Hannah & David

Raw, Emotional, Beautiful

*Hannah, Marketing and Publicity Intern & David, Law Student*

I’ve been waiting for this post for two years. No joke. Two whole years. Hannah has been reading APW since back in the very early days, and when she got married, the note she sent me about her experience so closely mirrored mine it was eery. Gorgeous pictures? Check. Day full of love? Check. Feeling of being emotionally raw and overwhelmed and Oh My God Is This Right Has Anyone Ever Felt This Way Before Am I Broken? Check, check check! So for me, this post is what no one ever told me about getting married. The thing is, the raw emotion is perfect, in it’s own way, but if it hits you, it’s nice to have a voice in the back of your head telling you, “Normal, this is normal.” So, as we explore the theme of Memory this week, coming off the US’s Memorial Day, let’s start with Hannah’s wedding, explored at two years distance.

I’ve been planning on writing this post since before I got married. I’ve been reading APW since before I met David and I assumed that after reading so many Wedding Graduates and having such reasonable non-WIC expectations. Remember my parents? I was expecting to have a nice party and go on with my life. I thought I’d be able to tell you how the Wedding Zen set in and I felt the love of my family around me and I basked in it and it was amazing.

Nothing anyone said prepared me for what it felt like to get married. I felt raw and shocked, my soul felt different and weird. I was scared. I went back to the B&B and cried myself to sleep because I felt wrenched. No one told me it was going to feel like that. I’ve seen a gazillion pictures of gorgeous glowing brides and no one told me that when your dad gave a speech and you cried it wasn’t a photo op, you were REALLY CRYING and a lot of people were looking at you crying and you were actually sad. I think it’s okay to feel raw and wretched. Marriage is a big deal. It is something to be taken seriously. I felt bad about feels scared and sad and raw and wrenched. I felt really guilty.

None of which is to say that I didn’t love our wedding. I did. It was a gorgeous wedding. When David proposed I was in my ninth month of being unemployed and within weeks my dad lost his job too. Out of economic necessity and my own long-lived devotion to make stuff I crafted and my sisters crafted, and my mother and my friends crafted.

I made the cake topper because I couldn’t afford one and because I made clothespin dolls with my mum as a child; I couldn’t afford a florist so my bridesmaids and friends and I put together made the most beautiful flowers ever; I poured candles for weeks; my maid of honor and my little sister did hours of calligraphy. We didn’t have any money but we had a lot of time and we built our wedding out of nothingness. I made flowered headbands for the flower girls and tote bags for the bridesmaids; David and I hung papel-picado and bistro lights and we swept the barn and my mother and cousin made fresh blueberry chutney and sandwiches on wedding day for us all.

I heard time and time again during wedding planning that the details don’t matter and for some couples maybe they don’t but my sister’s handwriting on my place card, my brother’s band playing, my nephew carrying the ring bowl my mother made, the bridesmaid assembled flowers everywhere, the tissue paper pom-poms hanging from the rafters, the flowered combs in my hair made by my friend who drank a box of Franzia and burnt the hell out of her fingers with a hot glue gun, these things mattered. I can’t even tell you how much they mattered. They felt like a gift and I felt wrapped in the sweetness and the love and the care that had gone into them.* It was a gorgeous wedding and I felt the love. I felt the magical love we are supposed to feel but I also felt like I had been hit by a bus.

I think getting married—the leaving one family and making another—is hard for everyone but I was twenty-three when I got married and so I can only speak to what being a young bride was like. I was a very young bride. Maybe not very. But definitely young. For me a huge part of the wedding, an unexpected part of the wedding was the looking back part, the end of an era part, the “you only get one wedding goddamn it and this is it” part.

In the last two weeks leading up to the wedding I felt unbelievably guilty for feeling like this because clearly this was not an end but a beginning and honestly being twenty-three is being young, regardless of your marital status. But I cried when I turned ten because I felt my life slipping away really quickly and the wedding was a little like that. A milestone, come and gone. And I was scared. I was terrified, and I felt bad for being terrified, I was ashamed of my fear. Because I am brave, because I love David, because that is what we do. We educated women of the twenty-first century, we move, we grow, we change.

