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.


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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  • Violet

    He lost your dog!? No. Noooooooooo. I audibly exhaled in a sigh of relief when we got to the part where you guys found him again. Seriously. FFS.

    Diana, let’s look at “most brides have the perfect ending with the perfect ending.” Do they, though? I’ll volunteer: we officially ended the wedding by loading stuff into the back of my MIL’s SUV. Not perfect, but fine, right? Well, when I got to the hotel (about an hour away) with my brand-new husband, I realized I left my bouquet at the venue. Bummer, but no big deal in the scheme of things, right? Except, whoops, my something-borrowed was a ring from my aunt, and it was tied to the bouquet. Cue me at the hotel room, calling my mom, asking her to not tell my aunt, but could she possibly go back the next day and track down the bouquet? Mercifully, the venue hadn’t chucked it, and all was well. But, you know….

    Anyone else have some less-than-ideal wedding night endings to help Diana feel less alone?

    • Eenie

      I forgot my hotel key and had to wait for my husband to finish helping some other guests back to the hotel (while repeatedly calling him on his cellphone…). I was so drunk/tired at that point that he dragged me into the hotel room. I drunkenly ate the chocolate covered strawberries the hotel staff had left out for us.

    • Lisa

      My mishaps pale so much in comparison, but I’ll try.

      1. We couldn’t find my veil for a long time, which was a totally panic-induced moment. Thankfully my husband found the paper bag that had been set out of the way in the reception room.

      2. We had planned to take a taxi back to the hotel (because I didn’t want us to ride in my parents’ minivan), but it was a busy night so no taxi would take us. Our DOC offered to take us back instead so that’s how my husband and I ended up in a smoky car with my husband laid out on the floor of the trunk, making awkward small talk while our DOC navigated the awful traffic.

      3. The next morning we got a phone call from my dad freaking out about how my great-grandmother’s cake plate wasn’t among the items collected from the venue. We spent all morning trying to get in touch with the venue coordinator to figure out where it was and whether my parents could get it before they left town that afternoon. Fun times.

      • Violet

        Oh god, your taxi story reminds me- my MIL had booked a guy to drive us to the venue from the church. Except the guy didn’t look up which exit the venue was off of. And he got off at the wrong one (it’s actually a common mistake people make in getting to that venue, which is why we were really explicit in our invite insert about directions) and I had to guide him there based off of a hazy memory from a few years prior when I was in the car with my dad who had made the same exit mistake. Believe it or not, this was before everyone had an iPhone and could just look things up, so things were tense as hell for a bit there.

    • Jessica

      I found out after the honeymoon that the speaker system my parents had rented was stolen…and then my mom did some craigslist sleuthing and recovered the thing with the help of the police. $3,000 saved because she relentlessly checked craigslist.

      My brother lied and said his girlfriend wasn’t feeling well, so they left the reception early. Cue to 2am when one of my parent’s friends sees them walking into the hotel, still in their suit and dress, obviously coming back from hanging out with friends. My own brother ditched our reception, and then apparently bitched about how terrible our wedding was to my mom for months afterwards.

      My B/SIL gave my husband, myself, and a verrrrrrryyyy drunk bridesmaid back to the hotel. We had to prepare for her to vom everywhere, and in the meantime she mentioned something about the possibility of her “stealing” one of our friend’s boyfriends. That was awkward.

      We were supposed to have wine service during the dinner for all tables, but they short staffed us and only one table got the wine service…all through the dinner. They were all drunk. It was hilarious, but also disappointing (because of obvious reasons). The restaurant also ran out of white wine before the cocktail hour even ended.

      • toomanybooks

        Whoa, good job Detective Mom! That’s amazing that she found it and all was well and nobody told you about it while that was going on!

      • JC

        All of the other stories are not fun, but the image of only one table getting wine service and becoming totally sloshed is prime My Big Fat Greek Wedding fodder.

    • Kelly

      We had our reception at our house, mainly in the backyard. At (what became) the end of the night, my husband’s brother pushed him into the pool. In his wedding clothes. The shock of the cold water combined with how much drinking he had been doing caused him to start throwing up (he may have started throwing up on his own at some point had he not been pushed in, but at least he would have been dry?). I had to kick everyone out of our house at this point. He proceeded to throw up the rest of the night, in soaking wet wedding clothes, because I couldn’t figure out how to get him changed. He spent our wedding night on the bathroom floor, while I slept alone in the master bedroom.

      When we walk about our wedding, we either leave this out, or highlight it, depending on the crowd. It took me a few years before I was actually OK joking about it, but I faked it until I was actually fine with it.

      • Violet

        Oh my– thank goodness he didn’t get more hurt! Your poor husband. Your story highlights another “myth” about weddings- everyone is supposed to have the Best Night Evar (TM) but no one’s ever supposed to get sick. I mean sure, many people can drink safely on a typical daily basis, but on a wedding there are nerves, long days, people not eating enough, not getting enough water breaks, dancing and dehydrated… things are going to happen. We’re biological creatures, even on supposedly fairy tale days.
        So glad he’s okay, and that you’re okay with it now.

        • Amy March

          I can think of three weddings I’ve attended in the last 2 years which ended in “and then bride/groom passed out on the floor.”

          • Kelly

            Yes – that is something that has stood out to me as we tell people the story, which I definitely didn’t expect. SO many people respond that they themselves and/or their spouses passed out at their own weddings! And this spans across generations as well, everyone from coworkers to my retired aunt and uncle shared similar stories. I guess we’re part of some kind of cautionary tale club now.

        • Kelly

          Thank you so much! It definitely was a combination of those factors for us – we had our ceremony and pictures outside, in August, and definitely got too caught up in the moment to remember to eat and hydrate enough. Our photographer also noticed I was getting woozy from the heat and the sun and recommended that I stay inside and rehydrate for part of the reception, so it hit us both, but luckily I wasn’t drinking so I felt better once I cooled down a bit. I left out that part because we were talking about wedding night endings, but it definitely put a damper on things to have to “sit out” for part of the reception, and I blamed myself for a long time. I find the further away from the wedding we get, the more perspective I get on all of the things that didn’t go to plan, and none of them bother me that much anymore. As you say, we’re biological creatures, and stuff happens!

    • Aubry

      My dear husband neglected to arrange for any child care during/after or a place to sleep for his daughter (from a previous marriage). She was a tween at the time, so not high maintenance, but we were staying at a hotel that night and he had made zero plans for her (even though I asked 100 times). I of course totally melted down between the reception and the after party (I had a morning wedding and afternoon reception with party that night). I was so mad at him and was talking about her like she was a burden, rather than the amazing person she actually is. I don’t like to remember that. It all worked out and someone grabbed her for over night, and I apologized to her.

      An person in my life, who will remain anon, had her newly minted husband get super drunk and she lost him. She spent her wedding night alone in the hotel, and found him the next morning passed out under a bush.

    • AmandaBee

      Not an end-of-wedding thing per se, but my dad was really sick on my wedding day. Like, he really should have gone to the hospital instead of to my wedding, but he insisted on making it so he could walk me down the aisle. I didn’t find out until he was leaving my reception early, and then I was worried the rest of the night that he’d end up worse off for having waited (it’s a reoccurring condition, and something that needs quick treatment when it flares up). In the end, it all ended well: my Dad got the medicine he needed and got better quickly, I got married, and he made my wedding. I feel a little sad that my dad wasn’t fully able to enjoy it, and that he couldn’t make the after party.

      I think these are all just examples of the fact that your wedding is one day of your life, and life doesn’t stop just because you’re having a party that day. When you let go of that feeling that your day should’ve been anything other than a day in your life, hopefully you can appreciate the good parts of the day, whatever those were for you.

      Give your doggie a scratch for me – I was so happy to read at the end that you found them after all.

      • Violet

        “life doesn’t stop just because you’re having a party that day.” So, so right!

    • vxbxl

      Oh yeah, I’m so there with breathing an audible sigh of relief when the dog was found.

      Not on par with some of these stories (especially the LW’s), but my wedding ended with me yelling to all remaining guests “If you’re still here, you have to help clean up” and then, you know, cleaning up. That included loading a shit ton of musical equipment into assorted cars (my husband’s band played, the other band members were from out of town, we also provided the sound equipment for the band we hired to play, and we couldn’t afford to rent a van) and then unloading it at our apartment. On the second floor. With no elevator. While still in our wedding attire.

      After that, we changed in to jeans and went to get food with the friends who helped us out at a 24hr diner (our treat for helping haul gear). By the time we got home, we were dirty, sweaty, greasy, and exhausted.

      • Violet

        Climbing stairs, carrying equipment, in wedding attire, is a pretty memorable conclusion to a wedding! I hope someone got waffles at the diner…

    • ElsaB

      Disclaimer: Everything is fine.

