Worst wedding ever: how I handled wedding day disappointment

Guest post by AGK
wedding day disappointment
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Is it normal to be unhappy on your wedding day? Because I was.

Right after my wedding ceremony, I was standing hand-in-hand with my awesome husband and — dead serious — the only thought in my head was “this wedding would never be good enough to be on Offbeat Wed.”

I thought I was well prepared. I had spent months looking at all the featured weddings and how lovely they all turned out, found the perfect dress, the killer shoes, a great venue. Best of all, the perfect partner!

…But somewhere along the way, it just wasn't what I thought it would be. I felt that I had not only let myself down, but also my husband and all the people invited. I was deep in it with wedding day disappointment.

Why was I so disappointed in my wedding day?

Honestly, nothing so horrible went wrong. But I wish it would have been possible to have a practice wedding, so I could figure out what didn't work before the real thing. Because all I know is that I felt awkward the entire time.

My fiancé and I heavily favored elopement. But the thought of my family and friends not being there made me so sad. So we arranged a small wedding: a short ceremony followed by lunch and cake.

During the vows, I was acutely aware of everyone staring. At me. I couldn't shake the image of my mother in law sobbing hysterically right before the guests arrived. Not from happiness, but from family drama. Then lunch went fine. The people working the venue were impeccable. But all I wanted was to get it over with.

Once we were alone in the car, I sat there holding my bouquet trying so hard not to cry. I don't know what went wrong along the way, but there was no giddy “this is the happiest day of my life.”

…And then I got the wedding photos and my wedding day disappointment really kicked in

I pinned my hopes on our wedding photos — maybe they at least would reflect the idyllic happiness that I was supposed to have felt. With happy smiling pictures, no one would guess my secret.

Nope. Unbeknownst to me the photographer captured the entire ceremony from her knees — not many people look flattering from that angle — and all other pictures are blurry.

I spent a while looking back and trying to think about what I should have done differently. I realize now it wasn't my fault. I made the choices that I felt were best at the time. People focusing their attention on me has never been my thing… why would the wedding have been different for me? I put so much pressure on myself without even realizing it. I just expected that this one day would be blissfully happy.

I realize now that what really matters is that I got to marry the love of my life.

…Sure, it would have been nice to have had a killer wedding full of love and happiness.
…It would have been awesome to have beautiful pictures of us on our wedding day.

But one day does not define our marriage. It will be the years to come. The laughter and tears. The good days and bad.

I may not have had an amazing wedding, but I can have an amazing marriage.

Relate to wedding day disappointment? You need to read these posts…

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Comments on Worst wedding ever: how I handled wedding day disappointment

  1. Your wedding does not determine how your marriage will be. I wish you a long and happy marriage!! My wedding was very similar to yours, everything went okay, but I was so strung out by everyone watching me make this intensely personal and emotional commitment to the man at my side that I couldn’t really have fun. Even after the ceremony when I could wipe my tears away and fix up my make-up, I still kept thinking about what a huge thing we’d done and how important it was. Those big feelings kind of got in the way of having a silly happy party 🙂

  2. When I was prepping for my wedding, I was at a random jewelry party one evening a few months before the wedding day and started chatting with a newly married woman. She said something that really resonated with me- “Remember that the wedding is all about the following day.” The wedding will be what it will be, but ultimately it IS all about being the beginning of a marriage.
    I’m sorry your day didn’t go as well as you would have liked, but kudos to you and your partner on the start of an amazing marriage.

  3. First of all I want to give you a big huge hug.

    You survived your wedding. That’s kind of a big part of it. It doesn’t have to be a huge show, it doesn’t have to be featured in magazines. Heck, if it is featured it might mean that it wasn’t as much “you” as it was a popular style that people want to look at.

    I think everyone needs to talk more about the real feeling of a wedding ceremony. Hello people HUSHED SILENCE AND STANDING IN FRONT OF A CROWD OF PEOPLE IS AWKARD. I have not been to a single wedding that I didn’t think – “oh gosh, this is so awkward.” Nobody knows what to say, few people know what to do. There’s a lot of standing around and stammering. I’m going to hug you now because you are bride/groom/father of bride/mother of bride/ etc.

    The list goes on:

    -waiting for the bride and groom to arrive at the reception is awkward.

    -people drink at receptions because, hellllllllo awkward!

    You wanna know the crazy thing though? People don’t remember the awkward. They remember that they attended the wedding of someone they loved. They remember that they witnessed the vows.

    I went to a wedding once where the environmental noise was so loud (umm, we were in a cave with a waterfall!) that you couldn’t carry on a conversation. We laughed later, but during the wedding & reception it was just painfully loud, and – you guessed it – awkward!

    Give yourself a high five for making it through. Get post-wedding portraits done if you really want a do-over on the photos – you could basically do another engagement shoot style thing.

    And most importantly – welcome to married life! Enjoy!

  4. This is an important subject, and an excellent post. My wedding was no a disaster by any means, but it was in the midst of chaos. We were about to be homeless (Landlord had to sell the property and we had to be out on very short notice). My future in-laws were weathered out of town and couldn’t make it (incredibly difficult for my fiancé to deal with that, but he wanted to continue the wedding anyway). We were young and broke, and had just started new jobs (stressful!). My mom had just had a bad seizure and had injured her back, so not only was she in lots of pain, but she is a hair stylist and was going to fix my hair for the wedding. A moment she had looked forward to with much anticipation couldn’t happen, and I had to go to a friend’s salon instead. That may sound silly, but it was devastating, I was incredibly stressed out and worried about my mom and her medical difficulties. I was having difficulty with my make-up, even my dress… it was an off day for so many reasons.

    BUT, it was a blessing in disguise. On our first anniversary we were able to appreciate HOW MUCH BETTER things were compared to the last year. No chaos, not crazy things going wrong… just us. We were still standing! And we were able to simply enjoy each other.

    We just celebrated our second anniversary, and you know what? This year it was even better! We’re in an even better place, and are able to love and appreciate each other even more. It’s easy to feel good about our situation now compared to the unstable ground we were on 2 years ago.

  5. I felt exactly the same way. We did have a lot of things go wrong, from people who said they’d help not helping to nobody “getting” the informal reception vibe, but that wasn’t really what was wrong. The thing that was most “wrong” was that we’re not center-of-attention people and so much of the wedding felt like I was on stage, and when we didn’t perform the way guests expected, the disappointment was palpable.

    But I’m still glad we had our wedding the way we did and that I had the perspective to know that a wedding is a glorified day but still just one day in a long lifetime.

    • Thats IT exactly. I am a center of attention, life of the party kinda gal. My fiance, hates being the center of attention, and doesnt understand 99% of any of this – making a speech, toast, fees/costs, my stress over a dress, invitations, etc. I’m trying to do things that work for US, not what people expect, yet i have a fear that it wont be fun.
      We’re not doing a first dance ; cupcakes instead of wedding cake, minimal attendants (i’m 52 and beyond 9 bridesmaids); we’re not even really having “dancing” just ipod music – all rock love songs.
      But i have a huge fear it wont be fun, people will be disappointed. His point is its not about the wedding, its about us getting married/being married.