Two days before the wedding, the last night before everyone arrived from out of town, when David was out at his bachelorette party, my little sister flat ironed my hair while we watched the Golden Girls (I know, mock me) and I cried myself to sleep because the end of an era is sad, the end of childhood, is sad. Because sleeping in my childhood bedroom under a duvet cover my mother made me with furniture I had painted as a teenager and my arms around my bear, placed there by another younger sister who sweetly made my bed broke my heart.

There is something very immediate about the heartbreak of growing up, being a young bride. Something scary and new and magical about a new husband. About leaving a family where little sisters are just entering high school and everyone else is still on a family cell phone plan.

Leaving the church after the wedding David and I ran as fast as we could to the car away from all the hugging people. One of my favorite wedding photos is the one the photographer managed to catch of us midflight, running as fast as we could for the car. It felt like something real happened. Like every clichéd statement about two people becoming one flesh and leaving your father and mother and cleaving to your spouse was physically happening and it hurt. My skin felt weird and I couldn’t catch my breath. It continued to hurt for the three days we spent camping where I cried my eyes out and sobbed that I wanted to be taken home. I wanted my mother. It hurt that way for a while.

Two years later I have never had a magical moment when all of a sudden it stopped feeling weird. No moment when I realized that the magical grafting of our lives together is over and the new family was fully made. But I love David and the leaving behind of the old and the building of the new (a new that includes both of our families of origin) is exciting and challenging and wonderful.

It’s funny to look at the pictures and see how fine I look. I still danced with my sisters to the Talking Heads and smoked a Clove with David’s friends from college and felt every single huge hug. I served everyone cake and remember my baby sister’s drunken face when she gave me a sloppy kiss and told me she loved me.

The Info—Photography: Shaun Yasaki / Venue: Hannah’s Parent’s House

*I happened to have friends who teach and have summers off and a stay-at-home-mom and sisters who are still at school who could devote huge amounts of time to these things and they did. I’m also that lucky heifer who’s brother is in an awesome band and who grew up on a farm with a gorgeous barn and whose boyfriend went to undergrad with our stellar photographer.

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  • Brefiks

    “Because I am brave, because I love David, because that is what we do. We educated women of the twenty-first century, we move, we grow, we change.”
    I love your acknowledgement that this change that everyone tells us is the best thing that ever happened to us can still feel scary and require bravery. Thank you.
    Also, you are GORGEOUS! I’m kind of in love with your eyebrows.

  • Jashshea

    WHERE was the NSFW note on this? This isn’t even close to my experience, Hannah (I’ll be 11 years older than you were when I marry), but the image of you in your childhood home/room/bed with the bear slayed me. Lovely.

  • Beautiful post. One of my favorite wedding grad posts ever! Keep writing.

  • Sarah

    This is beautiful. The photos, the wedding, your writing, and most of all the sentiment.

  • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

    Thank you Hannah, for reminding me that it’s okay to find the big things scary, and that being an adult doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to want to run home to your mother. Such a beautiful wedding!

    • Denzi

      Exactly a million times. I lived with my parents post-college, and I MISS IT A LOT, even though I love being married to Tom and living with Tom. I just want to be able to take a month off every couple years or so and live with my parents again…

  • Kristen

    I’ve never read something that so closely describes my own experience. I’m getting married in six weeks, and even though it’s exciting and huge and right, it’s also terrifying. I, too, am someone who feels nostalgia very acutely. I sobbed when fifth grade was over because I felt like time was slipping away from me and I could never get elementary school back. I sobbed when I graduated high school and packed my room up for college because I couldn’t imagine life ever getting better than when I was surrounded by my best friends and my family and my boyfriend. I sobbed when my grandparents sold their house and moved because I felt like a huge piece of my childhood was lost forever.

    And now… it’s like putting all of those things together and having a gigantic wave crash down on you all at once. And trying to keep your head above water in the midst of everyone you know asking how much fun you’re having and saying, “Isn’t being engaged the greatest?” It’s wanting to tell them that yes, it’s great, but it’s also the scariest thing I’ve ever done by far, and as much as it feels empowering to step into a new life, it hurts like hell to feel like your childhood is over and it’s the end of an amazing era. I’m the kind of person that spends a lot of time looking back and just *thinking.* A lot. We’re only having a four-month-long engagement, and it’s starting to feel impossible to mentally process all of it in four months. Most nights, I fall asleep thinking about playing capture the flag with my cousins, or my grandpa carrying me up the stairs to bed when I slept over. And even though all of that stuff is already over, getting married makes it seem so much more final.