      My grandmother choked at my reception. Like, stopped breathing during dinner, turning blue kind of choked. I looked up to see my mom sprint over to help (she’s a nurse). My husband pulled my wrist, and told me to sit down to keep things calm. I kept repeating “I can’t see, I can’t see”, and he finally replied “well, your grandmother’s talking, so I think she’s ok.”

      Once I knew she was fine, I had to leave the room – my husband and I got to the hallway and I burst into tears. All I could say was “we were having such a nice time!”. Because there is no way to not go to a head space where you’re both terrified for someone you love, and simultaneously like “what do you do if someone dies at your reception? Am I going to be the girl who has someone die at her reception?”.
      Honestly, it’s difficult for me to even type this. And the craziest thing was – no one really noticed. Except for my aunts and uncles, who were sitting at her table and the tables around her, no one saw anything. Lots of people were up and visiting so it didn’t really stick out. And later on that night, Grandma was bee-bopping away on the dance floor.
      Still, I had to reframe. I had to stop telling people the story so it didn’t become the focus of the day. Instead I talked about how when my husband texted in the morning to ask if I was nervous, I told him “No – I’m so pretty!” (I’d just finished my makeup). Or how my husband’s aunt and uncle wrote us a song to walk down the aisle to. Or how wonderful it was to share our day with our community.
      I think that we expect wedding days to be all magic, but they’re not. It’s still a day. But what you can do is identify a few magical moments – with you partner, your family, or yourself, where you really felt good about stuff – and tell those stories instead.

      • Eenie

        I totally and completely feel you <3 Glad Grandma is ok! I personally decided to eat a taco while crying instead of leaving the room. You made the better choice.

      • Violet

        That is so terrifying! I love how your husband responded in the moment of crisis to help keep you calm. What an embodiment of being there for your spouse.
        Side note- having witnessed people passing out on the subway, it is pretty remarkable how it’s only obvious something is going on to the people right nearby. It’s eerie to be in a state of panic while everyone else is oblivious.

    • Jess

      I had some really weird not awesome mess ups happen. The thing that stuck with me the most, and still gets under my skin, is my mother. She is a topic for another day (and a therapist lol) but she has always been the kind of person who wants to control and domineer but not actually do the hard work of running something. She also likes to completely ignore whatever feelings/desires my sisters and I express and just do whatever the hell she wants.

      So at my wedding she gets it in her head that we need to hurry up and cut the cake. The reception had barely started. We literally came in and they started dinner right away so we’re maybe 30 – 45 minutes into the reception. She rushes up to my husband and I after we’ve just finished eating and started walking around greeting people (while dinner is still going on) and demands very loudly that we “need to hurry up and cut the cake because people want to go home!!” I told her there was a timeline (and we were right on schedule) and that the coordinator was running things but she completely ignored that and repeatedly and loudly told me how important it was that we needed to cut the cake right away so people could leave.

      Thanks mom. Glad people hate my wedding so much they want to eat and leave lol

      • Violet

        Aiyaiyai. If there were a wedding hashtag for thanksmom, it’s amazing how some would be dead genuine and others dead sarcastic. Moms. They really run the gamut, don’t they?

        • Marianne

          My #thanksmom would be genuine and sarcastic at the same time. My mom runs the gamut all by herself.

    • Keri

      Not end of wedding but I got married on Saturday (!!) outside in front of a gorgeous 200 year old tree. And there were so. Many. Gnats. We were swarmed with them the whole ceremony. I was standing there wondering how many times it would be OK to swat them away from my face (I went with like, 10). My dress was full of them. There was a dead gnat on my fiance’s face the whole time. We were kind of smiling and laughing about it, and I ad-libbed a vow of “I would stand in a field full of gnats with you forever!” which was a hit, but honestly it was terrible and I think it’s what I will remember most vividly about the ceremony forever, but luckily the reception had other highlights.

      • Violet

        (Is it bad I laughed at your mom’s look of fury? Strong mama, I love it.)
        Oh, the gnats, though. Can we agree it’s a relief they at least weren’t mosquitoes?

        • Keri

          True! Only one mosquito bite! And TBH the gnats look like sparkling little sunshine dust mites in the pictures so far, so perhaps another upside.

      • Kelly M

        My godparents got married on the beach. Well, sometimes if the wind and weather are wrong, we here in NC get these giant stinging biting FLIES. Yep. You guessed it. My godparents had the biting flies. My godpop’s brother/best man spent the ceremony on his knees, fanning their ankles so they could focus on their vows. The audience hopped and slapped and popped as they were bitten. Fun times! Everyone laughs now… But it’s 30 years later ;)

    • tr

      Well, I haven’t had a wedding yet, but most of my other “major life events” have been…colorful.

      My prom date and I literally broke up the afternoon before the prom. Lets just say my meltdown in the middle of the lunchroom was pretty epic!

      The night before my high school graduation, my boyfriend fell off a cliff. He actually fared pretty well, all things considered, but he did call me at 4 in the morning while still loopy on the painkillers to tell me about what happened. This meant that I got exactly zero sleep the night before, and as soon as graduation was over, I skipped the big parties to take a very long nap!

      Fast forward to my college graduation, and my boyfriend (not the one who fell off the cliff) and I got into a massive fight the night before. He ended up oversleeping, missing the honors portion of the ceremony, and with only a couple of minutes to get ready before the main ceremony, he threw on jeans, a baseball cap, and a ratty T-shirt…which might not be a big deal everywhere, but at my ritzy alma mater, he might as well have shown up in a banana costume for how out of place he looked. Fast forward to later that evening, and I get a call that he’s in the ICU–apparently he crashed his SUV on the way back home from my graduation. Fast forward another few hours, and my phone rings again, this time to tell me that my former stepbrother had shot himself.

      Law school graduation *only* resulted in a minor case of food poisoning, but believe me when I say that five people suffering from intestinal distress combined with only one bathroom (everyone was staying in my little apartment) made for some rather tense moments.

      I’d like to think that my wedding will be the one exception to the “everything goes horribly wrong every time I’m supposed to be enjoying a special day” rule, but honestly, I’m kind of seeing a pattern here!

    • Kelly


    • Ehhh I’ll stay anonymous

      Mine ended with my dad getting a bit crabby drunk and yelling a little which was definitely my cue to leave. We rented a house for the wedding and all my family stayed there. We did not (still patting myself on the back for that decision). Technically I guess ended the next day because we had to go clean up and load and move everything then. My gma had some meltdowns that I won’t go into here except for this one: she had like 3 friends come by the house to visit her, and 2 of our friends came to dinner and right in front of my friend and I she looks darkly at my friend, then turns to my aunt and says, “who are these people?” Um it’s MY WEDDING WKND I INVITE WHO I WANT. So weird.

      Also, I’m TY1 diabetic and my blood glucose was high all day and evening until the stress wore off resulting in me not really wanting to eat or drink to not make it worse. A lot of the day is fuzzy also partly for those reasons (stress and high BG) I think.

      A lot of people left early which negated my vision of everyone partying until wee hours singing kumbaya at the campfire.

      His family looks miserable in all our photos. I think it’s because they just aren’t really formal photo people, and his mom still got happy tears when we gifted photos the following xmas, but it always reminds me of how bummy we felt their experience, and our experience of having them, was. They waited til the last minute to book a house. Sent us to check it out AFTER it was booked. They are flat landers, mostly. The house was on a long steep gravel driveway not very close to the venue. As a result we spent very little time with them because they wanted to come and go from the house as little as possible.

      It’s almost 2 years later and I’m still kinda processing the negative, because I’ve tried so hard NOT to dwell that I don’t think I’ve effectively processed, either.

      Overall I felt overwhelmingly surrounded by love and support, and found it amazing that our family and friends -without asking – came together to make our vision for our wedding a reality. One of my favorite memories is one of my besties, 7.5 mos pregnant (also not what I would have picked cause I’d rather have drank all night with her but I ended up not drinking much anyway, see above) bossing my cousin on placement of our lighted lanterns – all done without my prompting, and my godmom getting full instructions on set up so when we arrived the next day it was done. The part where we got married and held so much love for each other it was palpable. Those parts are easy. It’s the stuff that didn’t quite go right that are harder to entertain, process, and let go. We’ve all had some conversations since that have helped. I encourage LW to start doing the same. And when the bad starts creeping into your memory more than the good, think of the feelings when you said your vows. When everyone grinned because they felt your joy and were happy for you and then hugged you in excitement, showing their support for you. Or whatever else it is that gave you warm and fuzzies as the day went on, not as it ended. <3

      • Ehhh I’ll stay anonymous

        Oh ALSO we had a lot of people ignore our invites and choose not to show (no RSVP). I’m attending a wedding for two of them this year and its hard not to be a little bitter about it. Another couple didn’t RSVP, didn’t come, and we are pretty sure were actually in town, staying with other friends who DID come.

