When Michael and I got married, I was frequently warned about the inevitable post-wedding depression that would settle in once the festivities were over. I was told that after all the “fun” of planning an event for a year (or however long), suddenly having nothing to do with our spare time would make our lives seems sad. Ha, as if. I hated wedding planning, so I (wrongly) assumed that I would be spared the inevitable let down.
What actually happened was that the wedding was a shiny beacon of awesomeness. The morning after, I sat on the beach drinking mimosas from Solo cups with a handful of my closest friends, thinking, “This is exactly where I’m meant to be right now, with exactly these people.” Then I went back to work on Tuesday. (If you learn anything from me, let it be not to go back to work on Tuesday. Take a break or honeymoon or mini moon of some sort.) And that shiny beacon of awesomeness only served to demonstrate how unhappy I was with my day-to-day life. The next few months I slogged about in a hazy depression as I tried to figure out how to make my life feel more like that wonderful moment. I found a new job and dropped toxic friendships, but for a while there it was rough. Guess the joke was on me.
While I’m sure there’s something to be gleaned from my experience (cough, take a honeymoon, cough), it’s nearly impossible to know how you’re going to feel after the wedding. But it can be really isolating when you’re the only one feeling it (“it” being joy or ambiguity or exhaustion or anything else). So today we thought we’d check in with the newlyweds in the crowd to see how you’re doing. And just to prove that there is a huge diversity of post-wedding emotions (and no one is alone, because no matter what they’re feeling, someone else out there is taking it the same way), we thought we’d start by sharing a few of our staff’s post-wedding reactions:
I have, here and there, mentioned that I ended up curled up in bed in London, several days after our wedding, jet lagged out of my mind, sobbing, “Every day the wedding is getting farther away, and I need to remember what it felt like forever.” I think of that moment sometimes with a pang, because jet-lagged self was dramatic, but jet-lagged self wasn’t wrong. While I take the most important parts of our wedding with me every day, I do wish I could remember just exactly how it felt with the precise clarity and ease that I could on that (tearful) afternoon.
But in general, the weeks and months after our wedding were among the happiest in our lives. My work situation was terrible, but even with that, I felt like I was flying from pure happiness. Five years into our relationship, our wedding gave us a foundation to build an intentional life together, and we thrived as we got our start doing that. As much as the narrative is that after you’re married you sink into a post-wedding depression (and I did have a few teary moments), I was mostly so glad to be done planning the thing, and so happy to be married, that I positively glowed.
I think my post-wedding reactions can be divided into two camps: the day after, and every day since. The day after we were both SO TIRED and riding this emotional roller coaster. We were trying to do the errands that we needed to do before we left for our honeymoon, and I was so exhausted I kept forgetting where I was driving to. Julie kept repeating, “I can’t believe it’s over. We never get to do that again.” We both went to bed melancholy.
Monday morning however… once we were rested, all smiles! We spent our honeymoon making dinner reservations with our new last name and reminiscing. And when we got back and restarted our real lives, every little chore and errand had this extra layer of joy. It was such a pleasure to grocery shop, and make dinner, and even do the dishes, because I did not have to spend any more time thinking about and planning a wedding in addition to daily chores! I could focus again on everything that was important to me that got pushed into the background by the wedding.
—Kelsey, 2014 Writing Intern
Our engagement was short, but not that short. Definitely still long enough that instead of planning we were Planning. Like, capital P planning. It became our second job. Well, it became Kate’s second job. Which means it was also my second job.
So when the wedding was over, and all the glasses and plates packed, and our guests on their way home, and the leftover desserts, decorations, and chuppah tucked away safely in the car, I remember looking around as we locked up and feeling equal parts relieved and proud. I was relieved that months of hard work and Planning with a capital P culminated in an amazing wedding. It surpassed our expectations. This thing we set out to tackle together, and mostly on our own, was now done, and we had wonderful memories and pictures and videos to remind us of our perfect day. And I couldn’t be more proud of how great it turned out.
Let’s talk, newlyweds. How are you feeling after your wedding?
This post originally Ran on APW in a slightly different format in October 2014.