    Everything Hannah said about those feelings being so much more intense as a young bride is true, too. When you’re still having family dinners every night and your brothers are still in school and you’ve never lived on your own (apart from a cramped dorm room in college), everything gets magnified. And the thing is, I know we’re ready and that we can do this. But it’s still so scary, and it was refreshing to hear someone else feeling the same way. It’s nice to know someone else mourned their childhood bedroom and wondered what would happen if they needed their mom, or just wanted to go home and be wrapped in the quilt their grandma made. I think about these things too. My fiance and I both do, actually, which makes it easier. He’s struggling right beside me as his dad gets ready to move to California and sell the house we made all our memories in for the last nine years.

    So, yeah, I know I’m going to be scared out of my mind as the days keep rolling by, but I’m holding tightly to a lesson I learned back in fifth grade: If I never let myself move forward and grow up and open my heart to change, I would miss out on a ton of amazing things. I thought my life in fifth grade – or in high school – was complete and never wanted to let go. But if I hadn’t, I never would have gotten to experience the amazing feeling of graduating from college or learning to be independent or having the person I love most in the world get down on one knee. And, so, I keep telling myself that the future holds so many more incredible things — things I can’t imagine right now, but that are waiting for me when I step into this new, crazy life of ours.

    • Kristy

      What a lovely comment. Awww. I’m not a young bride, but I still have pangs about the huge transition. I’ve been surprised by it. Four months is a short engagement – ours is eight and it still feels short, because it really is a time of enormous emotional change. Adjusting to getting the idea that I’m getting married is bigger than I anticipated.

    • daynya


      I’m exactly the same way. Especially the big wave crashing down on me part. EXACTLY how you phrased it. I think about being little, and a teenager, and in my 20s, and all of the special places/events/people in my life, and I feel so sad. I know that I have to move past these things, but turning 30 last year really did a number on me. Then, getting engaged and planning our wedding has only made this whole thing worse. I am so excited, just like when I moved away from home, but I also have these deep rooted sad feelings. And I love this : “If I never let myself move forward and grow up and open my heart to change, I would miss out on a ton of amazing things.”

      Big hugs!

  • Pippa

    Hannah, I’m doing everything in my power to reach out through the screen and give you virtual hugs right now. I have never read anything on APW that so closely resonates with me. I’m not yet married but I can GUARANTEE that it will be an experience almost emotionally identical to your own…. I just can’t really explain how much this post is my own truth not yet realised…

    Thank you for a beautiful post and for being so brave.

    • Alyssa

      My husband proposed on our eighth anniversary of dating. We had been talking about marriage for quite some time, and in fact I knew the proposal was coming on that trip. I was so shocked we barely talked on the 4 mile hike back, and felt so strange that it depressed me for a couple days, until I accepted that I could feel however I wanted to feel and I shouldn’t feel like a failure for it.

      Be sure, no matter how much you feel ready for this, to accept and embrace whatever comes emotionally.

      • Teresa

        I had a very similar reaction. My fiance proposed on our 6 year anniversary, after much discussion and prodding from me, and afterwards, I just felt weird. I felt shocked and a little anxious in the pit of my stomach and everyone accused me of not being excited enough. Once the shock wore off, I felt like we had reached a new point in our relationship, everything really felt different. I was just so surprised that I felt so much anxiety after wanting it to happen for so long.

        • Kara

          I’m so glad you guys posted this about your proposals. I felt really depressed and weird and awful after ours – and I’d been badgering him for a couple of months to give me an answer about when he was going to propose. I knew I wanted to marry him but I couldn’t shake the feeling that everything was happening really strangely and it meant everything was DIFFERENT and I couldn’t quite get a handle on how. Then I felt guilty for feeling bad and weird. And I couldn’t TELL anyone, because saying “he proposed and now I’m depressed” seemed like saying “I don’t love him”, which was totally not the case.

          Luckily we had a year-long engagement, and that feeling slowly lessened (it helped when I talked to my then-fiance and we discussed things that scared me!), and by the day of the wedding it was only a teeny tiny fear and not a huge overwhelming one.