      He totally doesnt understand the “ive been waiting for this day my whole life” thing (and for me its been a 52 yr wait, no 22 like most).

  6. If you choose to have a child, there will also be the expectation that you will have the perfect birth experience. Talk about things you can’t control!

    • although at least, presumably, few if any people will be around for that so you can edit!

  7. I really appreciate you sharing your feelings!
    While we were planning our wedding, we tried to be authentic in our choices. I hoped that would lead to magical feelings on our wedding day.
    Yet during the ceremony, I didn’t have a moment of transcendence like I had read about. Even with crafting our own vows from other vows I found online (OBB was a valuable resource!), it felt strange not heartfelt to say them out-loud to each other in a room full of people. It was, as Laura previously mentioned, awkward to have people looking up at us, even with trying to keep the guest list down to our closest friends and family. My husband didn’t cry or pump his fist in the air. I didn’t cry either. He made silly faces at me throughout the ceremony, so instead I laughed through a lot of our ceremony. It was reflective of us, but not the serious or momentous moment I thought it might be.
    At the reception, I was happy and felt surrounded by love. But I was surprised (and maybe a little ashamed?) to find that those feelings had little to do with my husband. They came from being surrounded by some of our guests whose love and support I deeply appreciated.
    Yet even with feeling like the reception made it one of the happiest days I’ve had, I’ve found that thinking about our wedding often makes me sad. I feel crazy for feeling this way. Crazy that the reception is my favorite part of the day. (Isn’t is suppose to be when I locked eyes with him and everything else melted away? Only that didn’t happen.) I remember almost gasping with awe when I walked into the room at how beautiful it looked. Yet when I look at the pictures now, I see the mistakes – the crooked garland, the unlit candles, the items that time and money were spent on but didn’t get set out, etc. Then there is the feeling that I missed something, and I don’t even quite know what it is.
    I followed my photographer’s blog, waiting to receive our pictures. It was exciting at first. But then I started wondering if she’ll ever share any of our photos. Seeing the beautiful weddings she has since posted and wondering if she’ll think our wedding is good enough. I finally stopped following it.
    So I can relate to feeling like our wedding wasn’t good enough to be shared here or there. It is helpful to remember that (as one of my favorite articles ever on OBB states) a wedding isn’t a contest, but I understand the struggle with sometimes less than pleasant feelings that remain despite believing that.
    I completely agree that the marriage is the important thing! I wish you all the best in yours.

  8. I’m sorry! I feel ya though. I really wish that I could have a wedding do-over myself. I felt like I compromised on too many things and the wedding just wasn’t “us”. On top of that I almost felt like a had post-wedding depression. All my family was there from out of state and then all of the sudden they were gone. It was kind of a bummer! Oh well, like you said, at least you can have an awesome marriage!

  9. Plan to get married again some day, and do it your way – you’ve a whole life time to plan for it 🙂

    • I have plans to do this… Whenever we get the time and money, we are going to have a “vow-renewal” (which I had never heard of before OBB), and I’m going to be able to do a lot of the stuff I didn’t get the chance to at our wedding. I will make the changes I wanted, AND it won’t be as stressful since it will be a more informal, party-type thing, so even if it isn’t perfect, I won’t be crazy disappointed.

      I love that there is a post like this on OBB. THANK YOU. 🙂

  10. I feel this! In a lot of ways, my wedding was also a disappointment. It took a while to be okay with it, but I totally am now. It is what it is, it was one day out of my life, and it’s fine that it wasn’t perfect. We’ve been married for a year and a half and the marriage has been AMAZING. I didn’t absolutely love my wedding, but I ADORE being a wife.

    Plus, my husband and I have already decided to do a vow renewal on our 5th anniversary. Very, very small. Just a few of the people closest to us and an excuse to get dressed up and take pictures again, followed by the honeymoon we never got to have. It really helps that I have that to look forward to.

    • This is so good to read. I cant believe my wedding was such a stressful time with 8 bridesmaids I didn’t want to the help stitching me up too so I was left with 8 kids all screaming with a mother that done nothing than shout at me as the morning had been ruined by this and oh it just went on. nearly an hour late so all of the rest of the day was so rushed oh yes I forgot to say it tipped down all day with no break what so ever!! my photos are so disappointing! I too am having my wedding renewed an im leaving out the people that let us down as they were family too!! Then we will hve our honeymoon away like we didn’t this time. Your post has made me feel more positive. Been married two months and I can still cry when I think of all that went wrong.

  11. Yes!!! Thank you!!! I love how positive the Tribe is, but it probably led me to unrealistic expectations of me, our families, and the day. Everything & everyone was supposed to be chill & groovy, but in the last month, it all fell apart. Traditions suddenly mattered, families bickered, the night before the ceremony my MIL cried in my arms because she didn’t want me marrying her son. The lead up to the wedding sucked; the morning of I almost ran away. But, as soon as the stupid thing got underway was the beginning of things getting better. It wasn’t great, but there were moments that I can treasure. And, that night, I went to bed with my husband. I still smile when I call him that 19 months later 🙂

    • Wow, I feel for you. Having a MIL crying and saying she doesn’t want you to marry her son is intense!
      Big ol’ hug for you!

      Happy marriage!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Having our wedding just around the corner I am already afraid of those feelings… But deep insides of me I (now) know that this will be ok!
    We don’t live in Disneyland where everything is full of glitter – But we do have our partners! And they are full of love that sparkles! 😉

  13. I wonder if there’s some way that you and your sweetie could have a re-do ceremony, by yourselves (with a kickass photographer maybe?) and an officiant, just to re-commit yourselves or get drunk and look at horrible blurry photos from the first time. Something that feels more you?

    I can resonate with wedding dramaz. I try to laugh about it…but…my forehead was burnt from the hairdryer machine at my hairdresser, so it looked like I had been branded by a curling iron twice in my hairline, my brother didn’t make it because he was having a fight with his wife, it was a blizzard (in Seattle) AND my dress broke…while dancing with my dad during our father/daughter dance…and yes, he might have seen my right boob pop out on the dance floor.

    But…those memories are funnier than some picture perfect leave-it-to-beaver wedding 🙂

  14. It’s almost as if I wrote this myself. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t thrilled about their wedding. From the planning to the family drama, I also couldn’t wait for it to just be over with – so much so that I ended up drinking heavily at the reception and forgetting most of it. Nothing other than our coach bus breaking down (which was immediately fixed) went wrong, it just wasn’t what I had thought it would be. Our guests all had a great time from what they’ve told me and our ceremony was beautiful. Despite the lack of love for my wedding, I had the outcome I ultimately wanted – a husband.

  15. THIS THIS THIS THIS. I felt the exact same way. I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about it. I still can’t stand to hear people talk about planning weddings because I wish so much that I could go back and change mine. I still hate going to weddings (for the most part).

