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Ask Team Practical: Wedding Night Meltdown


Ask Team Practical: Wedding Night Meltdown | A Practical WeddingWhen Lauren, Alyssa and I have our semi-monthly Skype meetings, sometimes we bring up wedding stuff that scares the bejezus out of Lauren, she-who-is-yet-to-be-wed. One of those things is our casual references to the post-wedding meltdown (which both Alyssa and I most had) which left Lauren looking a tiny bit panicked, and a tiny bit confused. Which brings us to this Ask Team Practical column, perhaps my favorite ever by Alyssa (not to set the bar high, or anything), so enjoy.

Today’s question:

So I’ve been reading APW for many months now and my wedding is fast approaching (in 7 months, but whatever) and I have been seeing here and there about the phenomenon of the after wedding emotional unloading.  What exactly is this?  And what exactly happens?  I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but it’s nothing my mother has ever talked about (because she has a cold and shriveled emotionless heart) and I need to understand!  Should I be anticipating it?  Is it like an emotional flu?  What brings it on?  I’m a little excited and a little afraid.  Advice! I need it!

Oh, honey.  I feel you.  And I hate to think that we wedding grads might be scaring the engaged out there, thinking that the moment your wedding is over, you become a nasty emotional wreck.  A Wedding Meltdown is like Wedding Zen.  It may or may not happen, and there’s really no way of anticipating (or preventing) it.  It wouldn’t even be worthy of capital letters except that many brides have experienced it – enough so that it’s something that baby brides might fear.  So let’s talk about it, dispel some fears and mention that it’s akin to something you may have already experienced.

But before we do that, I have to make an announcement.

Mom, if you are reading this, I’m gonna need you to stop.

No, seriously.  Stop.  Cause I’m gonna talk about stuff that I really don’t want you to even think about and even though I’m not going into details and I know it’s not a big deal to you, I’m not mature enough to handle it, so I’m seriously really gonna need you to skip this post, okay, I love you, bye now.

She gone?  Good.

Because, honestly, getting married is like losing your virginity.

Yeah, I said it.  Now, hear me out.

Both experiences are major milestones in your life, at least by society’s standards. And both are markers for womanhood, also by those standards. If you don’t experience either one, that does not make you any less of a woman. But both are a Big Damn Deal. Or at least they’re supposed to be.

There are two sides to both events, the Expectation and the Reality.

The Expectation is that your wedding/losing your virginity is going to be EPIC. It’s going to be a major change in your life, you’ll be a different person afterward and it is going to be GREAT. Everything’s got be just JUST SO, so that you maximize the event. Even if you go into with a more laid-back approach, there’s still a very high level of anticipation/anxiety that is still attached. Is this going to be everything I want it to be? Will my partner enjoy it too? What if I do something wrong? How’s this going to change our relationship? What if it’s not like I imagined it? Oh GOD, what if it SUCKS??? (Lauren note: That last question was in the 2nd email I ever sent to Alyssa. In real life, you guys.)

And then it happens. However IT happens, it happens. And your wedding/first time turns out to be like you imagined, completely different than you imagined, better AND worse – all at the same time.

But…nothing really changes. And that’s when Reality hits. Oh, some things are different, but they are not different in a way that strangers can tell. You walk away, having passed through the archway into Womanhood, and not a damn person can see it by looking at you. And that’s weird. And occasionally disappointing. You might feel the need to lean over to a stranger on the train and say, “Guess what I did?’ You may even end up in the bathroom, staring in the mirror in a very cliched way going, “I don’t look different. I don’t even really FEEL different. What’s the danged deal??”

And when this Reality hits, it crashes smack dab into your Expectations and then, Bam. Maybe it’s a big BAM, maybe it’s a little bam, but there’s a Bam. And for some of us, when that Bam hits, tears may follow. They could be small silent tears, or big gasping sobs that make you lock yourself in the bathroom. They’re not bad tears, they’re just there. They are the release that may come after X amount of time, build-up and anticipation. They’re an expression of relief that it’s over and sadness that it’s ended. Those tears are the tears of the woman you’ve become, the woman you were and the confusion that there isn’t more fanfare because of it.

That’s the Wedding Night Meltdown, kin to the I Lost My Virginity Meltdown. (Both of which could happen on the same night if you’re under 44 and part of the 3%.)

And just so you don’t think that I’m all hat and no cattle, I had a Wedding Night Meltdown too. A big, gross, snotty meltdown about three hours after our reception ended, as I’m riding in the car in full hair and makeup but dressed in my PJ’s and eating french fries (Long story).  It was a relief and it was embarrassing, but it happened. (Meg says she had hers in a hotel room in London, where she kept saying she was glad it was over, but she just didn’t ever want to forget what it felt like. She was also really jet lagged.)

YOU may never have it, but you won’t know till you do. And I’m not going to hope that you don’t, other than to wish that it’ll happen in private with your partner where you can receive hugs and tissues.

Because a Wedding Night Meltdown isn’t something to anticipate or fear. It’s just one more thing that may happen to you in this crazy business of gettin’ hitched. Except this time, you don’t have to worry if you left your panties in the backseat. (WHAT? You expected me to get ALL the way through this and not make one terrible sex joke? Please.)

Alright, wedding grads. Help our engaged ladies out. Do you agree with me? Did you have a Wedding Meltdown?  What happened?

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  • Caroline

    I hope yours doesn’t happen in the Lisbon airport. Like, all over the security men.

    Our honeymoon was a whole month after the wedding, and I really thought I had passed it. Apparently I just had a honeymoon meltdown (which was really a wedding meltdown) instead. It was not pretty.

    And there was meltdown aftermath too. There still is. I was ready for the meltdown but not the aftermath, I think.

    • A-L

      Aftermath from others, or aftermath in some other way?

      I got married almost 3 months ago (woot!) but I haven’t had a meltdown yet. We’ll see if it’s delayed or just not going to happen for me.

      • Caroline

        Internally – like the meltdown felt like a sharp expression of it all being over, and a sharp sadness – but the aftermath feels like a dull acknowledgement that my family and friends will never be together like that again (and it will be years before I see many of them).

        • http://fiveseven.typepad.com/blog/ Heather

          I anticipate that feeling.

  • sophia

    I didn’t have a wedding meltdown. We had a large-ish (100 guests) wedding that spanned a whole weekend. I expected to be emotionally and physically exhausted after after reading what some of the wedding grad posts and comments here. I wasn’t. I was energized, blissed out and ridiculously happy leaving our venue sunday night (after a saturday wedding and Fri night dinner). I didn’t feel physically tired until a 5 days into sunrise-to-sunset sightseeing on the honeymoon but I never felt emotionally drained. I also didn’t feel the mountains move when we got married. We’d been together 8 years so it has been a slow and gradual shift over the course of months since the october wedding. And it’s ok. It’s better than ok. I love the subtlety of married life.

    • meg

      For the record I was totally blissed out too, and not physically tired at all after the wedding, and didn’t cry for five days. Even then I’m not sure I was emotionally wiped out, I’d just been through something big is all. and I was VERY jet lagged and tired after sunrise to sunset siteseeing.

      So I don’t think it’s always black and white.

    • joannezipan

      I was the same. But then I guess when your wedding ceremony starts by talking about how you feel that the wedding is a conformation of a state you both feel has existed between you for a long time and you just want to share that with your community then it is kind of to be expected. I feel like we got married really slowly over 8 years until it was finished at our wedding. Is that odd?

      Anyway back to the question – no melt down for me, but that was probably because my head was already there!

  • http://thehoneymoonproject.com Emma {The Honeymoon Project}

    This is a great post, Alyssa.
    I’m not sure I would have classified it as a meltdown (but I guess it was), but I spent the plane journey to our honeymoon feeling constantly on the verge of tears, and experiencing this strange sense of loss. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly happy to be married to my husband, and I’d had a wonderful day (the day before), but I felt so so sad about leaving everyone behind – it felt weirdly symbolic in a way I hadn’t anticipated. The thing I was saddest about was the fact that we had everyone we love in one room on our wedding day, and that was amazing, and unlikely ever to happen again. And as much as I was so excited about going on honeymoon (it was one of the things I’d most been looking forward to, after all), I (and I speak for my husband here too) kind of wanted to still be in London with everyone, talking over what had happened the day before, processing it, and still feeling that empowering feeling of being surrounded by people you love and who love you. In the last few weeks of wedding prep I was so looking forward to just being married and having the wedding behind me that I was completely taken by surprised to actually feel like this.

    • Erika

      Yes. I did not so much have a meltdown as a day of sniffly sadness (mixed with the highs and happiness I was still feeling) after the wedding. But it wasn’t about getting married, the milestone, do-I-feel-like-a-married-woman-now thing, it was just a rather jarring shock to have everyone important to me together for less than 48 hours, and then they were all gone. Part of it was that I didn’t get what I emotionally needed out of my mother during the wedding, and I wanted an emotional do-over (which I finally got months later when I worked up the nerve to talk to her about it). Anyway, I would say that the post-wedding emotions can definitely be surprising, and not necessarily related to the milestone.
      Excellent post, Alyssa!

      • Arachna

        Exactly exactly exactly, my meltdown(s?) had nothing to do with the getting married part and everything to do with my family and what I was expecting and didn’t get.

    • http://foxflat.wordpress.com katie

      Definitely. If I think back to parties from college, my favorite moments are mostly from the next day…sitting around on the front porch drinking coffee and telling stories (“Did you see__? And what about when___ did___?”). It was definitely hard to not get much of this the day after the wedding, and to go from everyone-you-love-in-one-place to they’re-all-gone.

      • http://forcause.wordpress.com Sandy

        my day-after-the-wedding meltdown was characterized by a lot of the same feelings Emma mentioned: a sense of loss and sadness to be leaving family behind (symbolically and actually). i was not on the verge of tears, though: i had a full-blown crying fit in our hotel room right before we checked out and i think i even yelled a bit. i didn’t realize at the time that i was crying over such big, strange, common feelings. i thought i was angry at my family for not showing up on time to help us clear our things out of the venue and at the world for not giving me enough time or space to pack for our flight. really, though, i was absorbing the fact that my relationship with family would never be quite the same again because i was now part of a new family all my own.

  • Alicia

    Oh yes, it definitely happened. Not the next day as I was saying goodbye to everyone (which is when I fully expected it to happen) but on the plane on the way back from our amazing honeymoon literally just as the pilot said ‘we’ll be landing in London in about 30 minutes’ (we live in London, not that it’s not glamorous in and of itself but it was more about coming back to reality).

    All of the sudden I’m crying little a very small child whose parents are making her leave the party at bedtime. I was so glad to be married (and heck, at that point we still actually had 2 wedding parties to go) but I felt so sad about all the specialness of having all those people there to celebrate, of getting to look at and make fun things for months, and then getting to go on an awesome holiday together and stay in fabulous places, for that to be over. I hate to write this because it sounds like ‘la la la wedding planning is fabulous’ (which it sometimes is and sometimes isn’t) but what my post-wedding breakdown reminded me of is how spectacular in every sense of the word our wedding was. Because the thing about spectacles is that they’re always going to be temporary, and worthy of savoring when they’re happening. The other thing is that normal life is pretty great too, so I was glad I had the meltdown, that my hubs could both laugh at and comfort me, and glad I scraped myself together on the plane and came back to earth, started a new job, kept having a nice time, and began to enjoy married life.

  • http://www.soyoureengayged.com Natalie

    I was really really worried my wife was going to have a post-wedding meltdown. We both spent a lot of time on the wedding, but she spent A LOT OF TIME ON THE WEDDING. She was in art school at the time, so everything had to be handmade. Everything was personal. Everything was us.

    And then the wedding day came. Yes, my mom got lipstick on my dress. No my flats didn’t fit. Yes, my wife did fall and completely wipe out during the hora. Nobody really danced, a lot of people had to leave early because it was a Sunday night, and we were so exhausted that we ended up cutting out an hour before we had to and driving home in my mom’s Prius (in my poofy wedding dress, no less). And yet, the wedding day was truly perfect. So many people were coming up to my parents saying it was the most personal wedding they’d ever been to. Which meant a lot, since for many, it was the first same-sex wedding they’d been too.

    I was terrified my wife was going to have a post-wedding meltdown. Seriously terrified. And she didn’t. Not one bit. And I think part of the reason for that was that, for us, the wedding DID change things. We’d been together for 6.5 years at the time. At the time, our wedding was “illegal”…we only got legally married a year later when we moved to CT. But there is something, and I think it’s particularly true for same-sex couples, about committing publicly. This is why, even on days I felt like eloping, it was so important for us to have a wedding with our communities surrounding us. We were different for committing in front of people. And they saw us differently for making that commitment. And every time I say “my wife” in public, I acknowledge those differences.

    • meg

      Oh! I should totally clarify, you’re talking about something TOTALLY different than what I experienced. I didn’t have a post wedding meltdown in a “I’m sad the wedding planning is over” way. I was on top of the WORLD, both that the planning was over and that we got married. But I did have a moment of emotional rawness at the change in our lives (spiritually, I think mostly) a few days in.

