaze

Maybe don’t take your intended gaze right away, if you feel this might trigger nerves. Instead, make your way down the aisle carefully smiling at guests and then wait a while before meeting your partner’s eyes.

7. During the day have someone be your ‘go-to’ person

If not a wedding planner then a trusted friend, bridesmaid or parent. Someone who can take care of those little concerns and manage the day so you don’t have to worry about things going wrong.

8. Find an escape route

Have a small room or place where you can go to be alone or with your new husband so that you can take a breath before re-joining the party.

It’s easy for everyone to say ‘enjoy the day’, but if you are an introvert or have a shy personality this can be daunting. Therefore be prepared for this, have support and ensure your day is what you really wish for. Keep numbers down and surround yourself with those you feel ultimately comfortable with.

Lastly, my advice is this... weddings are stressful and sometimes emotions can really take their toll. Seek out a support network around you, either with family and friends or with professional counselling, so that you take great care of yourself and can be your best for the big day ahead.

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