          Now we’re on the other side and I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Because it’s all settled, and we’ve been through the weird transition part and all the doors that are going to close are closed, and things really aren’t different. I feel like we finally got back to the safe-and-happy relationship we had before he proposed, the relationship that made me WANT him to propose because I wanted it to go on forever. Seems like it will. I think everything is gonna be just fine.

          (And I DID love our wedding and I wouldn’t change anything, but I’m really glad to hear that I’m not the only one who dealt with a lot of sadness and fear during the whole process!)

          • Kara – ABSOLUTELY. Not being able to TELL people is exactly the worst thing. Being asked ‘how married life was’ in the days following our wedding and not being able to say “I FEEL WEIRD” was so hard. And having things settled is such an enormous relief, the post-engagement-wedding-brand-newlywed phase is the best so far.

          • Yes! Thank you all for posting about your proposals. I also felt so weird when I got engaged – just a couple of months ago. We’d been talking about it for almost a year; we’d shopped for rings together; I am not going to be a young bride. I knew this is what I wanted. And yet I still felt anxious and scared and really freaked out.

            And I felt terrible for feeling that way. Because it seemed like everything I’d ever read/heard/seen had told me that it was the most wonderful, joyous thing and I should just be thrilled. And it was wonderful and joyous, but it was also really scary. Because it signifies a huge change. And change is always hard for me.

            It really helped to have close friends who I could talk to and tell them that I was freaking out and have them say, “That’s fine. It’s fine to feel whatever you feel.” It also helped to be able to talk to my fiance and have him remind me that every big decision in life freaks me out, and in a way, it would be weirder if I didn’t get anxious.

            One of the things I love about APW is the honesty. The more I hear about real people’s real reactions and feelings to things that do not look like a storybook or a YouTube proposal video, the more I feel like a normal person. How we react is how we react, and whatever it is, is fine. The hardest part is when it feels like it’s not okay to feel what I feel.

            Thank you for all the lovely reminders that it is.

  • Ambi

    Wow, this kind of threw me for a loop because, in my own relationship, I have wanted to get married for SOOOO long (we’ve been together for 7 years, still no proposal . . . ) that I just assume that I will be completely and totally ready and happy and excited when it finally does happen. I never really thought about the sadness and the end of an era. I guess for me it may feel different because I am older, haven’t lived at home in over a decade, and have lived with my guy for a while. So that transition will not be quite so stark. But I am really glad I read this – now I am prepared for those emotions if they do come.

    • Jashshea

      Yup – One of my favorite parts of APW is the fact that people are honest about all of the different ways being married, getting married (or being engaged or not being engaged) makes you FEEL.

      I’m quite a bit older than Hannah and I’ve had an extra 11 years to mourn my childhood (especially when my parents added a HUGE addition a few years ago that turned my childhood bdrm into a “bathroom/hallway”) and I live far from my family and childhood friends. Transitions were very difficult for me when I was younger (5th grade – tears; College – tears + going home every wknd for a month; Post-College – tears + hating working, etc etc), but by 27 I uprooted 1000 miles away w/o a single tear or, really, a 2nd thought. I imagine I’ll feel a sense of transition during the wedding week, but it certainly remains to be seen whether it’s the “skip-around-clapping-my-hands-and-giggling-” or “crying-in-the-bathroom-at-the-airport-” type of feeling.

    • meg

      Oh, I don’t know. I was 29 and we’d been together five years. I didn’t feel the same end of the era bit, but my soul felt the same way.

      • THIS.

      • Jashshea

        I agree – I assume I’ll have an obvious emotional reaction, but I’m not sure if it’ll be elation or the more raw emotions you both describe.

        Even though it’s not the same timeline as Hannah’s story, there’s still a transition/threshold being crossed. And I have had a big one of those in many moons, so I have no idea how I’ll react. I like that people here talk about both sides of the emotional spectrum to help the rest of us prepare.

  • Ambi

    Did I mention that you AMAZING? I mean, absolutely beautiful. Really really really gorgeous!

  • This is a good one.

    There’s something about seeing your family members’ handwriting that will ALWAYS get me. My sister made a box for our cards the day before and her penmanship on that cardboard covered in wrapping paper is still one of the details that stands out the strongest to me.

  • Class of 1980

    Gorgeous wedding and setting.