      So those are kind of different things to me. I was so thrilled the wedding was over, but my soul was a bit raw from the changes.

      • http://www.soyoureengayged.com Natalie

        Totally. I guess what I would say is that, for us, as a same-sex couple married for almost 3 years, people always acknowledge the change. I don’t know if it’s because of legalization being so slow or what, but if I mention my wife, people say “congratulations!” as though I just got married yesterday. It’s weird. But for me, it helps remind me how worthwhile the wedding itself was.

  • frances

    I had the meltdown before, not after, but I had the bomb dropped that my family was not coming to the wedding. I cried for 6 weeks straight, and then I was totally zen for the wedding day and every day thereafter. So I think its the same thing– reality knocked my pants off, but i eventually found a new pair. It just happened earlier than most I guess.

    • McPants

      “reality knocked my pants off, but i eventually found a new pair.”

      This could be my favorite metaphor ever.

      • Alyssa

        Agreed. Stealing it for use in everyday life, and I will think of you fondly when I use it.

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        The phrase “knock my socks off” became very important in my life the week before I was going to meet my husband in person. Ever since I’ve had a thing for fun, colorful socks with stripes or plaid or lady bugs and butterflies. He knocked my socks off and the ones I found after were so much cuter. :D

      • Trena

        This may or may not be my new facebook status :)

  • http://quiltonthetracks.posterous.com Margaret M.

    We each had a meltdown but I think I can only talk about mine. Mine was at the brunch the next morning. I had been looking forward to this for ages. To back up a bit, my mom had kind of delusions of wedding grandeur. And I was determined to be a good daughter, so I let her run with it, but the brunch? That was all me. There was a ham. That was all I wanted at my wedding: a ham. Hams say weddings to me. And I was so looking forward to spending quality time with all my guests, hosting all of my friends at my childhood home, blah blah blah.

    I get there, I cannot deal with a single person. I locked myself in a room with a giant plate of ham and ate it and sobbed. My cousin’s five year old boy was there (because he just happened to be around and he was sort of fascinated by me and weddings in general) and so was my best girlfriend. And I freaked out and ate my ham and didn’t talk to anyone else.

    And it is hilarious in retrospect but at the time I was just being racked with emotions. Bludgeoned with them. And then it was over and that was better.

    • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

      “Bludgeoned by emotions.” Best phrase to describe this feeling, EVER.

    • http://as-food-to-life.blogspot.com meredythbyrd

      Hahaha. I love that your cousin’s five year old son was your best girlfriend. I can totally picture it.
      Also, I have been known to sob and eat simultaneously. Mostly because my tears were partially low blood sugar induced and I knew if I didn’t eat the low blood sugar would continue and I’d still be awful. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my first fight with my intended. Fun times.

      But seriously, I’m so able to relate to this feeling. Hope everything went well afterward!

      • Shotgun Shirley

        Whenever I get meltdown-ish, the boy suggests food. When he’s really smart, he provides it.

        • marbella

          Love the thought of you locked in a room with a plate of ham and a 5 year old :) Also, this reminds me of the snickers ads where the boys become divas. They are totally me. I become an uber-bitch when I haven’t eaten, and if it gets too far past the hungry stage and I start to feel sick, it is hard to salvage anything at that point!

        • meredythbyrd

          Haha. Yes. Same here. Actually, this was advice my sister/best friend/former roommate gave him. That when I get grumpy for no reason he should offer me a cookie. Sounds childish, I know. But when I get like this it’s very hard to control my emotions or tone. I don’t think he quite believed my sister until this argument but now it’s one we look back on and laugh at. Me crying while trying to eat a sandwich. It also helped me realize that I could be ridiculous and have ridiculous fights but that he wouldn’t break up with me for it and we could talk out the argument after calming down (and eating!). It helped prepare me for other fights that were not low blood sugar induced.

      • Margaret M.

        It’s one of my favorite wedding memories. He asked us all these questions about how late we stayed up dancing, and had a hilarious conversation with my girlfriend about just kid stuff. He was totally unfazed by my sobbing, ham-eating self. It was perfect.

        • Dana

          This is such a great story! Very cinematic!

  • LauraB

    I had a meltdown at around 3am the day of the wedding, after we’d gone to bed and the party was still going on.

    We were both drunk and sleepy, and he fell asleep as soon as he’d helped me take my dress off. Once he’s asleep, he doesn’t get up, so I freaked out that we weren’t going to do it. I started crying, then sobbing that our marriage was a fraud and that it was the worst thing that could ever have happened. I’m a happy drunk, so it wasn’t the drink talking. I was overwhelmed with emotion and love for my husband and so scared that we weren’t perfect.

    I cried myself to sleep on my wedding night feeling all alone in the world, then woke up the next day, laughed at my self, had great sex and got ready to go for breakfast with my family and friends full of joy and happiness. My husband knew nothing about it and I’ve never told anyone!

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Oh no! Glad you felt you could share with all of us . . . (even if it is somewhat anonymously).

      Plus, let’s face it, morning sex is better anyway. ;)

    • Colleen

      I totally think this is a conversation people need to have ahead of time–expectations of the wedding night. It was something I hadn’t thought about until I saw it mentioned on a blog, which prompted the discussion between my now-husband and I during wedding planning. Had we not had that conversation, I’d have had the same reaction as you– very disappointed and weepy, over the fact that we spent our wedding night taking bobby pins out of my hair and crashing, because of course that’s not the expectation of Wedding Night.

    • Alyssa

      There was a thread that I can’t find from a little while back about how you may not have sex on your wedding night and that’s perfectly okay. After that I felt the need to go up to every engaged person I knew and go, “Just FYI, you might not do it on your wedding night. And if you make yourself do it, it might suck. Cut yourself some slack.”

      It probably needs to be essential reading for the engaged, just so they don’t feel pressure.

      • Meredith

        Was it the post Liz wrote about waiting to have sex until marriage? I’ve been looking through the archives for it but I can’t find it. at least not yet.

        • Alyssa

          I think so, though it may not be the only one. That one is here, and it’s AWESOME.

        • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

          THIS is exactly why I read APW.
          You answer all of the questions that we baby brides have BEFORE WE EVEN HAVE THEM.

          I think you’re actually made of magic. ;)

          • joannezipan

            I was going with “made of win” but that might just be me!

  • http://www.fangsandclause.wordpress.com fangsandclause

    Even if it goes swimmingly, a wedding is huge and loaded with emotion. There is stress and overwhelmingness. Afterward, some of us cry. I had a honeymoon meltdown. It felt weird, but in retrospect it was completely understandable. I was worn out physically and emotionally. It doesn’t mean that I married the wrong person or that I shouldn’t have gotten married. It meant that I was one overstressed exhausted human being, giving vent to strong emotion.

  • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com/ Annie

    I think the meltdown/zen/emotional craziness is all about the moment it hits you: “My life is different now.” A good friend told me that her wedding day felt kind of hectic and she was mostly relieved when it was over. The moment that made her really feel emotional was at the RMV, when she had to change her license to her husband’s name. She’s never felt very attached to her last name, but it was a private moment in which she realized that she was entering a different kind of life. She loves her husband, and they’d been dating for about seven years before they actually got married, but it was a reminder that life moves forward, not backward. I’m anticipating something more like that for myself–I get very emotionally distanced from “big” life moments, but little moments afterward strike me.

    • http://hartandsolphoto.com Maddie

      Yes, this says it perfectly. Sometimes I felt like my wedding was the meeting point of a bunch of different paths in my life. And as they merged into one I was afraid that some of them would no longer get traveled in my new married life. The anxiety surrounding that kind of finality was what caused a lot of my post-wedding meltdown.

    • Sarah P

      Yes! I just changed the name on my license recently and when she pushed the paper in front of me to sign I realized it was the first time I was officially going to sign as my new name. It was a very odd moment.

      • http://engineerbaker.blogspot.com Caitlin

        When I went to the DMV to change my name, the woman there handed me a stack of little papers and told me to practice – that she’d fill in all the info and get back to me in five minutes. Lo and behold, the first time I tried to sign my new name, my original one came out. Whoops! It made the whole thing much funnier, and I’m terribly grateful to the super-nice DMV lady for facilitating it!

    • meg

      Yes, EXACTLY this. This is what I think we’re talking about… not that nonsense about how the wedding is the only important thing you’ll ever do, so as a lady you’ll be sad when you have no more ribbons to tie (gag!) But the moment of, “Oh, something changed. SHIIIIITTTTT.” Because even when we love the change, we have that moment.

      • Alyssa

        Yes! I had the name change bam. I’m glad it happened, too. Felt a bit like a rite of passage.

        • hoppy bunny

          Oh my god that is going to happen to me. I didn’t actually really realize it until I saw it all typed out. I better go warn the Mr.

    • http://akc09.livejournal.com Annie in LA

      “it was a reminder that life moves forward, not backward.”

      I haven’t gotten married yet, but I am totally familiar with these moments. Sometimes they’ll even hit when you’re eating breakfast or something, and they’re weirdly… not “upsetting,” per se, but surprisingly intense.

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      My friends asked me a few weeks later if I felt married. I still felt just like me. But life tends to surprise me.

      All through college I’d find myself suddenly looking around and going, “when did I get to be a college student?” And then I graduated and started teaching elementary school and even after a few years I’d look around suddenly and think, “when did people start trusting me to teach their kids? When did I become an adult?”

      It’s been more than a year now since our wedding and every now and then I still look around and am surprised by the thought that, “We’re married!!” At least I’ve moved on to declarations and exclamations instead of questions.

  • Krista

    Oh man did I have one. We were driving to our honeymoon location, and had our wedding in the city where we live, so we came back to our apartment to pack and clean up the morning after the wedding. 2/3 sets of parents stopped by to say and drop off wedding stuff (and Czech pastries and sausage to welcome me to the family). After they left, I just felt so inexplicably alone! My poor husband kept replying “but…I’m still here?” I cried on and off for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I felt better (and a bit embarrassed) the next day, but at least thanks to Meg I knew I wasn’t the only one to have such a reaction.

    • Carbon Girl

      That was mine too. It felt awful to feel alone when you are standing next to your new husband!

  • http://engineerbaker.blogspot.com Caitlin

    No wedding meltdown, more just a series of WTF moments for the past few months as I realize that while I don’t feel different, I look different – ring, different name, and I have to refer to J as my husband. Well, not “have” to, but you know what I mean.

    But I’m going to go there – I *did* have the losing my virginity meltdown. It sorta sucked, to say the least. But I got over it, and J rolled with it, so it was all okay. And really, that’s what will happen if you have a wedding meltdown. The world won’t end, and your guy will be there, probably sorta confused, but he’ll be there for you.

    • Kayakgirl73

      Yes, the Virginity thing sucked. Didn’t happen on the wedding night, it hurt too bad. Mission accomplished the next morning, but it sure wasn’t good. I knew it could suck, but I didn’t think it would happen to me. I thought I’d see stars, I mean we’d had some good make out sessions before we got married. Things got somewhat better on our honeymoon, but still not great. Things improved over time, but we had to communicate and educate. Those were some hard and awkward conversations, but worth it in the end.

      • http://engineerbaker.blogspot.com Caitlin

        Oh, that’s exactly what happened to me, just months before the wedding so I wouldn’t associate the virginity meltdown with our wedding. Definitely had the owowowOWOWOWSTOP moment followed by hysterical crying thinking we’d never be able to have sex. Ever. Crazy much?

        Oh, and practice makes perfect. Or at least increases the chances of star-sightings ;)

  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    and not a damn person can see it by looking at you. Not true, you have wedding rings!!! ;)

    I didn’t have a wedding meltdown. Both C and I went into it thinking, we wanted to make things legal because we knew we wanted to spend our lives together, and the wedding was just a way to celebrate that. After it was over, it really wasn’t all that different for us … but it was different for everyone else. (Which is usually what I say when people ask me “how married life is” – “Not all that much different from not-married life. It’s different for everyone else, not for us.”)

    I will say this – I had a professional conference I had to go to (well, I didn’t HAVE to go, but I sorta did, and I wanted to go) 2 days after the wedding, which C and I parlayed into a honeymoon (conference was in Metro DC area, we went to St. Michael’s, MD later in the week). I knew a lot of the people at the conference, and I won’t lie – I really dug all of the people fawning all over the newlywed who was there “working” on her honeymoon (it’s not really like working, only kind of like working). Seriously, it was like a drug for me. My husband is much more introverted, so he went into DC, ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl and went to the National Zoo. (And sent me pictures of pandas and big kitties.)

    • http://www.fangsandclause.wordpress.com fangsandclause

      I totally agree. It was much different for other people. We just said “Whoa, that was over,” and went back to our ordinary lives.

    • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Margaret

      No wedding night meltdown here, but I think this sums up why… I was HOPING things would feel exactly the same as they did before. Seriously, a big step along the way to us deciding to get married was the realization that we didn’t *have* to automatically change afterward. We could still be Me and Him, just with health insurance and society’s aknowledgement of what we’d privately decided long ago.