      • Vanessa Mermuys

        Oooh! I was so excited to read that you’re a Type1! Obviously, not a popular sentiment, but am always happy to talk to someone else with a malfunctioning pancreas ;) My weddings not for another 10 months, but I still have no idea how I’m going to handle the whole diabetes thing. Are you on a pump or injections? I always tend to run a little high with stress, but also really don’t want to have a low in the middle of the ceremony or something. Any tips or suggestions?

        • Ehhh I’ll stay anonymous

          Sorry I missed this before!!!!! Yeah I’m so used to it by now (diagnosed at 10, 31 now) and have always been in pretty good control that it doesn’t really bother me or get it in the way. I was probably in the upper 200s most of the afternoon and early evening. Not terrible but definitely not great either, and it definitely limited how much beer I drank and how much/what parts of the dinner I ate and I skipped my cupcake altogether :( As I’m sire you know, don’t eat a bagel for lunch and then drink a giant mimosa while getting ready. I shoulda known better but nerves contributed to poor decision making. At my friend’s wedding I had the same things with no issues but stress obviously wasn’t a factor at hers!!! I’m on injections so each time I had to pee I just checked my BG and took more insulin. I finally leveled out about an hour or so after dinner and successfully got tipsy with the friends by the end of the night. I’ll try to figure out how to get in touch with you on your profile or something in case you want to talk more about this.

          • Ehhh I’ll stay anonymous

            I definitely wouldn’t anticipate going low being a problem given nerves amd stress but we could be very different!! Maybe designate someone to have your go-to low snack on them and near you at all times (maid of honor?). We had a house wedding with a 5 minute ceremony so that wasn’t much of an issue for me to grab food, a beer, a snack at any point in the event. If that isn’t going to be true for your set up I definitely recommend low BG designees, maybe several just in case. And if you need some glucose tabs before the vows, well, that’s a memorable and very “you” kind of story, right? ;)

    • anon

      my mother, who did so many above and beyond wonderful things to make our wedding happen (so I am not complaining) forgot my overnight bag for the hotel…

      Luckily I snagged a toothbrush and lens case from friends who happened to live near the venue. and I went out later that night and for brunch in the morning wearing my new husband’s suit pants (3” too short on me… so… the cropped look works?) and white oxford, and fashioned his necktie into a sash. it was very Katharine Hepburn meets walk-of-shame (or something). Clearly not a tragedy, but it sure would have been nice to end the night with my pretty nightgown and preferred toiletries.

    • LittleOwl


      The night of our wedding I could barely sleep even though I was exhausted because I was running through all the little mistakes in my mind! Looking back they were all small and silly. My friend’s mom always says, every wedding has a story! As the wedding gets further away the happy, funny moments rise to the surface.

      -the shuttle bus door taking my bridesmaids, immediate and extended family, and me was STUCK. We had about 5-10 minutes (maybe an eternity?) just sitting in the shuttle in the church parking lot while my guests walked past us into the church. Luckily my wonderful friends were able to undo some emergency latch and pop the door off.

      -my “day of” bag with my wallet, phone, makeup, brush, etc was missing for about 24 hours after the wedding. Lesson learned – if you are getting married no one will card you at a bar or make you pay for anything anyway! I went to our post wedding brunch with day-old hair and makeup, luckily some friends spruced me up! I was worried it was all lost because we were flying the next day but it turned out fine- our DOC had been holding onto it.

      – I had so many blisters From dancing I could barely walk for 2 days! Luckily we beach honeymooned right after so I had a week of flip flops and barefeet.

    • Marianne

      While we didn’t have any major emergencies, there definitely was nothing fairy-tale about the end of our wedding. Everything was rented or provided by the caterer, so we didn’t plan a load out. After all the guests left, there was a TON of leftover food. The only people there were our coordinator, a friend who was staying with us, and the two of us in our wedding outfits. Cue all of us in the parking lot, filling the friend’s car with trays of leftover food, wine, and cake. I think I rode in the backseat in my wedding dress with a cake box on my lap. Looking back on it, we totally should have called an Uber! When we got home, the three of us carried all the stuff into the house, changed into PJs, and ate leftovers and wedding cake in front of the TV. So romantic!

      Almost a year later, it’s a funny story that fits our personalities better than a perfect, romantic ending. At the time, it seemed so stressful and not at all perfect. But it worked out great for my in-laws, who enjoyed unlimited wedding leftovers while they stayed at our place during the honeymoon!

    • revooca

      My wedding day really WAS perfect….until I had a panic attack after the wedding ended. Shortly after I found myself alone in our hotel room (my husband went off to party with the late night crowd), I started to shiver uncontrollably. I basically fell into bed because my legs stopped working. I felt the familiar crushing feeling in my chest.

      I tried calling/texting my husband, but he wasn’t answering. I then had to text groomsmen asking them to find the groom and tell him his wife is having a panic attack and needs him NOW. It was extremely upsetting, and not just because panic attacks feel like you’re going to die. I’d really been looking forward to enjoying my alone time and reflecting on the happiest day of my life.

      In retrospect, I try to look on the bright sides, which are 1) at least it didn’t happen before or during the wedding, and 2) at least we didn’t leave for our honeymoon immediately after the wedding (because a panic attack in a hotel room is a lot better than a panic attack in an airport or on a plane).

    • jquizz

      At the very end of my wedding night, I got a call from my best friend who had left the party about 30 minutes earlier. She was hysterically crying and panicking because she had accidentally put her arm through a paned glass door! In her first call, all I could hear through her tears was her screaming “there’s blood and glass everywhere!” Not only that, but the glass door was the door to the Airbnb where my new husband and I were staying that night. My friend had gone to drop off some of my things that were left in her car, and in trying to lock the door, her hand slipped off the door frame and right through the glass.

      Thankfully, she was completely fine in the end and didn’t even need stitches. She happened to be with another friend of ours who’s a doctor, and who had a first aid kit in the car. So she was able to get her all bandaged up. Still, it took several more back and forth panicked phone calls before I finally got confirmation that she was okay. So there was a pretty terrifying 10 minutes at the end of my wedding night when I had no idea how bad her injuries were and was really freaking out, especially since the nearest hospital would have been a long drive away in the pouring rain on dark country roads. It was a jarring, stressful end to an otherwise wonderful day, but alas, it was all okay in the end. And it’s a story we laugh about now, just a few months later. As an added bonus, our Airbnb hosts didn’t make us pay for the broken window. It was their “wedding gift” to us.

  • Leah

    Ugh, yes – the friend who’s dad had a heart attack at the reception… when she was marrying a man older than her father. The many, many people who left my reception before we cut the cake. The friend who had a heart attack at her grandson’s wedding and kind of shut down the party, much to her dismay. It’s totally ok to be hurt or sad or angry or even just MEH about your wedding. You still have the great marriage, and that’s Awesome.

    That said, therapy is one of the reasons I can deal, and I am forever grateful for it. It’s for just about everyone.

  • Mrrpaderp

    LW has got to stop laughing it off, as Liz rightly notes. If your friends are all, REMEMBER THAT HORRIBLE THING THAT TURNED OUT OK SO NOW IT’S FUNNY???, and you laugh along with them, you’re sending the message that you think it’s funny too. Which is probably why LW still has such strong feelings about it a year later – she’s sitting by while people unwittingly re-traumatize her.

    It’s OK to say, “Actually, guys, I’m still super bummed that that happened, I would love to hear what you ENJOYED about my wedding because I really need to focus on that.” People will not think you’re a spoiled brat stick in the mud Bridezilla for not finding this sort of thing hilarious. They will understand and they will tell you all about the zillion other wonderful, happy, actually-funny things that happened during the wedding.

    • emmers

      Yes– they probably don’t realize how sore of a point it is. This is a great suggestion– they will probably have good stuff to say!

  • Rowany

    One thing that helped was to put my wedding pictures as the screensaver of my computer. All the beautiful pictures (since the photographer likely didn’t photograph empty dance floors or you crying, but take the unhappy pictures out, if any) slowly replaced any regret with warm fuzzies.

  • Amy March

    I’m struck by how many things other than the dog you didn’t like- hair, music, lack of dancing, general blah feeling, coupled with your saying you feel embarrassed. Upset, I completely get, but there is nothing here to feel embarrassed about! Most brides don’t have a rocking dance party where everyone closes out the floor with you at midnight, they really don’t. It’s not an embarrassment to not have perfect music or 100% dance party fun at all times! So if some part of this lingering upsetness is embarrassment that you didn’t show your guests an absolutely perfect time, please remember that they aren’t entitled to maximal entertainment at every moment, and weren’t looking for that.

