Saying 'I Do' Without Overdoing It: Introvert's Guide to Planning a Joyful Big Wedding

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (21/07/2023)
Categories: | Wedding Ceremony  |  Wedding Planning| 
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Bride hiding her face behin her bouquetWhen you're an introvert is it even possible to make your special day memorable for all the right reasons and comfortable for both you and any guests who are also introverts?

Absolutely, it is. But the usual advice to introverts is to skip the wedding and go for an intimate elopement, or even a legals-only ceremony, where you do what you need to to be legally married, and nothing more.

Why is that? It all comes down to the way all introverts are stereotyped as shy, retiring, hermits who lack any extrovert qualities! And a lack of understanding of the core difference between introverts and extraverts.

Extroverts and Introverts


If you understand your phone battery, you'll get the picture about Extroverts and Introverts!

The extrovert is like a solar-powered charger, gaining energy from the sun (i.e. other people) to keep their battery full. At a party,  the extrovert is the one in the middle of it all, dancing like nobody's watching and chatting up everyone in sight. They thrive in social situations and gain energy from being around others.

The introvert, on the other hand, is like a regular charger, needing to plug in and recharge in solitude. At a party, the introvert is the one hiding in the corner, sipping their drink and observing the chaos around them. They tend to feel drained after socializing and need alone time to recharge their batteries.

Or so the popular stereotype goes. What the steretype misses is
  • Whether your personality type is extrovert or introvert is about how your energy is depleted or boosted, not so much about how you behave in social situations
  • It is not an either/or. All of us have both characteristics, it's the mix, where we fit on the continuum, that defines which personality type is our dominant one.
  • There are different types of Introverts
There is no right or wrong way to be - we're all just trying to navigate this crazy thing called life.

Which type of Introvert are you?

For some years psychologists have been challenging the one-size-fits-all conception of introversion as people who are shy, quiet, and prefer to be alone. This steretype ignores the fact that people who are predominantly introverted usually have some extroverted characteristics, and that there are four different subtypes:
  • Social Introverts
  • Thinking Introverts
  • Anxious Introverts
  • Restrained Introverts.

Understanding yourself will help you plan your perfect wedding

Wedding planning for Social Introverts

Being a Social Introvert doesn't mean you that you are shy, or that you are going to always avoid going to parties, but is does mean that you prefer your social interactions to be streamlined and that alone-time is important to you.

Wedding planning for Thinking Introverts

Thinking Introverts tend to have creative imaginations. And, contrary to the stereotype, tend not to have the aversion to social events that people assume are part and parcel of being introverted.

Wedding planning for Anxious Introverts

If you often feel self-conscious, awkward or shy around people, you are likely to be an Anxious Introvert. But this means that you are very aware of your comfort zones. You can use your insight to plan your wedding in such a way as to ensure that your boundaries aren't crossed.

Wedding planning for Restrained Introverts

Restrained Introverts don't like being pushed to make decisions on the spot. It also means that you are likely to take some time to warm up in social situations. Which makes your wedding the perfect situation given that it starts with a ceremony where you have little interaction with your guests, is followed by a photo session where you are closely interacting with only a few people, all close to you, and that is followed by your reception.