      “we wanted to make things legal because we knew we wanted to spend our lives together, and the wedding was just a way to celebrate that.”

      Yes, exactly. (and like you said, what has changed is everyone else/their response to us).

      • Dani

        Yes! You said this so much more concisely than I did. :)

      • meg

        Yeah, but often everyone else changing and you feeling like you stayed the same can lead to a good cry too.

        I was just afraid I’d forget what the wedding day felt like, myself. But I didn’t, so there is that too.

        • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

          You know, one thing that did kind of change, which was really stupid, is that in my mind it became socially acceptable to miss him. He’s been traveling a lot doing research, and about a month and a half after the wedding he left for 6 weeks. We talked every day – multiple times, most days – and I met him in New Orleans for a few days as well, but I really REALLY missed him more than I had when he traveled before, because my brain decided I could let myself miss him.

          I took this a lot harder than I expected to, and was pretty hard on myself for feeling sad that he was not around. He took it hard, too – neither of us were prepared to miss each other that much. Granted, it was the longest time we had been away from one another (the other trips to date were much shorter), and I am sure that was a factor too, but we’re both very independent so we were trying to push back the “I miss you” feelings.

          When he got home, our dog was so blissfully happy to see him I thought his tail was going to fall off from wagging so hard. He wouldn’t let C out of his sight. I remember thinking to myself, “Why is it that I cannot let go of some stupid notion that I am weak if I express how much I missed him?” It was a big turning point for me.

          Not really a melt down, per se.

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    Alyssa, each column makes me fall more in love with you.

    I’m absolutely expecting to have Wedding Meltdown, because I do this after huge events. It’s exactly like losing your virginity–I picture it as an old cartoon running and running and then all of the sudden they’re over the edge of the cliff and they suspend there for a second still running and looking wildly around and then fall.

  • anna

    No meltdown, but an aftermath… for the week after, on our honeymoon, I was pretty tired and emotionally exhausted but didn’t have a meltdown of any kind. However, we’re now six months on, I’m incredibly happy being married, but I am still processing our wedding day.
    It was so incredibly emotional (cried for a large part of our very personal ceremony, had lovely speeches, etc). So when I think of the day, I still feel the rawness of it, though I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

    And I can sometimes still get sad that I never get to do this again – I loved every bit of our day. And I sometimes think about whether I could have enjoyed my engagement more – for large parts of it, I was pretty nervous about getting married (never doubted the husband, it just felt like a huge commitment -something I never thought I’d feel beforehand) and I kind of regret not enjoying bits of the planning more, such as trying on more dresses (I bought one on the first day of trying on dresses, within 1,5 hrs of entering the store, and now wish I would have at least tried on one poufy princess ballgown).

    So all in all – no big meltdown, but still processing, and that’s six months on and very happily married. I guess it just takes a lot of time to digest since it’s a pretty big deal, no matter how lovely and fairytale-ish your day is.

  • whitelotus

    Didn’t have one…six months out, and it never happened and I doubt it ever will. The wedding was not a huge deal to us emotionally even though it was a kick-butt party. I also never experienced Wedding Zen, so there’s that.

  • http://www.emilinda.blogspot.com Emily

    My husband and I both experienced this. We got in the car after our reception was over to drive to our honeymoon inn (1 hour away) and just started sobbing. We were so overwhelmed by the fact that we were MARRIED and by all the people that came out to help us and support us over the weekend. I have never been so emotionally overwhelmed in my life. I’m SO glad my husband was dealing with it too…no one had to the be the only crazy sobbing person in the car.

  • jamie

    oh dear. i’m in the 3% and tend to be very emotional and dramatic! maybe i should start letting him know that i might have both meltdowns!

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      You should definitely be talking about the wedding night and expectations. My husband had seen me meltdown over the guest list (among other things in my life), and he’d gotten me through them. I think that’s part of a husband’s job description.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I didn’t have either meltdown after the wedding. So you never know. But whatever you experience will be okay and valid. :)

  • Chelsea

    I didn’t have wedding night meltdown, but I had its closely related cousin: first holiday meltdown. Five months after getting married we decided to host both of our immediate families for Thanksgiving. It was a great idea on a lot of levels – no choosing between families, we got to create our own traditions, our wedding china actually got used – and went perfectly. We went to bed so proud of ourselves! But then I spent most of the next day in tears because it suddenly hit me that for the first time in my life, I wouldn’t be going to my parents’ for Thanksgiving or seeing my cousins.

  • Dani

    After reading posts on APW, I fully expected to ugly cry on my honeymoon. But I never had a wedding meltdown. To be honest, I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t have one (maybe not having one meant that it wasn’t real, or that I had done something wrong??).

    After reading Alyssa’s response, I think I better understand why I did not have a meltdown. I had just watched several friends and acquaintances get married and turn into COMPLETELY different people after the ceremony. A couple of them went from sane, normal, fun, independent women to Stepford-esque wives in the matter of a day. It sounds crazy, but I am not even kidding. Every conversation seemed to start with, “Now that I’m married…” And it TERRIFIED me.

    I didn’t want to be a different person. I liked who I was. I just wanted to be myself, married to the person I love. I was so very irrationally afraid that being married would change me in ways I would not like one bit. Imagine my relief when I walked back down the aisle a married woman and still felt like me. The next morning, still me. And all through the honeymoon and after, I was still me.

    So when Alyssa said, “But…nothing really changes,” I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Thank God I’m not the only one that doesn’t feel like I’ve been through a magnificent transformation. Five months after getting married, I still really don’t feel all that different. And I love that.

    • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Margaret

      “Five months after getting married, I still really don’t feel all that different. And I love that.”

      Yes!! (Except replace five months with eight for me)

      I had seen so many of my friends marry and turn into totally different people after the wedding (not necessarily bad-different, just not-what-I-wanted-different. And this might be because so many physical things changed for them – a number of them were living at home/virgins… and then had honeymoon babies – none of which was true for us), and I’d also had many older, long-married women tell me, “just wait: the minute the papers are signed, your boyfriend will start treating you like you’re his mother” or “once I married my wife, I didn’t recognize her anymore!” (read: in a bad way)

      I kept wondering how this could be possible after a 20 min. ceremony, and even though I told myself it wouldn’t be like that for us, I harbored a secret fear that one/both of us would morph into Average Joe Husband and Un-Fun Housewife, and suddenly my life would be like “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

      So I was profoundly relieved when we were still us… and I still am. :)

    • meg

      Ohhh… when I talk about the wedding changing things, I mean in a spiritual way, or a religious way, or a how we relate to the world way. Not in a WHO I AM changes way. Eff! That’ would be horrible.

      So, um, yes. Please don’t expect that you yourself will change, or the way the two of you will relate to the world will change. I mean, maybe it will, but it didn’t for us, and it FOR SURE does not have to.

  • Jackie

    I’m not sure if it was a meltdown exactly, but the day after the wedding, after the post-wedding brunch, I felt sort of empty. Don’t get me wrong… I was thrilled to be married to my partner, and the wedding turned out exactly how I had always envisioned. However, it was just sad that it was over and everyone had gone home. I spent the whole week leading up to the wedding with my mom and my maid of honor (neither of whom live near me), arranging flowers, getting mani-pedis, folding programs, etc. It was just hard after an entire week of having my community with me, it was now just my husband and I.

  • Shelly

    “It may or may not happen, and there’s really no way of anticipating (or preventing) it.”

    Yes, yes, yes. I’m a very emotional person in normal life and had prepared myself to feel lots of highs and lows before, during and after the wedding, but the emotional roller coaster never happened. I’m sure that I analyzed my NOT having a meltdown as much as some people analyzed what having one meant for them. (did I do it right? what does it MEEEEAN?) So yeah – what Alyssa said. Be prepared for whatever emotions do or don’t come to you, and it’s okay to not feel the way you thought that you might.

    • Alyssa

      Yup. It’s not about anticipating or preventing or scaring anyone, it’s just a “Hey. This might happen. And it might not. Both are okay.”

  • Erin

    I had half of a meltdown, when the band leader announced the last dance and I froze on the dance floor with my eyes welling up, saying out loud, “No, no! It can’t be over already! Let’s keep going until I fall asleep on the floor!” We had to leave at 5 a.m. the next morning, which meant that was the end of enjoying the company of all our guests. And it had all been so wonderful. And so emotional.

    I think I would have had more of a meltdown later on during our honeymoon, except my new husband got terribly, horribly sick and I spent all my energy trying to help him get well and feel comfortable. By the time we returned, married and ready to start our new normal, the meltdown potential had passed.

    Aww, it’s been nearly a year since our wedding, and this makes me so nostalgic :)

    • Erin

      Oh… All this and I forgot to say, whatever you’re anticipating, don’t forget to try to be in the moment. It’s just like anything else with weddings (and life?) — you do all the research, and read all the stories hoping that the trail another blazed will help you find your own path. But in that moment when you realize, “Wait, where’s my meltdown?” or “Oh, here comes my meltdown,” mentally mark it, and then forget about the label and just have the moment, whatever it brings. You might even forget that there’s a category of “meltdown” while you’re in the middle of everything. But don’t let the label diminish whatever you’re in that time and place to experience.

  • Cass

    Yes, but what do you do when it is your future husband having the meltdown?
    I am feeling pretty blissful about the upcoming marriage. He is scared he’s going to get me pregnant And That Would Be Terrible.
    But I don’t want to have kids right away, either.
    What can I do to alleviate his fears?

    • Carbon Girl

      Birth Control? Condoms? When I was dating my husband, he had very similar fears and it turns out he was awfully misinformed in his school health classes (I guess they were trying to scare them into abstinence). I found websites online with good info about how birth control works and showed them to him. It definitely helped alleviate his fears.

    • meg

      Um, get on birth control or buy condoms (or both) and make sure he knows how to use them. Lady, nothing about pregnancy has to be accidental. Many of us have prevented it for…. a decade? more? If you use birth control properly, 100% of the time, chances are super low that you’re going to get pregnant. SUPER low.

      • Cass

        But you see, I don’t think it’s actually about pregnancy.
        I think it’s his commitment-phobia.
        Akin to yesterday’s post about the first big fight/when you really feel married. He knows that he’s going to be bound for me, for better or worse. That means (if I were a really evil person, which I’m not) I could decide “I want a baby” stop taking birth control and now he’s stuck with a decision he wasn’t part of.

        In short, I think he’s afraid of the “my decisions are now our decisions” and vice-versa.

        • meg

          Ah! Time for talking then, and pre-marital counseling (which everyone should be doing anyway!) That, and maybe do condoms. Nothing like birth control you can see, that he can feel in charge of.

          • Shotgun Shirley

            Two methods are better than one. ;-)

          • Cass

            These are all really great ideas! And I am definitely going to try the “explaining the Birds and the Bees” strategy.
            But here are the “but’s”:
            I’m already on birth control.
            We’re Catholic, and really don’t like the idea of condoms. And by virtue of going through the church, we also get tons of pre-marital counseling – and sex ed. But, this is all pro-family information.
            I’m wondering if other kinds of marital counseling (ie secular) would be helpful here.
            We’ve read The Five Love Languages, and I’ve read the Seven Principles of Making Marriage work. It’s helped EVERYTHING, except his commitment-phobia.
            I think if Spock gave us marital counseling, the FH would be much more excited about it. 1. Who doesn’t like logic? 2. Who doesn’t like Star Trek?!

          • meg

            Yup! Maybe. Though girlfriend… birth control is the most artificial form of, well, birth control that there is. Condoms are a step DOWN from that. So for serious, maybe start considering that as well.

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      Another suggestion would be to sit down and explain in GREAT detail how babies are made. Sex-ed in school does nothing to explain to guys how a girl’s cycle works. It’s a bit of an odd conversation to have, but explaining to a guy exactly how your cycle works can help alleviate the get-pregnant-right-away fears.

      • marbella

        Since you are catholic, you probably fairly easy access to an NFP course. Depending on how far away your wedding is, I would recommend taking it beforehand, even if you choose not to use it after the wedding as a form of birth control. My fiance and I took a course that lasted three months (just 3 meetings, once a month) and I went from being pretty sceptical (I am not Catholic, but marrying one, and I personally have no religious objection to birth control) to actually wanting to practice it once we are married. It has been a bit of a shock to family/friends of mine, since I have been on the pill for most of the past decade.
        I think understanding the fertility process (which most women actually don’t at all, let alone men) will be a huge help to you and your fiance, and might alleviate his fears. It is not ‘your’ responsibility to not get pregnant – he should be a part of that, not just something you control and he has no idea what you are doing.
        Also, very much agree with Meg. I would certainly view condoms as a ‘step down’ from hormonal birth control. If you are Catholic, and not using condoms because of that, hormonal birth control is really not any different, except the onus is on the woman to take it, and she is the one experiencing any negative side effects. Not saying that anyone should not take the pill, but as someone who has had various health issues from it, I am very happy to not be taking it any more.
        This was pretty long winded, sorry.