    • Violet

      You bring up a good point with these multiple aspects of dissatisfaction. Maybe part of it stems from not really being psyched about having the wedding in the first place. Whenever I go along with something I’d really rather not be doing, I usually can’t help but then fixate on the negatives. Maybe, in some subconscious, convoluted way, to justify my original gut feeling of not wanting to do it? Like, yeah, I KNEW this museum was not gonna be worth it. Or whatever.
      So LW’s in this conundrum where she doesn’t really want a wedding, but okay, if she’s gonna have one, it’d better damn well be worth it, right? So she simultaneously didn’t care about a wedding and cared more than anything that it go right. I don’t know much that can withstand that kind of “prove that it’s worth it to me,” pressure. And weddings, with all their unpredictability, surely can’t.

      • anon

        I think I agree with you. I was definitely in the “don’t want a wedding, but husband does” camp. At some point during the planning though, something clicked in me and I through my all into it, determined to have a cool-ass wedding. When it turned out to be – very much not perfect, I immediately thought to myself “see, you should have just eloped. This so wasn’t worth it”.

        • Jess

          Man, I am not determined to have a kick-ass wedding, but I am muddling my way through.

          I’m trying really hard to be like, “Hey, here are things I’m pumped about” and just coming up on empty. Hopefully this is setting me up to have a great time at my wedding because my expectations are so low?

          • Violet

            It’s possible setting expectations low enough could lead you to be pleasantly surprised. It could become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy (It’s gonna be a bummer, so all you see are bummer things.). Honestly, I could see it going either way.
            Without trying to make yourself feel something you can’t, if you can acknowledge that the day itself will probably have at least one thing you end up liking (even if it’s just that your coffee was particularly good that morning) maybe turn it into a game? See if you can find just one thing you like. That way, your expectations are sufficiently managed, you’re focusing yourself a bit more on the positive, but you’re not trying to lie to yourself. Just a thought.

          • Jess

            I like this. I’m gamifying everything (probably because you keep suggesting it!) Gamifying my mom! Check! Gamifying events! Check!

            I did that for my shower, and it was actually fun – I was like, “Hey, this bacon is great! I’m so happy my cousin is here!” Time to try that again!

          • Eenie

            We had super low expectations, and those expectations were exceeded as a result. We overall did enjoy it, but neither of us would do it again if we could go back in time. Which is a weird feeling to accept. It seems like you have a good mindset, where even if it isn’t great, you can just say meh and move on with life.

          • AP

            You brought this up in a thread a while ago, and I had the same feeling. But I didn’t know how my husband felt about our wedding, after the fact. He’s been getting really into personal finance lately, and last night I had the opportunity to ask him if he could go back in time, would he still want to have the wedding considering the expenses and the family drama. And he said yes, he’s really glad we did it and would do it all over again. Which didn’t really surprise me, but I like the affirmation that it was all worth it. (Which I also now realize is another way to reframe it!)

          • Eenie

            Yes! I really struggled since he pushed for the wedding, yet would have made different choices with the power of hindsight. But, we made the best choices with the information that we had at the time. I just knew what I wanted out of a wedding better than he knew what he wanted out of a wedding. It made me glad I drew some hard lines in the sand with my limits, because it did make the wedding better for both of us.

          • JC

            My mom turns everything into a game and declares herself the winner. Completed the latest work project? Winner! Made a pot of coffee? Winner! Made it to the front of the JC Penny’s line? Winner! I swear this is the secret to her happiness.

          • Eenie

            My family gives out points. What are the points for? Nothing. Ate the last leftover? 20 points! Take out the trash? 10 points.

          • JC

            I love this. I have to try it, but the game never sticks in my head! I should also mention that my mom is a northwestern farm girl, so she has a midwestern/Canadian accent that is common in our parts. “I win” is pronounced “I weeeeen!” and it’s pretty much the funniest thing ever.

        • Violet

          My brain works exactly the same.

      • joanna b.n.

        And if I were you, not wanting the wedding but doing it for other people, and then someone you were relying on to take care of your dog let you down, I’d be feeling majorly disappointed that while I was doing lots of outward caring, who was caring for me, exactly? The good news is, your partner did show caring when he helped you search for the dog… But I bet some of those unresolved feelings are about how not only did you not get the wedding you wanted, but BECAUSE you got the wedding you didn’t want, you also got something awful you also didn’t want – losing the dog temporarily.

        So, if you haven’t already, let yourself be mad at everyone who disappointed you/pressured you out of having the day you wanted and into having a day parts of which you hated, and then figure out how to give yourself some major treats. Back to my previous comment about planning your next party/vacation/life event… ‘Cause maybe you have to make up for the caring you need.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        The “it better damn well be worth it” thing is another point in itself, really. Even if you ARE into having the wedding, the amount of money and social pressure we pour onto that one day can turn molehills into mountains. Your hair not swooping the right way is suddenly devastating when it would normally be mildly annoying. Sitting next to an empty chair, generally only slightly awkward, becomes humiliating when it’s at your own reception. And an empty dance floor at someone else’s wedding isn’t as anxiety inducing as an empty dance floor at your own.

        These are all totally random, hypothetical examples.

    • sofar

      Yeah, I was surprised at the dancing thing, too. I and most of my friends are Latin/Swing/hip hop dancers. My playlist was killer. But I think everyone was so happy to catch up with old friends that most people just wanted to hang at the bar and chill on the giant outdoor patio at our venue.

  • Eenie

    1. I was really afraid after reading the headline, that your dog was lost forever. May we paws for a moment and thank the furry gods that this was not the case. I’ve lost and found a pet before, and I wouldn’t wish those feelings on anybody else, let alone on their wedding day.

    2. I wanted to elope. My husband wanted a wedding. Cue wedding that I didn’t want to plan or pay for.

    3. My best friend had a seizure (never happened to her before) and left my wedding in an ambulance right before she was supposed to give her toast. I called 911 mid toast and directed the firemen and paramedics through to the back of the restaurant, communicated all of the relevant health information to the 911 operator, and thanked the guests with various levels of medical knowledge who took control of the situation. Due to said event, I drank way more than I planned to (not the best way to cope in hindsight) and have trouble remembering a lot of the reception.

    4. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO ATTENDED OUR WEDDING ASKED US ABOUT THE SEIZURE FRIEND AFTERWARDS. They care. This is what I tell myself. But it’s really upsetting when it’s constantly brought up. Now, four months post wedding, we hardly ever talk about the wedding with anyone. Or if we do, it’s someone that didn’t attend. So we leave this part out. We highlight the stuff we want to talk about. We don’t mention the ambulance and everything else. We reframed it.

    So my suggestion to you: Reframe your wedding. Leave out all the lost dog references. Or try to reframe those. If the first thing your husband did was say f*ck this reception, we need to find the dog, that’s a pretty awesome person to have on your team. And to these so called friends that bring up the lost dog? Ask them not to. “I’m sure you remember how upset I was that night. Could we talk about some of the other favorite memories from that day instead.”

    Not everyone has the fairy tale wedding. Give yourself a break about meeting this standard, and remember some of the smaller things that you did love. Vows? Portraits? Food? Bridal party? Dress? Anything really, and then let yourself hate everything else. It’s fine.

    • Lisa

      May we paws for a moment

      I see what you did there.

      I was waiting for the seizure story to show up and see if you had some words of wisdom to share! Still so glad she is ok.

      • Eenie

        :D – I’m so punny.

        It took a while, but it’s finally not the first thing I think about when I think about our wedding. Seeing the photos helped. My husband was also really helpful with reframing it. If anything the entire incident solidified the fact that this human being was the perfect one to partner with.

    • AP

      “Reframe your wedding.” THIS TIMES A MILLION. I also had a wedding I didn’t want to plan or pay for, because my husband wanted it. Specifically, he wanted a wedding that included his family. Ok, fine, except what actually happened was that his family didn’t contribute in any way, criticized everything we did, brought uninvited guests, and left early. His sister got engaged after us, to someone she’d been dating three months, and planned her wedding for a few weeks after ours. Right after both our weddings, at Thanksgiving dinner, when going around the table to say what we were grateful for, his mother actually said, “I’m just thankful all these weddings are over.” It was all I could not to scream.

      Reframing was basically the only tool I had to not resent his family and my wedding day forever. I took a good long break from his family after the holidays, I got our vows done in letterpress and have them hanging on our bedroom wall so I can see them every day, and I have only wedding pictures of the two of us hanging in the house. In my rewritten memories, we were the only ones there on the beach that day:)

      • KPM

        Besides screaming sounds like the only other response would be, “you and me both, sister!” Grrrr!

      • Violet

        I admire your self-restraint, AP. I really do.

