What to do if you are a nervous groom

With your big day imminent, it’s understandable and common to experience some jitters.

The phrase is daunting in and of itself: My Big Day. And though for the most part the focus of any wedding and subsequent reception party is the beautiful bride, the prospect of taking centre stage at an elaborate ceremony in front of all one’s closest friends and family is one that can incite feelings of trepidation of varying intensity in the groom. Whether you’re anxious about meeting people, public speaking, or simply being on display, help is at hand from Chillisauce.

Overcoming performance anxiety

Our physical response to periods of emotional distress is known as “fight or flight”, which sounds like a list of Superman’s options in a scrap, but refers to a form of primal instinct that takes over our bodies in order to ensure our survival.

The state this induces causes adrenaline levels to rise, resulting in physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, constricted vocal chords and topped off with the heightened sensory perception that makes you hyper-aware of just what a shambles you’ve become. No wonder we sometimes feel anxious in social situations, right?

The key word when it comes to describing the source of anxiety in anticipation.

Unless your bride to be is Wednesday Addams or that hot cousin from The Munsters, in which Unless your bride to be is Wednesday Addams or that hot cousin from The Munsters, in which case her family might actually be planning to eat you alive, chances are the event itself is not the source of your fear. Rather, the anticipation of one’s own perceived failure in a given situation is the catalyst for a negative response to it. In other words, it isn’t the congregation heckling you that’s causing you to fall apart, but your fear of such a potential event. In this case, your course of action is clear: simply recognizing the severe unlikelihood of any wedding attendee acting in such a disrespectful and abhorrent manner is the first step.

In order to offset the anticipation such an extremely unlikely worst-case scenario, two options present themselves: first, to anticipate instead the far greater likelihood that the guests assembled to celebrate the occasion of your marriage will treat you with reverence and warmth regardless of your level of composure; second, to concentrate on the present, and avoid all thought of the future altogether.

Anticipation can be a difficult thing to overcome or ignore, and when it comes to your wedding or any happy occasion, you’re going to experience some positive anticipation too. Better then to focus on the positive, and on logic. For whatever reason you might find yourself lacking confidence, there are some fundamental truths to bear in mind.

Everybody is there to see you, not to see you fail

While the former statement may appear daunting, the latter should set your mind at ease. If in the extreme event all your self doubt should turn out to be justified, the guests are going to be sympathetic, not critical. These are your friends, your family; when it comes to it, what they will take from the day is the memory of your happy union. They will go home talking about how lovely the meal was, how romantic the occasion, how great the two of you looked; not the brief moment where it looked like you weren’t sure what to do next. You aren’t Elizabeth Taylor, after all. The crowd is going to be extremely forgiving. Speaking of Elizabeth Taylor…

Practice makes perfect

This doesn’t mean you make like Ross Geller and marry every woman you date; after all, it didn’t seem to do much for his nerves. Attending the weddings of friends and family can help give a sense of what to expect. Once you’ve seen the whole shebang go smoothly once or twice, it could help to assuage any unfounded fears you might have about the groom’s experience. Of course, that isn’t always possible, so take heart and more importantly take interest in the fact that every aspect of your wedding can be rehearsed ad infinitum until you are completely happy with the smooth running of your part.

Play a part

In any kind of social scenario, the anxious party might find it helpful to approach the situation as a role to inhabit, to play the part of a cool and charming man when he considers his true self socially awkward, or is simply too nervous to relax and be himself. Given the extremely personal nature of a wedding, this approach might seem antithetical to the occasion, but it’s worth remembering that while your marriage is a deeply personal commitment to which you must absolutely dedicate and invest yourself, your wedding is very much a show, a ceremony of tradition that tends to follow a script. Presenting an exaggerated version of yourself in such a situation should not be seen as a betrayal of same. Your marriage is for life; your wedding is just a day.

Your big day

A lot of the anxiety associated with your wedding should be brought into perspective by recognizing the fact that all the events you’re so fervently anticipating will be over and done within a very short space of time. It’s easy to feel as though there is much at stake should you make any mistakes, but in the context of your life as a whole, your vows and speech are mere footnotes. Put them into perspective and the anxiety with which you imbue them should become more apparently disproportionate

Medication’s what you need

In extreme cases, anxiety can be clinical, even hereditary. In such cases, the effects can be treated chemically using a branch of pharmacology known as beta blockers. These drugs inhibit the ability of the body’s organs from absorbing and using adrenaline produced in fight or flight situations. This means they can prevent an increase in the heart rate, minimize the physical symptoms of anxiety such as sweating and nausea, and generally promote a feeling of ease. Needless to say, this should be seen as a last resort, and it’s likely your doctor would not recommend their use.

Talk through what you're feeling

You’re about to embark on the most significant partnership of your life, so the best advice we can possibly give you is to talk through your concerns with the missus.

Tell her what your concerns are, she probably shares them, and the old saying tells us that a problem shared is a problem halved. Further clichés include old favourite reassurance “we have nothing to fear but fear itself”. At the end of the day, the thing that’s missing from the unknown that makes it so scary is perspective. Understand that you are not alone and take control of your anxiety. Have a great wedding.