    But my marriage is awesome. And I would much rather have an awesome marriage and a not-so-awesome wedding than the other way around.

    And we’re going to throw a kick-ass 10 year anniversary party one day.

    • I agree with you completely – and we’re going to plan a vow renewal as well. Ideally somewhere tropical and just us!

    • Thanks so much for sharing here..very glad I found this site.
      So relate to things mentioned in the orig post, as well as comments!
      Just bummed, esp a lot of the photos. Majority of moving fiancé & kids household (2 hr drive ea way) to (new to us) house within couple of weeks just prior, twin teenage boys graduation (badly behaved one living w/ us full-time since previous Thanksgiving riot w/ his Mother), fiancé working out of state much of the time in 6 mos prior, disorganized, all fam, friends & bridesmaids out of state & arrived day or two ahead, and I lost so much weight in 2 weeks that I look haggard, tired..just old & homely in most photos. Strapless dress had fitted nicely…but bout a size too big & frumpy on our day 🙁 Stress & more stress. Fiancé kept taking on too much, more projects. He was completely worn out. We’d decided to wait for a wedding trip till later..to spend time w/ fam & friends that had traveled. If his sweet, amazing sister hadn’t been there a week early, if my Sis & friends hadn’t pitched in & put a lot together day before, it wouldn’t hv happened at all I guess.
      I feel pretty selfish bout wanting to sched a bridal portrait in a few weeks..after I gain a little weight, rest up & hv dress (esp bodice part) altered to fit.
      We’d talked about including a port to port Mediterranean cruise in our honeymoon trip. Greece maybe. So, I thought we might have a dinner & dance in our wedding clothes. Our event & attire was semi-formal.
      Once we’ve finally moved everything, prepared former house to sell, organized & really cleaned our new home!

      • I am so happy to find other people who have some of the same feelings I do. It’s been nearly a year since my wedding, and I still get that “pit in my stomach” feeling too — in fact, I am going to the first wedding since mine today, and it is bringing back so many feelings. Like many others here, nothing went terribly wrong at my wedding — it rained (hard…), we ran behind schedule so photos were rushed, limo issues, that sense that I was not performing properly, some awkward family moments — but the main problem was my ability to be fully present. I just didn’t even feel like myself that weekend. I was so tired and anxious — I hadn’t been sleeping or eating much and was just so exhausted that I wanted it all to be over. It’s so easy to fall into thoughts about what I should have done instead.

        But, I try to remember: be kind to yourself! Planning a wedding AND being a bride is really hard! You did it! You made the best choices you could at the time — it’s easy to judge in hindsight. Remember the good moments — there are always good moments (I will never forget the look on our 4-year-old ring bearer’s face when he handed the plastic “rings” to our officiant, or the feeling when our whole circle of inebriated guests surrounded us and swayed to “Piano Man” at the end of the night). And, as the original poster sagely advised, remember that the whole point was to forge an official union with the love of your life. If you’re married by the end of the day…it was a success. 🙂

  16. I had a very similar experience – my family went out on a limb and promised that they would pull off a cake and a tent to decorate, and my poor mother overextended herself so that there were a lot of loose ends. What it was as a ceremony in a field with an informal picnic and lots of hugging – fantastic. What it was supposed to be was defintely not that. When I thought about the wedding for months afterwards it broke my heart how much went awry (including having to throw my poor groom in the shower due to sun poisoning from helping my dad put up the tent at the last minute). It took me a long time to make peace with it, and it’s finally ok – I had to learn to appreciate that we were both young kids getting married out of our parent’s houses, and that was going to come with a lot of baggage and mishap becuase of who they are.
    What we did gain was a moment of holy-crap-we’re-married, and the process of preparation strengthened our relationship and gave us a sense of feeling like we had a right to be standing on our own as a couple.

    Our relationship and community keeps growing and changing, and who we count among our “family” has shifted around a lot – consequently a vow renewal is going to be very appropriate in a few years, and at that time I think much of the magical sense of accomplishment in life might creep in where the first time it was eclipsed by family stress.

  17. Awww. I think you should have cried. Let those feelings out when they come..
    I don’t know what my wedding will be like, but, I am soo hesitant to have ‘friendors’ as my bf recently offered.
    I care about the food and would rather have a pro because so much can go wrong if there is no (or not enough) food. Everything else, I hope I can just not worry about.
    Never expected perfection, but this site really helps keep perspective.

  18. I’m so happy to read this piece, AGK. I got married over two years ago and had no idea about the craze of blogs featuring real weddings at the time.

    And I am so glad.

    Seeing these INCREDIBLE featured weddings really does make you stop and think, ‘Errr…maybe I didn’t get married properly at all?’

    My wedding, for one, could never have been featured on any blog.

    I mean, none of my bridal party wore Converse trainers. I didn’t wear a calf length vintage frock and red lipstick. Our decorations did not include even one string of bunting. Our cake was just white, and not exactly delicious. I have no cool tattoos. Neither of us are extraordinarily good-looking. We didn’t marry in a converted barn/boat/bombshelter, or in a field/forest/lakeside shore. We didn’t have a quirky band. We didn’t have a quirky photographer. There are no pictures of us that are in any way quirky. The weather was sh-te! And we didn’t have a theme because if we had had one, NONE of our guests would have gotten it…

    I suppose what I’m saying it that in the face of so much awesomeness here online, it’s hard to appreciate your wedding when it ends up looking ‘normal’ and ‘unamazing.’

    But maybe we are putting too much pressure on ourselves? (and our weddings?)

    • ha 😀 Thx for the giggles..converted way-cool bombshelter!
      I just wish our wedding hadn’t ended up as one of many, too many huge projects all at once, that I hadn’t looked like a scrawny, tired, old bag in somebody larger’s dress, that there had been more organization on my part, and that I’d put some of my stuff first..like taking necessary time to get my teeth whitened a little, having my hair done by my regular stylist. (Last minute mall chain salon highlights were weird color 🙁 Didn’t expect to look perfect, but really a bummer to be in, and look very much like…worst shape I’ve ever been in.
      But! Now I’m motivated & don’t feel bad about wanting something of a do-over…sched a decent bridal portrait in a few weeks, plan for a dinner/dance on honeymoon cruise in Jan, and get my dress altered, w/ embellishments added as it was supposed to be 🙂

  19. One of my strongest wedding memories is wandering around the reception, watching everyone happily sitting and talking, and feeling totally out of place. Wanting to join in but not wanting to interrupt. Either there were no free chairs at the table, or a bunch of new in-laws I hardly knew, or everyone was so absorbed in their conversation that they didn’t notice me! I felt terribly awkward and a little upset.

    There were nice bits too, and I have happy memories, but the not-so-good parts, combined with my father suddenly dying three months after the wedding, mean that even 2.5 years down the road, my wedding doesn’t bring up very happy memories. Thank goodness for a wonderful marriage!