      • sofar

        I feel there should be a support group for those of us who had to plan weddings we didn’t actually want.

        • AP

          I would drink so much wine with that support group.

    • Nell

      YESSSS! Not only did your husband run out to handle a very stressful situation, you also had a bunch of friends who wanted to step in and help, too! Those sound like good friends.

      I was in a wedding where there were paramedics at the end of the night because an elderly relative fell down some stairs (she was banged up, but fine). At the end of my wedding, I was standing in a bathroom while 7 women tried to help me get a giant lipstick stain off of my wedding dress. The more intimately involved you are with a wedding, the less perfect it seems. When it’s your wedding, you see EVERY flaw — even if other people were having a good time chatting, you worry that not enough people got up to dance. Even if you look gorgeous, you worry your hair wasn’t right.

      What helps me is to imagine I’m telling the story of my wedding to my grandkids (or if you’re childfree – just imagine telling the story 50 or 60 years from now). What would I want them to know?

      • cpostrophe

        we were at a wedding last year where a friend had a severe allergic reaction to some unlabeled nuts in one of the buffet items, and we had to call for an ambulance. Fortunately there were a couple of doctors among the attendees and some other helpful friends who could care for them until the ambulance arrived, and it wasn’t a major disruption for the wedding. We were able to consider it as a great example of community coming together both for a couple getting married and a friend in trouble.

        We had rain and heavy thunderstorms on our wedding day, along with a shower that started just as we were getting ready to do our procession, and we had a 20 yard gap between the dressing area and the ceremony tent. That may have been a disaster for turning all of us into wet cats, but the two partners of my Best Lady and a groomsman were just all, “you need someone to hold umbrellas? We’ll hold umbrellas.” And they just escorted each member of the procession across that 20 yard gap and shuttled back and forth holding umbrellas. Everybody came away looking fine, and we came away thinking less of the rain making the day imperfect, but the rain giving us another reason to be grateful for having solid, helpful friends.

        • accidental_diva

          A friend of the family was the Public Information Officer for our city and we had been in drought conditions for almost 6 months – hadn’t had a good rain in almost 4 – the night of her wedding the sky opened and it poured.
          One of her favorite pictures is the one of my dad holding an umbrella and her train so nothing got muddy into the church – she said it makes her feel like she can count on all of us always.

        • Nell

          Oh wow! There should be a special wedding MVP award for helpful partners of people in the bridal party. They’re the best.

    • AmandaBee

      Agree 100% with reframing. Also, that might just take time. It sounds like you had a nice wedding, but maybe expectations of perfection that just weren’t realistic. Over time, I hope you’re able to come to appreciate the good things that happened (at the very least, you got married so that’s awesome). Let go of the idea of perfection, I don’t know a single wedding that could live up to those standards.

    • Lulu

      Dog story + friend story = ugly cry in a coffee shop. If all parties weren’t okay, I might’ve turned into a barista’s weird customer story for the day. (I might have anyway.)

  • BD

    (Sigh) me too LW, me too. The single worst event I remember from my wedding was more the typical kind – family drama. It got so bad that our GM had to escort a few people from the premises. That’s not the only bad memory though – our officiant canceled at the last minute and had to be quickly replaced, I kinda made a fool of myself during the ceremony, and the whole thing was just – blah, like you describe your wedding. I just can’t think of a single thing about our wedding that really makes me super shiny happy, except, you know, that I got married.

    That was three years ago, and all I can say is that it does get better over time. You do realize through talking to others that you’re not alone, and oh, hey, some people at your wedding may actually think it was pretty nice! The “perfect wedding” is mostly a myth, one that’s caused a lot of grief in my opinion, and acknowledging that has actually taught me a little bit about life in general.

  • Ashley Meredith

    I don’t think there’s any need for you to feel embarrassed. If anybody has to be embarrassed here, it’s the dog sitter, but it’s not your fault at all. I don’t think anybody thinks that – not guests, not APWers, not anybody who might have heard about the story second-hand. So let it go!

    As for the “perfect wedding with the perfect ending,” nope! On the surface, yes, I did have that. But our “perfect ending” came about an hour before we’d have liked, because the MOG started complaining that it was hot and people wanted to go home and couldn’t until we left, and we let ourselves get pressured into it. And before that, our caterer had added raisins to the raisin-less carrot cake recipe we gave her (my husband’s favorite dessert, except hates raisins) and apparently paid no attention to our carefully-tested sangria recipe, because I hated what it tasted like at the wedding. These are small things. They affected nobody’s enjoyment. But they are things I remember when I remember my otherwise perfect wedding, too.

    Anyway, you say you wanted the marriage, not the wedding, right? You have the marriage! Celebrate that and forget the wedding, which was for other people, anyway.

    • ART

      You are right in that that dog sitter probably has night sweats dreaming about having lost someone’s dog DURING their wedding! I was once dog-sitting and the darn dog busted a fence board out and ran out, and I didn’t grab my cell phone before running off after him, and the people who caught him about three minutes later called the owners who were on vacation before I came around the corner and found them, so of course when they called me, I didn’t have my phone with me. I still feel AWFUL about the feeling they must have had getting that call (even though by then the dog was already in safe hands, and even though the whole ordeal lasted less than 10 minutes!)

  • joanna b.n.

    “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.”

    This X 10000000. Maybe even say, “yeah I don’t really want to remember that part, can we focus on something else you enjoyed?” And I’d say that’s your general approach here – look at your wedding album again and again, up to and not including any pics from post-horrible-dog-news… try to fill your head of all the good memories from the day as much as possible, so as to sort of drown out the bad part in your mind.

    And then, start planning your next big life event, and get laser-focused on making that great. Because the future has so much more good in store for you. Clearly the universe is saving up some great things for you… and it’s partly up to you to make room for other parts of your marriage/life to be awesome.

  • Ashlah

    Out of total curiosity, I wonder how many of you would have wanted your dog-sitter to call you with this news at your wedding, versus waiting until you got home to tell you. On the one hand, it’s possible the dog-sitter could have dealt with this and found the dog on their own, preventing a bride and groom from having to worry. On the other hand, bride and groom were able to be involved in the search for their dog, and maybe the dog-sitter wouldn’t have found the dog on their own. And, of course, some people would just want to know about the situation, regardless.

    My husband and I were talking about this on our recent vacation, in regards to situations coming up at home, and I think I’d be more in line with the former. Unless it’s an emergency situation where they need my help or input (and I’m actually able to provide it), I think I’d prefer someone step up and take care of it, letting me enjoy my wedding/vacation blissfully unaware.

    • Eenie

      Such a good point. This is the first question I ask when I pet sit. If the pet is super sick, needs care, gets lost…who do I call? Our friends who switch pet sitting with us have a very old dog. We would call her parents, not her. We told them to call us. Personal preferences.

    • Gray

      I would have absolutely wanted to know immediately so I could drop everything and help with the search, or at least give the dog sitter advice on where she might have gone.

      I would be so, so angry to find out the next morning that my dog had been missing for so long and no one told me.

    • Liz

      Good question. Hm. I mean there was only 40min left of the wedding? But also, gah!

      I’m guessing the corresponding terrible, wedding-ruined feelings would’ve happened, no matter when they found out.

      • Anon

        Very anecdotal, but someone passed away during my parents’ wedding and all my life they’ve said repeatedly that they are so grateful that no one told them about it until after the honeymoon. They say they’re much more able to compartmentalize the beauty of their day and the sorrow of losing their loved one than if they had known during their reception.

        For me, that’s my worst nightmare and I’ve insisted to my family that I want to know bad news immediately lest I spend my whole life waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I know that the separation and space can be helpful for some.

        • Eh

          My husband and my friend (who was DoC) both kept a secret/bad news (not as serious as someone passing away) from me until we had left for the honeymoon (by then I was removed from the situation and able to laugh). They were right, I did not need to know the day of our wedding and it would have made me upset.

    • Jessica

      I think if we got married now, and had someone taking care of the dog, I would give the dogsitter 2 phone numbers of really cool, levelheaded people that know my dog, and would have asked the sitter to call those people first. I say that now, after reading this question, and thinking about how awful and emotional it would be to lose a dog that day.

    • lady

      For our wedding, we gave our dog sitter a local emergency contact that we trusted. Neither of us had our phones on us, so it would have been impossible for her to get in touch with us as it was. We love our dog very, very much and my eye well up even thinking about something happening to him, but I would definitely prefer the dog sitter try to take care of it themselves before involving us on our wedding night (and honestly, assuming this was a professional sitter, if you’re so irresponsible that you lose a dog even though it’s LITERALLY your JOB, that’s the least you could do).