  • Contessa

    Changing roles, changing relationship and family dynamics…it’s scary and painful. There are people in my family who call my second marriage in two week my “Reboot”, as if to deny the marriage and children and life that came before. If you think you feel guilty for feeling bad about leaving your childhood and moving on with your husband, try and get sympathy for feeling sad about moving beyond “divorced single mom who raises her kids with her good friend exhusband”. I am anticipating some intensely sad feelings that no one will understand and I’m not even sure myself how to process.

  • Oh, wow.

    “I cried myself to sleep because the end of an era is sad, the end of childhood, is sad”

    This reminds me so much of how I felt when I first got engaged. I wasn’t so much sad, but I was shocked by how clearly it felt like I had officially passed some invisible threshold from being a child to officially being an adult. Feeling that change within myself was very surreal.

    I’m also very much in agreement about the details. They don’t have to matter, but the details that come from places of love and are just inherently meaningful and powerful. The actual what doesn’t matter so much as the how.

    • I was going to quote exactly the same sentence – that rang so true to me even though I got married at 30 and had been living on my own since college. I still felt some transition away (in part) from my original family and into a new baby family. I felt this intensely at my little sister’s wedding, which was a month and a half before mine – that was when all that intense emotion rolled over me and left me sobbing. I think that let me process some stuff in advance and keep it together a little better at my own wedding.

    • Caroline

      “This reminds me so much of how I felt when I first got engaged. I wasn’t so much sad, but I was shocked by how clearly it felt like I had officially passed some invisible threshold from being a child to officially being an adult. Feeling that change within myself was very surreal.”
      I was so excited to get engaged, and so giddy but then that first week, as everyone was celebrating our engagement with us, I definitely felt like it was such a change to being a REAL ADULT in ways that were really big.

  • Oh Hannah. Gorgeous writing. Thank you.

  • “And I was scared. I was terrified, and I felt bad for being terrified, I was ashamed of my fear. Because I am brave, because I love David, because that is what we do.”

    THIS. I have mentioned to a few people that while I’m happy/excited, I am also terrified. No one really understood the idea that I could be both of these things at the same time.

    I am more terrified by this prospect of transitioning from engaged to married than I ever was of transitioning to being engaged, and probably because that transition didn’t have such a hard line. Sure, there was the down on one knee question and answer portion, but being engaged was a slow development with a lot of grey area and a lot of time.

    The hard line slays me. I have a lot of nostalgia for endings and beginnings. I expect I will do a lot of ugly crying this Saturday. (THIS Saturday. Ahhhhhhhh!)

    • Lturtle

      This Saturday? I hope it is fantastic for you!

  • L

    Thank you so much for this! And reading the responses has made me feel more validated. To a certain extent I have been mourning a little bit since we got engaged (and our wedding is still a year away). I haven’t lived at my parents’ house for 9 years and I have never felt sad about that (relieved, to be honest). But last week I was at my brother’s college graduation and I cried myself to sleep in the hotel room because I wanted my Mom (she was in the room right next door and I went in for several hugs). What I felt was so deep, so raw, so intense. I am happy and thrilled and excited we are getting married, and I have no doubts that my partner and I will make a wonderful team and get through life’s struggles side-by-side, but what about my Mom?

    • Denzi

      In a moment of 2 AM half-asleep honesty, I have admitted to my partner that sometimes I get irritated at the way he reacts to things because he doesn’t act like my mom. He said, “Well, I’m never going to.” I said, “I know, and I don’t REALLY want you to, but I just…want my mom.” So…yeah. WHAT ABOUT MY MOM?

  • There is some true power in your words here: “There is something very immediate about the heartbreak of growing up, being a young bride. Something scary and new and magical about a new husband. About leaving a family where little sisters are just entering high school and everyone else is still on a family cell phone plan.” I get that. I married at 21 and I remember that feeling (and still have it) or the rawness of leaving my family to create this new one when I wasn’t totally sure what I was doing in my life. I know that you are not alone in that.

    As a side note, I somehow I opened this to read while Taylor Swift was crooning “Safe and Sound” in the background, and it just seemed perfect.

  • Oh, my. So much beauty and joy and honesty. Thank you so much for writing this.

