Are you feeling nervous about your wedding ceremony? Does the prospect of standing up in front of a crowd of people and reciting vows fill you with stage fright? Are you worried that all your family and friends are going to see you mess up your vows? If you answered yes to any of these, you are not alone. In our time as DC wedding photographers, we have seen a lot of spouses-to-be fretting about that part of their wedding day. Given how much people dread having to engage in public speaking, it is hardly surprising! The oft-repeated claim that people fear it more than death might be one of those rare “fun facts” that is actually true.
Unsurprisingly, given that we have photographed hundreds of weddings, we have seen a few brides and a few grooms flub their “lines.” Any Washington DC wedding photographer has witnessed plenty of people stumble over certain words in their vows. We have captured spouses-to-be on film forgetting what they are supposed to say, even when they were simply repeating what their officiant had just said. In one particularly memorable incident, we watched as a bride momentarily blanked on her future husband’s name! (This was not as bad as it might sound. Like many people in a long-term relationship, she had grown accustomed to calling her beloved by a pet name. When she was nervous and up in front of lots of people, his real name just did not want to come out.)
The good news for that poor bride (and for you if you are nervous) is that none of it matters in the end. The couple in that story still got married to each other. They and their wedding guests all laughed about it in that moment. Instead of making the bride more self-conscious, it actually helped her relax and enjoy the ceremony more. More importantly, we are certain that time has only made that incident funnier for that couple. It has become something that made their marriage celebration unique and memorable. It is something that neither they nor their wedding guests will ever forget… in a good way!
Their experience really does highlight why you should not be overly nervous about reciting your vows in public. If you or your future spouse makes a “mistake,” it is really not a big deal. In fact, it could even be a good thing for you and your future spouse! Like the bride in our story, the two of you will laugh about it if it happens. It will cut the tension a little bit and allow everyone present to be more in the moment. You will no longer worry about flubbing your lines, because you will have already done so. And you will have seen that nothing bad came of of it. You, your future spouse, your families and your friends will also laugh about it for years to come. It will become a fun little part of your love story that your kids and grandkids will want to hear about. It will become a memory you treasure, not an embarrassment you want to forget.
It might also help calm your nerves to think about such a scenario in the broader context of what your wedding means to you and your future spouse. It is without a doubt one of the most important days in your life — one you will remember forever. But it is also just a single step on a lifetime journey together. No matter what hiccups you experience during your wedding, the two of you will still be married when it is all over. At the end of the day, you will still be on that shared path towards a lifetime together. And that is all that matters.
As you might have guessed, the moment captured in this image was one of those little hiccups. In this particular case, neither the bride nor the groom forgot their “lines.” Instead, they had some technical difficulties exchanging their rings. While standing in front of family and friends on a beautiful lawn at Tudor Place Historic House & Garden, a great venue for intimate weddings in Georgetown, the groom struggled to fit the ring on his future wife’s finger. As it turns out, this is a fairly common occurrence. (And again, something you need not worry too much about.) After a few seconds of the groom pushing and tugging, the bride and the officiant started laughing. As you can imagine, all the guests at their Tudor Place Historic House and Garden wedding joined in as well. The incident got everyone in a great mood and ready to live it up at the reception later that evening.DC Wedding (81), DC wedding photographers (93), DC Weddings (15).
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