So here you are. The wedding is planned, executed, and now you’re off to a deep exhausted sleep. And you wake up the next day – maybe a little hungover, probably tired still. You make breakfast. You kiss your new spouse, and you laugh and reminisce about the prior day’s events.
But something still doesn’t quite feel right.
You maybe feel a little nostalgic, though it’s been a mere few hours since the big day. Maybe you feel a little sad, but you don’t think you should and that makes you confused. Maybe you don’t exactly know what it is that you’re feeling, but you have a strange heaviness in your chest.
It’s time to talk about the unspoken part of weddings – the post-wedding blues.
Yes, post-wedding depression is in fact real. It stems from the way that weddings are a build up of happy, excited, stressful, overwhelming emotions and excitement, just for everything to fall or “go back to normal” after the event. It’s completely normal, and more people encounter it than you think.
So what can you do about it? Here’s a few tricks before you tie the knot to help:
1. Look forward to your marriage, not your wedding
Realistically, the best part of a wedding is getting to marry your favorite incredible human right? Keep this in mind as you plan. Keep your eyes set on the life you’re going to build and less on tablecloths and invites and you’ll stave off the inevitable let-down afterwards. Daydream about decades from now, your daily routines, what you love about each other.
Yes, be excited for the wedding – but be ecstatic about your life together.
2. Make post-wedding plans to look forward to
A simple BBQ the following weekend, maybe a weekend trip 2 or 3 weeks away. Set something in stone on the calendar so the day after your wedding you know you have another major event coming up that you can be over the moon about.
3. Talk about it
Seriously, the person you just said “I Do” to is supposed to be there for better or for post-wedding-depression (especially since they may feel the same). Talk to them about how you’re feeling, and see if you can overcome it together, in a way that suits you best. Maybe you can take a little trip, or gather cell phone photos from friends, or maybe go back to the venue for a quick reminisce.
But you won’t be able to work through it, if you don’t talk it out.
4. Embrace the imperfections on the day-of
There is SO MUCH PRESSURE around weddings to have this perfectly composed and orchestrated event. Even during parts of the day couples are stressing out about what’s happening – and they’re supposed to be excited and thrilled because they’re getting friggin’ married! Take a few steps back on your wedding day and take a deep breath and find a calming mantra. Even if your ceremony music was messed up (true story) and your food turned out awful (same true story), remember that today is just a single day. 24 hours. It comes and passes and you want to be presently happy for what’s happening, or you’ll harbor feelings later on.
5. Get married again!
No, not in the divorce-remarry kind of way. Have an annual couple’s session with your human, complete with a bouquet and a gorgeous white dress (same dress or new). Go somewhere beautiful, say your vows again, and just experience your time together. There’s no reason that your “first” wedding has to be your “only” wedding. This is 2020 people, you can make your own damn rules.
Bonus: 6. Consider a shorter engagement.
Wedding planning can span anywhere from months to years, with the average falling somewhere around the 2 year mark. That’s an awful long time to have something looming over your head, so consider doing a shorter engagement – maybe just 3-6 months. You’ll marry your best friend faster, and you’ll have less time to ho and hum over small details.
Did you encounter the post-wedding blues? Drop your experience and what you did to manage it below in the comments!
Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN.
I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.
This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.
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