My wedding day was not the happiest day of my life.
I’ve talked before about the pressure to have the right feelings. A bride is supposed to be blissfully happy on her wedding day, and declare it the best day of her life. The wedding dress is supposed to be the best thing she’s ever worn, and she’s supposed to look the most beautiful she’s ever looked. Everything comes with a superlative attached to it, according to the WIC.
Some people may feel “the most” or “the best” all day long, but I was not one of those people. Sure, my wedding day was filled with moments of joy—sometimes even transcendent joy—but it was filled with a lot of other feelings, too, some of which were unhappy feelings. I felt a lot of anxiety. Looking back, it was unfounded anxiety, but that doesn’t change the fact that I felt it. And I feel a little bad about feeling that way, which is ridiculous. I’m a human being, not a robot. I can’t control my emotions on cue, especially on a day that’s supposed to be emotional.
But the WIC tells brides that they should feel a certain way, so when I didn’t feel that way, I felt like I was doing it wrong. It was a vicious cycle that went something like this: feel anxious –> feel bad about feeling anxious –> try to calm down –> not be able to calm down –> get mad that I can’t calm down –> increase level of anxiety because now I’m anxious about being anxious.
It’s not that I wasn’t happy on our wedding day; it’s that I feel bad that I wasn’t happier. I can’t go back and make our wedding day perfect for me, and that makes me sad. I only got one shot at it, and I feel like I failed. I love Mr. T, and I love our marriage, but I didn’t big puffy hearts love our wedding every moment of the day. That’s not a feeling that’s discussed, so it makes me feel like a failure because I didn’t experience transcendent joy all day long.
So I share this post with you so that you know it’s OK to feel however you feel. If you feel transcendent joy and think your wedding day was the best day of your life, you’re not doing it wrong. If you feel panicky and nauseous, you’re not doing it wrong. If you actually vomit, well, join the club.