Planning a wedding as a shy/anxious bride.


Can I be transparent with you guys?
During the past almost-2 years of wedding planning in the making, it's been wonderful overall. From meeting vendors to finding the dress to getting our engagement pictures to cake tasting to designing invitations, it's been a great bonding experience with Cecilio, our family and friends. Sure, we would have a bit of a tiff here and there, but premarital counseling has helped us communicate a lot better. And yes, the thought of spending all this money makes me feel nothing short of guilty. But if there is one thing terrifies me, it's being the center of attention as the bride.

It's not as bad as it sounds and as the wedding is getting closer, I am coming to terms with it. I am so thankful to be surrounded by our loved ones who have supported our relationship for the past 8 years.  And I want to share this moment with the people we love. And I am thankful from all of the support from my mom, Bart and Cecilio's parents.

But I can feel grateful and have a positive outlook while still feel overwhelmed by the crowd. Cecilio and I got engaged in NYC. When his parents picked us up from the airport, they were already talking about coordinating with my mom in regards to throwing an engagement party. What a whirlwind! I was in my last semester of university, and I was so stressed out about finishing school. I wanted to hold off until after graduation. But they all wanted it when the engagement was new and fresh. What I thought was going to be a simple get together turned out to be a 40–50 person affair, almost like a mini-wedding. We had a toast from my mom, video montage created by my niece's best friend, opened gifts, and took endless pictures. 

Our engagement party, April 2015

I was feeling the love all over and was so thankful, but I was still overwhelmed. If this is how it's gonna be, then the wedding will be a grander affair!

My bridal shower is actually tomorrow (and I will post photos here!), and I'm really looking forward to that more than the engagement party since there will be less than 20 people. I prefer the intimacy of it all.

They say (s)he who pays gets a say, and that has certainly been the case with configuring the guest list. 

Of course, I definitely had 2 of my mom's best friends from her flight attendant days in mind, or my dad's best friends. My parents had a lot of family friends growing up. My dad was the best man to our family friend John and Edita's wedding 20 years ago (and their date is a exactly week after ours. So yeah, 3/18/17 and 3/25/97), so of course they made the cut. And in one of our old houses, we had 3 Filipino families as our neighbors, so we always had parties with them and we all became close. 

Then all of a sudden, my mom wanted to add more of her flight attendant friends, whom I have only met met once. But because she was paying for a lot of it, I tried my best to not fight it, though I did express some concerns (venue capacity limits, costs, etc.) and every time someone told her that they weren't coming to the wedding, she would ask to fill in more spots. We actually received a lot of declines, only for the spaces to be filled once again. I am fine with the ones I interacted with on an occasional basis (like when there are parties and when they come). Not if I only met them once or if the last time they saw me was when I was 3 years old, and can't believe I'm getting married because they still see me as a toddler.

Part of this is cultural. I am a quarter Indian, and 400 guests or higher or at the norm. Most of my Indian relatives are residing in Manila, and when my mom and nephew went there for Christmas vacation, they went to a wedding of her cousin's son that had 700 guests. Filipino weddings aren't known for being intimate either: it's common to invite distant relatives and their guests you're not close to, or they invite themselves and others who weren't specifically invited. While other Asian cultures are known for being quiet and introverted, Filipinos are not. We are known to always be partying, singing, drinking and being super extroverted. I love a good time too, but I am certainly not the life of the party. I do better either one on one, with my group of friends, or with the family (and family friends) that know who I am now. Cecilio is more introverted than I am but is actually more open to the larger guest list. I just feel so bad that my side of the list trumps his because of all of the family friends, and the people my mom thinks of to invite. Also, I was a bridesmaid for 2 of my cousins in Canada: one who at least had 200 guests, and the other one having 180 (I counted her seating chart). So my mom is used to lavish affairs. My dream guest list number has always been around 80–120, but it ballooned to 150. Since getting a lot of declines, the list went back down to 124, but now it's up to 138. I know that we would have had to invite extra people regardless because of our venue's food/beverage minimum requirements, but I prefer meeting the bare minimum. 

I also know that my mom has an extroverted, outgoing personality and sometimes it didn't mesh with my dad's introversion. I have been a lot more social and outgoing in the past few years, but I take after my dad's side more. I empathize and understand my mom with the need for human interaction, and I am SO happy that all of her siblings are coming and they are going to be together again. The last time the 4 of them together was 22 years ago when my grandpa died. 

I just know that I will never be able to talk to people with ease the way my mom and sister do. Something Cecilio and I have been talking about is that extroverts always push introverts to go out of their shell, and never vice versa. I don't want to make a sweeping generalization, but there is some truth to it. And I feel like I can talk about it here in this blog since I know that other bloggers have talked about being introverted and struggling with anxiety. It's just more compounded because I am a BRIDE!!