  20. OMG! This is so how I felt on my wedding day. I didn’t want to elope or anything beforehand but I felt so awkward for most of it. I really don’t like being the center of attention. I still loved our wedding day and wouldn’t change it. But I wish I hadn’t felt as uncomfortable as I did at certain points.

  21. Yep, this is why we have decided to elope. Thank you for sharing your story – it totally reinforces the “rightness” of the decision we’ve made for ourselves.

  22. We were in the exact same boat and OBB did some gracious editing to our submission. The whole wedding experience was miserable at points and awesome at others, but realizing how we made it through because we’re us, and all the amazing support we received from friends and certain family makes the bum memories fade. Check around, one of your guests might have taken much better pictures. And if you can get digital copies of pics, have a friend good with photoshop do some flattering editing. Our photographer was sympathetic to our situation, did what he could to blur out/color edit the pix so we could get some of the best memories we could out of the day. Not that we needed to rose-color our memories, they’re all still there but it’s nice to have the cool stuff in focus to look back on.

    • I second asking your guests!!! Our photographer had a mishap and the last memory card of the night taken by the primary photographer got corrupted, leaving us with no photos of the toasts or formal dances!! Luckily I crowd sources and found a few good ones, and our photographer professionally edited them and included them in our (free due to the mishap) album!!!

  23. I can definitely relate and it seems like there’s a lot of us out there so thank you for posting this! It’s true that there is so much pressure these days on having the perfect wedding that couples get sidetracked about what actually means the most to them (along with everyone else’s opinion, proper etiquette, etc. etc.). If you look at our wedding, it looks like we did it our way but that doesn’t mean everything went as planned or how I would have liked. I’m a year and a half later and every week say I wish I could redo my wedding. But even if I could, would it turn out any better? I have come to terms with my wedding not being as awesome as I would have liked but also keeping in mind that we can always redo our vows down the road and do it all over again. If anyone asks me what my favorite part was, I say at midnight when I got to take my dress off and it was just us and our closest friends playing cards and drinking. THAT was my favorite part. So much so, that the next morning I cried when they all went home because it was nice having all our friends together for once. I didn’t cry during my vows but when everyone went home! Anyway, this all to say to future brides that you should have realistic expectations and like others have said, it’s not about the wedding it’s about your future with your hubby!

  24. If that make you feel any better, my husband had nasty panic attack few days before our wedding (returning to his home country after 10 years, stress, 12 hours flight with claustrophobia issues, all that), so until the day of the wedding I didn’t know, if we can actually pull it off. My whole wedding day started with the trip to the venue, which was not even decorated at this point (the decorator got offended we didn’t want his artificial flowers…), and if it wasn’t for my sweet sister, it would stay this way… I actually don’t remember the wedding at all, just the ceremony and our vows. I was so scared, that my husband will flip out during the ceremony, that almost all of the pics and the video (my parents request…) show me as stern and sad looking… I don’t really remember my wedding, I guess the cake was good and I was worrying all the time that guests are not having fun, because nobody was dancing…
    We’re happily married and I just try not to remember that day. Although pics came out really nice, so that’s my only consolation 🙂
    I guess the weddings are just the most stressed days of our lives, it’s just not everyone shares their experiences. I’m really glad you shared yours, I made me feel sooo much better…

  25. I love this! Word for word. I have been thinking a lot of my own wedding this week and I needed to read this. Looking forward to the amazing fun times and wonderful marriage and family ahead, and also already thinking about doing a 5yr or 10yr celebration party! I want my flowers again!

  26. I am so grateful to you for posting this, i am really worried about the day, your well i am being told by others how i am going to feel and im actually resenting having the wedding. I know i want to marry my fiance and that we’ll have an awesome marriage filled with highs and lows but all the pressure now is starting to make me hate the day and i’m worried that on the happiest day of my life all i’ll be is a moody bitch who wants to go home : (

  27. From the outside, my wedding day looked awesome, and everyone except me thought it was. I too was plagued by small mistakes, and dearly wished I’d had a practice wedding.

    In my case though, it wasn’t ok.
    Post wedding wedding regrets spiralled into a deep depression that eventually contributed to the demise of the marriage.

    I’m mentioning it because I think it’s important that people know that post wedding depression DOES exist, and it’s important to seek help if you think you might feel this way.

    I did ALOT of pretending that everything was ok and that I loved my wedding day for the sake of all those that helped and contributed.

    As a side plus though.. now I’m getting divorced, it kind of was a practice wedding, so maybe I’ll do a better job next time around. 🙂

  28. I’m getting married in 33 days, and I can’t decide if this post reassures me, or terrifies the sh^$%! out of me. I understand the WIC builds up the expectation that we’re supposed to love everything about the big day. It’s supposed to be the pinnacle of life up to this point. And I understand that it probably won’t be. Nothing can be, if you build it up TOO much.

    But at the same time, I really AM looking forward to the big day. I know there’s going to be drama (I’m pretty sure my parents will be there, but only because several relatives are flying in from Europe for the wedding), but I’m still looking forward to putting on that big poofy dress, walking down the aisle and seeing my man at the other end, eating our delicious buffet lunch, having that first dance even though we’ve never actually danced together before, going to bed that night in the arms of my husband…

    And I’m worried that maybe I’m setting myself up for failure, by thinking “our wedding will be fine; we’re planning a fun day, and we will have a good time”. I’m worried my type-A OCD personality will take over and not trust our wedding co-ordinator, that I’ll only see that not all the placecards are perfectly evenly lined up on the table, that it will rain and we have to move our outside wedding indoors, that no one’s going to dance, that we’ll run out of booze, that we’ll have too much booze left over and I’ll stress about that waste of money, that people (guests OR vendors) simply forget about the wedding that morning and we have tons of empty seats…

    I’m ready for the day to be here, so I can finally KNOW what stresses I have to worry about. Then I can start figuring out how to get over worrying about them. 🙂

    • I think what made it harder was that I didn’t foresee not being happy with the wedding. I just expected that I would be. You sound well prepared and I hope you have a great wedding!

    • Well, one thing you won’t have to worry about is what to do with any leftover booze – take it home! It’ll keep for years 🙂

  29. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this!! I had a wonderful wedding, and I am married to a wonderful man, but there were just things that I wasn’t happy with at our wedding. Like you said, I wish we could have had a practice wedding to work out all the bugs… it was little things, like me screwing up my entrance (wrong bar in the music. Whoops!), the stylist screwing up me and my sisters’ hair, my aunt dressing me instead of my mom, etc. All little things I still think about when I see my pictures. And my wedding WAS on Offbeat Bride! But it still wasn’t good enough. Those little things still niggle at me. But I’m trying so hard to release it for these exact reasons you wrote about: I may not have had a perfect wedding, but I can have an awesome marriage. And thankfully, I am well on my way to that. Thanks again for writing this!!!

