Q: Hi APW,
So after 4 postponements my now-husband and I got married last week, in a completely new version of a wedding bringing only our close ones together for a backyard wedding, instead of a 150 guests castle wedding.
It was wonderful in so many ways, but we had the worst weather of the summer and we had planned to do everything outside, which means that we had to scrap many of the parts of the day I was looking the most forward to. Instead of being by a beautiful lake, the ceremony was under our reception tent, we couldn’t do s’mores after dancing leading the wedding to end super early. And I was constantly worried about guests being cold since this weather change was very sudden, etc.
This all feels very trivial and superficial, but I’m having a hard time accepting that even this billionth replanning didn’t happen as I was hoping. What I love about APW is how you deconstruct the fairytale-fake image of weddings and show them for what they are: imperfect, complicated, but still beautiful.
I would love to have your advice and the feedback of readers on this: what went wrong on your wedding day, and how did you find acceptance and closure with that? Is it normal to feel disappointed about it instead of being in that post-wedding bliss everyone talks about? If your partner is super happy with how it went (because he did none of the planning so didn’t have any expectations) how do you not rain on his parade?
Thank you so much for reading this and for your wonderful work. Your blog has been truly a lighthouse for me in these horrible wedding planning times.
A: Dear (I Promise You’re Not BEING A) Superficial Bride,
Wow. I felt this letter in my soul, as soon as I read it. My now-wife and I got married in June (our real wedding post is coming soon), and…. well… we have some serious similarities in our wedding experiences.
There are so so many things about our wedding that I loved—moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything, connections with people I love, and a general vibe that was very much what we hoped for. AND… there were so many things that I sort of wish I could have changed or controlled. (Just so you know how very similar: we had the hottest weather humanly survivable in California which meant I literally stressed about my guests passing out during my nine am wedding ceremony, we couldn’t stay in the stunning national park where we got married for very many pictures because of potential traffic and said heat, I’m dripping sweat in nearly every photo, and we didn’t get a single family portrait with my step-son in his suit.) Some of those things have made me so sad that I’m considering an anniversary photoshoot at our wedding spot, so I can guarantee the images I dreamt of for months my whole adult life.
For what it’s worth, because I think it’s worth a lot… we are not alone. This feeling is not specific to us COVID Couples (trademark pending 😉). In fact, it’s been written about right here on APW a whole bunch of times.
This letter writer says she really hated her wedding… like, actually… but that she loves her marriage (and isn’t that the goal?). She wrote the letter two whole years after her wedding, and friend, that letter was written in 2017… before most of us had heard the word ‘Coronavirus’. There’s another letter writer, from way back in 2013, who also said she truly hated her wedding. My favorite line of this letter is when she said “I realize that the wedding day was just that—a day.” I won’t stop yet, here is yet another from 2012, where an APW staffer offered some really key guidance for the feelings. Namely, she said “First thing? You need to forgive yourself for being disappointed. Then, you need to allow yourself room to do that. Rather than bottling up that emotion or feeling as though you’re not allowed to express it, let it out. Cry about it. Scream about it. Find a good friend who won’t mind listening to you whine about it. You have to give a wound some air in order to let it heal.” That’s not all… there is a person who hated their wedding dress, another who hated how her family treated her and made her feel, and yet another who hated wedding planning. The New York Times even wrote about post-wedding blues in 2014. You get the idea… we are not in this alone, even though our situation is unique to this particular moment.
I know that what you’re writing about is more specific than just ‘post-wedding blues’—it’s related to the actual things that you wish were different, but the crash that we all feel after a huge life event like our wedding is… well, normal.
First of all, the wedding ends and life is just back. There are bills to pay and work to do, and the world has continued to spin. It’s a little disheartening after your big (or small) life-altering celebration. Plus, for months (or years) you had this thing to look forward to, a thing that the world tells us we can coordinate and perfect and curate. As you and I both learned… we can only puppeteer some of it—the weather and our families are just outside our control. And, your whole wedding planning season was, well, totally messed up. You had to postpone and replan FOUR times? That alone is enough to drive a person to all sorts of big feelings. Be gentle with yourself (and your partner).
I’ll leave you with this quote from the New York Times article and clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, Dr. Orna Guralink:
“Going through an intensive experience only to return inward can evoke emptiness, anxiety, loss and loneliness, but these feelings can inspire curiosity about the next stage for your life, and ask you to figure out how you want to live as a married person. That can lead to a better discussion or a good opening for a new kind of conversation.”
Sending you all kinds of dopamine and serotonin-filled joyous marriage experiences to make up for the parts of your wedding that have left you feeling blue.
And hopefully, you know, an end to the pandemic… real soon… for all of us.
So, APW… we all know this letter writer isn’t alone… share your thoughts and experiences. Were there parts of your wedding that were less than perfect… maybe even that you hated? How does your new spouse feel about it all? What have you done to find acceptance and closure about it all?