My fiance and I have been putting off the entire wedding largely because we are both pretty shy, introverted people. We're both are very anxious about being the center of attention.
Besides cutting down the guest list, do you have any brilliant ideas for how we can pull this off without getting ulcers from stage fright?
Also, keep your vows super short and sweet. Instead of memorizing them, have your officiant do “repeat after me” vows.
You may also want to do what we did and schedule some time just the two of you immediately after the ceremony. You can read more about this in my book.
Avoid having either of you make formalized speeches, and do what you can to keep the number of toasts low. Ask two friends or family members to do toasts and then stand up and say “Thank you!” and turn up the music so it's clear the time for toasts is dunzo.
Keep the tone of the wedding light and casual: less formal = less cause for freak-outs.
Also, make liberal use of what I call “The I Love You Break.”
How “The I Love You Break” works…
Decide on a secret signal with your fiance: an ear tug, scratch of the nose, squeeze of the hand, whatever. Stick close to each other for the entire day, and whenever one of you starts get getting overwhelmed or anxious, give the signal.
Then, the other partner should politely step in and say “Excuse us for a moment” or gently place a hand on the other's cheek. Then just stare into each other's eyes and both whisper “I love you I love you I love you” for as long as it takes to calm down a bit.
Sure: what you really want to do is grab each other's hands and run screaming from the room. But while that might freak your guests out (“where are they going? and why are they screaming??”) taking an “I love you” break will make your guests be all, “OMG look at them so madly in love, this is the most touching wedding evar, snorfle sniffle sob.”
Meanwhile, the two of you get a quiet moment together to just stop and breathe and chill out and ignore for a second that your friends and family are all there to tell you how much they love you. And do remember: all eyes are on you because they're there to support you.