  30. Despite this post, which is exactly what I am afraid will happen to me, I’m still hopeful that it won’t be that bad. But it probably will. I’ll be uncomfortable in my clothing (I always am). I’ll feel awkward talking to people, especially where I fail to meet their expectations (“You must be sooo happy to be finally married!” “Well, honestly it doesn’t feel any different.”) People probably won’t dance because we’re not big dancers. My husband will look uncomfortable because he’ll be uncomfortable and that will make me feel like he’s not entirely happy about marrying me, even though I’ll know it’s really that he’s not entirely happy about being in a social situation. And he’ll want to leave as soon as possible and no matter how long we’re there, I’ll feel that we’re left out by leaving while people were still there and leaving the cleaning to our families. But maybe if I know that ahead of time, I can try to combat it, can try to think of how pretty my poofy dress is instead of how much I’m sweating on my thousand-dollar dress – and hopefully I won’t be surprised enough by my disappointments to cry about them.

  31. I thought this only happened to me, so great to know I’m not the only one. I love my hubby enormously, but I’ve never liked being the centre of attention. I organised my wedding from overseas, so we kept it pretty basic. Stuff went wrong on the day including family drama and poor photography, but in the end I am happy that I’m married. Thank you for discussing this, I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

    • That’s exactly why I ended up writing this. I didn’t know what to do with my feelings and couldn’t find anything to relate to. So I finally just wrote it myself! It’s comforting to know that my experience was not unique.

  32. I am totally in love with this gal. So I just got married in October 2012 and needless to say it was all bundles of joy. Two days wait how about a full week before the wedding my mom, sister and I all were at each others throats. Needless to say that about 7 months before my big day, my date and venue all changed, so our lovely save the dates went to waste. Thankfully though it was still in the same weekend. Once I said my vows to my amazing husband, I felt the same way, I just wanted to be on my honeymoon away from all the drama that had ensued. And my marriage has and is amazing. So don’t sweat it girl. If you really don’t like your wedding photos go get some fun ones redone in your wedding dress and him in his tux at penny’s or find another photographer to take them.

  33. This is a beautiful post. The voice in your writing makes it so easy to imagine your older self, sitting happily with your husband of 30 years and smiling benignly on this moment in your life. Thank you for this important reminder. <3

  34. This post is so incredible and important. I got married ten years ago and spent all my energy planning the wedding and it was wonderful. It was quirky and beautiful, exactly what I wanted. But…I was a baby, only 21, had no idea what marriage meant, there was ugly family drama and much crying beforehand, spent the entire reception “mingling” and basically ignored my husband, and got drunk, said stupid stuff and was too tired (and drunk) to have sex. Sometimes I spend too much time worrying about that and not enough time that despite all that, we’re so much stronger and happier now. I’ve been considering a vow renewal and probably won’t because I know I’ll do the same thing, be more concerned about details than feelings.

    For those of you getting married and worrying about all this, I’d make one suggestion. Tell a friend or family member what you’re worried about so they can remind you to enjoy your wedding if you get too stressed. I wish someone had known me well enough to make me drink less or tell me to go spend time with my husband! Think of it as a feelings coodinator!

  35. I am so sorry you feel this way. i love the line above about the next day being more important than the wedding day.

    I had a bunch of stress in the week leading up to it, but, the day of I was very happy and joyous, thankfully. But, truth be told, it was a bigger wedding than i wanted and all the stress came from the boy’s giant family (they are just sort of socially clueless and made constant demands / changes right up till the last possible second) and they were pretty much most of the reason i wanted a super-small wedding so we could avoid them. But, Boy insisted on them coming. So. So, we made a deal before we even GOT married that the *very next time* we went on a tropical beach vacation, we would do a ‘vow renewal’, and have a private, just us, on the beach ceremony. That honestly helped me a lot dealing with the stress of wanting to kill people, just knowing that someday, in the not-so-distant future, i would get my ‘just me and him’ wedding – which sort of works like the ‘do-over’ wedding that you say you want.

    We only got married in Sept, and obviously i didn’t to the renewal on our honeymoon because it would have been just ‘one more thing’ which at that point i couldn’t deal with, and we are going to Jamaica next month – but that’s for another friend’s wedding, so i wouldn’t dream of stepping on that, so, probably, in about a year from now, i’ll get a second ‘do-over’ wedding. Everyone should have one!

  36. Yes! There was no family drama at my wedding, nothing major went wrong…but nothing really felt great, either. My groom was nursing an abcessed wisdom tooth and wasn’t really present. My budget had been cut in half and I had to keep that hush-hush while acting like everything was hunky dory. The pastor and my in-laws fell out so we had to have it somewhere else.

    Wait…I guess things did go wrong. Huh. Anyway, the point is, I never had that super special, giddy feeling either and wish I could do it over again and change everything.

    But nearly four years of marriage and two baby girls later, it doesn’t matter that the pictures are just okay or that I’d rather have eloped. Because this is so much better than that one day could ever be.

  37. We had a very similar experience with our wedding. Our pictures were AWFUL. We hired my husband’s aunt (who was a professional photographer who had shot weddings before) and the pictures came out way too bright. On top of that, she took forever to stage the pictures and 1/4-1/3 of our guests got tired of waiting and left the reception early. My husband’s grandfather actually came and yelled at us when we were taking our last picture and said we were taking way too long. I tried to hold it together but I walked in to the reception and my cousin (who was sitting at the table nearest the head table) had a very ugly/exasperated look on her face and I completely lost it. I had to leave the reception and I went to another room and bawled my eyes out for a few minutes. Luckily, I pulled it together and we ate, cut the cake and then left. We barely got to talk to our guests and I feel terrible about that to this day (nearly 5 years later).

    We’re planning a private vow renewal for later this year to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and 9 years together in total. Even though our wedding was awful, our marriage has been amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better husband. He is truly my best friend and life would totally suck without him.

    PS: Here is one of the pictures from our wedding photographer of our officiant: http://jershaanddup.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/wedding-disaster-photo-300×435.jpg

    Can you see his face? Yeah, me neither. Most of the pictures were not this bad but they were pretty darn close.

  38. I am so glad I read this post as well as the ensuing comments. The wedding is still a ways off (we have already changed the date due to financial situations) but I am already wishing for it to be over. I hate my dress, I felt pressured to get it and now I hate it, my future MIL was married just 6 years ago and has taken it upon herself to try and plan our wedding, I think she is trying to relive her wedding day specially since she keeps trying to get us to have ours in the same venue, she does this without offering to contribute to the cost never mind that we are planning something that fits us not her. We are dirt poor and trying to even figure a way out to make sure we feed everyone is seriously stressful let alone the venue, the clothes, decorations and bouquets. My FH wants one style wedding and I want another, He wants something more formal I want something more laid back because I don’t want to deal with the let downs. Yet at the same time I want his style too because I want it for him and I guess so I can “feel like a bride” that everyone keeps telling me I should feel. (which I never did with my dress either, zero emotion which really was a let down) And to top everything off, The possibility there will be no one there for me on my day, sucks major balls. My grandmother who raised me insists that I find a hotel where she can bring her two dogs and cat or she isn’t coming. And my mother keeps giving me the run around about my step-dad getting the time off and if she will make it or not. This early on, leaves me with little hope for the actual day. I’m already resigning to the fact that my wedding day will be terrible. But I know that more than anything I am looking forward to being officially married to my man even though I know it won’t feel any different or change anything, there will just be a shiny new ring on my finger, and I will be with him forever, even if the actual day sucks.