  • Jessica

    I’ve been trying to to figure out why I weep while making every wedding planning decision, no matter how insignificant. I know it’s not reticence about the marriage (I am SO happy to be marrying this man). I think Hannah might have solved the mystery. I’m not so young, I’ve been living halfway across the country from my parents for ten years, but there’s something about getting married that makes it so much more real. I’m afraid it will feel wrong to call my parent’s house “home” anymore. And I still have a driver’s license with my parents’ address (after ten years of living 800 miles away…I haven’t been able to bear the thought of changing it yet…)

    I’m spending the night before the wedding in my childhood bedroom, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my 28-year-old self ends up clutching my old stuffed bunny, staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars I put up when I was 9, and freaking out…

    • One More Sara

      I have the same confusion with calling places “home.” I don’t live in the US anymore, but when I go back to visit, I find myself saying “I can’t wait to go home!” (or other variations) and get pangs of guilt every once in a while when referring to various places/countries as home. You don’t need to be limited to only one home. I don’t think it would be right for me to call the house I grew up in anything but home. The apartment where my fiancé and I are raising our son is also home. There is a reason people are still cross-stitching “Home is Where the Heart Is” on pillows :)

      • Kess

        My mother, to this day, calls “the farm” home – even though it was sold 10 years ago, and even though we were only there maybe twice a year. It was still home. And honestly, because she felt like that, I felt like it too. The farm was home for me too, even though I hardly spent any time there.

        But our house in the suburbs was also home. And while I don’t think I will have quite as strong of a connection to that house as my mom did to her childhood farm, that will always be home to me.

    • L

      Good to know there is someone else out there who still has their parents’ address on their drivers’ license! I also still have Colorado plates even though I have lived in Arizona since 2005. It’s just, my car and I are still Coloradans!

  • daynya

    Oh, this is fantastic! I definitely think that I will have some of these feelings myself, and already do. I was so ready for a proposal for a while…and when it came, I wanted to cry. I couldn’t quite figure out why, but the last year and a half of planning has finally led to some epiphanies. I’m not marrying the wrong person, and I’m not unhappy. I’m scared, and I’m one of the most nostalgic people ever, so I’m terrified of saying goodbye to this part of my life. I feel homesick sometimes, and I find myself crying a lot. The rest of the time, I am giddy, and excited, and cannot wait to partake in this beautiful wedding. Sigh. It’s definitely helped me to grow up. I keep saying that I’ve grown up more during planning this wedding than I have in the last 13 years of being an adult.

  • Krista

    This is such a gorgeous post–not only in photos, but in words, in language, in honesty.

    I married shortly before turning 23, and while I recognized that was young, and I felt young, I knew that the timing was right. I didn’t experience the growing up heartache that you did, Hannah, until about a year after the wedding. I was visiting one of my best friends (I practically grew up with her family) from childhood, and it hit me that I am a genuine adult. I had thought that by living away from home for five years prior to getting married, I had already “left my family.” But joining with my husband as family really sealed the deal, and yes, it hurt a little. I can’t imagine experiencing that on my wedding day, so kudos to you!

  • Sarah

    How beautiful and honest! I know when I get married this summer, it is going to hit me HARD. I love my family, they are so much a part of my identity – but I am also excited to start my own. It feels surreal and it hasn’t even happened yet.

    Also, to echo everyone, you are GORGEOUS. I love the dress, the flowers, all of it.

  • dawnelaine

    Wow…Just wow.

    I usually just lurk on here, I never comment- but I had to this time because I never heard of anyone else who cried as a child because they didn’t want it (childhood) to be over.

    I cried my eyes out when I turned 7. Bit younger than you were at 10- but I think it’s for the same reasons.

    Although I’m not married yet, I really connected with your post. Thank you for sharing. Beginnings are hard, and endings are hard and sometimes they hurt.

    • Ambi

      I did too! I think it was when I turned 9 because it was too close to 10, which meant “grown up” for me! I remember crying when I talked to my mom about what I wanted for my birthday because I didn’t want dolls and toys anymore, and I just didn’t know what I wanted! I was a mess. I think in the end I asked for dolls and things like that because I really wanted to still be little for just a while longer . . .

  • Elemjay

    I know Meg has written else where on the site about engagement/ weddings being in a liminal state. Those points of transition or change over can be really hard. This for me is a great post that shows how transition from one state to another is hard. Thank you!

