Easy ways to Conquer Your Fears about Your Vows

by Jennifer Cram (21/11/2019)  |  Categories:  | Vows | Wedding Ceremony |
Baby ugly cryingMarrying the love of your life is going to be an extremely emotional  experience. In fact, and this is no secret, the reason we all love weddings (celebrants included) is precisely that. Seeing the emotions on your faces - tears and all - is what really makes a wedding. It's what grabs the heart, lifts the spirit, and makes everyone present silently go Awwww. And often we join in and shed a tear or two as well (celebrants included).

I call it the three big W's of a wedding - Welling Up, Willing the Couple On, and Wishing the Marriage Every Success.

But one of the biggest fears couples share with me is about speaking in public, stuffing up their vows, and ugly crying!
It is normal to feel a bit nervous at the same time as feeling excited (the butterflies are the same, by the way), but don’t worry, it will be all right on the day. Making your vows to one another is not like standing on a platform, facing an audience, and making a speech.

You will be looking into the eyes of the love of your life. You’ll be making promises about how you are going to behave towards this person for the rest of your life. You’ll be prepared. You’ll know exactly what you are going to say. And I will be leading you through these promises (repeat after me) or, if you choose, you’ll be reading them from a very Insta-worthy card I'll make for you. You won’t be making a speech.
With my help, we’ll make sure that your vows are natural expressions of what you want to say. And, because you are prepared and happy with your vows, none of the following things that marrying couples commonly worry about are going to spoil your day:

Common Fear #1: Going blank


Going blank isn't going to happen. You don’t have to memorise and remember your vows. You can repeat them after me, or you can read them from lovely cards I'll make for you. 

Common Fear #2: Freezing up


If you do need to pause for a bit, just breathe calmly and quietly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Practice this and use it both before ceremony starts and during it. You’ll be amazed at how calm you’ll feel!

Common Fear #3: Blushing, Shaking, Dry Mouth


These are common physical responses to being nervous. Even if they do happen you can do things that will bring you to a calmer state where the symptoms start to fade away. Ignore blushing and concentrate on what you are promising to you best beloved. Drink lots of water before the ceremony and try not to think about it. Concentrate on what you’re doing (Marrying the love of your life) instead of the fact that you’re blushing, shaking, or have a dry mouth and the symptoms will resolve themselves quite quickly.

Common Fear #4: Ugly Crying


There's nothing wrong with shedding a few (happy!) tears on the big day. But I definitely get it that you don't want to be sobbing like a two year old whose sandwich has been cut in squares when they wanted triangles! Definitely have a handy handy, but here are the things that you can do well ahead of time that  will make sure that you don't ugly cry on the day.
  1. Negotiate your vows
    Yes, I know that what we see in many weddings is the couple fishing out bits of paper on which they've each written their personal vows - as a surprise. And the things that are most likely to make you ugly cry as things that are common to such vows. All of the "this is how you make me feel" statements. There is a reason for this approach to vows. When the ceremony is a fixed one, everyone gets the same, "personal" vows are the only place that such statements can be made.  That's not the case in Australia, or with me. So, keep your vows to promises about the way you are going to behave to one another during your marriage, and you have discussed and agreed on those things beforehand (healthy for your marriage!) and then you promise those things on the day, you'll avoid some of the triggers for ugly crying. We can make sure all of the "how you make me feel" feels are integrated into the ceremony in other ways.
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice
    Don't worry, you won't wreck the moment. Saying them on the day will always feel different, emotionally, to saying them when you're practicing them. But being so familiar with the words that you could virtually say them off by heart makes it much easier to avoid crying.
  3. Say your personal promises in unison
    There is something very powerful about hearing your best beloved say the same words, promise the same things, at the same time as you are saying them. High emotion, yes. Ugly crying? It won't happen. You'll be smiling ear to ear!

Other Ways to Avoid Ugly Crying


Pressing your tongue to the top of your mouth is a tried and true remedy. And so is taking deep, slow, breaths. But if you're worried that you will be crying before you even get to your vows, here are some things that will help with that.
  1. Choose your music wisely
    Go for the upbeat, rather than something that you know always makes you well up. Save that emotional song for when you're signing the certificates, or cutting your cake, or for your first dance. Actually, there is no reason why you shouldn't go for a medley - switching from emotional/sentimental to upbeat and back again.
  2. Incorporate an in-joke
    Challenge one another to come up with something that (as a surprise) will make you laugh when you meet one another at the altar, or just when you're about to walk down the aisle. Just keep it subtle. The guests don't have to be in on it, or even notice. All they'll see is joy.
  3. Use your safe word
    And no, this is not a 50 Shades of ... suggestion. But if you and your best beloved have a word or little saying that always lightens the mood, makes you laugh, or brings you back to earth (and most do), now's the time to use it.
  4. Wriggle your toes or subtly change your weight from one foot to the other
    Both of these can be imperceptible to the guests, and they get the blood moving and the oxygen flowing to the brain
  5. Go easy on the booze, and don't forget to eat
    Alcohol lowers inhibitions. That's a given. So it can make it harder to control emotions. Yet everyone will ply you with it while you're getting ready.  Drink plenty of water instead, and make sure you have something to eat that's nutritious.
  6. Do a first look before the ceremony
    A first look is when you share a private moment before the ceremony.  It really helps to get rid of nerves and reduce stress by the time the ceremony starts (you can still have your walk down the aisle). While not everyone wants to do a first look, most couples who do one agree that it takes nothing away from the moment they see one in the aisle. So they get to double-dip on that powerful feeling, but are less likely to cry when they see one another in the aisle - and there is time for a makeup freshen up before you walk down the aisle! Just make sure you invite your photographer to capture the moment.

PS You are NOT going to Ugly Cry no matter what because ...


Actually, Ugly Crying , while a description that often gets bandied about (and something that TV and movies really capitalise on because it is easier to fake than more realistic crying), is something that just doesn't happen on a wedding day (except maybe by a flower girl or ring bearer who decides to have a full-on tanti). And here's why. It is all about the anatomy:
  1. Ugly crying is at least two-thirds lips
    Apart from a quiver, what you do with your lips and mouth is easy to control. To ugly cry you need to collapse both lips and at the same time pull them wider
  2. Ugly crying requires clenched and furrowed brow
    Who does that on their wedding day?
  3. Ugly crying is enhanced by chin action
    Are you starting to get the picture?
  4. Ugly crying is usually punctuated by saying something really "sad" - in all senses of the word

If you aren't convinced by now that you won't ugly cry on your wedding day, regardless of how anyone cuts up your sandwich, go watch a couple of movies (Diane Keaton's ugly crying in Something’s Gotta Give (2003), is something to see) or borrow a small child and cut their sandwich the wrong way.

Jenny xxx Let's talk soon about how you can
                    have the best ceremony ever