My Pet Sitter Lost My Dog on My Wedding Day and It’s All I Remember

Worse still, this is what everyone else remembers about my wedding, too

dog sitting next to window

Q: Okay, so I read a few articles about women not loving their weddings, and I can totally relate. I got married over a year ago and almost every night I think about how I was so disappointed.

I was never really into being a bride, and if it were up to me, I would have eloped. However, both of our families would have been incredibly upset if we’d jetted off to an island and gotten hitched! I always wanted a marriage, not necessarily a wedding. So, fast-forward to the day of the wedding: everything went smoothly (looking back at my pictures, I wasn’t crazy about my hair, but it’s whatever), our ceremony was beautiful, and then it was time for the reception… and it was just sort of blah. I constantly think maybe I didn’t pick the right music—why weren’t many people dancing?—but that’s not even the worst part.

Around 11:20 pm, we get a phone call from our dog sitter: He lost our dog. Immediate panic and tears set in while I’m still at my reception, because our wedding went till 12 am. Most brides get to end the night blissfully dancing away with friends and family, but here I am crying, and my new husband rushes to leave to find our dog, along with many of our guests who want to help.

Luckily, we ended up finding him; however, we never got to have our after-party, and I never got to have an end to my wedding! Now all I’m left with is this overwhelming embarrassment. Most brides have the perfect wedding with the perfect ending. I, on the other hand, had the complete opposite, and I just don’t know how to move on from it. It also doesn’t help that losing our dog is the only wedding memory people like to bring up, and it’s painful and embarrassing to constantly hear, ugh. I laugh it off in front of them, but it’s truly upsetting to be reminded of it. I guess I’m just sort of looking for any advice or words of encouragement, because I’m stuck at the thought that I really didn’t like my wedding.

—Diana

A: Dear Diana,

THEY LOST YOUR DOG? ON YOUR WEDDING DAY? You had one job, dog sitter! I… can’t.

But, where were we? Right. Your pet sitter lost your damn dog, and understandably, that did not make you love your wedding. And while imperfect weddings are (thankfully) not always that dramatic, you said it yourself: You’re not alone in this. There are plenty of other folks (some on this site, even, who I’m sure will chime in below) who didn’t love their weddings, for reasons big and small. Perfect weddings are rare. Things don’t go quite right, you wonder if your guests had a good time, you can’t shake a weird feeling. It happens. Take comfort in knowing you’re in good company.

But while your situation is common, it’s also… um… unique. Losing your dog during your wedding is traumatic! And there’s something about terrible things that happen during happy times that makes the emotion of it much more raw. I can understand why your wedding memories would stir nauseous worry.

So, hey. Considering that fact, maybe it’s time to seek some help. Not because you’re somehow broken, but because we all need help now and then, and you deserve whatever self-care it takes to let yourself off the hook for this mess. You mention that you’re still dwelling on this wedding almost daily, a full year later, and that could mean you just need to talk through stuff to find closure (people need to do this for all sorts of situations: traumatic birth experiences, etc.). Talking to someone about it may help you stop rehashing it over and over and over in your mind.

Meanwhile, you know, it’s okay for you to let well-meaning (but honestly, kind of oblivious) friends know that you don’t like reliving a sad and scary night. Saying, “Ehhhh, I actually don’t really like remembering that part of the wedding,” should be enough to switch the topic to the cake or the music or, good grief, just about anything else, you guys.

Losing your dog on your wedding day is not normal. But not loving your wedding is. And so is needing help to process things from time to time.

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