Until a few years ago, most people would probably have said they weren't an introvert; the popular image of an introvert was someone who hated socialising, was very shy and who spent most of their time alone.
However, that changed with writer Susan Cain’s TED talk, The Power of Introverts, which has been viewed more than 18 million times. In it, she revealed just how misunderstood introverts had been – and suddenly, this personality trait became a whole lot more relatable.
Needing quiet time alone, but enjoying the company of others, is a big part of being an introvert, along with a preference for calm environments, a dislike of small talk, a tendency towards perfectionism and awkwardness around new people.
Unfortunately, these tendencies can make planning a wedding a particular challenge for anyone with this personality type. After all, the process involves negotiating with suppliers you’ve never met before, and trying to balance Pinterest dreams with budget reality – not to mention all the potential extra socialising due to hen, stag and engagement parties. And that’s before we get to the all-eyes-on-you, non-stop interactive nature of the day itself.
The last thing we’d ever suggest is that you should try to change who you are, which is why we’ve investigated easy ways to make the planning process a bit more manageable. Whether you’re an introvert, or have an introvert partner, here’s how to navigate your way to a celebration that’s perfect for you…
“Because introverts tend to process things deeply, and sometimes overthink, they may get overwhelmed with the mountain of decisions that have to be made when planning a wedding,” explains Jenn. “Add in the fact that many introverts are perfectionists, then planning a wedding can become a massive ball of stress!”
Your Social Network
Many introverts find that prolonged socialising drains their energy. This means that having to take part in group dress-shopping trips, as well as having an engagement party and hen do, may be a less than appealing prospect. There’s a simple answer to this: don’t do it. Instead, pick and choose the events that feel important to you, and just be open with your friends and family about what you want.
“I’ve always known I was an introvert, but because I’m pretty confident and outgoing, most of my friends don’t really realise,” says Laura. “For my hen party, my bridesmaids wanted to hire a house in the country for the weekend, invite everyone I knew, and plan non-stop activities. But that’s just not the sort of thing I’d enjoy – I can’t stand the idea of an entire weekend without even a few hours to myself. They were so excited that I didn’t want to spoil it for them! I got so stressed that my fiancé had a word with them, and we just had a low-key dinner for my closest friends as my hen do. I should have just been honest with them.”
Being an introvert isn’t the same as being socially awkward. However, for the ‘classic’ introvert, all that extra social interaction in the form of talking to wedding suppliers can be exhausting.
If that’s you, try to do as much as you can by email. Of course, there are some suppliers you should definitely meet ahead of the day.
For example, you’ll need to have a trial with your hair and make-up artist to ensure you’re getting the look you want. And if there are any suppliers with whom you’ll have a lot of contact during the wedding, such as the photographer, it’s good to meet in person (or at least video call) so you know if you have a rapport with them.
The size question
When drawing up the final guest list, smaller may be better…
“Keep the tone of the wedding light and casual, as too much formality can, and often does, set people more on edge,” says Katrina. “If you don’t like the spotlight, you could add elements to take the focus away from you, such as readings during the ceremony and entertainment during the reception.”
Structure your celebration so you don’t feel overwhelmed by non-stop talking. “Book a later ceremony to reduce the length of the day, or revive the tradition of leaving the reception before your guests,” suggests Katrina. If you’re the one who wants a grand-scale party but your partner hates the very thought of it, all these ideas can be useful to reach a compromise. After all, a wedding is an expression of both halves of a couple. If the idea of giving a speech sends shivers down your spine, it could be a lovely idea to have a heartfelt reading at your ceremony to celebrate your love without having to speak in front of a crowd.
Take a break
Whatever the size of your celebration, one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself or your introvert partner is to build in some time away from your guests. You’ll enjoy being with friends and family much more if you have some time to recharge – and don’t worry about seeming rude about it.
“It might sound harsh, but as long as your guests are being entertained, with people to talk to and good food and drink to enjoy, they won’t notice your absence!” says Katrina. “Building in breaks should be encouraged. The best moments to slip off for a while are immediately after the ceremony; before the wedding breakfast; while guests are sitting down; and as the reception is in full flow.”
In fact, many couples, whether introvert or not, find that their just-the-two-of-us time is one of the day’s most memorable moments.
“We put on a short prosecco reception for the guests immediately after the ceremony, while my new husband and I went straight to the reception venue,” says Emma. “We had a glass of prosecco and a walk in the grounds – just enjoying the weird but amazing feeling that we were married! It was really special.”
“I recommend plenty of downtime after the wedding to recharge your energy,” says Jenn. “There’s no rule that says you both have to entertain guests from out-of-town the next day, or leave for your honeymoon right away. After the big day, introverts will likely find that their energy is zapped, and will need plenty of time to relax and recover.”