Weddings usually invoke images of their dazzling components. It’s enough to fill you with warm feelings and picture every detail from the way the tulle falls on the bride’s gown to how the cake melts in your mouth. Experiencing it, whether you’re the bride, groom, a member of the bridal party, or a guest, is a surefire way to understand the accompanying bliss. But when the day ends, the dresses are put away, and the cake has been eaten, many brides begin to transition into a phase of overwhelming sadness.
This isn’t the bittersweet wish of wanting to relive the day, but rather a deeper sadness that rarely gets recognition. A Vanity Affair bride who chose to remain anonymous shared her experience with us and we were grateful to hear a real-life account of a common feeling that is seldom mentioned, much less talked about.
“I wasn’t very attached to my wedding. I would just kind of pick things and call it good. I hated the process and it wasn’t something that I would consider ‘the best thing ever.’ I just wanted to get to the wedding day,” she said. When the day rolled around she loved it. She reveled in every emotion and moment, experiencing a high she’d hadn't felt before. Being the middle of winter, it's typically uncommon to be that ecstatic.
“I continued to ride that high wave through the honeymoon, and then I got home and found out that my mom was feeling really low, but I was still up on that wave. And since I’m a hair dresser I got to relive that experience for about a month and a half after. Then after my clients started coming back I couldn’t talk about it again and it was over. I hit this really intense low. I didn’t want to see anything bridal; I unfollowed all of the bridal stuff on Instagram. I didn’t want to look at my own wedding pictures or communicate with anyone about my wedding.” The complicated feelings she dealt with are common, but how do you confide in someone without sounding ungrateful or indifferent about such an important day? This guilt seems to be a main reason why post-wedding blues isn’t often talked about among brides and bride-to-bes. ABC News even reported on it, and speaking with a psychologist they found that post-wedding blues is very real. Similar to postpartum depression, when you crash after such an intense period of planning, stress, and excitement the aftermath can be emotionally draining.
“People don’t really talk about it. They ask you how life is as a newlywed, but I’m mourning this loss of planning a wedding and losing the identity of being a bride. No one really warned me of how I’d feel after,” she said. She also admits that she’s not quite sure what she’d tell other brides to help them conquer it. “Maybe that they should beware, and it’s okay if you don’t want to look at your pictures and it’s okay if you don’t want to write your thank you cards.”
She emphasized the importance of reaching out to your bridesmaids and other members of your wedding. If you continue to go out and plan things for after your big day it makes it easier to take your mind off the wedding. Refraining from hyperactivity on social media is helpful too. Bombarding yourself with pictures of weddings and even your own wedding can result in comparison, what-ifs, and negative thinking. Take a social media detox and spend time as a newlywed couple doing things that don’t require phones.
Remember too that you have a support system, and the feelings will pass. “It’s real, it’s hard, but you're gonna make it through.”