    • KPM

      It’s definitely likely that the dog had already been missing for a while. Especially if they weren’t planning on coming home that night, the dog sitter may have looked for a while but then decided the dog was more likely to come out of hiding if being called by its owners. There is a lot of bad news I wouldn’t want during my wedding but the wellbeing of my dog if I could come help look is absolutely one. (If I was on the other side the country, maybe not)

      • rg223

        Good point – it would totally depend on how close I was to home/the missing dog.

  • april

    “Most brides have the perfect wedding with the perfect ending.” I really don’t think this is true. It may seem that way when you look at social media and wedding blogs, but keep in mind that most of that is carefully curated — people tend to broadcast the pretty pictures and happy faces, but not mention the moments of heartbreak and/or panic that might be happening behind the scenes. But if your’re craving some closure, why not invite some friends and family to do an anniversary celebration with you? Maybe a night out drinking and dancing with your husband and your friends will help put an end to the chapter of your awful wedding. Just get a more trustworthy dog sitter this time!.

    On a personal note, my wedding day was pretty fantastic. But the day before? Truly awful. I either had the worst hangover of my life or food poisoning (possibly both), but I spent the whole morning (when I was supposed to be helping my mom and my aunts make bouquets and put the finishing touches on some decorations) puking my guts out. I managed to pull myself together for the rehearsal, but I was still too queasy to eat anything or to really have much fun at the rehearsal dinner. Worst still, any time my wedding (which was 3 years ago) comes up, this is the story that my mom tells – not how awesome and fun our wedding was, but how I “bailed” on her when it came to getting ready the day before …

  • Sarah

    My aunt messed up signing our Quaker wedding certificate by signing for herself, husband, and my grandmother (her mom). Folks were explicity told everyone signs for themselves, and the certificate would have been carried to my grandma. To be fair, her husband was wheeling out my grandmother who wasn’t having the best day at my wedding for health reasons but I still get annoyed looking at the certificate. I snapped at my other aunt who was getting fussy during a family pic (which was just a few minutes). These two aunts butted in the receiving line cause they didn’t want to wait to hug us. Again, I’m telling myself they just wanted to get to my grandma and weren’t trying to be super rude. My mom annoyed me several times–asking about us having kids, bugging me about how to get my grandma into the bathroom at a meetinghouse I wasn’t super familiar with, calling me a bridezilla on the way to the salon. The first aunt later told my mom, who felt the need to tell me, that our pictures weren’t great. None are as bad as losing a dog (even temporarily) but time does heal these things. Except typing this all out I’m annoyed again now!

    • squirrelyone

      If it makes you feel any better, I work with historic Gurneyite records for a living, and having one person sign for multiple people is a mistake many Friends have been making for at least a few hundred years! (Unless every Cattell had exactly the same handwriting, which I highly doubt.) As far as I know, they were not disowned for it, although in some of those periods, they did probably get some elder visits regarding their error. Yes, it’s still rotten when she does it after being clearly requested not to, but you are in good company.

  • sofar

    My wedding was great by many accounts and went more smoothly than I ever dared hope. I actually LOVED LOVED LOVED our ceremony. People cried like babies.

    But the reception? I have more fun on the average night out with friends than I had at my reception. On one hand, it was awesome to have everyone we loved under one roof. But you can really only talk to everyone for like 30 seconds.

    Things I did not love:

    1) DJ was NOT familiar with some of the genres of music we wanted played (namely, 60s dance music at the beginning of the night) and played some weird live versions/covers of them. Like, I think he played a KidzBop version of one song. This scared away all the old folks from the dance floor, and what’s a wedding reception without watching Uncle Bill bust a move?

    2) My hair stylist looked at all the pictures I showed her and created a look that was NOTHING like them. The wind did more damage, so eventually I took my hair down and walked around looking like I’d just rolled out of bed.

    3)When fiance and I finally got back to our hotel, we found they’d messed up and given our room to his sister. When we finally got a room, we took the crankiest shower ever, my husband helped me yank out my fake lashes, and I woke up to an empty bed because he had to go take care of a family thing. I got an Uber to my parents’ house, wedding dress under my arm, and the Uber driver felt so bad for me and said, “Um, shouldn’t you be lying on a bed of rose petals, ordering room service?” Yeah right.

    • Lisa

      LOL, your Uber driver apparently doesn’t have any experiences with real weddings then. I have heard of zero weddings that day-after looked like that. Not that I don’t believe they might not exist somewhere, but I haven’t hear of these. There are usually people who still want to be entertained or flights to catch or something.

      • Violet

        Honestly, the liminal space between our wedding and honeymoon is one of my happier memories… but we didn’t do ANY day-after activities like brunch with people, and it was before the honeymoon traveling-stress aspects kicked in. But it’s different for everyone! Some people leave for their honeymoon right away, or are saying goodbye to out-of-town guests, etc. It’s very hard to be all idyllic during those scenarios!

        • Lisa

          That’s awesome! Almost all of our guests were from out of town and staying at the same hotel as us so they wanted to hang out. I hit my limit a little before dinnertime on Sunday, and I was so pissed/hangry by the time we got to the restaurant with our friends to find nearly an hour wait time. My husband and some of our friends wanted to go out that evening, and I recused myself to watch Friends reruns at the hotel instead.

          • Violet

            Oh man, after a long day (weekend) I’d be down for basically anything on TBS at a hotel. Excellent strategy!

      • sofar

        OMG if I had a dime for everyone who said, “Oh my gosh, you shouldn’t have to take people to the airport/return rental stuff/entertain out-of-town family the day after your wedding” and then never stepped in to take on any of those tasks themselves, I’d be able to pay off the whole wedding.

        I’ve known couples who left for the honeymoon the day after their wedding, and I’m like, “How did you do that? How did you escape? Teach me your ways!”

        • Amy March

          Just go! People figure it out. And pay for pick up on rental stuff.

    • Violet

      You and eenie, both getting stuck out of your rooms. After a loooooong day, that would certainly put my in crankiest shower ever mood.

      • Eenie

        Mine was my own fault completely though!

        • Violet

          Meh, I get myself in plenty of debacles of my own making… doesn’t mean I don’t still get cranky about them, though! Maybe I’m just a little less emotionally mature, haha!

          • Eenie

            My husband asked me point blank three times as I was leaving if I had a hotel room key. The question he should have asked was if I had a hotel room key WITH ME. I did not in fact have the room key with me. It helped that a friend walked back with me and I have a lovely hazy memory of her and I being drunk on the floor outside my room.

    • Sosuli

      Thank you for pointing out that it’s normal only to get to talk to people for like 30 seconds each. My relatives flew over from another country and some only stayed for the wedding itself, so there are a few people that made that effort and I didn’t even have a proper conversation with and I’ve been feeling sooo guilty about it.

      • sofar

        I had a friend who I hadn’t seen in years fly out to the wedding and I wanted to just hang with him soooo bad and didn’t get to.

        If it makes it easier, I think most guests expect not to get a lot of one-on-one time with the bride and groom. When we were making our rounds greeting every table at dinner, a few of the friends tables were like, “OK hi we know you have a billion people to greet, so move on to the next table land don’t feel bad, we’re fine!”

        I’m certainly not hurt when I fly out to a wedding and barely get a second with the bride and groom. I went to see them on a momentous, important occasion and show my support, and that’s enough for me!

      • Eenie

        Don’t feel guilty! That’s how it goes with weddings. I never expect to hold a conversation with the couple. I want to give you a hug/wish you well and help you celebrate. Even if that means I make small talk with six of your relatives I’ve never met before.

  • Renée Ricci

    I actually felt my blood pressure start to rise when I read this headline. My biggest anxiety about our wedding day/honeymoon is that our dog will run away. We adopted a rescue dog just over a year ago and she is a RUNNER (she’s a hound – literally bred to ignore you and chase stuff). She’s only ever escaped off-leash twice, and both times she took off without a second glance. We caught her the first time because she ran down a dead end, and the second time because a miracle stranger managed to nab her as she was running past. Needless to say, we are obsessively careful about keeping her securely in-doors, on a leash, or fenced in at all times. Problem is, our usual friends and family who we trust to watch her will all be at our wedding, and so we’ll have to hire a stranger or board her somewhere for the day. I’m so, so terrified that whoever we leave her with won’t take our warnings about her seriously enough and she’ll get away somehow. I don’t know how I’m going to get through my wedding day when I know it’s going to be colored with anxiety about losing my dog.

    • Amy March

      Would it help if you did some test runs? Find a boarding place that seems good, and just book the dog in there for a Saturday night or two so all of you can develop more of a comfort level?

    • Jess

      I’m not sure how much time you’ve got between then and now, and I know boarding can be expensive, but would it be possible to practice-board her for a day while you’re still in town/available, so you’re less concerned during your wedding?

