Alright. You spend anywhere from a few months to a few years planning and all of the sudden… the wedding is over. Everyone tells you the day will fly by and they’re not lying. I woke up the morning after my wedding with mixed emotions. Part of me couldn’t believe how “perfect” the day was, another part was just happy to be married to my husband, and another part of me felt like something had just died. Intellectually I was happy, but I was carrying around a pit in my gut and couldn’t quite figure out why.
The day before had been even better than I imagined. Every detail was beautiful. Everyone had fun. Things went smoothly with only a few minor blips that no one else likely even noticed. We were celebrated and completely surrounded by love of family, friends, and one another. AND I was now married to the man of my dreams. So why so sad?! Unfortunately that sadness followed me to our honeymoon. We were in a beautiful, exotic, romantic place for a full week and I couldn’t shake my dumpy mood while we were there.
Once we got home and settled into our lives together, I was able to to talk through some of my feelings with my husband, at which point the pit and dumpy mood subsided some. Surprise, surprise; communication for the win, once again. But then I began this weird over-analysis stage, which may have been worse. And NO ONE warned me about this one. To say the least, the months that followed the wedding were complicated as I slowly began to unpack the origin of this state of mind I’d gotten stuck in. Turns out it stemmed from several parts and needs that I needed to figure out how to address.
The first part I began to unpack was the fact that I missed the love, support, and eager questions about the big day coming up. I missed being celebrated. As strange as that feels to say out loud, it’s honest. Everyone is excited for you when you’re engaged and planning a wedding: your family, your friends, strangers at the nail salon, your co-workers… everyone. Once you’re married, you’re just another married person that no one really gets excited about. Have you ever met a married couple and been like, “OMG you guys are MARRIED?! So exciting! Tell me about it!” No.
I realized this stemmed from a need to feel supported and special, which I addressed by continuing to work on my relationship with my partner. I strengthened my friendships even more. I also talked with other friends who were recently married, who normalized this experience and shared that they had been there too. Ok, I was ready to let the wedding-withdrawals go and accept that I’m now just another boring married person.
The over-analysis piece began probably 3 months after the wedding was over. And when I say over-analysis I mean I was analyzing every. single. detail. of our wedding. Here are just a few of the many thoughts that started ruminating in my mind on a daily basis… Our color pallet that featured a wine red and that I thought was sooo original as I was planning turned out to be the same color pallet as every other wedding I saw that month. Ugh. I realized my cake was more orange than “rose gold” and the brush strokes were supposed to be horizontal not diagonal. I realized I had wanted my hair braided over the side of my shoulder not straight down my back. There was a miscommunication with my photographer and she was an hour late, so I didn’t get all of the “getting ready” photos I had dreamed of. Bummer. I wished my dress had been altered slightly differently. My bouquets were not as “wild” as I hoped they would be, and why the hell did I ask for roses in the bridesmaid bouquets when roses are one of my least favorite flower? …. I could go on, but you get the picture. Moral of the story is I was driving myself crazy. Not only could I not change any of this, but I was losing sight of the purpose of the entire day.
So what was the need there? Much of it was control, the other part was comparison to others. I had to step back and remember that some of the things were the way they were on my wedding day because I was being present. This was a GOOD thing. I hadn’t cared what my hair looked like as she was doing it. I didn’t say anything about the cake because it didn’t freakin matter. Seeking control over those things now would do me no good. Strengthening my mindfulness practice helped with this piece, as well as taking a very behavioral approach of unfollowing most of the wedding-related people I had been following on Instagram so that I would stop it with the comparison game. DONE.
The final part of this was that I missed the planning and working towards a goal. I realized that for the first time in my life I no longer had a set goal in front of me. I’d gone from high school to college to a planned year off to graduate school and gotten engaged 2 weeks before graduating with my Masters degree. Time studying and learning was replaced by time planning for my wedding. So when that was over, it’s true that my sense of purpose was rocked. This is the piece I’m still exploring by throwing myself fully into building my practice, finding opportunities for volunteer work, and re-starting some of my own therapeutic work.
When it’s all said and done, the wedding doesn’t matter. Marking the beginning of the rest of your life with the person you’ve chosen is what matters. But it’s also important to remember that it is okay to grieve the wedding day and the celebrations that led up to it, just as you may have done when you got engaged. Getting married is an adventure of its own, but it’s okay to miss the attention and celebration. It’s okay to feel a little misguided. It’s normal to want to change a few things about your wedding if you could do it all again. What’s important is that you don’t stop there and that you explore what these emotions might be telling you about yourself and your needs. Seek conversation with friends. Find a therapist who can help you work through this. Because even though the post-wedding slump may be “normal”, it’s definitely no place to live.