What do I do with my hands?
I'm not sure why this question keeps coming up during wedding rehearsals, but I'm here to answer it once and for all.....Hold your spouse's hands during the wedding. Here's my rationale: There's an old quote, from an unknown author that states, "Holding hands is a promise to one another that, for just a moment, the two of you don't have to face the world alone." Studies have shown that holding hands decreases the level of the stress hormone cortisol, and the fact that the skin is the largest organ of the body, it should come to no surprise that touching it will yield some collateral benefit. Next time you go out to eat, pay attention on whether or not your server gently touches you. In an article published in Psychology Today, titled 'Six Tips to Get Higher Tips', the author points out that this is a strategy commonly employed by servers because it has a calming effect. So what exactly happens when someone touches you? Well according to the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in Florida, there are pressure receptors under the skin that, when pressed, sends a signal to a part of the brain called the vagus nerve (a.k.a. "The wanderer") which slows the heart down and decreases blood pressure. Weddings and the planning of weddings is a stressful ordeal, and standing in front of your family, friends, and loved ones can definitely add to this. Holding hands as soon as the opportunity presents itself buffers the physiological consequences of this situation and allows the couple to increase the release of oxytocin — also called the "cuddle hormone" — which affects trust behaviors. Oxytocin is a hormone that basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding. According to experimental psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana, Matt Hertenstein, "oxytocin really lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people." Call it divine fate, or just pure luck, but the remedy to a couples wedding anxiety is only a short hand-hold away. So once the bride has been given away, and the couple is standing in front of each other ready to start their journey towards their "happily ever after", just hold each others hands.....and never let go.