Reflections from an Introverted Bride-to-Be

Hey that’s me! The introverted bride-to-be at my Bridal Shower greeting all my guests. The cutie lady on the right is my increasingly sassy grandmother.

What do you think of when I say “introvert?” I bet half of you may think “hey that’s me!!” and the other half think “anti-social, awkward, shy, boring.” I’m here to dive into a typically very misunderstood personality type and give it a wedding themed twist. I will start off by defining what I mean by being “introverted,” how it plays out in my life, and then I will share some tips as to how to get through one of the most inherently extroverted parts of life: a wedding.

I’ve done lots of academic reading about Typology Theories as part of my day job, and in the after hours, I’ve listened to a whole bunch of podcasts that cover similar topics. I am particularly interested in this misconception; often when I say to someone “I am super introverted” they say “oh my goodness stop that, no you aren’t” as if I just insulted myself. I find this wildly intriguing; I hope you feel the same.

At a very base level, when we use the terms introverted and extroverted we are actually describing how someone gains their emotional, mental, and sometimes physical, energy. Far too often though, introverts get type-casted as quiet, awkward, and anti-social, just like how extroverts are type-casted as loud, attention seeking, and aggressive. Slightly offensive, right?As with any generalization, these characteristics hone in on only a sliver of someone’s identity and personality, failing to capture the entire story. I consider myself a social introvert. I love being around my friends and family, I think of myself as friendly, and I try not to be too terribly awkward. However, here’s the catch: I value time that I have alone to recharge, recenter, and not have to be “on.” If I extrovert too hard or don’t have time to recharge, I begin to feel something that, many others before me, refer to as “an introvert hangover.” I feel physically exhausted and mentally fatigued. (I hope my introverts are following along shaking their head in agreement. If I have lost my extroverted readers, keep an open mind and try to learn about another’s experience – even if it doesn’t make complete sense to you, yet.)

Me, hiding behind a gift, at my Bridal Shower Dinner that my colleagues threw for us. Opening gifts in front of a crowd is one of my least favorite activities. Reason why I had a display shower for my Bridal Shower with friends and family.

Let’s give an example: after a big day of extroversion at work (i.e. giving a 2 hour presentation for 50+ people, being in back to back to back meetings, etc.) I often times need to recharge mentally, emotionally, and physically, at home with very little social interaction (outside of my close family and Joey — I don’t feel like I need to be “on” around all people)

Okay, so how does this tie in to being a bride (or groom)? Weddings are one of THE most inherently extroverted events in someone’s life. There are SO many extroverted expectations projected on to you from the bridal shower to the big day :

  • “You have to talk to everyone you invited and make the rounds, or else people may think you’re rude and ungrateful. After all, they are giving you a gift.”
  • The day is all about you. It’s the biggest day of your life”
  • “Let’s get a photo together.” *you look up to find that a line of 24 people has formed to get a picture with you as if you are some sort of Michelangelo crafted sculpture
  • Looking at the itinerary and realizing you are surrounded by crowds of people for 18 our of the 24 hour day. Friday. Saturday. Sunday.

* (these are actual things that people have said or have happened to me)

Already I am exhausted. Elated, ecstatic, and cannot-wait-to-be-Joey’s-wife-excited, but exhausted. In preparation for this overload, and to avoid being completely burnt out for our mini-moon, I have been proactively reflecting and thinking of ways to schedule in pockets of time throughout the weekend to recharge and recenter. I have included some of those ideas below. AND after the actual wedding day, I will write a follow up piece giving all the real life details of how these ideas played out.

  1. Find a time between the ceremony and reception, even if it just 15 minutes, to sneak away to share the moment of “OH MY GOODNESS WE’RE MARRIED.” Joey and I will not be at our cocktail hour. Instead, we are planning to take photos on-site of our reception, just he and I, and have a mini cocktail hour there. Photos with our bridal party will have already wrapped up so they will head inside to enjoy cocktail hour. We have asked our reception venue to bring a tray of hors d’ourves out to us to enjoy away from the crowds, and they were more than happy to arrange that.
  2. Create a playlist of your favorite, chill and calming, music to play when getting ready. Not all moments have to be out of Pitch Perfect with pop music blaring and group sing-alongs. (Don’t get me wrong, the Pitch Perfect soundtrack will 100% be played at some point on my wedding day, however, that doesn’t have to be the vibe for all 18 hours.) I’ll probably pull together some of my favorites from The Lumineers, Sara Bareilles, Norah Jones, and Mumford and Sons. Then we’ll get into formation with some Beyonce, Lizzo, and Spice Girls to get pumped up right before the ceremony.
  3. Plan for a “calm zone” to be arranged that you can sneak away to for a quick 5 minute break (and bathrooms are not always a guarantee for privacy). This may be separate room at your venue deemed as “the bridal suite” where you are leaving your belongings. This may be the lobby, back deck, or front lawn, depending on the type of venue. Joey and I are lucky enough to be hosting our reception at an Inn, so we will have at least one room designated just for us to leave our belongings and pop up to through out the evening for a moment of calm, a quick make-up touch up, or a quick deodorant reapply from dancing all night (seriously, we all know this is necessary sometimes).
  4. Do not be afraid to articulate your needs. After all, everyone keeps saying that “it’s your day.” So, actually make the day fit your needs.

Xx Julia

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