4 ways to avoid a panic attack at your wedding shower

Who knew being a bride required you to be center of attention all the time???

That’s right, yes, we all did know that, didn’t we?

But I know the other awkward non-public-speaker-panic-in-a-room-with-more-than-10-people-in-it women can identify with my problem. Because hello red, splotchy neck and sweaty upper lips!

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I recently had a beautiful wedding shower with all of my mom’s close friends. The hostesses went the whole nine yards, filling the room with cheery weddingy things like genuine Baptist punch, monogrammed cookies, girly decorations — the works. In the center was a pile of presents fit for a queen and there I was in my queen chair, my maid of honor beside me with pen and paper, poised to take down every detail, and I was shaking like I had just chugged twenty cups of coffee. What was my deal? I grew up with these women, for goodness sakes! But this is a reality I’ve learned I have to face because I’m a grownup now and fainting and crying in public is not cute.

To cope, I’ve come up with 4 steps, which often have to be repeated, depending on how long you’re meant to be center of attention. Am I perfect at them? Nope! But it’s a start. Here they are:

1. Breath. Focus on a spot on the floor or right in front of you…wherever it’s easy for your eyes to rest. Then take a very deep breath. Maybe two. This is my breathing face. Try not to look so deer in the headlights….

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2. Smile. If you look confident and pleased, others will feel confident and pleased. If you look awkward and nervous, you’re going to make everyone else feel awkward and nervous for you, which just draws even more attention to you. I learned this in college when I would have panic attacks giving speeches. It’s not cute and people just felt sorry for me. I put myself in the victim role instead of the in charge role. So do your best to appear you have it together.

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3. Bond. Grab your best friend to help you open a gift or to have a short conversation about what you just got with them. “I’m so happy we got these towels! You know I’ve been waiting forever to get rid of those old one’s he’s got – ha ha ha.” Etcetera. It might be a silly chat but at least it gets your mind off of the fifty other ladies with their eyes on you. And if it’s a couples shower, even better! You’ll get to share the attention with your adoring fiancé!

I can tell this picture was taken while I was chatting with my matron of honor, Torie. It definitely helped me feel more at ease.

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4. Slow Down. Yes, it’s painful watching someone open gifts for two hours, but if you try to rush you just get more shaky and nervous and also look like you don’t appreciate the special effort everyone has put in for you.

The steps are not flawless, and that scary shouty voice in your head and ringing in your ears probably won’t actually disappear, but at least you’ll look like the calm, cool, collected, beautiful bride you want to be!

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and so it goes,

{Photo credit for all to Pete Blizzard. Thank you for the lovely pictures!!}


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