It also feels like the more guests, the more pressure I feel to look good as the bride. One of the other reasons I was really overwhelmed during my engagement party was the neverending photos: I was still taking prednisone so I was a lot heavier and more self-conscious. Since starting this blog and since Cecilio proposed to me, I have lost 20 pounds, give or take. I started this blog weighing at 153 pounds (I am 5'4"). A few months after Cecilio proposed, I hit my all time high of 158, and now I currently weigh 134. I am very proud of my weight loss, and it's a mountainous feat when you take prednisone. But I am kicking myself for not trying harder with my health/weight loss efforts, especially with emotional eating. I would love to lose another 10 pounds, but with 20-something days left, it's not going to happen. I consider myself normal and healthy, and those last 10 pounds are for vanity. But I will keep my exercise routine up to tone and sculpt my back, arms and abs. But I should practice more self-compassion. Cecilio mentions that he proposed to me during my heavier side. He has seen me from 115–158. And even though I've struggled with body issues my whole life, I always felt beautiful and special around him. And no one will be as critical about my arms as I am. I weighed 145 during our engagement photo session and fell in love with the photos. Because we were happy and glowing, and giggling the whole time during the session.


Even though I am overwhelmed and wondering why we have to invite so-and-so, I often read this article about a groom regretting not inviting his parents' friends:

"A wedding is a public affirmation of love. You gather your friends and family to celebrate but also to collaborate. This is going to be a long journey. In our case we assumed the people in the audience would be people we could count on throughout our lives: when our children were born, when we turned 50, when we were fired or hired or fell down and needed to be reminded of our best selves. They'd be there when our parents died, and even when death finally did us part. We would surely want them there when our children got married. What we didn’t understand was that allowing our parents to invite their friends was a celebration of continuity and the communal purpose of matrimony we were trying so hard to create ourselves."

I know I've always wanted to find that special someone and celebrate with family and friends our union. I knew I've been dreaming of marriage and weddings since I was little. I just didn't realize how many people we would celebrate it with, and how anxious I would feel. But it means that my parents, sisters and I have made a huge impact in other peoples' lives and vice versa. And it means that we have so much love in our lives, and people care about us so much to want to celebrate back.

It helps a lot that Cecilio and I will have a first look to get the nerves and emotions out of the way, before I walk down the aisle. I will need to have a glass or two of champagne to calm those nerves. As we say our vows, I am afraid to let myself cry and be vulnerable in front of a sea of people. But as I meet him at the altar, I can only hope that I'm seeing him as the only person in the room and nothing else matters...like what other brides have experienced. 

10 comments :

  1. Very nice story, wishing you all the best!

    www.busyandfab.com

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  2. Have a lovely bridal shower tomorrow!
    It's so important to share our experiences, I'm sure many other introverted brides will benefit from this post.
    Good luck with everything and just focus on you and your soon to be husband on your special day :D

    Starlight & Stitches

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  3. I hope you have an amazing bridal shower, it sounds like it's going to be super special xx

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  4. I really hope your wedding will be everything you've always dreamed it would be and I hope your joy will overcome your anxiety. I wish you and Cecilio all the best!
    Enjoy your bridal shower tomorrow!

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  5. I can relate to so much of this. Though I don't come from a culture that is known for big weddings, Dan and I both have big families. I'm one of 5 and Dan is one of 7. Most of those siblings have children of their own and then there are Aunts, Uncles, cousins and friends. We had a difficult time with our guest list because of the maximum capacity of our venue was 120. Only very close friends made the cut and it caused some problems with people who didn't understand the pressures of having a big family.

    I also completely understand your discomfort surrounding your weight. My comfortable weight is 119lb. At my heaviest I was 164lb because of my Gabapentin. At the time of getting married, I weighed around about 149lb and was rather self conscious.

    I don't tend to get anxious and am not shy, but I expected to feel more the centre of attention on my wedding day than I did. I didn't feel like I was constantly being watched or like I stuck out from everyone else. I'm sure your love will overcome any anxious feelings on the day.

    Can you come up with some questions or talking points for when you meet people you've not seen for several years? I find doing that helps me feel less awkward and put on the spot.

    I'm always here for you if you want to talk in the lead up to your wedding (or any time!). I hope you've had a fantastic time at your bridal shower today. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

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    Replies
    1. We don't have a huge immediate family, but we have a good amount of extended family and a HUGE chunk of my side of the guest list consists of family friends.

      That's good that you didn't feel like you were put on a show on your wedding day! I totally felt like that during my engagement party. I just had the bridal shower and I had much more fun. And I have heard other brides say that on the wedding day, the stress all melted away and they were just calm and at peace. I hope to feel that way. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement <3 you are one of my favorite bloggers.

      Hannah
      Floraful

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