How to minimise the stress and maximise the fun - for introverted you

Lean into the strengths and characteristics of your type of introversion in the way you plan and what you plan.
  • Dispense with the wedding party. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen are not a legal requirement and more and more couples are choosing not to have any, or to have only one each. It's so common that no-one will think it's odd. If you decide to have someone stand up with you, choose someone you trust and are comfortable with. Ignore gender and age. Grandma as best woman? Favourite uncle as chief bridesguy? Go for it. Everyone will love you for it.
  • Choose a venue that offers a variety of quiet spaces where you can get away for a breather. One of the benefits of a larger wedding is that you need a larger venue which is more likely to have those sort of spaces. Smaller weddings are usually held in smaller venues where the only place to disappear for a while might be the bathroom.
  • Make sure that what you wear
    • Makes you feel good
    • Fits well, so you never have to fiddle with it
    • Is comfortable
    • Allows you to go to the bathroom without help
  • Choose your guests wisely.
  • Schedule your wedding for earlier in the day. Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, and Afternoon Tea Weddings never get as rowdy as Evening ones, largely because they don't last as long and there's less booze.
  • Choose a celebrant who is calm and not likely to be OTT on the day and work with them to create a ceremony that feels comfortable for you.
  • Ditto for a DJ, if you choose to have one
  • Skip the hen's night or stage night. Either skip it altogether - easy to do if you have no wedding party, or choose a sit-down dinner at a quiet restaurant. Other ideas that work are to book for a class or workshop or find a opportunity to volunteer for a good cause for a few hours.
  • Start the day out by yourself to give yourself some time to bank some energy
  • Schedule a first look before the ceremony. Having some time to spend together, alone, before it all kicks off, is a great stress-reliever. As a bonus you get terrific photos
  • Plan to have an unplugged ceremony, and ask your guests not to share photos on social media
  • Walk down the aisle together, or follow the example of Jewish weddings and have each of you walk in with both your parents.
  • Bring your dog!
  • There are no rules about positioning for the ceremony. So you could
    • Ask your celebrant to stand off to one side instead of in the centre, between you. That way, when the celebrant is speaking all eyes won't be on you.
    • Decide to sit for the ceremony
    • Stand with your backs to the guests. This is still the way it happens in church (where everyone faces the altar), and in most movies, so, while it may be unusual in a civil ceremony in Australia, it won't be unfamiliar to guests.
  • Read your vows rather than repeating them after your celebrant. It lessens the stress
  • If the thought of speaking or reading your personal vows terrifies you, write them and exchange them to be read in private later, or ask you celebrant to frame them as questions to which you only need answer "I do". You will still have to say the legal vows, but those are only a few words, and you can read them.
  • Immediately after the ceremony, schedule some alone time for the two of you. Ten to fifteen moments will do it. It's also a great time to have a snack if your tummy hasn't been able to cope with much beforehand.
  • Be careful in your choice of MC. Your wedding isn't a team-building exercise so you want to skip feeling that you're being dragooned into those "ice-breaking" type activities that make work-related workshops and strategic planning days such an ordeal for introverts.
  • Skip the choreographed grand entrance to your reception
  • Skip the "sweetheart" table for two or the long top table where you are on show and opt for sitting at a round table with family members
  • Skip the solo, choreographed, Hollywood/Bollywood, first dance. There are alternatives!
  • Schedule time during the reception to sneak away for some sunset or nighttime photos - just the two of your and your photographer
  • If you aren't comfortable with making a speech, don't. You can skip the speeches completely, or only have one or two made by people you task with thanking everyone and proposing a toast or two if you'd like that done
  • If you are going to make a speech, you don't have to stand. You'll need a wireless microphone to be able to do that. Make sure that's on the list of what's needed. The venue should be able to accommodate that.
  • Schedule formal reception activities early - cutting the cake, speeches etc - so that you have all the flexibility you need to either take time out, or leave altogether!
  • Skip the recovery party. The day after is your time to chill and recharge.

How to minimise the stress and maximise the fun - for introverted guests

Every wedding will have some guests who are introverts. As the hosts it is up to you to make sure that all of your guests feel comfortable. Yes, it is marrying couple who are regarded to be the hosts in the 21st century. It's not your mother's wedding!
  • Be considerate when deciding on the dress code. Build in some flexibility so your guests can comply without feeling uncomfortable
  • Consider providing information with your invitations about the activities planned for your wedding, together with an assurance that there will be quiet spaces or alternative activities if they choose not to participate. Having that information may be the deciding factor about whether to accept or refuse your invite.
  • Set the spaces up so there are quiet corners and intimate spaces where introverted guests can withdraw to find their people (they won't be the only introverts present), together with spaces where they can slip away from everyone to recharge
  • Dial back on the directed activities
  • Keep the noise level, flashing lights, and general disco feel level down
  • Schedule formal reception activities early - cutting the cake, speeches etc - so that guests who can only handle large social gatherings for a limited time don't feel obligated to stay til the bitter end
  • Don't fill up every minute with planned and directed activities that everyone is expected to participate in
  • Never put an introverted guest on the spot about why they aren't participating.
Thanks for reading!
Jenny xxx Let's talk
                        soon about how you can have the best ceremony
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