    • Guessing you’ve already had your wedding..hope it was better than feared!
      If not & you’re planning for an anniversary vow renewal or a sort of do-over when you can afford to plan & go on a honeymoon…I found some good, affordable resources for dresses 🙂 Preownedweddingdresses.com has thousands. There are many “new with tags” too if you want something never-worn. eBay is really great too. Also many new with tags. Just ck out seller & details carefully. Hope all is well.

    • We deal with unsupportive and overbearing family, too! Family that isn’t paying for a damn thing! So we’re eloping with our closest friends. No family invited. Bam. Maybe you can consider this option?

      Also, my closest friend dealt with these similar issues by having a courthouse wedding long in advance of the actual wedding. It was just them, one parent, and lots of love and intimacy. They had that moment, and whatever happens on the big wedding day, they’re already married and don’t have to worry.

      It’s been hard for me to edit my opinions about what a wedding should be (and I mean really hard). I didn’t at first understand my friend’s choice to not actually marry on her wedding day, but now I completely do. These edits made me consider what I really wanted out of a wedding: artful, quirky photos, to traipse around a big city and raise some eyebrows with my fiance in wedding clothes, have a profound and beautiful private ceremony in pretty spot, and celebrate on the town with my best friends. That’s it. I don’t need a giant regimented party to do all that, and when I figured that out, elopement made sense, and so did my friend’s courthouse choice. Restructuring our ideas about what a wedding is can be key!

      And if restructuring doesn’t work for you, it seems you already have the right attitude. Best of luck to you :]

  39. Thank you so much for this post I thought I was the only one who felt like this. I’d spent a year planning for the perfect wedding. When it finally came, there were times I didn’t feel like myself. I had to juggle a lot of thoughts and emotions in my head because it was the first time my fiance’s family and my family met. There were people I needed to please. I was jet lagged and I didn’t get enough rest as I had planned. I didn’t feel the magic at our wedding ceremony at all. In the middle of the mass, our priest said he had prepared a beautiful ceremony for us, but had to cut the mass short because he had to celebrate another mass and was running late. It was so unfair after we paid for the church and air condition. I was really hurt after that and I think it ruined my mood for the entire evening. Although I think our wedding still turned out great, I didn’t feel like my best self inside. In the end it comforts me to remind myself that I married an amazing man.

  40. I just got married 3 weeks ago. It was horrible. The places I had control. Mainly the ceremony was beautiful I loved it. But the reception was HORRIBLE. I had my sister do the photography and she missed the cake cutting and our first dance!? She also delegated that our photos had to be in front of rocks. We had our reception in a barn (which I chose and decorated with decorations I made!) I worked so hard for so many hours and all for it to be completely annihilated by my #%!£* of a sister in law telling me I had no say in my reception (she was the MC) she did A LOT of things that were reminiscent of her likes and not ours…my husband did not back me up for fear of his mother and sister. The food was disgusting…a caterer my horrible sister in law used at her wedding 10 years prior again something my husband did not take the time to research. I was so infuriated the whole night. I had dirty looks from his family and my family becoming angry at his. We’ve decided on renewing our vows in 5 years and his family can butt out this time.

  41. Thank you so much for this post, and to all the other brides who have commented, I am not alone! The magazines and websites are so full of ‘how to have the day of your dreams’ and ‘it was the best day of my life’ and ‘I felt like a princess, everything was perfect’. And I’m realistic, I didn’t buy into all the Disney propaganda and knew that something was bound to go awry somewhere, but at my wedding two weeks ago I didn’t expect to spend the first two hours alone in the hotel with my new husband crying about various disappointments throughout the day. Some minor, a couple major and all combining to leave me feeling quite devastated that these things had happened, and the people involved had allowed them to happen. And much as I have tried to focus on the positive parts, of which there were many, and on the ultimate fact that I AM MARRIED, that I love my husband and this is just the beginning of our life together, still I have cried again and again throughout our honeymoon and struggle to accept that I won’t ever be able to say it was the best day of my life. I hope that in time the horrible memories of the day will fade and I will look back fondly on our wedding.

  42. I felt and still feel the same way. Me and my husband just got married in August and I’m still having the after wedding depression. It’s sad that all I can think of is mostly what went wrong. The venue was beautiful, the ceremony was beautiful but I felt like it could’ve gone better. I look back and think “I wish I had gotten a different dress” or maybe if we hadn’t had such a short short engagement and just waited a year things would’ve been better. Our photographer just decided to leave after our first dance so no reception pictures at all. The pictures she took didn’t turn out so great either. Everything was very rushed and it wasn’t as wonderful as I thought if would’ve been.., but I’m really trying to look past the negativity. I can’t change what went wrong and I can’t go back to that day. And I have to be happy with being married to my husband. Our wedding was huge. 250 people there so I think of what they thought and stuff and it’s so stupid. And I don’t know how to get over it all. I just wish that it would’ve been more “magical” if that makes any sense. But your post really encouraged me and I’m thinking of getting my wedding dress redone to make it different and wearing it at a 5 year vow renewal!

  43. These are AWESOME stories! Congrats to all of u for remembering what the day is really about!! I tied the knot 26! yes 26 years ago at a campground in my jeans!!! NONE of my family was there, it was my husbands family reunion. It was important for his cousins to be there and we knew they wouldn’t be able to come to our city 2 for the wedding. I was a little bummed not getting to wear a dress but looking at our pictures from a point and shoot camera, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  44. Thank you so much for posting this! I have already felt super bummed out and shed lots of tears about my wedding and I’ve only just begun planning it! I have always had this vision of the perfect beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony, followed by a fun reception with a casual feel that is not exactly the same as every other wedding.

    Sounds like not too much to ask right? But every venue so far that I’ve liked (13 different places on my list) have been vetoed by my fiancé because they are too far away and the guests won’t want to drive, too expensive and and the guests won’t want to book a hotel room, or the only dates available are on a long weekend and the guests won’t want to come on a long weekend….etc. Meanwhile when I ask HIM what HE wants he says he doesn’t really care, he could have the wedding anywhere, and doesn’t understand why I don’t want to get married in just any old random community centre.

    Yesterday was the worst. He took the initiative for us to go look at the most amazing venue of my dreams. It was SO perfect! I honestly would not care whatsoever about planning any details at all, as long as I could get married there. We were both pumped about it and ready to book. But then the venue said they had made a mistake and they were actually all booked up except for a not-so-great weekend in October 2014. I was still perfectly willing, but my Fiancé ‘s best man and groomsman talked him out of it.