    • Shannon Willis

      We have a hound too! 9 months to go and already stressing big time about this- at first we wanted him in the ceremony with us, but even the thought of anyone else other than my fiance or I handling him just sends me into an anxious state. I think we’ll have to board him. Is there a Camp Bow Wow near you? They have supervised play time all day and are only crated at night. Would be worth looking into!

      • Bethany

        I used to work at a Doggy Daycare (not Camp Bow Wow, but same concept) and I can’t imagine a dog ever getting out. They were supervised all day and all time spent outside was done in fenced in yards. If you can find a place like that I think you’ll be good to go! Plus, she’ll probably be having so much fun playing with all the other dogs she wouldn’t WANT to escape! :)

    • Eenie

      GPS collar? It would let whoever watches her locate her. My friend’s dog is a runner and after being lost for the third time she bit the bullet and paid for one.

  • Eh

    A number of people have suggested that the LW reframe her memories of her wedding day. I think that’s a great idea! My BIL’s family did not attend our wedding over a family feud. The fact that they are missing from the pictures is sad but reflective of the day. Leading up to our wedding the family feud caused a lot of stress for me and my husband but that is not how I want to remember my wedding. At the end of the day, my husband and I were married, we had a lovely ceremony and fun at the reception and that’s what I remember (and what is reflected in the photos we have displayed in our house). Some people did ask about my BIL’s family which irked me on the day (but most knew to not ask me). Some family members still hold a grudge against them three years later, despite the fact that we have worked through the issues (and they regret not coming). (Note: we also had the typical annoying things go wrong – I broke a vase, the wrong song played during the father-daughter dance, the caterer was a jerk, 10 people no-showed, the candles weren’t lit in the reception hall.) My BIL and SIL also did not have the wedding they expected. Tons of little things went wrong (flowers were wrong, cake was wrong, rentals were broken, a cell phone ended up in a pond). It took over a year for my SIL to get over her wedding (she is still working out some things four years later). They decided to go do something for their first anniversary that was special for them.

    • Aubry

      yeah my sister in law didn’t show up to our wedding because… she couldn’t get herself together? No actual reason, just basically couldn’t be bothered. C also had some other family and friends not come that he really wanted there. Aside from skewing the family pretty noticeably (I have a huge family and they almost all came) we just had everyone sit wherever (no sides) and had a nice time with who was there!

      • Eh

        When it became clear that my BIL’s family might not show up in the weeks before our wedding, we made the decision not to put anymore energy towards them and to make sure we celebrated with the people who were present. that said, since his family did not come half a table was empty. We do have one family picture from each side hung in our house. I was hesitant to print our family pictures and when I first hung the pictures I had to keep reminding myself that it is reflective of the day.

  • ART

    My now-husband’s best friend (well, formerly…) completely bailed on our wedding. His wife who had volunteered to do the photography for us? Also completely bailed. They had their reasons unrelated to us, but did not handle it well at all and that caused a lot of stress. We wound up having another friend and some family members handle the photography and it turned out great, but I do not have a portrait of just me and my mom, which I had really, really wanted but in the moment just couldn’t think to get that coordinated with the change in plans. I’m still very sad about that. I kind of look back on our wedding, which was mostly DIY, and go ugh, what a mess…even though it was beautiful and people had a lot of fun and the food was yummy, and in the moment it felt fine. It’s just that looking back I think “OMG, that was terrible, and THAT was ridiculous, and THAT looked totally stupid, and no one knew that thing should have been filled with flowers, and we forgot our cake toppers, and we started the ceremony while grandpa was still in the bathroom, and our cheese platter completely melted in the sun,” etc. I could edit our photos down and tell a different story of a perfect day, but it wasn’t perfect. Re-adjusting my expectations retroactively has been hard. I do think the advice to talk with someone about it, and to put the word out that you don’t want to keep hearing about the dog search situation (which, SO GLAD you found him) is really good advice. Can you have an anniversary-adjacent “after party” with friends that is more like what you would have wanted in the first place?

    • Sosuli

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who has photography regrets. I didn’t manage to get a posed one with just me and my mom or my sisters. And husband has a million with his cousins – his mother coordinated a 20 minute photo session with all them while I frantically tried to talk to everyone. Trying not to be resentful of that now!

    • Jess

      Thank you for the reminder that I need to get our photographer the “necessary photo list”!

      • ART

        And this has come up a lot in photography advice posts on APW – it’s helpful to also give this list to a close friend or family member (or one on each side) who knows WHO all those people are and can help get them where they need to be to be in the shots. Your photographer might know you need a shot with your sisters, e.g., but doesn’t necessarily know what they look like AND doesn’t have time to run off and find them while taking other shots! I really wish we had done that – it might have made the last-minute change in photographer less of an issue (because he took great shots, he just didn’t know what all we wanted).

  • Colleen

    THIS: Losing your dog on your wedding day is not normal. But not loving your wedding is.

    Please disabuse yourself of the idea that “most brides have the perfect wedding with the perfect ending.” Many brides might. But I personally know a large number whose days were less than perfect, including my own. I pricked my finger and bled, smack dab in the middle of my dress, 10 minutes before I walked down the aisle. No amount of club soda, vodka, or spit got that damned spot out. I spent days (DAYS) perfecting the playlist only to have almost no one dance during the reception (Note to self: only a certain % of your guests will dance. At my 45 person wedding, that wasn’t a lot of people. Not at all.) My photographer was also a wedding guest. This means that I have almost no pictures of my reception because that’s when the fun (read: drinking) started.

    These things, and more, are disappointing; they definitely have the potential to bum me out. But I remind myself that my wedding was simply the opening ceremony for my marriage. I really like my marriage and that’s what’s important.

  • Rosie

    How would you feel about exchanging vows again, just the two of you? You could use the same words or come up with something different. It migt help to have a happy memory of those promises, go to somewhere you love with a bottle of bubbly :)

  • Antonia

    FWIW, I had the “perfect ending” to my wedding, and nearly six years later, I totally don’t remember it. We had an afternoon wedding that wrapped up around 10 p.m. (by design, we left before the majority of our guests) and… We said goodbye to people, I guess? Thanked our parents, maybe? Had one more glass of champagne? Your guess is as good as mine.

    I’m extremely sorry your reception ended on such a low note – I would have FREAKED THE EFF OUT if my dog had gone missing – but even my “perfect ending” was like, meh, whatever.

  • JC

    Hi LW! Even if you never read this, I have a question for you: Does this feeling of ruined expectations happen often? I ask because I feel this way all the time, and people’s suggestions at reframing the situation are really helpful. I consider myself a pretty joyful person (I actually choose not to use the word “happy” when describing my overall personality), and I don’t think I’ve had a “great year” since I was…12? In high school, I got awards and had great teachers, but I was consistently bullied and my church group went through some traumatic losses. In college, I found my love of study and met my best friend, but I had terrible roommates and neighbors who actually made me afraid to go home (for all four years). I met the love of my life at the beginning of grad school and had the cutest house in the whole world (where I lived by myself!), but I didn’t make friends and my thesis adviser told me that I would fail at both my relationship and academia.

    I now pick what is important and make sure it happens, because other stuff gets in the way all too often. My birthday is important to me, so I always plan to go to the zoo to see the penguins, even if I go by myself. I bake Christmas cookies for my friends and deliver them even though that is not a thing they do around these parts. I’m not saying I’m good at reframing, but I am saying it’s a skill and it’s one that has come in handy for me. And while your wedding required a ton of support– from your partner, your family, your friends, and yes, a dog-sitter, you can now do something that only requires you and no one else. People have given you great suggestions– a vow renewal, asking friends to pick out their favorite parts of the night. Maybe there is an anniversary excursion you can plan that is so far removed from your actual wedding ceremony that it becomes the appropriate way to celebrate your day. Maybe you can throw your dog a party every year! Whatever it is, I hope you find something that adds meaning back in, because you deserve it.

  • Kyle

    Never mind “most brides have the perfect wedding with the perfect ending,” which I’m pretty sure is not true…

    I’m not even sure dogs running away during weddings is that unusual. This actual exact thing happened to my cousin (their dogs ran away during the wedding and turned up several miles away at a summer camp the next morning – I genuinely don’t remember who stayed at the reception and who left to look for the dogs). And the morning after my sister’s wedding, during a family breakfast, my other sister clipped the family dog with her car and the dog ran away, frantic, and we couldn’t find her until the couple had left on the honeymoon. That is three dogs running away among like 9 cousin weddings on that side of the family.

    At a minimum, don’t be embarrassed! Life happens!

