Just before getting married, I wrote an entry about life after the wedding. I wasn’t sure where I would be emotionally after the wedding was over. The idea is that you spend weeks, months, sometimes even years preparing for an event that is over in a single day. Emotionally, it places a lot of pressure on the bride and groom. I felt that I was highly susceptible to experiencing post-wedding depression for a number of reasons, but namely because the wedding was a distraction from my stressful job, an excuse to stay in touch with long-distance friends and family, and a great creative motivator. As of May 26th, all of the crafting, socializing, and planning has come to a screeching halt.
I won’t lie, the day after our wedding was pretty rough. Not only did we watch as all of our out-of-town family and friends left, but we also returned to our apartment to find the sad remnants of our special day. After the wedding my family was tasked with clearing all of our belongings out of the venue. Everything was loaded up and dropped off at our apartment while Mr. C and I were at a hotel in downtown Athens. There were boxes of milk glass, a trash bag full of our beautiful centerpiece flowers, unopened wedding gifts and cards, a bag of uneaten macarons. There was barely any space to move around our living room! So we sat down and started to clear it out. We broke down boxes, we tossed out the flowers, we boxed up the milk glass that I spent over a year collecting. It was hard and there were definitely tears from both of us. The worst part is when we opened our photo guestbook for the first time. There were so many great photos and sweet messages. Seeing the photos of guests who only hours earlier had been in our presence totally opened the floodgates. We were both a total mess for most of the day. You see, the major bulk of both of our families lives hours away from us. It was such a treat to have our family all together for the weekend, to watch our family interact with our coworkers and friends. It was hard to see them go and watch life return to normalcy.
|Photography by Christopher Helm|
This is where I am so very glad that we decided to leave for our honeymoon the day after the wedding. I definitely recommend this if you think you might suffer from post-wedding depression. We had enough time the day after the wedding to see some of our family off, to clean up our apartment, pack a few last minute items, and then make it to the airport just in time for our flight to Paris. But I cried the entire car ride to the airport. In fact, Mr. C had to stop for gas and I had to go into the gas station to buy tissues. I was a hot mess! My head was reeling with so many emotions: the vows, spending time with my dad, seeing my mom and dad chatting together for the first time in 15 years, the total outpouring of love we experienced. But as soon as we were on the plane, it all melted away. We were about to go on a great adventure and see Paris and Malta!
|Instagram photo by my stepsister.|
By the time we returned home from the honeymoon, the post-wedding letdown had run its course. I felt just fine, no post-wedding depression in sight. Even so, there was definitely a feeling of “loss” —I kept thinking that there was something I should be doing, some wedding task waiting to be completed. Nearly a month later I still feel the same sense of loss, as if something is missing. But that might also come from the fact I’m a teacher on summer vacation and usually I do have a million things (lessons to plan, copies to make, essays to grade, grades to enter, etc.) that I should be doing. But you know what? I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad the wedding stress is gone. I’m glad I don’t have to check The Knot’s wedding checklist anymore (and subsequently freak out over the dozens of tasks waiting to be completed). I’m glad the wedding nightmares have ended. I’m glad a portion of my paycheck is no longer being signed away to wedding day details. The wedding was fun, it was amazing, but it’s done and I’m ready to move on. Honestly, this response has really surprised me as I thought I would be an emotional wreck. If we hadn’t left straight for the honeymoon after the wedding, I think things would have been much different.
Some post-wedding emotions have surprised me though. I’ve felt some strange pangs of guilt. Guilt about some family and friends I barely spoke to at the reception. Guilt about all the trouble and expense my brother went through to DJ at the wedding reception (even though people tell me he had the time of his life). Guilt about barely being by Mr. C’s side during the rehearsal dinner. Guilt about the time and money some of my friends spent to be a part of our wedding. I realize that people do these things because they want to, but I can’t help feeling a little guilty. I even felt guilty opening wedding gifts—what did we do to deserve them? I also feel bummed out by some things that did not go as planned, which I realize is normal. We didn’t get to have a sparkler exit (because I was stupid and misplaced the sparklers). I wish our reception had been even one hour longer or we had started the ceremony earlier. There are some photos we just didn’t have time to take. But c‘est la vie. What can you do but take the good with the bad in stride and keep moving forward?
Some people have asked me if I feel different now that I am married, or if my relationship with Mr. C has changed. Not so much. But there is that feeling of, “Wow, this person has chosen to stick by me for this rest of his life?” That’s a powerful and humbling notion. I can’t believe someone loves enough to make that commitment, someone who has seen me at my absolute best and my rock-bottom worst. It’s empowering, comforting, and strange all at the same time. But I’m so happy and so lucky to call Mr. C my husband.
Overall, I’m very content with life right now. I can finally rest, relax, and recharge. I’m so glad to be married to Mr. C and we are still enjoying our newly-wedded bliss. Plus we now we have our professional photos (as you may have noticed above) and we absolutely love them. I can’t wait to start my wedding recaps!
What about you? How did you feel when your wedding was over? Were you distressed or relieved? A mix of the two? Did your relationship with your partner change after your marriage?