    So we haven’t been able to agree and pushed it off for longer than we should have, so there is limited availability. And now I’m being faced with pushing it all off for another year, and feeling embarrassed that we can’t seem to get our sh@# together or just settling for whatever.

    The worst part of all of this is that I, like so many others, thought that this whole experience was supposed to be fun! Instead it has caused my fiancé and I to disagree a lot and be frustrated with each other. We have been together 10 years! And have an awesome relationship, without fighting of any kind! I’m so gobsmacked that planning this wedding is actually causing us problems!

    Does this have to be so hard?

    • my guy and I have been together for 5 years before planning all this, and we arent even 9 days into our marriage and we were fighting about stupid nothingness that we will forget about later, honestly the money and the place and the timing of it all (we planned and re-planned our wedding at least 5 times, my card to my moh read thank you for being by my side for my fifth wedding) I was glad for one thing I printed the off beat bride wedding planning checklist and it said remmeber to tell your partner you love them daily, and its true you are so caught up with these flowers or no flowers or faux flowers that you completely forget what you are doing and why! I stood there with my fiance one month away from our day him in this horrible white shirt and bow tie and he looked completely ridiculous! tears STREAMED down my face in sobs and I changed his outfit to shorts and a batman tshirt because that is the man I met and I wanted to walk to him down the isle! was it perfect no, but I am glad, and you will be too.

  45. Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate! We’re nearing our one year wedding anniversary and I was thinking back to the wedding day… I was exhausted due to lack of sleep and overwhelmed from all the attention. I’m so embarrassed thinking back to what a sad bride I was. Today, I told my husband, “I hated getting married but I LOVE being married to you!” That’s probably the best way I can describe it. I was a wreck at our wedding but there were some great highlights on our special day and I’m married to my favorite person.

    • I got married 9 days ago and you summed it up in that one comment ” I hated getting married but I love being married to you,” I think I will save that for my one year anniversary and Theif it from you for my guys anniversary card LOL

  46. Same boat right here!! I grew up planning the ‘perfect’ wedding, even the ‘perfect’ engagement! Reality check: We wanted to get engaged on a beach in Mexico and quite possibly also get married on a beach surrounded by our nearest and dearest. Ummmmm no. I found out I was preggers before we could get engaged and things went super fast forward from there, hubby proposed to me in our apartment, we planned the wedding in two months, dress shopping sucked due to morning sickness and I ended up with a dress that was SO not me, my Mom’s boyfriend took the pics (seriously there were like ten photos), th reception was in a tiny conference room…yadda yadda yadda 🙂 BUT we are able to look back on that time and laugh about it now, we had the most perfect baby boy a few months after our wedding, added another two years later, and have now been married for 12 amazing years!! I am also now a wedding photographer with the goal of never letting a couple go without beautiful wedding photos no matter what…if I had top pick just one thing to do over it would be the lack of photos for sure! The point of my rambling is that your wedding is just one day, it goes by so quickly and what really matters is the AFTER 🙂

  47. Thank you for being so honest!! I am planning our day for this August and am scared its going to look nothing like it will in my head – which to be truthful I have no idea what that looks like either!!!

  48. Wow I am going to read this to my new husband tonight because this is like reading my own story except for the mother in law part mine didnt even come but she did email and said do not send me any pictures that include any of the people on this list blah, and then ignored us for a few days. My mom wasnt there either but was fine with that due to health issues, it was a great day we had family there no drama and it was fun but all I kept thinking about was how exhausted I was from all the prep, How I knew it wouldnt be a crazy fancy affair I have seen on other pages and from other fellow facebook friends and ultimately sat in the car with my guy and my kids feeling a little like we paid almost 5000 dollars (relatively small wedding budget considering) for THAT?! I still havent gone through my pictures and felt super awkward during our vows. I dont know it was all around great to be surrounded by family to have support to eat good food that I barely got to eat and exchange vows very easy and simply but in the end it just felt like nothing had changed, and everything had changed all at the same time. Long story short I feel this so hard and I am glad this got posted, I dont want to feel ungrateful or like I dont love that I got married but I dont know that I would have done it how I did in hind sight.

  49. It’s refreshing to read an honest post. I,sometimes,reflect on my wedding and there are things I wish I could change. I thought it was just me. It wasn’t like I had high expectations. Just let down that people who said they were going to be there for whatever reason cancelled on the day of. Also,it felt super rushed. Due to the small size of my wedding, the owner of the venue decided to book another event on the same day. How many others can say they had a bar crawl at their wedding?! At the same time, the location was amazing and we got it it for an awesome price. I was also disappointed by not getting some of the shots that I had planned ahead of time. However,there are a lot of good memories too. Now,that it is almost a year later,I have an awesome marriage. I know that eventually my husband and I will do a vow renewal.I think that so much goes in to the planning of a wedding that on the day, there is so much nervousness and stress that it is tough to enjoy every aspect. I really appreciated this post.Because everywhere seems to make the wedding day the best day ever,when in actuality, it is kinda stressful hoping things will fall in to place. Getting married is easy….the wedding day is kinda hectic. But afterwards,is hopefully when all the pieces fall in to place.

  50. So glad I found this post! Everyone I talk to says how amazing and beautiful their weddings were and that they were the best days of their lives etc etc etc !
    I got married 3 months at and spent my whole wedding reception in my room in tears.
    I’d had health issues leading up to my wedding & I’d put weight on – put on 3 dress sizes so I felt like crap. Hair & make up artists pulled out – only managed to re book the day before the wedding. We got married several hours out of town with all our family staying at a holiday home were our wedding & reception would be held. My I laws made a fuss about money and completely ostracised my parents/family to the point of ignoring them. My sister in law threw a his shy fit & threatened to leave hours before the wedding and everyone – including my husband ran to her aid. Blaming everything on me. My mum damaged her back in a car accident & fell the day before the wedding hurting herself really badly – though never made a big deal of it but I knew. It got to the point where my dad handed me his car keys and told me to go – but his car had no baby seat for my girl (lucky!) or I think I may have! Food went wrong -sound went wrong. MIL crying because she didn’t want us to marry, FIL refused to do a speech, everyone from his side of the family at the wedding ignored me & my family. My dad (an ex pastor) took the opportunity to turn his speech into a sermon. MIL giving me evils all through my vows. One of my mhusbands friends was off his face went around groping anything that moved ( including my 60 yr old aunties!). And my husband accused me of flirting and some with my photographer – who’s a close friend. I’m a photographer myself & find doing weddings really hard now as I just thinking of all the nice moments that mine didn’t have & that we missed. – all first world problems & I’m sure ill get over it soon enough – but still breaks my heart a little! – and I’ve not told anyone everything that went wrong – non one wants to hear about a bad wedding! Lol everyone just assumes it was great! But it’s just a wedding — it’s the marriage that matters!

  51. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with our wedding, but I definitely have some unhappy feelings about the whole thing. Many friends didn’t seem to take it seriously and showed up late or even missed the whole thing. People were weird about spending the $30 for my bachelorette party. My parents didn’t smile in any of the pictures and made promises about paying for things that never happened.