  • H

    Lots of good advice to reframe the day – but another idea could be doing a mini do-over. For your 18 month (or 2 year) anniversary (or a random weekend) – “elope”! Go to a beautiful location (I’m imagining you in Hawaii on a bluff overlooking the beach, but you do you), get your hair done exactly how you want, wear a beautiful outfit, and renew your vows. You could even get a photographer to take pictures of it. I think it could be helpful to give yourself the experience of an elopement you always wanted!

  • BDubs

    Weddings can sure be the worst day of your life. My husband’s best friend was getting married and midway through the ceremony, the bride’s mother had a stroke and toppled out of her seat. They tried to rush through the rest of the ceremony while waiting for EMS to show up. Her mom had a second stroke during the reception time while the EMTs were working with her. Basically the whole wedding sucked and the bride and groom were not able to be there for most of it. Her mother was never able to be her normal self after that day. It was massively tragic.
    Maybe you could ask your friends and family who did attend the reception what it was like and tell you good stories of the fun they had? Get it from a participant’s point of view? That might help a little bit.

  • EF

    I get dwelling on this, I truly do. We had an afternoon wedding/short reception — guests arrived at 2, gone by 6, perfect for us. The big plan was to do a pub crawl that night. Now I was pretty sick with the flu, so the original plan of going in wedding garb was cancelled. I wore my usual androgynous stuff. And it was that night, in a pub I’d been to many times, a man followed me into the bathroom screaming I was in the wrong restroom, that I shouldn’t be in the women’s room, etc, etc. And I’d left my phone on the table.

    When he finally left, and I left the bathroom and saw a very outspoken, new york-assertive friend, who spotted me in tears and was able to tell her what happened, it kinda all fell apart. She grabbed one of my bridesbros, who sat with me, because I didn’t want my partner/his friends I’d never met see me bawling at our pub crawl. Friend reported the dude to staff, but the day/night was ruined for me. It still is. It’s the major thing I remember from that day: being terrified, so afraid, feeling so helpless and small.

    A year and a half later, partner and I have had many discussions about what was right and wrong about that day. I *need* something to ease the memories. So for me, it’s the idea of having a big, fancy, 5-year anniversary party. I’m not expecting it to be perfect or anything, but having the chance to get friends together, to celebrate us with fewer expectations, to not worry about family bullshit? Yep. That’ll do.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I’m so sorry that happened to you. And on such a crazy emotional day, of course you were bawling. I don’t have much to offer except hugs, I just felt very moved to send you internet hugs. Go all-out for that anniversary party, you deserve it!

  • tr

    Honestly, how are you feeling about your marriage? Is it everything you dreamed of and more, or is it kind of disappointing sometimes? (No shame in the latter–ALL marriages are kind of disappointing sometimes, even the ones that are really happy overall! And the first year? Lots of marriages have a pretty rough first year!)

    I only ask that because I’ve noticed that I tend to fixate on how things went wrong in the past when things are going wrong in the present! If I’m having a good week, and life is lovely, those five trillion things that have gone wrong in the past barely cross my mind at all, and when they do, I just kind of laugh them off and go back to enjoying the fabulousness. On the other hand, when I’m feeling a little crummy about the things currently going on in my life, all of those other crummy and disappointing experiences come swimming back to me to remind me that my life has literally been nothing but a series of frustrations and disappointments. By the fact that you’re thinking about these disappointments on a nightly basis, I’m kind of wondering if there’s a deeper disappointment going on here than JUST your sort of crummy wedding day.

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  • Amie Melnychuk

    I have bad memories of some parts of my wedding, and the hubs held a section of it over me for awhile because my actions affected his memories, too. But the past three years have been working hard to reframe the day and only push forward the fantastic memories.

    Getting ready with my family and girl squad was hilarious and fun and corn dog filled (my BIL is a genius).

    The ceremony was magical. I floated, and could not stop smiling the entire time.

    I skip over how the groomsmen did not think to eat, and so my wedding party went to a Tim Horton’s during our photography time, and I had a cranky and disinterested husband who did not want anymore photos taken. I don’t have any portraits of my husband and I.

    Getting ice cream with my parents and niece and wedding party was hilarious and silly.

    Cocktail hour was awesome and relaxing.

    Our dinner was delicious and intimate because we opted for a sweetheart table where we could snuggle and listen to our speeches and watch our family and friends mingle.

    My sister was a blubbering mess during her speech, I almost had to finish it for her, with my niece on my hip. It was so her and I, that I love it.

    First dance was so perfect that our friends thought it was choreographed. Nope, I finally let him lead.

    Then it falls apart in my memories because I had a playlist made with family approved songs and ones that would be appropriate after grandparents and conservative family left. Nope the N word rap songs were dropped early in the night. I had 90s country queued up for my besties and aunties to dance with me. Nope, the clubbers took over the iPod and started downloading their own house music.

    The wrong song played for my bouquet toss and that was the last straw. I had a panic attack that was witnessed by my mom, and girl squad. Very embarrassing. Hubs found me and I broke down in a back hallway of the theatre. I pulled it together and rallied. But I was far more sober than I wanted to be. I only had 2 glasses of wine and was running on 3 hours of sleep.

    We now skip over the lack of intimate photos and my undoing and try to only remember the glowing. And how brightly those memories are starting to shine.

  • Meg

    using a wheaton terrier for the picture makes this even scarier for me. Love those pups.

  • cml

    Hi! I’m actually new to posting at APW, but I’m an avid reader. :)
    I don’t have any wedding “disasters” of my own to share (yet) but I’ve seen a few go down:
    -the MOB had arranged for taxis to pick guests up after the reception, but…taxis in our city SUCK and 1 showed. One. Picture lots of tipsy guests trying to call a very rude cab operator for rides as the venue was closing. And it was snowing.

    -The best man at another wedding was from another country. While I SO admire his willingness to give a speech in his 2nd language to a room of strangers, I guess nobody told the poor guy what a toast should be. He gave us ~15 minute lecture on his own life, while we all waited for him to finish so we could eat.

    -At a 3rd, the bridal party got stuck in an elevator and was late to the reception. The bride had the best attitude about it and let us know we could all laugh about it later…just not that day.

    Really NONE of these ruined the wedding. I wish the idea of a perfect wedding would just go away already, and we could all keep ourselves from comparing our reality to someone else’s Facebook story.

  • Elemjay

    One of our wedding guests was arrested at 6am after a massive all night bender and screaming match with her husband. Loaded in the police wagon in handcuffs after waking up everyone in the hotel. That was pretty awful. I saw of hated her actions at the time but now 8 years later it’s pretty much a funny story. This too will pass OP …..

  • Anymous

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  • My first wedding day was marked by my anxiety over my very sick mom and the horrible feeling of disappointing her because she very much wanted to go to our wedding lunch but she wasn’t well enough to go. A week later, it also became the last day I saw my mom alive, so you could say that my memories of my wedding day are anything but cheerful. The second try at a wedding party to celebrate was a total haze because inconsiderate people brought their very sick kid to visit beforehand and my practically non-existent immune system crashed so I was sick with pneumonia for the party. I am not allowed to have another wedding anything ever again.

    The marriage is wonderful, though, and that salves that wound.

  • If our sitter loses our pugs during our wedding you can bet that we’d react in the exact same way you and your hubby did– don’t ever feel embarrassed about that. It’s too bad if it overshadows the memory of the big day, but I think that will change over time depending who you are talking to about it and how much less it will come up. It’s still relatively fresh now! I’m just glad your dog was found.

    My big day is 18 days away and I’m having crazy anxiety before I even walk through the door. Mostly just with my own insecurities. I’m keeping in mind things are bound to go wrong and no one knows our schedule but us, but my biggest concern is just ensuring that everyone has a fabulous time because I’ve been a guest and have experienced both the good and the bad– and I REALLY feel the pressure of having a fun wedding. Part of me thinks we’ve oversold it because it’s so silly and against the grain with our theme and entertainment and what if it turns out to be a big flop?

    Another thing is that I had a very traumatic shopping experience when looking for my bridal gown– something that I left a review for on their Google Reviews, which they responded to, which caught the internet’s attention and I had Global News calling me about it. That was at the beginning of my wedding planning and it left such a huge mark on it that I worry people will be thinking about that when they see me on the day.

    I ended up buying a dress under duress and, although it’s pretty, it’s definitely not my dream dress and I’m sure it could have been beaten had I kept looking– but the bridal shop that was horrible to me robbed me of the experience that I deserved, so I just bought one at another store that fit me and felt bridal– that’s it.

    I worry that people will see me and think, “oh, that’s what she ended up with?” or “that doesn’t seem like her type of dress”, etc. etc. etc. Just judgement. And we have good friends and family, but everyone has opinions. No other part of my wedding has been a concern about what other people will think, but this experience was so brutal that it’s still haunting me 8 months after it happened and giving me anxiety before my upcoming big day :(