My wedding was over a year ago and while I’m thrilled to be finally married to my husband, I can’t get over my disappointment in my actual wedding day. We put so much energy and time into planning everything, and it still hurts to think about the ways that it didn’t go according to plan and the ways people were hurtful. I know that I should just be happy that we got married, and I feel terrible that I can’t just do that. How do I come to grips with the wedding we had not being the wedding we wanted?
Depressed Over Wedding Nightmare
Don’t beat yourself up for this! Of course you’re upset that things didn’t work out as planned. That’s natural. Wedding magic doesn’t always make that go away. Sometimes it just helps to know you’re not alone. Take, for example, this post on not loving your wedding, or this one, and this one over here. There’s a lot of pressure out there to have the correct feelings about your wedding (and other things, too), and sometimes that’s just one more unrealistic expectation. Not feeling a certain specific way about major life events is okay; many people feel all sorts of different emotions. How can we expect every person to feel the same way regarding the really big things, when we rarely can all agree on the little things? (I honestly just don’t get the mustache trend. There. I said it.) Feelings can be complicated, whether we’re talking about weddings or moving in or changing our names or pregnancy. This pressure to have certain reactions devalues and ignores an entire spectrum of very real and very complex human emotion.
First thing? You need to forgive yourself for being disappointed. Then, you need to allow yourself room to do that. Rather than bottling up that emotion or feeling as though you’re not allowed to express it, let it out. Cry about it. Scream about it. Find a good friend who won’t mind listening to you whine about it. You have to give a wound some air in order to let it heal.
Once you cut yourself a little slack to fully experience your heartache over this, maybe you’ll notice it’s not as big as it feels. Must Not Think About It has a knack for turning even the smallest problems into giant, looming monsters.
You know how some people say that “everything happens for a reason”? I’m not sure how true that is (though I guess it looks nice embroidered on a pillow), but I think it’s close. Maybe everything doesn’t happen for a reason, but we all have the choice to take things that happen and make something worthwhile out of them. So your wedding day was crappy. Maybe it was something small, like your cake collapsed or the band played the wrong song. Or, maybe it was something bigger, involving familial drama and tears and pain. Is there something you can learn from this long-term? Is there a piece of that situation that you can take and make into something worthwhile? Maybe it taught you how to wrestle through unexpected, complicated and conflicting emotions (something that is sure to come up again and is good practice for when it does). If nothing else, maybe it taught you a little about letting go of things you can’t control. That right there is a pretty big life lesson, by itself.
Once you give yourself the chance to find something—anything—positive about the bad memories, maybe you can move on to figuring out how to get over them. After I’ve given myself time to cry it out, and then I look for the bright side of things, it’s easier to move forward. When those negative thoughts spring up unexpectedly, I can more easily put them to bed because I’ve sort of mentally resolved it. The way I did with my wedding photos, I’ve mentally thrown out the bits that I don’t like and held onto the ones where everyone is smiling and I look hot.
Also, as with anything else, it helps to go in and replace bad memories with good. Sometimes, for those smaller nagging thoughts, it helps to laugh about them. If you and your partner can find a little piece of those wedding day problems to joke about, that’s the quickest way to replace a bad memory with a good. However, if the wedding day issues were bigger and the memories maybe a bit more hurtful, consider taking another day to celebrate your marriage. I’m not saying you need to renew your vows or run to Vegas or plan a wedding do-over, but maybe you can go out to dinner or spend the night away, just the two of you. When you think back to those painful wedding memories, you can remind yourself, “But then we celebrated our marriage together. And that part was nice.”
Photo by APW sponsor Emily Takes Photos
If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!