        • http://www.missgiggles.com Giggles

          The book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” was recommended to me after we got married. I sincerely wish someone had recommended it to me when I started menstruating (although I think I’m old enough it hadn’t been written yet). It lets you KNOW what your body is doing every month, not just guess. And that knowledge can be used as birth control if you want to.

    • http://secondcityslicker.blogspot.com Sarah

      As a sex educator (yes, i love my job!)…please ALWAYS use a physical and a chemical barrier if you want to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of STD’s. This can super easy (spermicidal condom) or require two steps (oral contraceptives and condoms).

      The most important part of birth control is always the first step, discussing and making a plan w/your partner.

  • Anne

    Um, there were two. The first, just hours after the reception, when I had a moment of clarity (or wait…as much clarity as possible on 2 hrs sleep, wedding haze, and the Jaegerbomb your SILs just convinced you to take on no food), and realized that I had paid more attention to what I needed from my mom leading up to the wedding than what she ultimately needed from me.

    And two. A week or so after the wedding, I realized a daily diet of champagne and chocolate just wasn’t sustainable. M started to throw away the rest of the box of chocolates we had from our honeymoon, and I totally lost it. I dreaded the end of the peace, love, joy, champagne and chocolate days and was terrified of returning to reality. Apparently, the box of chocolates signified that transition.

    Turns out reality isn’t so bad either :)

    • Carbon Girl

      I felt that way about finishing the last of our wedding cake. Every night for a week I kept serving smaller and smaller pieces trying to make it last.

      • Alyssa

        I kept a bag of chicken flavored crinkle chips (about as appetizing as they sound) from our honeymoon in Aruba in our cupboard for about three months until my husband found them and made me throw them out.
        I wasn’t eating them and they were unopened, I just didn’t want them to be gone. I was all, “But those are like the first thing we ate in Aruba!” And he was like, “ALYSSA. They are gross foreign chips. THROW THEM OUT.”

        • Amy*

          We still have the soap that we took from our honeymoon hotel almost a year and a half ago. Every time I smell it I am reminded of exactly how I felt on our honeymoon!*

        • http://betterinrealife.com Lauren

          hahahahahahhahahahahaha

          I totally have these hoarder tendencies. hahahahaha Oh man, that’s funny. FOREIGN CHIPS? hahahaha

        • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

          Hahahaha — ew!

  • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

    It’s funny. I fully expected to have a wedding night meltdown; I mean I was that girl who would listen to our first dance song months before the wedding and cry. I so expected a meltdown that I warned Mark not to expect sex on the wedding night unless he wanted to do it with a giant snotty teary mess.

    I did blow off some emotional steam the wedding morning (cried to my best ladies and mom). Later during the wedding and reception I kept thinking, “Well, I’m not crying now, but ohh I bet I will when we get to the hotel.”

    And you know what? I didn’t cry a single drop. And it’s not that I wasn’t emotionally drained, or that my wedding wasn’t emotional, but for some reason the emotions just didn’t express themselves that way. We had a great wedding night; I took a bath AND a shower (oh God the hairspray), we went through the cards we got, we finished last-minute packing, did a little bow chicka wow wow, and went to bed completely, fully happy. I didn’t have a meltdown on the honeymoon either. In fact it’s been almost two months and I haven’t shed a tear.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, try not to take your expectations too seriously. Just let what comes, come, and it’ll all be fine. You may surprise yourself.

  • Cody

    This post is wonderful!!! I was one of those brides that was so afraid of the wedding meltdown… and I didn’t have one, and then was kind of disappointed that I didn’t. Haha. I think, at least for me, the length of my engagement had a lot to do with it. Our engagement was only 2 1/2 months long, so us being married was always imminently approaching. The wedding details were truly secondary throughout the engagement compared with us talking sooo much about marriage. So, when the wedding came, it was lovely. But it was actually the days after the wedding that we had talked so much about and were so excited for… Anyway, that’s at least why I think I may not have had the Post-Wedding Meltdown.

    • meg

      I don’t know. The meltdown for me had nothing to do with the wedding details (ha! So glad to be done with al that), and just had to do with being afraid I wouldn’t remember what the wedding felt like. Oh, and epic jet lag (I hadn’t slept much for three nights).

  • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

    I had a mini one. Three days after the wedding, we made the long journey home with my in-laws in tow. Everyone was exhausted from working really hard to pull of a truly wonderful wedding. My husband and I had only had 24 hours together the day after the wedding and the rest of the time was spent with family (because we so rarely get to see them). But everyone was cranky that evening, and it was our first evening together in “our” home (we only lived together from after the wedding) and I was cooking spaghetti and feeling overwhelmed and tired and like marriage wasn’t quite meeting my expectations right then.

    When he eventually kicked them all out to go sleep off their bad moods in their hotel and after he closed the door he came over, pulled me into a big hug and said “welcome home” and the floodgates opened and I cried so so hard. It was the relief and the sadness and the happiness and the exhaustion and the being permanently “on” the last seven days all rolled into one.

    But it’s not something to be afraid of. We’re women. We tend to be emotional beings and weddings are high on the list of emotional events (in whatever way that might be) so it’s entirely normal and probably healthy to let it all out.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      That’s sweet.

  • Carreg

    Oh dear, I expect I will have one. I had a leaving home to go to uni meltdown, and a starting to co-habitate meltdown, and always a finding a house/flat meltdown every year. Fortunately this means my other half is used to them. I’m prepared to have a bit of a post wedding sob, but I can’t be knocked out for six months emotionally dealing with it. I’ve got a degree to get. All right, subconsious? Got your marching orders?

    • Alyssa

      I kinda love that you just gave yourself a stern talking to. I hope you listen. :-)

  • http://www.arunnerslife.wordpress.com Mara Simon

    I had several meltdowns DURING my wedding, thanks to incredibly stressful weather…It wasn’t so much the process or experience of getting married but rather all the things that went wrong after almost two years of careful planning! It happens, I’m (mostly) over it now but it did kinda suck at the time…But like they say, the harder you fall, the higher you bounce and that was so true for my wedding! Because even though I cried (not out of happiness) three different times during the day, the other parts were SO joyful, happy and amazing that the downsides didn’t matter (much) in the grand scheme of things…

  • http://www.palindromeathome.com Melinda

    Right, so I was in the teensy minority and lost both the same night. My meltdown didn’t come that night (well just a few tears, but I don’t think that was my meltdown, it was more just a wow, we finally did it). My real meltdown came a few weeks later after the novelty of playing house wore off. I looked the same, I mostly felt the same, but there were little parts of me that I was giving up. We both liked sleeping on the same side of the bed, so we roshamboed it and he won. Becoming one, takes, ummm, *blush* a little practice. He started to do things that I couldn’t believe anyone in their right mind would do (put the butter away in the fridge when I had purposefully left it out so that i could butter my toast with soft butter). The changes were subtle, but one day I woke up and I started to add them up and I wondered who I was anymore.

    All that to say, dear engaged readers, do not be dismayed. This is all part of normal life transitions. If you’ve ever moved to a new city, started at a new school, changed jobs, you’ve felt things akin to this change. This may be a touch bigger, but you have the tools to adapt. It really is just a growing period. You’re not a different person, but you are ever evolving (in religious circles, we might call it going through the sanctification process). The meltdown is when you notice the changes and mourn them a little.

    • Marley

      I’m a teeny bit afraid of the one-two punch of both events in one go causing a super ugly meltdown, but I’m also super excited for both things so I’m hoping that it will be okay!
      I have already emailed this Ask Team Practical column to my fiancé as a preemptive “it’s not you, it’s me”.

      • http://www.brindey.com Brindey Weber

        OMG Melinda and Marley- same position and did the same exact thing.

        • Annika

          I totally wish someone had warned me about either meltdown! I also did getting married + losing virginity and once, and had a big, ugly meltdown at 3am! We didn’t get to the honeymoon site til late, first-time sex turned out not to be (and yeah, to echo someone above, I was totally sure that sex would never actually work. It took like 2 weeks, but it eventually did), and I had a complete meltdown. I sobbed until I was a big sticky mess of tears and was nearly hyperventilating. I think I scared my poor husband, because I’m not usually a crier!

          Anyway THANK YOU for telling the yet-to-be brides that this might happen. And yet-to-be brides, maybe warn your soon-to-be-husbands, so you don’t scare them!

          And remember, it’s just a postwedding meltdown, it ends, the marriage doesn’t and everything is fine!

  • http://intrepidbrytani.wordpress.com Brytani

    I had a gradual meltdown that happened little by little starting a few days after the wedding and ending a couple months afterward. Mostly I started holding my wife-liness to an impossibly high standard and started a frantic cleaning binge that resulted (positively) in me unpacking EVERYTHING for our new house in about two days. I was a freakish nester.

    You know what was worse for me, though? About three weeks before the wedding, my husband started looking like a space creature to me. I mean, every time we did something together I was scrutinizing him and saying, “really? I’m marrying you?” Which, of course, I shook off and reminded myself how strange a creature I am and that if he did, in fact, morph into an alien we would then be the perfect pair. Was the only one who had the pre-wedding Twilight Zone vision?

    • Colleen

      I had forgotten about this, but I *totally* said the same thing in my head (I think only in my head) about mine: really? You?!? We’ve been married a little over 1 1/2 years, and I still say that. I think I tend to say it to him now. Like when he dropped the bombshell that he doesn’t really like spaghetti. It’s shifted from a panicky sentiment to a more bemused kind of thing, though.

  • http://www.gotheworld.wordpress.com gotheworld

    Um, we moved my MIL in with us 10 days after the wedding…so I guess I didn’t have time for one, I was just onto our next milestone. :)

  • Carbon Girl

    I would say a wedding meltdown is nothing to fear. It doesn’t it hurt, it is just a much needed release. And my husband was so good at helping me through it. I fully expected my meltdown (I can be emotional especially when tired and when I was little I would cry when my birthday was over) but I did not dread it because I had learned to accept this aspect of my personality.

    I describe the meltdown as an “emotional hangover”. You have this huge day overflowing with all different emotions and the next day/or after the wedding your entire family says bye (or just leaves in the case of my in-laws . . . weird) and there you are left alone with your husband and OH MY GOD this is what it will be like for the rest of your life!! But yet you don’t feel the elation of the previous day, you just feel tired and confused how everyone could be there for you the day before but then just leave you to go back to their homes and work (even though that is what they should do). So you cry for an hour or a day and then you feel better and happy and normal-like you usually do.

    • http://www.katiejanephoto.com Katie Jane

      Emotional hangover is the PERFECT way to describe it!

  • bbqbride

    Wedding night crier…right here! At the time, I thought it was a release of all the emotion of the wedding, and I still do. Planning the wedding, making the commitment, and having everyone you love present is emotional. However, after reading Alyssa’s response, I think she is absolutely right. In addition to feeling all of those emotions, I was finally reconciling my expectations with reality. For me, it was totally unexpected, but it was exactly what I needed to relax and enjoy the rest of the day with my Husband.

  • Kristen

    Puke, snot, tears – approximately 2 hours after the reception ended. LOVED every minute of my wedding weekend. If there is such of thing as “puke of joy,” then that’s what I experienced. But my wedding meltdown included the bodily fluid trifecta. And that’s okay.

  • http://www.christytylerphotographyblog.com Christy

    Oh.My.Goodness. haha! Alyssa – this is fabulous. I must say I had neither the Wedding Meltdown or the Losing My Virginity Meltdown… both events happened (at different points) and afterwards (for both, I believe), I was kind of like…. What was the big deal all about?! haha Umm. Yeah. Obviously being married is a big deal – but it wasn’t a big deal in the way I thought it would be a big deal. As in, I didn’t feel completely different and it didn’t change my relationship with my husband. Basically, we felt the same, but extra committed. And that felt okay, because we had really been committed all along.

    So that’s that. No meltdowns. Just feel good stuff where I walked around feeling all fabulous afterwards – like I had my own little secret that nobody else could get in on (in both instances). :)

    • clampers

      I’m with ya. I haven’t gotten married yet, so I have yet to find out whether or not I will have the wedding meltdown. But when I lost my V-card, I thought the same thing you did, “What’s the big deal?!” I wasn’t emotional, I didn’t feel remorse, it didn’t hurt…it was even fairly enjoyable. So I’m hoping I will be the same way with regards to the wedding meltdown. But I guess I’ll have to see…

  • http://arielgraphy.blogspot.com/ Ariel

    I had two.
    The first was disguised as a fight with a bank manager. Long story short, none of the checks written by our guests could be deposited into my US bank account because they were made out to Mr & Mrs E**** and the name on the account was my maiden name. Fast forward to the first morning of our honeymoon and I am yelling and crying down the phone to the bank manager that I can’t come to the bank in person because I live in another country and I don’t know when I am coming back. It was big, ugly, gasping crying. I couldn’t believe I had to deal with this on my honeymoon, the first day I could sleep in with my husband. This shouldn’t be happening.
    The second was about 10 days later at my in-laws in NZ. At this point we had been travelling for three weeks through four times zones. I was exhausted and had been called Mrs. E**** more times than I could deal with. At the NZ reception I was sick, literally, and very tired, literally, and overwhelmed by my new family. I locked myself in the reception venue’s bathroom and cried. A lot. I wasn’t sure why. (Luckily I had my make-up bag with me because I didn’t have time to do my makeup at the house). We had another week in NZ which we were suppose to spend catching up with friends. Hubby and I developed ‘colds’ and spent the next four days in the guest room in bed with the laptop watching downloaded movies and ignoring his parents’ pleas to go and visit family.