  • “There is something very immediate about the heartbreak of growing up…” What a beautiful line, and one I completely agree with! I so appreciate the conversations here on APW.

  • Vmed

    Thank you for writing this. Everything is gorgeous, but I like this post because of your sincerity and obvious depth of feeling. It helped me process some lingering emotions about my own wedding and I am sure it will help some future bride to not feel the guilt you mention.

  • MadGastronomer

    I’ve been reading up about the pre-Christian wedding traditions in Greece, to see if there are elements I can incorporate into my own ceremony. There’s not a lot I want to use, but there are some really interesting things.

    An ancient Greek wedding took three days, and had no formal religious ceremony to join two people. Instead, it was a series of cultural rituals. And one of the very first things was the bride making a sacrifice to Artemis, protector of unmarried women and girls. She would sacrifice some or all of her childhood toys, and a lock of her hair (something also done by the mourners at a funeral). It was an acknowledgement that something truly was ending, that childhood was over, that her old life was behind her.

    One of the last things that was done was the couple traveling together in a ritual chariot from her family’s house to his, where they would remove the axle from the chariot and burn it in front of the house, signifying that there was no going back.

    Maybe we need more acknowledgements in the modern world that every beginning is the end of something else, especially at a wedding.

    Me, I’ll be a rather older bride, 35 by the time of the ceremony. I’ve been living on my own since I was 18, I have my own house. And this will still be something I cannot go back from, and I, too, will burn a cut lock of my hair in sacrifice and farewell.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      On the flip side, in our last meeting with my Anglican Priest, we discussed the father giving away the bride. His spin was that because the marriage marks a huge transition, the bride’s father, as the representative of her family, gives her away, acknowledging and consenting to her new role, her new “baby family,” in APW speak.

  • Ali

    I definitely feel this a little bit because I too am very nostalgic. It was very important for me to get married at “home” even though I have not lived there for over 10 years. I have had a lot of time to feel the sadness of it not really being home anymore during my extended summer vacations. I think I will feel it, but I am really worried about my fiance. He is the first child to get married even though he is the youngest and all the adult children still live at home (This is in Latin America – where it is the norm). He is very close to his parents and I know it will be hard for them especially his dad because they are so close. I am worried that he wont like or feel as comfortable living with me. I know that it will definitely be a transition for him and he will miss his house probably, but that doesn´t mean there is anything wrong with me or us…

  • Christina

    You are gorgeous, now and then and you and David should be proud of the little family you have created. I am proud to be your friend. I’d burn off my fingers and soothe the pain with Franzia anytime for you.


  • Bess

    This is an amazing post (as so many of you have said). AND, while I love APW, this post feels like it touches on something that even this blog doesn’t deal with much – the unexpected sad/anxious/scared/depressed feelings that so many of us feel when we are proposed to/married.

    I’m older and have been dating my fiancee for about five years. Now, I feel so excited about marrying my best friend, the best person I’ve ever known, and someone who makes me laugh no matter what. BUT (and this felt like such a huge but for a while), the day that my fiancee proposed to me I was so anxious and sad and depressed. I wanted to throw up. And sob. And then I spend the next day sobbing. And then my fiancee and I talked about it. And, because he is amazing, we decided to propose to each other a week later. But I was still anxious.

    And then I realized that my anxiety and sadness and all of the feelings that I was feeling (the not “over the moon” feelings) were ok. A huge part of this realization came from reading articles at Conscious Transitions – http://conscious-transitions.com/. The website, run by a therapist, is amazing. It made me realize, as this post so beautifully made clear, that weddings are by nature a transition, and transitions are, by nature, times when we process lots of hard emotions.

    All of this is to say, thank you, APW, for posting a wedding graduate post about the hard emotions of marriage. And, if you are feeling these hard emotions and don’t know to whom to turn, look at the above website. Really!

    • Cait

      Yes yes YES. Everyone who identifies with this blog post should check out the Conscious Weddings website/blog and get her books!!

  • Kess

    This really hit hard – in a good way!

    My SO and I are in the ‘pre-engaged’ state. We’re pretty certain we’ll get married, but not quite yet. I don’t think either of us are quite ready yet, and the reason I’m not is because I’m terrified that getting married will cut me off from my family. I’m the youngest by 5 years, but none of my siblings have gotten married. It’s uncharted waters, which as any youngest child who has always traveled in their sibling’s footsteps can tell you, is freaking terrifying.

