The bridal shower: practice at being the center of attention

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My future mother-in-law Sandy and her daughter Michelle threw me a bridal party this weekend. It was a pleasant surprise to see how many people came out. Friends and family from both sides of the family attended. Some even drove up from Miami. I felt humbled that so many people spent their Saturday celebrating my impending nuptials, which in turn made me nervous.

To calm myself down from all the attention I was receiving and all the questions I was answering about our wedding plans, I quickly downed a Mimosa. I felt like I was back in my public speaking class—minus the alcohol. While I have no problem being the class clown, the moment I stand in front of the podium I start to stutter and lose my train of thought. At times this bridal shower felt less like a party I was attending than a spectacle in which I was the main attraction. I felt as though I was expected to perform, to be the perfect woman to impress Kevin's family.

The strangest part was opening presents in front of everyone. I not only felt guilty that they bought me bridal presents but I felt like a fake trying to muster the same excitement after opening each gift and coming up with a genuine yet unique "thank you." Despite how awkward I felt, my guests were gracious and understanding. None seemed offended if I had to break off from one conversation to greet a new guest or to thank someone for coming.

The bridal shower was a success, particularly in terms of how well Kevin's and my family hit it off. I also got to visit family members I had not seen in sometime, like my sister and my nephew who surprised me by walking for the first time in my presence. Kevin and I received so many wonderful gifts that we started to wonder where we would put them all. I felt lucky. It is interesting how important such a small gesture as showing up to a bridal shower can make in a woman's life.

However, after the last guest left I felt spent. I was completely full of appetizers and drinks and my face actually hurt from smiling so much. If the bridal shower is any indication of how I will feel after my wedding, I wonder if I will have the energy to make my wedding night memorable. I started to panic. How was I going to handle getting ready for my wedding, making sure the event was running smoothly, and all the while trying to spend personal time with every guest? I am exhausted just thinking about it.

While I may be more than a little nervous about receiving so many gifts, and having people give me toasts, and giving my own speech, and trying not to trip when walking down the isle, and constantly wondering if I have lipstick on my teeth, it is comforting to know that through it all I will have my husband holding my hand at the ceremony and under the table at the wedding dinner. It is a relief to know that there is at least one man who will stand by my side no matter how many words I stutter over or how many names I forget.

Now if I can only survive my bachelorette party, I will be all set to get married.

I am a very loud and upbeat girl who does not mind being the center of attention, at least around my friends. However, after my bridal shower this weekend, I was left wondering if I will be able to cope with an entire wedding full of people showering me in gifts, complements, and questions about my marital plans. Will I be so nervous about pleasing all my guests that I will be unable to enjoy my wedding?

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