    Maybe don’t plan for it, but be prepared for it. And always carry your make-up bag, just in case.

    • Sarah

      This is a bit off topic, but…

      OH GOD, THE CHECK DRAMA. Ours went on for 6 weeks. 6 WEEKS. It was ridiculous.

      And now, of course, it happens every time a check shows up in my maiden name (this happens more often than you’d think) … I’ve gotten so sick of fighting with the bank that I just send the damn check back to be re-cut. Argh.

      /tangent

      • http://www.katiejanephoto.com Katie Jane

        It’s funny – I was fighting with the bank for weeks trying to get them to take checks, and then I started depositing them in the ATM to see what would happen, and nobody ever said a thing. They just went through, no problems. I don’t know if that would work for everyone, but apparently my bank is inattentive to checks that go through the ATM.

        • Sarah

          Yep, tried that. BOY did it cause problem. Over attentive bank manager. Pssh.

          • Shotgun Shirley

            Mailed in the checks with my name on them…

            Check to “MyName HisLastName-a” went through, despite that person net yet legally existing.

            BUT, the check to “MyFirst MyLast & HisFirst HisLast” was sent back because he hadn’t signed it!

      • Bee

        My sister-in-law signs checks that come to her maiden name in her maiden name to my brother, who then cashes them for her. A little annoying, but at least it doesn’t involve random bank people and the mail.

  • Class of 1980

    So many variables are possible. I have known other women that had meltdowns, especially the ones who were really looking forward to their wedding. One was disappointed there was nothing to plan anymore.

    I didn’t have an “after wedding meltdown” when I got married. I had pre-wedding meltdowns because I had doubts about the marriage even though we’d been together for years.

    But since I did go ahead and get married, I didn’t have a meltdown afterward. I do remember losing all interest in weddings and being glad I’d never have to worry about planning another one.

    Didn’t have any other meltdowns until five years later when I got divorced.

    I am no help at all in this conversation.

    • Cass

      I’m not there yet, but I foresee the “there is nothing left to plan!” meltdown.
      I’ve been planning a wedding for the entire time I have been in law school. What will I do with myself when I need a break and have no need to look at wedding blogs anymore?
      Tack on my (not quite well-medicated) OCD, and I will probably have a melt-down and resort to cleaning the bathroom six times.
      Yay compulsive nesting.

      • Class of 1980

        After you are married, you can start planning parties!

        And what’s even better is that you don’t need to feel that if you don’t get it right, there’s no going back. You get do-overs.

    • clampers

      Ahhhh I laughed so hard at this. You are hilarious.

  • http://www.katiejanephoto.com Katie Jane

    Oh man. Mine happened the day after our wedding, on our flight to Italy. I was exhausted, I hate to fly – so I was anxious; I was listening to my iPod, and the song I walked down the aisle to came on – Northern Sky by Nick Drake. I looked over at my sleeping husband, looked at his shiny new wedding ring, and BAM. I was just totally overwhelmed and in shock that this thing we’d been planning for a year and a half was over, and it was so amazing, and what if I forgot what it felt like, and now I was a WIFE – wtf?!… and… and… Yeah. :-)

    The meltdown was good, it needed to happen. I had been running on adrenaline for a week, and it was really cathartic to just have a good, messy cry and feel all those crazy emotions I was feeling. I wish it had happened BEFORE we left for the airport, or AFTER we arrived in Rome and reached the privacy of our hotel, and not at 35,000 feet, in front of a concerned flight attendant who kept looking over and trying to decide if she should console me since my husband was still sleeping.

    After that, I was okay. My husband and I reminisced about our wedding during our honeymoon, and I felt so happy and kind of relieved and just full of joy to start this new thing with him.

  • Rachel H

    As I read the beginning of this post, I didn’t think I had a Meltdown but as I continued through the rest of it, I realized I totally did.

    It wasn’t a Wedding Night Meltdown because I was exhausted. I was ready to crawl into bed at 7:30 and I had to force myself to stay at the reception and not kick everyone out. I don’t think I could have handled any emotion at that point other that exhaustion. No, my Meltdown happened on our “staycation” honeymoon only a few blocks from our house. Suddenly I just started crying and I couldn’t figure out why. I felt like my cat had died or I’d just broken up with someone. I didn’t feel any magical married feeling and during my wedding day, I was not blissful at all. I felt like I missed out on The Experience. Luckily my husband was used to random bursts of tears and we were alone.

    It is EXACTLY like losing your virginity. Perfect analogy. You expect some music or some sort of fanfare. If nothing like that then you at least expect people to notice. You expect people to see it written all over your face and you expect to feel something different.

  • iowagirl

    I got married this past weekend. Yes I had a meltdown. Around 1AM. I sobbed all night. I’ve never been one to express emotion so by the time I was home and alone I had to let it all out. Have you ever had the feeling while standing in a large crowd of loved ones and never felt more alone in your life? That was me at the reception. I just stood there most of the night. In a daze and feeling more alone than ever. Maybe over time I will come to realize more about what my meltdown was about. But as of one week later I believe that I just felt alone and that no one was relating or could relate to how I felt.

  • http://hartandsolphoto.com Maddie

    Oh man, I had WEEKS of post-wedding meltdown. I was led to believe that they were reserved only for brides and grooms who really love planning and then mourn the planning process afterwards, but boy was I wrong.

    We didn’t have a honeymoon until over a year after our wedding, so two days after we said “I do” we went back to work like nothing was different. So after spending an amazing weekend with all the important people in my life, I went back to the job I hated, with the people I hated and the shitty boss and it all just *weighed* on me. I cried almost every day.

    But in the end my post-wedding meltdown was really good for me. It allowed me to see that I had been shifting my priorities in my new life with my husband and this crappy job was no longer a thing I needed in my life. I started making active changes to live the kind of life I wanted, the kind that would allow me to surround myself with many of the awesome people we had at our wedding.

    So the point of this is that your wedding can mean lots of things to you. It can be hugely symbolic, or not at all. It can usher in a ton of emotions or it can be just another day. For me it represented the life that I wanted to be living and made me realize that there were parts of my life that weren’t contributing to my happiness.

    But the most important thing to take away is that it’s OK if you feel shitty afterwards. It doesn’t mean you did it wrong. And it’s ok if you don’t feel shitty afterwards. It doesn’t mean you feel it *less*. And it’s always, always, ALWAYS ok to ugly cry.

    • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

      “I was led to believe that they were reserved only for brides and grooms who really love planning and then mourn the planning process afterwards, but boy was I wrong.”

      Ohhhhh, no, for me, the Meltdown had NOTHING to do with the planning, and everything to do with the impact. Everyone has different reasons for an emotional overload, but it’s not just about planning, for sure.

      • http://hartandsolphoto.com Maddie

        Right?! Nobody told me this! I thought I was free and clear because I had no emotional investment in the planning process.

        But you’re right. My meltdown was big and it hit HARD and it was about everything, but it sure as Hell wasn’t about missing the planning. :)

        • Morgan

          Yeah, I didn’t really care that much about planning, and still had my meltdown the next day. “My grief came, in part, from managing to get through the wedding without my father there, and in part because rites of passage really are a big deal, no matter how happy they make you.”

          • meg

            Yeah, EFF missing planning.

          • http://arduousblog.blogspot.com ruchi

            I am scared sh**less that I am going to be maudlin and sad at my wedding because my dad won’t be there. I wouldn’t mind feeling grief or meltdown after the wedding … when you lose a loved one I think you learn to get down and dirty with your emotions and understand that the vomiting grief-y feel is good and cathartic and necessary because it allows you to function as a human being 95% of the time. But, I just don’t want to spend my wedding fighting grief.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I think something about the stay-cation honeymoon makes the transition different. We didn’t take a traditional honeymoon, and instead stayed in a local hotel for two nights after the wedding. Then we went back to our place, and work commitments crept in right away and we both understood why people usually go far, far away for a week or more after a wedding. It’s not just a “vacation,” it’s a liminal space of transition in a relationship, and we sped through it and didn’t have time to take it all in and process it all before adjusting to “real life.” Oh well. It was all fine in the end, it was just a little jarring to adjust to reality SO quickly after the wedding.

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    I love this post. I’d heard about the post-wedding meltdown while I was engaged and thought I would probably be the type of person who had one soon after the wedding. I figured it would happen because I was pouring so much of myself into wedding planning and that I would be lost in this new world of marriage and different expectations and having a new name and so on.

    But instead… I rode a post-wedding high for about a week and enjoyed time with my husband at home. (We couldn’t afford a honeymoon so we just stayed in town.) After that high wore away, I was fine. It was actually amazing how easily I stepped out of wedding-planning mode and back-to-real-life mode. I had looked at — easy round numbers — 20 wedding blogs a day while planning. I stopped reading all but one (APW, of course) in a week and didn’t mind. I enjoyed time with my new husband. I felt like myself, but with a new name. I still have some issues about the name change but they only pop up occasionally.

    It’s been over a year now since we got married and I don’t think I’ll have a meltdown. I don’t know if there’s a secret to not having a meltdown. Maybe, because I was so scared that I *would* have one, I became more aware of my feelings and was able to stop it before it happened? I’m not sure.

    Like Maddie in the comment above me, I also went back to my crappy job a week after the wedding and I realized it just wasn’t worth it to me anymore. I think maybe I took the energy I had been using to fuel my wedding planning to take me to the next level of where I wanted to be (ie, starting a business of my own). Sometimes I laugh about the fact that I didn’t like wedding planning, and now that I’m off the hook for it, I am back in the wedding world as a photographer :)

    One thing, though… I am a compulsive journaller. I write in my diary 3 or 4 times a week. That helped a lot with the transition.

    • meg

      You know, if I hadn’t been jetlagged, I don’t know that I would have had one. Maybe staying at home saved you ;)

      • IrMcK

        I think there is a lot to this theory. We didn’t do our honeymoon until like 6 weeks later. So all through the exhausted next day, we recapped the wedding with my parents and just goofed off… and then went to sleep in our own bed and went back to work. I kept thinking about how awful it would have been to be traveling anywhere because I was stupid-tired and my head was still spinning from the wedding. Being productive at work was insanely hard, but it allowed us to get used to being married in our normal environment.

        I’m super glad I fought for normal time at home before our honeymoon adventure. I know he loves me anyway, but I feel like preventing an avoidable meltdown is good for both of us.

        • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

          Just before these comments I wrote about having a stay-cation honeymoon. Then I started wondering if there was a link between stay-cation honeymoons and lack of meltdowns because I never had a meltdown. Then I saw these comments. :) Maybe there is an interesting connection? Perhaps making the transition within a more familiar environment reduces the chance of meltdowns? Although, I did (at the time) wish we had had more time “away,” but maybe that would have augmented the perception of change and stress? Interesting to ponder. :)

  • ashley

    I felt relief more than anything. The night was adorable, full of love, and a crazy amount of fun, but I have never gotten over something so wonderful that quickly, as I did the wedding. As soon as it was over, I had this exciting new adventure of being married. It didn’t occur to me to do anything but laugh like crazy, enjoy some cocktails, and just breathe. It was (and still is) a great feeling.

  • Sarah

    We totally had a meltdown. But, for us, it wasn’t just sobbing. It was a throw down, blow out Fight. (Yes, with the capital F.)

    It was 2 days after our wedding, and the type of fight you never want to have, especially with your brand new spouse. Hours were spent on it.

    And we said absolutely nothing that has any relevance now, 6 months later.

    We took a few days to recover, but in the end, we were better than before. And the realization that we could HAVE that fight, and still be ok was enough to really make us FEEL married.

    • Morgan

      I did that too – a few days after we got home from the honeymoon. Hours – DAYS of fighting. 11 months later and I barely remember it. But it was important – we did work out some things that we needed to.

      Still sucked though.

  • Kate

    I didn’t have a moment of meltdown, but still feel a slight sadness that it’s all over. Not because I loved planning (I hated it, my mom did pretty much everything, which made me insanely happy), but because the day itself was more amazing than I ever expected, mostly because, like others said, it is one of the few days (or maybe the only day) in your life where everyone you love is in one place loving on you. It was just such a loving environment (Ok I’ll stop using that word, I sound like a Hallmark card), that I didn’t want the weekend to end. Even my husband, whose family mostly didn’t come, didn’t want to leave. This could also be heightened by the fact that we don’t live near either of our families, and I come from a very, very tight extended family.

