The Public Eye

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Counseling, The Wedding Service | 0 comments

The Public Eye

Dear Engaged couple-I have officiated at quite a few weddings at this point in my career.  They can be nerve-wracking.  One of the things that can make them nerve-wracking for the major participants, the bride and groom,  is the fact that in a marriage service people are watching you.  Now, I myself enjoy being in front of the public eye—there are probably some sick reasons this is so, but there you have it!  Give me a soap box, or a pulpit anytime!

Bride and dad walking down that long aisle

Bride and dad walking down that long aisle

But many people aren’t like me.  I have read that for a significant portion of the population, public speaking (and on your wedding day, even if you keep your speaking part to a minimum, you will at least have to answer “I do”), is as anxiety producing as moving, or losing a loved one!   If you fall into this category, God help you!

This last weekend, I officiated at a wedding –lovely, lovely couple.  The bride’s dress was gorgeous and you could tell that she and her husband-to-be had put a lot of work into the service and the reception both.  Their choice of flowers and table coverings, the bridesmaids’ dresses and the groomsmen’s suits all bespoke tasteful sensibilities.  And, they were a gracious couple, too, appreciative of my work and over all, a joy to work with.

However the bride, bless her soul!  Imagine this.  The service is underway.  The assembly stands as she walks in on the arm of her dad.  He presents her for marriage.  Then as her dad goes to stand by his wife’s side, I say, “Please be seated.”    As we are waiting for everyone to sit down, the bride whispers to me with alarm on her face, “I walked in too fast, didn’t I?”

What say?  Of course, she didn’t, or if she did, I certainly didn’t notice. There she stands before me, her soon-to-be husband, her family and friends, beautiful to behold, gracious and charming besides  on one of the most important days of her life, and she is paranoid about her gait?  Her GAIT!  In the brief time left to me, again, as her guests are sitting down, I whisper back something reassuring like, “Of course not.  You are lovely.  This is your day, enjoy it!”  I meant it, of course.  I understand where she was coming from, though, and I think it is a pity.  I think it is a pity that for people who are anxious when they have to be in the public eye, this is where that anxiety leads them—to pick apart every little thing they are and every little thing they do.  Self-consciousness can rule even, or maybe especially on a wedding day—sadly.

Challenge yourself to be less Self Critical!

Challenge yourself to be less Self Critical!

So, don’t do it! Short of medication, (Valium? Xanex?) these may help you get over that urge to wallow in self-deprecation:

  • Plan to have a rehearsal.  Wedding rehearsals can do a lot to ease those jitters.


  • Give yourself a pep talk—daily in the weeks leading up to your wedding.    Psychologists say that it is possible to train your brain to make you less self-critical.   Every time your brain goes into self-critical mode, just gently call it back to something positive about yourself.  In other words, focus your gifts, of which you have many.  We all do.


  • Analyze, analyze. Think about who it is you may be trying to impress—friends and family members AT YOUR WEDDING MIND YOU, should be FOR you, not AGAINST you.  If they are not, that is their problem, not yours.  Why did you invite them?

This is what I know.  You really are special.  Someone in the universe, (probably many someones actually) thinks you are so terrific, that he/she wants to marry you!  Own it.

Happy wedding Planning

Your Wedding Preacher for Hire







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