Post-wedding depression. Most of the brides reading this will know exactly what that is. For those who don’t, it’s the period ranging from 48 hours to 6 months+ where a bride (turned wife) experiences extreme and erratic sadness following her wedding. Anywhere from 99 to 100% of brides experience it and symptoms range from sudden bursting into tears to avoiding any and all wedding-related activities. Extreme cases can cause temporary psychosis and putting off picking up your cleaned and repaired wedding dress for up to a year (not that I, like, did that or anything). But don’t worry, while there is no immediate cure – you are not alone!
First, let’s rewind. My biggest piece of wedding advice is to really, truly enjoy your wedding weekend. A bride’s demeanor sets the tone for the entire event. A fun, laid back bride makes for a fun, laid back wedding. A stressed, high strong bride makes, well, just makes everyone nervous. We have all attended a wedding where the bride was straight up Miranda Priestly-ing her big day and, like the Devil Wears Prada character, she will probably end up miserable, divorced, and attending Paris Fashion Week alone. Ladies, love your day. Drink all of the signature cocktails you curated. Eat all of the artisanal cuisine you paintstakingly picked out. And dance to that DJ you interviewed 5 times to ensure he will play both Earth, Wind, and Fire and Kygo.
Once you have thoroughly enjoyed your holy matrimony and you feel the first cold sweat of PWD set in, this how to survive. Trust me, I’m a doctor (or at least I’ve watched enough Grey’s Anatomy to know when to push 2 of epi)…
DO NOT think about the things that may have gone wrong or that you wish had happened. Not worth it, nobody else noticed.
DO NOT look at other weddings online or on social media and compare. Sure, those weddings may look great on paper but I can almost guarantee they weren't as fun as yours.
DO allow yourself to feel sad it's over. You plan for months and months for this big, life-changing event and (just like that) it's over. I remember being sad that I couldn't remember all the details of my wedding and then stressing about it (was I too drunk? did I not pay attention enough? where were the bacon wrapped dates?) BUT then every other bride I talked to said the same thing. Weddings end up being like silent movies in your head - you can remember the big details but not the specifics. This is just because they are so over-stimulating that it is impossible to do everything, see everything and remember every detail. I mean I can hardly remember what I had for dinner last night, let alone what song was playing when we did our grand exit through a sea of sparklers (sidenote: slightly dangerous).
And while we’re being open and honest, I came down with a bad case of ihatethatphoto-it is where I couldn't even look at pictures from my wedding. I avoided anything I was tagged in like the plague. It was like I was coming down off of a bad bender and I wasn't ready to remember everything. I also hated every photo people kindly shared with me (but when I look back at those photos now, I love them). My diagnosis: you put so much pressure on this one day and your expectations are so high that they are nearly impossible to reach - so of course the photos could never do the unrealistic vision you have in your head justice. For those who are perfectionists like moi, you know what I’m saying. I picked apart everything. Ev-ery-thing. Which leads me to my next gripe…
I HATED MY WEDDING PHOTOS WHEN I FIRST GOT THEM BACK and obsessed over each one in a very self-deprecating few hours (ok fine, days...maybe even weeks). If you do this, don’t. Just stop. But if you can’t stop, know this is normal. I kept thinking about all of the photos I could have gotten and how I wouldn't have done this or that or blah blah blah. Hindsight is a bitch. This is stupid. I remember feeling so silly about this until a friend of mine (a much more easy going friend) confided that she felt this way too. I hope this does not happen to you but if it does, know that it is completely normal. I actually can't even believe it because I look back on my wedding album now and am obsessed with all damn near 2,000 photos, but in the moment, they were not PERFECT to me and I felt like I had one chance and I blew it. For every 200 great photos, there was 1 with a double chin and that one photo made me throw out the lot. When in reality, that one double chin photo was the one I ended up framing because it was the one where my husband and I were genuinely laughing so hard we let our secret second chin show. This slow return to sanity happened over time, but it happened. And you, too, will regain your sanity. PWD isn’t permanent.
Worst case scenario, we all have a Facetune proficient friend who can make even the most unfortunate photos look flawless.
Sidenote: my husband did not understand PWD and yours may not either. He just thought he married a lemon and was probably searching for my receipt so he could return me to the nearest psych ward. Guys usually don’t have as much invested (mentally, physically and financially) so there is a lot less to lose. I worked out 7 days a week for 6 months, did 2 Whole30s, 1 weekend at a health spa where you ‘cleanse’ (read: don’t eat), and put my bank account in the red paying for a custom Snapchat filter for the weekend that nobody even saw. My husband just, kind of, showed up. He won’t get it. And if he does then congratulations, you picked a winner!
Just know that time heals all and your PWD will go away!
So now go, live your life, unfollow any wedding accounts you follow (to avoid ye olde comparison game) and get ready to answer the question about when you are having kids a million times!
Until next time, signing off from a PWD survivor.