  • http://www.projectsubrosa.com/ Cate Subrosa

    I love this analogy.

    It took me 11 years to have my losing-my-virginity meltdown. (Seriously. And yes I did lose my virginity *that* young, hence then decade-later meltdown.) I hope the wedding one isn’t following in another 9 years!

    But seriously, post-wedding I had a massive physical crash. I took to my bed sick and exhausted purely through over-stimulation (and probably 48 hours with too few calories, despite doing my best to eat as much as I could). It hits everyone in a different way, but yes, it will probably hit you too. But also, you’ll be fine. And then you’ll be married which, if you’re putting the effort in, will only get better. Ah, just like the sex. It really is the same!

    • meg

      Ha!

  • http://www.stofnsara.com saartjie

    I just want to caution about getting all worked up and EXPECTING a melt-down. I think I had a meltdown, but I have them with a fair amount of regularity that it’s faded from memory somewhat! The point is that, while emotionally intense moments happen, we need to recognise them and accept them, but don’t feel entitled to become a snivelling wreck/screaming banshee (my meltdowns follow both patterns) just because you got married. They happen: you’re no less of a good person/bride/wife/woman because of the meltdown. Nor have you missed a certain part of the experience by not becoming overwhelmed by emotion in the days/weeks/months following your wedding.

    • meg

      Indeed. I’ve noticed this bizarre thing where we’ll mention something on APW (something that sucks, like a wedding meltdown) and then people think they are broken when they don’t have one… instead of feeling…. awesome? Lucky?

      You might have one. You might not. You’re not broken no matter what.

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

    I completely forgot that I had a post-wedding meltdown. Mine happened at the very end of the weekend, when my husband and I met up with two friends at a bar (of all places!) to catch the end of a preseason football game before we parted ways. I hugged my friend (who I’ve known for 20 years), and I just started crying. I was so incredibly happy that we’d gotten to be with everyone and so sad that it was all . . . over; that it couldn’t be one big lovefest all the time.

    It wasn’t messy, it wasn’t scary, it wasn’t public (well, not really), but it did happen. It’s good to embrace it, let it happen, and then take a deep breath and move on. Because you will love the place that you’re moving on to.

  • Carissa

    I also had a meltdown – but I didn’t know it at the time — it came a week after the wedding, the day after our final wedding events. I was exhausted from all of the planning, the work, the visiting with people, and lack of sleep.

    My husband and I were finally at home by ourselves. I started crying in front of him, saying that I was worried that in this marriage I had to do everything myself (I was the one that dealt with all of the wedding event planning logistics and trouble-shooting and stress — he had the task of buying the kegs of beer).

    I thought it meant that I was going to do have to do everything for the both of us in our marriage. I cried and cried. And he said that he had never seen me like this and became worried and upset that I was miserable in our new marriage.

    The next day, after I slept for about 14 hours straight, spent the afternoon watching a mindless romantic-comedy movie at the theatre where I could zone out and recharge my introverted self, and then have a glass of wine in the evening — I felt back to normal!

  • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

    Oh, honey, YES. Yes, yes, yes. And telling our stories is the most important part.

    I had no idea the Post-Wedding Meltdown was coming, and it freaked me out, a lot. I only heard about it on APW *after* our honeymoon, at which point I went: “Oh. Right. It’s not just me.”

    So, my Meltdown happened a couple days into our honeymoon. I survived the wedding night and a couple days after on this post-wedding high; we slept in a big hotel bed, we enjoyed each other’s company (ahem), we saw my parents, opened cards, packed for the honeymoon. I got excited for sandy beaches and blue water.

    We made it to the honeymoon, and on our second or third day there, my husband wanted to go down to the beach and enjoy a sunset on our way to dinner. I had a freak-out, controlling-b*tch MELTDOWN. It involved me throwing my sandals at my husband on the beach and sobbing in a beach chair (UGLY sobbing). We only got one picture of the GORGEOUS sunset (I’m an idiot, I know). It was horrible. A small part of the meltdown was real issues that we have since addressed, but a whole big part of it was pure emotions. It was uncontrollable, visceral, reactionary. The Meltdown was the result of an entire year of anticipation, added to two weeks of intense emotions, and culminating in Our Wedding Day and then this amazing trip. I couldn’t handle it. So it just came out, ugly sobs and all.

    After that, I evened out emotionally and got my sh*t together. As I said, I still didn’t know what That Mess was until I came home and read about it on APW, and realized I wasn’t a freak, I was dealing with the emotional whiplash of Major Life Changes. And Lauren (and all you other brides-to-be)– knowing is more than half the battle. Knowing that you could get overwhelmed by emotion will help you ride it out. It’s like surfing– I was floundering in the water and not expecting this GIANT WAVE to crush me; but if you know it’s coming, you can ride it out to the other side.

    Good luck, everyone, and thanks for the stories. <3

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      “Emotional Whiplash” is a perfect description. That’s going straight into my vocab. Thanks!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      This is a good point about evening out emotionally after the wedding. I never had a Meltdown, but it did take me a while to even out emotionally from it all. And I like your point about the importance of telling our stories too. :)

  • marbella

    I am getting married in 8 days. With a boat load of family and friends flying over for the wedding and staying a week, strained family relationships and a ridiculous work schedule for the husband-elect next week involving 13 hr night shifts while he launches a satellite that has been greatly anticipated for 10 years, I fully expect to be on emotional meltdown the week after they all leave. I hope owning that it’s just going to happen is helping me to hold it all off until after the event.
    Thanks APW crew for keeping me mostly sane :)

  • Kristen

    So mine wasn’t the crying mess that most people get but then I’m not a huge crier. The day after returning from the honeymoon I got so sick, like stomach flu, sick. It was a release of all the stress from the build up of the wedding, dealing with all sorts of family issues, the actual realizing I am married to this person for the rest of my life (unfortunately it did not turn out to be that, but at the time that’s what I thought) and I just let it all go. That was the sickest I have ever been in my entire life- didn’t get out of bed for 3 days until I had to go back to work and well take a shower because I smelled and finally eat something.

  • Julia

    I was just exhausted. By the end of the reception, we couldn’t get the last few people to leave as the caterers broke down everything around us. I was ready to crawl under one of the few remaining tables and just stay there till everyone had gone.
    The exhaustion lingered for the first few days of our honeymoon too. It really took me a few days to get back on my feet, but I never had any sort of mental meltdown after the wedding.
    I did have one the night before, though. I’d spent the day with one loyal girlfriend picking all the wedding flowers in the rain, then ran to my nail appointment with my female family members. Still in my gross clothing and about 24 hours away from my last shower, I drove to my bachelorette at a girlfriend’s apartment about half an hour away. Got stuck in traffic for over an hour and caused us to miss our dinner reservation. Arrived at her apartment, walked in the door, and collapsed into a fit of sobs. Hugged a lot of friends, cried some more, took a shower, borrowed some clean clothes, drank margaritas, and felt better.
    By the end of the wedding, I had no more meltdown left in me!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      “By the end of the wedding, I had no more meltdown left in me!”

      Yes, I think I also got most of my crying done in the time leading up to the wedding.

      • Sally sue

        My friend had one right after the reception. She and her hubby went to the hotel and she said she wanted to take a shower. She just turned the water on and started sobbing I guess then called me saying “I’m so nervous! Im hideing in the bathroom and Im scared help!” I got her to calm down eventually. She told me she took so long her hubby was asleep then mad at her the next morning. I was trying hard not to laugh when shE called me. She never told her hubby either.

  • abby_wan_kenobi

    Yay!! This is a great topic. I’ve started writing a graduate post a dozen times and I’m always stuck on the bit about the meltdown. Because I had one. A major one. At our reception. It was huge and crazy and disruptive but it also didn’t define our wedding day. So I find it hard to skip in a grad post, but impossible to ignore.

    Anyway I kind of love my breakdown. It felt like a panic attack that started after dessert. I was having a great time and then all the sudden I was drenched in sweat and naseous and couldn’t breathe. I ended up hiding in an upstairs bathroom. I felt awful physically, I was weak and weepy and so done with the party, the people, the noise, the hugs, all of it. But it was a great thing in a way. Two old girlfriends sat on the bathroom floor with me and we chatted and gossiped. I didn’t feel that bad about abandoning our party because my new husband was down there handling our guests. When it was time for us to leave he guarded a dark, quiet corner for me to sit in and held my hand until we were safely in our hotel room.

    I wouldn’t trade those bathroom floor memories for anything and it felt so good to be looked after by my new husband. I didn’t feel *married* exactly, but I felt like there was somebody there to pick up the slack and that’s kind of what our marriage is about now, 8 months later. Always having each other’s back.

  • http://extoria.blogspot.com Vee

    I read this whole post thinking that I didn’t have a meltdown, then I remembered – OH YES I DID! Right around the time the DJ stopped playing for the night, I broke down and bawled. I just had so much emotion – most of it happy! – that I started to cry (um, again). The whole day had just been such a Big Deal, and everything had gone so well (not perfect, but well)… Of course, I mostly forgot about this because I was pretty drunk =) Yeah, we had a good time that night!

  • http://i-doux.blogspot.com Hannah

    I sobbed. We didn’t have sex. I got into the hotel room and sobbed. I wanted to go home, I wanted my mother. I felt like I’d been hit by a brick in the face. David was devastated that I was sitting on the four poster ugly sobbing rather than being overjoyed by the magnificence of our wedding and marriage. I adore being married and I loved wedding planning but the actual wedding itself ran me over. Perhaps something about the changing of tribes (not, in my case, names) and the leaving of families and the starting of new ones. I was miserable. I cried myself to sleep.

    • meg

      And one day, you’ll get a chance to write that all in a grad post :) I have faith!

  • http://somewhatbookish.wordpress.com Carrie

    It’s been 10 months since the wedding, and there hasn’t been a meltdown yet. After our wedding and reception was over I was exhausted and wired at the same time and didn’t sleep well at all, but there were no tears or emotional upset.

    There was some crying on the side of the road on the day before our wedding. We were driving our cat to be boarded and he was puking in the back seat (he always throws up in the car) and all the stress of the planning and the family and the details and the day just hit me. After that though, it’s like the skies cleared and everything got better. Perhaps I’d already gotten the meltdown out of my system.

    • Alyssa

      Or you’re not going to have one at all. Yay for you!

  • SMW

    I never had a meltdown “moment” after the wedding. I definitely had a sleep-deprived, low-blood-sugar, super sappy moment of tears when my husband and I talked the next day about all the thoughtful things people did…but that’s a cute memory. :)

    What was hardest for me was the mental processing of the things that hadn’t gone as well as they could have. I had a few issues with vendors that left a bad feeling in my stomach. I remembered various people who I hadn’t talked to at the wedding. We didn’t get any pictures with my husband’s grandma. Etc etc. I think my expectation was that *little* things would go wrong but in the end it wouldn’t matter. But in reality, I felt huge guilt about not saying hello to The Johnsons and I was so disappointed to not have the grandmother in any pictures.

    So I’ll admit it here, anonymously (ha) that it’s been a bit of a struggle and not one that’s easy to share with people. Because what bride wants to list the bad things that happened without a warm-and-fuzzy followup that wraps it all up in a nice package? Maybe this sounds more dire than I mean so I’ll also share that I still get choked up when I think about the good parts. And the good parts were AMAZING. :)

    • Alyssa

      You are not alone.

    • natalie

      I’m over a year late in my response (I didn’t even discover this site until recently and I’ve been married for just over 6 months), but I can relate 115%… I still get choked, too, up when I think about all of the beautiful memories from that day!

      But the biggest struggle for me was processing the not-so-positives in a constructive way. I definitely felt like I couldn’t discuss them with anyone, as no one really wants to share the negatives of the journey to their beautiful day. There were parts that didn’t meet my expectations along the way (and even day-of). Trying to reconcile those things on my own (and, of course, with my supportive husband) definitely sparked a meltdown weeks and months later.

      It’s so reassuring to know that someone had a similar experience! And I wouldn’t trade the positive things for ANYTHING. They were all P.E.R.F.E.C.T!

  • http://www.themaidenmetallurgist.com The Maiden Metallurgist

    No post wedding meltdown here- we were just so relieved to be done. The wedding was really for our families- we’d have been jsut as happy going to the court house. The next day we were exhausted, but we felt ike we could exhale. It was wonderful.

    • meg

      Yes. I totally get this feeling of finally feeling like you could exhale. I got this the afternoon after our wedding. It was wonderful. I still had a good jetlagged cry days after, but the moment that I could exhale was just as huge.

