Relax on your wedding day: 5 ways to manage nerves.

So the big day is finally here and you’ve spent countless months, weeks, days and nights planning, and preparing for this moment. Perhaps a wedding planner has helped you to organise the smooth running of the day. But even with everything well planned to run smoothly it is natural to feel nervous with the extra adrenaline pumping around your body on the big day. When under pressure the nervous system can get charged up causing a build up of nervous stress in the stomach. This is often called butterflies or stage fright.     

As bride and groom you aren’t going on a stage to perform in front of an audience you have never met, you are conducting a sacred ceremony in front of everyone important in your life, who you cherish, and who cherish you too. It’s a very special day, it’s your special day to shine! Your family and guests have been looking forward to this big day too. You may have invited anything between 10 and 200 guests, of course they all want to see you relaxed and enjoying your special day. 

 Even after years of experience and stage time most actors and entertainers still experience the effect of stage fright and nerves in the stomach just before a big show or event. This flittering butterfly effect in the stomach, or in extreme case nausea, is something that can be managed so it doesn’t affect your well being on the day. 

Some people naturally feel more comfortable in front of an audience. This may be due to their personality type or they may have more experience in front of a large crowd. It’s not unusual to find it a challenge to be so visible and the centre of attention. Many well known actors when not under the lights are rather shy individuals. They have learned techniques to manage the increase of adrenaline and nerves so it doesn’t affect their performance.   

Five useful techniques I often use to manage and overcome that rush of nerves and increased adrenaline known as stage fright are: 

1. Visualisation. 

I once attended a talk about the power of imagination. The participants were asked, ‘how many of you use your imagination to the full each day?’ Only very few hands were raised. The presenter asked everyone, ‘ok how many of you ever find yourself worrying about stuff?’ The whole room was full of raised hands. She then explained that worrying was an example of the imagination being put to use. It’s easy to imagine the worst or try to prepare oneself for the worst scenario. 

Instead you can visualise and actually imagine yourself relaxed and calm, reinforcing how you would like to be. Imagine and see yourselves relaxed and enjoying your day together. Your family and friends are there because of you and your choice to be there. They are there for one reason, to celebrate your success and they want to see you win and be happy. Be kind to yourself and don’t use your imagination to create images and thoughts that cause worry or stress, just for today!

 2. Breathing techniques

If you find yourself nervous, take a moment to check in with yourself. Feel where in your body you feel you are tight or holding tension. It’s very subtle but try and relax that part of your body. Relax in your shoulders. Breathing gently for about 5 seconds in through your nose filling your belly with air. Hold the air in for about 5 seconds and then slowly breath out for about 5 seconds through your mouth. Repeat this breathing exercise a few times until you feel more relaxed. Breathing consciously while observing your breath can be deeply relaxing and will bring you back into the present moment.

3. Positive self talk

Give yourself total permission to shine! Talk to yourself and give yourself a narrative in your mind that confirms and affirms all that you value and cherish in life. For example, I am loved and accepted just as I am and I am surrounded by love and support.     

4. Mindfulness technique

A simple Mindfulness technique is to observe what ever you are feeling, and yes, just simply  observe what is happening in your body. Don’t react to it, just observe it happening in the present moment. Keep your focus in the present moment and on your breath.

Alternatively, if you find yourself nervous or stressed, you could focus on something natural like a cloud or a tree or even your hand. Just observe it fully and bring your attention back into the present moment. 

By simply observing thoughts and emotions that are passing through without judging or reacting to them it’s possible to create space and distance from them. This will make it easier to bring yourself back to the present moment where you can feel well and see that actually everything is ok.           

You may have heard of the ripple effect and how, when a stone is thrown into a lake, it causes ripples that move out in rings away from the splash. The mind can mirror this ripple effect with thoughts; thoughts can get extended out from the original thought. 

As an example, A happens, but then B could happen too and if that happened then for sure C would then happen, and if C happened, OMG then D would definitely happen. You may recognise this thought process and how a simple thought can create stress or nerves. So bringing the focus back into the moment, to the feeling you are feeling, is like coming back to the centre of the ripple rather than allowing your thoughts to catastrophize. I like the acronym I once heard for the word fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.

5. Talk to a calm person 

You will most likely have appointed a bridesmaid and a best man as a part of the structure of your special day, to help offer support and ensure it runs smoothly. Maybe if you have a tendency to feel nervy or anxious you could appoint a person who you know is calming for you, someone you can be around to support you on the day, someone with a calm and soothing nature.    


Many of my clients have reflected that having my magic and friendly presence on their special day really helped them to relax more. They felt less pressure knowing it wasn’t their job to entertain or engage with everyone there. When looking over to where the laughter and gasps of astonishment were coming from, there I was seamlessly engaging and delighting their guests. 

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