    Add to that, my mother is my best friend and in all likelihood we won’t be able to even stay in the state due to there being few jobs (I’m still in college currently). I’ve been living on my own since I started college – most of the time at least 500 miles away, but I’m really scared and will likely be quite depressed at some point even though I love my SO and will be thrilled to spend the rest of my life with him.


    Wow. I’ve never had a wedding graduate post resonate so deeply within me. I’m not engaged yet, but probably will be soon, and although I am really looking forward to it, there is always something about it that makes me anxious. I could never put a finger on what it was until now, so thank you for that!

  • Um, not to take this down a silly road, but I’m kind of obsessed with your gorgeous goddess dress.

    • Haha! Thanks! It’s just the J Crew Dune dress with some added bits around the shoulders.

      • Jessica

        Well it’s beautiful!

  • Miranda

    Anyone know where she got her wedding dress?

  • Kathryn

    “I heard time and time again during wedding planning that the details don’t matter and for some couples maybe they don’t but my sister’s handwriting on my place card ….I can’t even tell you how much they mattered. They felt like a gift and I felt wrapped in the sweetness and the love and the care that had gone into them.”

    I know this was not the focus of your post (which was beautiful) but I so love this. I loved every tiny detail of our wedding mostly because my husband & I worked so hard on it all together. We live away from our families – so they couldn’t really help – but this was our opportunity to pour our souls into this event and say to all of our friends and families, this is who we are. I still look back and think about all of the small things we did and absolutely love it all. I definitely felt wrapped in our love together – and the details were a part of that.

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and beautiful piece.

  • Kira

    A week and a half after my wedding I am reassured to read this post. My joy was and is hard to contain, but there is also some sadness inside of me because of the “moving on” part. When I danced with my father on the day I told him it felt similar to the day my brother graduated from high school: I was so excited for him and my family, but I also did not want him to go…to move on from our childhood together. It was bittersweet.
    I am not really going anywhere and my partner and I have been together 8 years, so it all feels very familiar and safe. But, there is some loss moving on, away from a time that I can never return to.

  • Christi

    SO RELIEVED to read this. I felt guilty for being sad until now. I am the first kid in my family to move away and get engaged and even though I have the most amazing fiancee ever, I still have moments when I feel like I am missing out on what’s going on back home. I feel like such a brat for loving this new, wonderful stage in life and wanting keep my cozy old life at the same time.

  • IrishBride

    Boy am I relieved to see this. I’m almost paralysed with fear at the thought of my wedding in 16 weeks because I’ll be leaving my twin behind to live with my husband. The fear is so overwhelming at times that I feel I’ll be a terrible wife, we’ll break up, i’ll miss my sister too much etc etc etc. I wouldn’t mind if my fiance was a horrible man, but he’s amazing. I’m so lucky I know, it’s just having a mirror image of myself in my house most of my life is making it ever so difficult to move on.

  • What a lovely bride and groom, so young and excited looking!

    Thanks for sharing the special day

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  • Jessica

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful wedding and your honest feelings here. It comes at a perfect time for me, as well as alot of others which makes me feel even better!

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 9 years, bought a house together 7 years ago, and he purposed to me last September. I had been wanting him to for the longest time. I knew it was going to finally happen last summer and it made me feel distant and weird. I went from wishing and hoping he would do it to being completely terrified. I had numerous nights awake wondering why I feel this way and if it was my concious telling me he wasn’t right for me although I KNOW he is the one. He asked me to marry him and I started sobbing. I was so happy but I also had that scary empty pit feeling in my stomach.

    I keep seeing the pictures of the brides sooo happy in every picture and they always seem so fake to me because this process is the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through!! We are getting married in less than two months and I’m so very excited but also scared to death! Every little thing I plan, I find myself second guessing and/or tearing up. Your feeling of being hit by a truck I’m already feeling and I have no idea what it’s going to be like that fateful day in August! haha!! I’m wishing we would’ve just eloped but I know that wouldn’t make any difference. It may be the whole aspect of growing up or the process of change or maybe both. I haven’t lived at home in over 13 years but I miss my parents more and more every day.

    Thank you so very much Hannah (and all the rest of you ladies who feel the same way) for making me realize I’m not alone. ♥

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