  • Morgan

    Mine came the next day, after the brunch I didn’t want – the brunch my mother planned. We were exhausted and stunned and hung over and wanted only to go back to our new house and digest what happened, but couldn’t. So after several hours of croissants and ham and small talk, we drove to the hotel my in-laws stayed at, where my car was parked. I started to cry on that drive, and thankfully the hotel was only 5 minutes from the house, because by that point I was sobbing. Got in to the house and pulled David in to bed and I cried for hours, finally crying myself to sleep. At the time, I couldn’t tell you WHY I was so sad. But looking back, it’s clean that it was a mix of a lot of things. It was Dad’s death. Change. The emotional hangover. Probably the actually hangover too. Of actually pulling off the wedding. Being overwhelmed by the momentousness of Getting Married. Of growing up.

    Getting married was a rite of passage for me. Having a meltdown about it is totally me as well.

  • april

    Toward the end of our reception, I had a MONSTER headache. It had just been a long, wonderful, amazing day and night. But I was DONE. And my poor head was splitting so badly, I had a friend take me up to the suite after the reception because the newly minted mister was busy herding drunk people to the pool bar for the after party around the fire pit. Which I missed. Damn.

    Sunday, the day after our wedding bonanza, after we’d hugged, smooched, waved goodbye to people from the hotel lobby and dropped the last relative off at the airport, hubby turned the car toward home AND I LOST MY SHIT . I mean la-la-la LOST IT. Snot, tears, incoherent mumbling and body-wracking sobs. Pretty! (NOT) And I continued to sob the entire. damn. day. And the next morning on the plane to Mexico. And when we arrived to our fancy resort. And that night over dinner at our fancy resort. And then mercifully – we slept for like10 hours. And on Tuesday? I was perfectly, happily, blissfully FINE. And married to boot. Yippee!

    So my advice for those worried about a post-wedding meltdown? Don’t worry about it. It might happen. It might not. Whatever happens: It’s OK. Oh, and I highly recommend waterproof mascara… ;-)

  • http://twentyfivetowife.blogspot.com Amanda

    I had (maybe I’m still having) a bit of an engaged meltdown. I worry that certain things will be the same, or that others will change for the worse. I really hope that the commitment will help me ease into a better sense of security in the relationship (yes, we’re engaged, as far as he’s concerned we’re committed forever and the marriage is just when we share it with our friends and let the government know so they can give us tax breaks… and yet I still get riled up about things and I think part of that comes from fear of it ending, still). And I’m terrified that I won’t reach that place of ease and comfort, that I’ll always be worried that this is some mistake or something.

    But because of this I’m working really hard on the personal issues that led to this. So maybe it’s not a terrible thing. And hopefully it means I can be present and blissed out on the day and afterward and just enjoy being married, because I’ll have already dealt with all this emotional shit. Or maybe I’ll melt down but at least know that I’ll get through it and come out ok on the other end.

    • Class of 1980

      AMANDA WROTE: “I worry that certain things will be the same, or that others will change for the worse.”

      Certain things will most likely be the same. Whatever issues you currently have don’t go away. You have to figure out if you can live with that.

  • Kate

    This is OT, but we really need a better, less womens’-bodies-as-property term for the first sexual experience. How many other important and potentially life changing initiation experiences are primarily defined in terms of loss?

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      Totally agree. I actually always feel awkward when there are references and stories about this because I was (in my estimation) having sex for many years before I “lost my virginity” in the popularly-accepted sense. Add the hetero-exclusiveness of that term and I have absolutely no use for it.

      Maybe sex is something that happens all at once for some people but for me it was more of an evolution. The physical and emotional experience grows and changes over time and sometimes those hyped milestones feel like a big deal and sometimes they have no impact at all.

      And it seems like people have the same range of reactions to weddings… so I guess Alyssa’s analogy is still perfect after all. I should’ve guessed :)

    • clampers

      God you’re right, I’ve never thought about that before!

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  • Sara

    “an expression of relief that it’s over and sadness that it’s ended”

    i love this. I had a little mini-wave of this hit right before our ceremony actually, standing with my soon-to-be husband where it was more a “omgoodness this moment is HERE” type of Bam. Just a couple stray tears though, which I know were still pretty dang alarming to him, but he gave me a hug and it was fine.

    Then after, it was the departure from the glorious weekend that there was the Bam of relief/sadness that the time had ended. It kind of just manifested in a teary and too hasty goodbye to our loved ones, but it was the 1.5 hour drive home with thoughts and emotions in a huge big roiling sea in my head which had its waves of tears, but that was actually one of the more vivid points of feeling that I have from the wedding, so while totally draining, was fairly amazing too.

  • http://foxflat.wordpress.com katie

    Rather than one big defining event, I would characterize my meltdown as a slow leaking of sad bits (sometimes at unexpected moments) over the course of a few months.

    We signed up for a sort of “Super Value Transitions Package” so that in the course of two months we: quit our jobs; packed up our house; got married; moved to a new city where we knew nobody; and started a PhD program and a new job. Our honeymoon was driving from Ohio to Boston so I could start my new job the next week.

    I think it was so much forward momentum that there wasn’t much time to fully experience the accompanying emotions. Over the next few months I would find myself feeling inexplicably sad at random moments. I remember walking the dog around our new neighborhood one night and crying. Or crying on the drive to work. We’ve been here 6 months now and I don’t feel the sadness very much anymore.

    It was actually the blog Conscious Transitions – which I found from reading a post on APW- that helped a lot. The writer talks a lot about how any transition involves some mourning over whatever you’re leaving behind. Old friends. Our old house. Single life. etc. It helped normalize what I felt, which is awesome because it’s not the crying that’s scary, it’s the worry that “Oh no this sadness isn’t NORMAL! In fact maybe it’s a sign I made a BIG MISTAKE blah blah”

    • http://engineerbaker.blogspot.com Caitlin

      Oh god, we signed up for that package too. TEH SUCK. Let’s just say that major emotional breakdowns with ugly crying can and do occur in the middle of Whole Foods. And that everyone around you is so effing nice about your sobbing in front of the seafood counter! Who would’ve thunk it?

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I evidently signed on for the same super-sized transitions package. Moving cities and countries, stopping my job, starting a new challenging project, and getting married with a span of 6 weeks. Then living/commuting between two cities and apartments with my new husband. And then moving again 7 months later to the same city as my husband into a new-to-both-of-us apartment. Plus immigration and language/culture adjustments on top of that. Whew. I am still not over all that transition!

  • http://teamhensley.blogspot.com Randi

    This is something I feel like I’m still processing. For me, it wasn’t necessarily a meltdown (although I am good at those!). It was like landing on a different planet where everything is exactly the same, and I was the only one who knew that I was on a different planet. Does that make sense?

    I had this question over my head, “What did we just do??? What have we signed up for here?” And months since the wedding of looking back at my life and the different lifestyles that I have lived and saying to myself, “woah! I just chose this one. Forever.” And it’s not like I hadn’t given any thought to what marriage was before the wedding (books! hours of heart to hearts with friends, family and my dude! this blog!), but I just wasn’t prepared for what it would feel like to actually BE there. Married.

    I remember my eighth birthday well. It was wonderful. We were at my aunt’s lakehouse. All my family was there. It was warm and wonderful and perfect. Then on a boat ride, I just started to cry. I couldn’t understand it then and I’m not sure I can explain it now, but I have felt that same feeling on every one of my birthdays since (I now know to reserve a little space for tears on that day). And it was exactly the feeling that I felt after getting married. It’s almost a nostalgic feeling, but not quite. It’s not sad, but it kinda is. But there’s a joy and happiness underneath it all.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Thanks for sharing about your birthday tears. I have a feeling that is similar every year when I take down holiday decorations. This year it was particularly strong and I cried a lot. And my husband was a little bewildered by it all and I couldn’t articulate very well why I was crying, but I did reassure him that it was normal for me to feel sad while I took it all down and put it away. It just makes me super nostalgic and reflective about my life and the passing of time, and then makes me think of the future and ponder my dreams…

  • http://peacockfeathersdiamondrings.blogspot.com Rachel

    I had my melt down before the wedding. On the morning, I woke up feeling like sh*t (which later transpired not to be flu like I feared but my period arriving). I cried and my sisters got into bed with me and stroked my back. Then my mum and dad came in and brought us all coffee and I cried some more that this was my last morning with my family like that, and it would all be different once we were married. But it wasn’t at all like that. I just got more of a family, not less.

    • meg

      Lovely.

  • Bailey

    We got legally married over a year before our big wedding and told only our immediate families. I was remarkably at ease before, during and after our big wedding, but oh boy did I have a meltdown the first time we had a big fight after making it legal. My husband and I are both oldest children, both very opinionated, very stubborn, so sometimes our fights can be a bit draining. (The good news is, we had a lot of “practice” early on, so we’re much better at communicating and working through things now.)

    I just remember being hit with the realization that it wasn’t just me anymore. That I was part of a team, and what’s best for the team isn’t always what I want. I now needed to be concerned with keeping someone else happy, too. It was a “Sh*t. I have to grow up a little here,” which can be a bitter pill to swallow. My husband had a few mini-meltdowns that spanned over a couple years as he came to the same conclusion.

    • http://hartandsolphoto.com Maddie

      Oh, I think we might be the same person. :)

    • Laura

      Our wedding is still months away, but I’ve already had a few freak-outs about the whole “oh, crap, it’s not just ME anymore” thing. My fiance proposed the same day we moved in together (to a house that’s been in his family for 100 years), so there has been a lot going on the last few months.

      He moved to our house from his childhood room… and I’ve lived on my own, in several different states, for over 10 years. It’s definitely been more of an adjustment for me, since I have been so used to doing everything on my own, just me and my dog. If I wanted to eat cereal for dinner every night for a week, no big deal. If I wanted to pack up and move halfway across the country, it was my perogative. Now I can’t be so selfish, and it is scary!

  • http://betterinrealife.com Lauren

    I must say I LOVE all of these responses. No more hiding under our beds wiping the tears away. It’s somehow empowering to read all of this. :)

  • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

    I had two Post-Wedding Meltdowns – one when my best friend’s mother (or OtherMom, as I call her) hugged me and said goodbye when she and OtherDad left the reception. I just started hiccup-crying in her arms, because it suddenly hit me that I never wanted this party to end. (Not because of the “one perfect day” stuff, nor because I wanted to plan more, but because these were all our favorite people in one room and that would probably never happen again.) We were moving cross-country a handful of days after the wedding, so I think I’d emotionally prepared myself to say goodbye to my parents and a lot of our friends, but somehow missed the fact that oh wait, we’ll be on the other side of the country from my best friend’s parents. It was a bit odd. (She rubbed my back and then sent me to the bathroom with my bridesmaids for hugs and fake-eyelash-fixing.)

    The huge, sobbing, “what is this feeling?” meltdown happened the first night we spent in our Bay Area apartment. None of our shipped furniture had arrived yet, we’d just spent a week in a car and in hotels (I credit the few friends we stayed with on our drive out for the fact that this meltdown didn’t happen even sooner), and we were sleeping on a cold hard floor in a nest of blankets. I looked over at Jason and suddenly the magnitude of everything that had happened in the past week (wedding, moving) hit me like a sledgehammer and I bawled for a couple of hours.

    Having said all that – I don’t think Wedding Night Meltdowns are anything to be afraid of. I had so much pent up emotion/stoicism regarding all those life changes that it felt good to just sit and let it out in a really good cry.

  • Jillian

    Team Practical, keepin’ it real as usual.

    This is something I had not heard of before, so I’m glad it was brought up! Now I know that it will be okay if I experience some sort of emotional outpouring….and if I don’t, that’s cool too.

    And thanks to all the awesome other ladies who commented and shared their stories too.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    For me it was an emotional release. There are a lot of emotions tied up in a wedding (and I’m part of that 3% mentioned too). My emotional releases usually come in the form of giggles and laughter (which is why when I was in high school and found myself standing over my brother who had just broken his arm the best I could do in my fear was laugh at him). So my Wedding Night Meltdown was laughter rather than tears and snot.

    We all release emotions in different ways. Think about how you’ve released major emotions in the past, both the good and the bad ones.

    I also like the idea of it being a smashing of Expectation and Reality.

  • http://www.mauradeedy.com maura

    i feel like i’m one of the few that didn’t have a meltdown.
    maybe because i was careful to continually manage my expectations about the wedding day throughout the planning. my married girlfriends kept reminding me “unplanned things will happen, just go with it”. and i also knew this wasn’t going to be THE most happiest wonderful day of my life. it would be one of many to come.

    maybe because i had to manage my expectations throughout the wedding planning (as i was continually being let down and disappointed by my mother, hoping she’d change for me), i wasn’t concerned when people weren’t noticing or making a big deal about it. i knew it was for us, and that was all that mattered.

    (or maybe i DID have one, and i’ve suppressed the memory of it!)

    (all that said, maybe my meltdown was months before the wedding while watching “rachel getting married”, and realizing my sister was kym (anne hathaway), that people were just to self absorbed and in pain to be present in my own happiness and life.)

