The Wedding Night Reality: What to Expect

Bride and groom in hotel room

Everyone has a vision in their mind of what the wedding night will look like. Without getting too graphic, you probably imagined something like champagne, music, a hot tub, and maybe even some rose petals on the bed. But the truth is that often the wedding night fantasy doesn’t quite match up with reality.

Although plenty of couples do have a romantic evening on their first night as newlyweds, many others are too exhausted or too emotional to get intimate. The movies may make the wedding night out to be this grand romantic experience, but more often than not it ends with the two of you foraging for food anywhere that’s open and falling asleep in your wedding dress.

Here are a couple of things you can really expect at the end of your wedding night.

Bride and groom sitting on couch exhausted

Extreme Physical Hunger

Although the newlywed couple typically gets to go through the buffet line first or is saved a special plate, it’s pretty rare that you’ll actually get to eat much at the wedding. Through all of the dancing, champagne toasts, and visiting with all of your relatives (including your chatty great aunt who you haven’t seen since you were five), it’s hard to be able to experience everything at your wedding, let alone eat.

It’s pretty likely that at the end of the night, you’ll be craving a bunch of tacos rather than a memorable first night as a newlywed (or maybe both if you’re not too tired!). And if you’re not getting married in a big city, the search for food may lead you into the next town over or possibly the vending machines at the hotel you’re staying at. Though your night might not be champagne and roses, you’ll still always remember eating Oreos in your wedding dress at two in the morning with your new spouse.

Complete and Utter Exhaustion

The best weddings are ones that make it look effortless, but it takes so much work to get them there. After weeks and months of eating, sleeping, and breathing everything weddings, when you make it to the finish line you might just not have a lot left in you at the end of the night.

Even if you have an evening wedding, you are probably planning on getting up at the crack of dawn to get started with hair, makeup, and just enjoying time with your bridesmaids. You’ll also probably be fielding calls from your planner or your vendors, trying to ensure that everything is going to come together for the event.

Between pre-wedding planning, getting ready, and then going through the ceremony and reception, it’ll probably be a miracle if you don’t fall asleep on top of the cake.

In addition to the physical exhaustion you’ll feel, getting married is also emotionally exhausting. You are making a huge commitment to another person: to spend the rest of your life eating cereal with them, putting up with their snoring, and pledging to be a family. You’ll be surprised at how jittery and nervous you’ll feel (even if you are over-the-moon excited). After the wedding is over, you might just feel exhausted because you’ve completed a really monumental life step.

Couple in bed nervously looking at each other

You Might Not be In the Mood

There are a whole other multitude of reasons why you might not be feeling intimate on your wedding night, such as too much champagne, your Spanx made your skin really itchy, or maybe you started your period the day before (perfect timing as always).

If you’re going into your wedding night completely inexperienced in intimacy, it’s also completely natural to feel extremely nervous. Not only did you just commit your life to someone, but you’re also going to be taking another really huge step in your relationship. If you’re too anxious or too tired, don’t feel bad about not having sex on your wedding night. After all, you’ll have the whole honeymoon!

It’s Really OK Not to Have Sex on Your Wedding Night

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have sex on your wedding night. Your wedding night is full of romance—kissing for the first time as official and legally bound spouses, dancing the night away under the stars, and champagne toasts—but it’s also a completely exhausting day. You probably woke up at the crack of dawn to get things prepared. You’ve probably spent the last few weeks and months planning, crafting, and emotionally preparing for your wedding.

If you don’t have sex the night of your wedding—guess what? You have the rest of your lives to be intimate. Real intimacy is always best when you’re not just going through the motions because you feel like you have to. You may not have the romantic night you thought you would on your wedding night, but maybe later when you’re well rested and well fed, it’ll be one for the books.

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