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      I didn’t melt down, but I did giggle a lot. :)

  • Alice919

    Well, I had a LOT of wedding meltdowns actually. We were engaged for 9 months and I broke down crying on and off for most of that time. I really loved being engaged and even loved the wedding planning parts, but I was also *very* aware of the magnitude of what we were doing. Sure I was planning for a big party, but more importantly I was making the biggest decision of my life. I would tell my husband that he had time to sit with these feelings and emotions because he knew the engagement was coming. I didn’t :) Sure, I was super excited to marry him and knew that it was the absolutely right decision for me, but I was also dealing with tons of old ideas about what I am supposed to be like as a bride-to-be, as a wife, as an adult. That wedidng planning time gave me soo much to think and pray about, to really get to know myself, to really talk openly and honestly with tears, snot, and all with my future husband, friends, and family. The planning a wedding wasn’t as hard as the emotional planning to be married.

    So then, a couple of months before the wedding, it stopped. I broke through the tears and fears. I had arrived on the other side more of an adult than I had ever been. I knew more of who I was, I felt more secure in my relationship, closer with my friends and family, and was super excited and ready to be married. YAY!!!

    I was really in the moment and totally present for our wedding day. I loved it! I had a sad moment at the reception when I realized that it was almost over and people had already begun to leave (mostly those with small kids) and I was disappointed that I couldn’t spend enough time with everyone. We had a lovely wedding night and flew to Jamaica the next day.

    Three days later, I broke down. Part of it was that I don’t “vacate” well and we were at a resort with only relaxing to do (no running from tourist site to tourist site), and I went from Run, Run, Run, Run, Plan, Plan, Plan, to STOP. That and I had another wave of insecurities and fear and OH MY GOD I JUST MADE THE BIGGEST DECISION OF MY LIFE and wow i am somebody’s wife and the impact of all we had said and done and been through hit me. I was sooo happy and yet so sad. I was a weepy mess and went on a walk and called a friend long distance who informed me that this was totally normal. I was totally unaware that other people had post-wedding meltdowns. I continued to be a bit run down the rest of the night and the next morning was still emotional, but then I came back to reality and we had a wonderful rest of our honeymoon.

    Its only been 5 months (tomorrow!) since we got married and there have been quite a few “Wow, we’re married” moments. Like when I changed my name (woah), when I took him to the ER a few weeks after the wedding, doing our taxes, oh yeah and I’m sure they will keep coming. :) But no more tears and fears!!!!!!!!!

  • http://kristythecoffeegirl.blogspot.com Kristy

    All my meltdowns happened during the planning. All I felt afterwards was relief that it was done, that we were finally married, and that we could go on with our lives. Planning was extremely stressful and emotional. Never want to go through that again. I don’t think I really had time for a post-wedding meltdown, though, since we had to drive 3 hours from the reception in Austin to our house in Fort Worth, and then try to get sleep in the 3 hours we had between getting home and having to leave for the airport. (No, I do not recommend that sort of schedule to ANYONE.) Once we finally got to St Thomas, there was too much rum for a meltdown. ;)

  • Britty

    This post just made me laugh out loud. I’m 24, getting married in August to my high school sweetheart, and I will lose the big V AND get married in the same day (so will my fiance, actually). I’ll be sure to report back with details of the possible combo-meltdown, to represent the 3%!

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      Go 3%!!!

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

    I did not have a meltdown on the wedding night or the honeymoon. but I did have kind of an alarmingly bigger-than-the-situation-called-for meltdown 3 or 4 months later, that was the culmination of a series of periods of just feeling strange in my bones! Only recently did it occur to me that I might have been experiencing some wedding-related rebound. And it was only this moment that I remembered the meltdown during a conversation about money, I just couldn’t stop crying (I almost never cry) and it didn’t seem to have much to do with the conversation we’d been having. but it seems obvious now that it was my reaction to figuring out how/if marriage might have changed us (these thoughts had been rolling around in my head since the wedding), plus the new name settling into my skin, and the my-money’s-our-money-so-there-is-no-more-my-money just sent me over the edge.

    (now a month shy of the anniversary, I’m comfortable in my name and we figured out the money thing. yay.)

  • http://loveyourway.net lizzie

    THIS is exactly what I was wondering about…although I’ve seen it tear some couples apart…to be fair, I’m realizing now that the couples who are crumbling immediately after the wedding have had PLENTY of warning signs in the engagement/dating process – people who SERIOUSLY considered calling it off in the meantime and decided not to because: “What would people think?” and all that mess.

    Excellent answer, Alyssa, thanks.

  • http://www.ohdeerio.com smallwonder

    I just realized that I had an Engagement Meltdown. We decided “for real” that we were going to get married in 2011 about a month before we got a ring and told people. The night we made it official and announced it to everyone, we went to our favorite restaurant and he asked me to marry him and I said yes and that was it. We called everyone from the table between courses. On the drive home we listened to a playlist of all our favorite songs about love and I started crying uncontrollably.

    Now, I am not a crier. I’m smallwonder, the amazingly practical and unemotional girl who always wanted a 2 person elopement and had no interest in planning a big wedding. But in that moment, on that drive, I was overwhelmed with hugeness of it all. It was like I let go, in one exhale, all the baggage of every time I felt lonely in the world, every heartbreak, every time I laid awake at night and wondered if I was lovable. I thought back to those times, and I felt relief from that fear and loneliness. I had a partner in life, who would always be there. I was lovable. It was probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced.

  • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

    My meltdown came in the form of a panic attack 4 days after the wedding. I woke up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe, feeling like I was going to burst out of my skin. I started to cry and woke up my husband who did his best to comfort me as I tried to verbalize what was going through my head. We were in the midst of looking for a new place to live and I had just graduated and gone full-time with my business, all things that could cause one to freak out. But I kept crying and crying.

    Finally, I said something about how we had always said we’d have kids “after we’re married” though we never actually set a date for that. All of a sudden, I stopped crying, and I realized that I had taken this arbitrary step into the next phase of my life, a phase I had lumped a bunch of things into, and I was nervous about moving forward. After that, I was totally fine, and I realized I just needed take things one step at a time.

  • http://thinkingwedding.blogspot.com Rhiannon

    This sounds a little bit like the “weddings are like birthdays” thing, from Ellie’s wedding graduate post.

    I had this feeling when, a week after my son was born, I left him with my mum in the car while I walked through the market to buy a bucket. It occurred to me that I’d gone from being obviously about to have a baby (with physical and unavoidable fanfare) to a situation where nobody seeing me for the first time would know that I was a mother.

    And I didn’t even have mum-tum, because my 19 year old body pinged straight back to its pre-baby skinnyness. No-one could tell.

    It was weird and very upsetting.

  • Marchelle

    Excellent post, Alyssa.

    I didn’t actually have a post-wedding meltdown. (Nor did I have any kind of losing my virginity meltdown. Hmm…) I had the Wedding Zen, and the Wedding Transcendence, and then I sailed along in a state of bliss for at least a month before graduallly returning to earth. And that was OK. I have plenty enough meltdowns that I consider myself hugely lucky not to have had one over getting married, too.

  • Janna

    Let’s talk about two months of post-wedding meltdown. Unexpected, post-marital depression that I didn’t expect and had nothing to do with the wedding. Before the wedding, I was a Zen Bride. I had read this blog every day for a year, everything was well-planned, the details that fell through didn’t matter, I was getting married, and that’s all that mattered. And the wedding was perfect: it was a lovely evening, all my family and friends were together, my father-in-law surprised us with fireworks as the evening came to a close. It was magical. And while we had had weeks of pre-marital counseling and I wasn’t scared to be married (my husband is the best person I know), when we drove away from the ceremony I was thinking, “oh, sh*t, what happens now?” Our honeymoon was good, although surely complicated by the fact that we were both in that 3% minority and trying to figure out sex and being newly married at the same time. We got back from our honeymoon and moved into a house with a group of our friends, thinking that community living and raising chickens would be an exciting adventure. I don’t know if I just tried too much at once, but I was so depressed for months- the weight of the commitment terrified me, and I didn’t know who to talk to, because people don’t expect a newlywed who dearly loves her husband and who thoughtfully made the decision to get married to be having such paralyzing doubt. Long story short, things got better. My husband and I live by ourselves now and I couldn’t be happier- I’m glad I stuck through that post-marital depression, but I’m wondering- did anyone else have something similar that wasn’t just a one-night event?

  • http://muddlingthroughmarriage.wordpress.com/ muddling maria

    A bit late I know, but I was just writing about this myself and I loved this post. My wedding meltdown, if you like, was less about the wedding itself or the man I married and more about the fact that I hadn’t really come to terms with the idea that a wedding doesn’t magically transform you into the sort of person you’d like to be. Naively and stupidly (especially as I had read so many wise words from blogs such as these) I was still expecting to be filled with confidence, assurance and an overwhelming feeling of contentment. And, to be fair, I think this is actually slowly happening six months on, but the other day I was describing this feeling of uncertainty and unhappiness that has been gradually overwhelming me since the wedding. I think the wedding did a wonderful job of masking some issues I had and once it was over and I wasn’t in any way a drastically different person, all my old worries and concerns came back – I think of it as the bow wave of weddings and I’m hoping the wave is now beginning to retreat. But, my point is this low period, if you do experience it can be useful, as it has been for me, to remind me of the things I still need to work on, that an event like a wedding or losing your virginity may alter but does not transform you, and that it is my responsibility to improve in the areas I struggle with – weddings aren’t like fairy godmothers but they can certainly teach you a lot of wisdom – before, during and, as I’ve found, especially after.

  • Desiree

    I got married in August and as far as a wedding meltdown goes, I never had one. I don’t think I really had time. It has been one thing after another for the past six months and I’m nat sure I have been afforded the time to have a meltdown. My wedding was fantastic! The day before the wedding we had major storms roll through and our rehearsal dinner turned into a major cleanup party with some rehearsal and dinner thrown in there. With in weeks of our wedding we had the sewer back up (twice in three weeks) so we had a major poop cleaning party and with water damage we had to destroy and slowly reconstruct our basement. Then in November (when we began to wrap up the basement project) my husband (who is a disabled veteran and a leg amputee) started having problems with infections in his residual limb. By mid December the doctors took him out of his prosthetic leg. Last week he went through a minor surgery to remove a cyst on his residual limb. I have taken on most of the household responsibilities (snow really, really sucks) and care of my husband, as well as working more than a full time job. We are still waiting to see what the next few weeks will bring. I guess, my hope is that 6 months from now, we will just have the opportunity to enjoy one another!

  • elemjay

    I regularly had hysterics throughout the planning process and got very upset at one point (on day 4 of our 4 day wedding extravaganza) but I did not have a post-wedding meltdown. I was so glad to get the wedding over and get on with being married!

  • Jennifer

    Yes, oh yes! The wedding & reception were at our house, and we were set to be leaving, making our rounds to the folks still hanging out, dancing, whatever. Then I see my best friend, who was all set to leave on a plane to South Korea in a couple of days, and it hit me then. Just the enormity of it all. “I just got married to one of my best friends. My other best friend is leaving and I don’t know when I’ll see her again.” I broke down then. In the middle of our “dance floor” aka our backyard. I hugged her tight and sobbed like mad.

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  • Kim

    My post-wedding meltdown was epic. I almost want to write my wedding graduate post about it, but it’s more likely productive to share here.

    I somehow developed this panic attack ability that emerged after a friend’s wedding. Usually Spanx are partially to blame for their constricting magic, and alcohol does not help. Had I recognized this as a pattern, I would’ve prepared more before the wedding.

    Our wedding day was running smoothly, the ceremony was perfect, and we were having a blast at the reception. At the end of the night when they turned the lights, things start going downhill. I turned into the post-wedding meltdown version of a bridezilla.
    Next thing I know, we are in the limo with my parents, some of the groomsmen and their dates, and I could. not. breathe. And I had had a fair bit to drink (no one brings you water on the dance floor, only more drinks…not good for a lightweight like me!). My bridesmaids are gone. My mom is telling me to stop being over-dramatic. I talk back to my mother! (not my usual M.O.). The corset dress is untied and we pull over to find my inhaler. I scream at a groomsman who goes to get beer for the after party while I’m gasping for air. NOT good. I’m a nice person. I don’t scream at friends.

    We finally get back to our hotel room, and I end up passing out while hugging the toilet bowl (alcohol and inhalers don’t mix well, apparently) while my husband gives me space and hangs out with his friends. Not the way I pictured my wedding night ending.

    Lessons learned:
    1. pack a change of clothing so you can get out of those Spanx and corset tops ASAP.
    2. don’t try to carpool on the way home, if you can avoid it. I’m an emotional person, and so is my mom. I didn’t want my parents or wedding party to drive home, but in retrospect, my husband and I should’ve had a separate ride.
    3. ask friends (or at other friends’ weddings) to make sure the bride and groom get water when they want/need it. I was so focused on making sure I got to eat the yummy food I was probably very dehydrated after the long day.

    Advice requested:
    If anyone has any ideas how I can ever make up for a) making a huge scene in front of our groomsmen and my parents or b) a way to make up for or stop feeling guilty about ruining our wedding night with my meltdown, please let me know!