    The ceremony itself was awesome and, most importantly, my husband became my husband. I just wish I had felt a little more support from some people.

  52. Thanks for posting this, and for all the comments, too. I’m getting married in September and am terrified that something is going to go wrong or that my fiancee and I are going to be too stressed out about family or planning drama to enjoy ourselves. I feel badly about this predicament — Nate wanted to elope or have a tiny wedding, but we have big families, lots of friends and I put a stake in the ground that we needed to get everyone together for happy events, too, not just funerals! And so it began: 230 on the guest list, in-laws who are still navigating being newly divorced (seating chart should be fun), the wedding budget running out sooner than expected, meddling family members who don’t agree with our non-traditional decisions…we almost called it off last week. Really. We are moving ahead as planned (I put my family in their place, haven’t heard from them in almost two weeks) and hope that I can find a way to let it go, look down the aisle at Nate and think about the future, have a drink and a dance and not let the potential for drama steal my focus. Wish me luck. 🙂

  53. A great deal of this sounds like some personal, internal issues were at play here.

    Perhaps having a psychological chat with a professional prior to the wedding may have been helpful With this case?

  54. I had many moments at my wedding that were not happy. I was irritated with my family a lot and the photographer was a douche and it just wasn’t fun until the part where I just got to hang with my husband and friends.

    The pictures came back mediocre at best – which only served to remind me of how much time I spent away from the people I love taking pictures that I didn’t think we needed.

    We decided to renew our vows on our 5th anniversary, and invited friends and family to Vegas. I had the best time and was so sad we didn’t do it small the first time. We have WAY better pictures from the second time, and I got to wear black without anyone having a meltdown. I highly suggest vow renewals!

    • Just got married April 6. I dont remember much of the day but a few moments. Photos also are mediocre and about 8-10 people arent even in pictures, including me with my very best friends. I just didnt think micromanaging a list of photos was my job – and what i got was what was meant to be! I had wedding depression since Oct -i did EVERYTHING myself because family is old and out of state, my friends helped with cleanup and packing /delivery to our house. The day i always wanted was -eh, so so. The ceremony itself was great and hearing my husband say so, and “its something i’ll never forget” from a man who doesnt “get” the whole thing to begin with MADE IT ALL WORTB IT. Now i just have to sell off all the decor and dress to recoup the 30% over budget i spent.
      Focus only on the important thing – YOU BOTH SHOW UP BECAUSE YOU LOVE EACH OTHER. Screw everyone else.

      • I completely missed that memo about ME having to organise the list of photos as well! I thought that’s what photographers get paid hundreds of pounds for one day’s work for!

  55. Well done bride for the chin-up attitude. One of the secrets to a successful marriage is not holding expectations too high. Serendipity rules.

  56. I’ve been married over a year and still have not been able to come to terms with how our wedding played out. There were only two things that bothered me-my dress and our pictures. And my dress in the pictures. We will eventually get dressed up and have someone do a nice couples photo shoot and call those our wedding pictures.

    • I feel you completely! I had my dress made for me (at great expense) but I wish I got something off the rack because my dress did not turn out how I wanted it at all. My photographer did a terrible job, so naturally the two together is not a good mix! We thought about having a photo shoot with a different dress and a competent photographer but in the end decided we’ll go travelling instead. It’s the marriage that counts after all, although I’d completely understand if you did decide to do that. You’re not alone.

  57. So my wedding DID appear in print and on many websites and blogs…but the same as the author of the above article, I was left underwhelmed and overwhelmed all at the same time!
    Like her too I couldn’t shake off the annoyance of the drama caused by my husbands mother and aunt. I also wanted the day to hurry up and end.
    For months after I have kicked myself for not trying harder to enjoy my day. For not forcing a member of family to take the child that was super glued to my hip for 8 hours. I should’ve ignored the bitter relatives. And heck, I might even have spent some of the day with my new husband who was off having a great time!
    I’m not sure our guests even enjoyed themselves. Only a couple of people ever commented after.
    So I was left with a feeling that I really want to do it all over again. Just me, my husband, our kids and a few close friends, far far away.
    Those feelings are slowly subsiding and finally after months of feeling utterly dejected I realise it was the ceremony that mattered, not the party afterwards.
    My husband is what is important.
    I am now starting to feel married.
    I am a wife.

  58. I have found this article helpful. I didn’t like my wedding. Nothing catastrophic happened but there are many little things that plague me about it. I loved the ceremony but the rest I would do over in a heart beat. The dj didn’t play the music we asked him to, I really don’t like our wedding photos. They look like there is no attention to detail and the photographer did not direct us at all and expected us to lead everything which is pretty difficult when you have never been married before! I can’t even look at the photographs without crying. We haven’t sent our thank you cards yet because I don’t like any of the photos to put on them. One of my bridesmaids did nothing to help and turned up late. PeoPle also turned up late to the ceremony. My husbands brother’s girlfriend decided she wanted to stay with them on the night before so he ended up sleeping on the sofa! Even though we had paid for her to stay elsewhere. Sorry for the whinge but I can’t tell my family about this because they put a lot of money towards a day I found mediocre at best. Really need to start getting over it now though so It does not affect my marriage. I just had expectations that were not met and it’s hard to get over!

    • Its we who are at fault for gaving expectations in the first place.
      I read alot on this site, and made my mantra. “As long as he shows up the rest is gravy.” Because in the end NONE OF IT WAS IMPORANT nor will be remembered EXCEPT how he looked at me when i stood in front of him.
      The rest i just laugh off to stupidity, ignorance, disrespectful people who should have never been invited anyway or just humans being human. ITS ALL GRAVY! Photos with thank you notes? Thats a new one.

  59. So many things went wrong with my wedding… The minister was tripping all over his words, the bridal party was late, my maid of honor and I had a falling out the day before, the photographer didn’t listen to what I wanted and took a bunch of lame posed pics, the cake was not what I asked for, half the people were late to the ceremony, it was hot and cramped in the reception room, no one could hear the play list, the flower centers were the wrong color, and on it goes… If I were to plan my wedding over Id just say screw it and plan like 2 months before, and invite like half the people. I spent over a year planning it all out for most of it to go wrong. I would have taken an entirely different relaxed attitude about it bc I didn’t enjoy the day. Also I’d say that I wasn’t expecting this to be the best day of my life anyhow being that I’m not much of a social person (and I’ve never really liked weddings). My husband and I are not the gushy gushy in public type. My advice would be to plan your wedding based on whats actually best for you regardless of family or pressure from others. Good news is that the honeymoon was awesome, bc it was just the two of us and that’s all we really needed.

  60. First and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to this post. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read.

    Thank you for sharing your personal stories. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    I am so happy to hear that I am not alone.

  61. Thank you so much for this article. I feel the same about the attention and I’m in the midst of trying to decide about the elope vs. small wedding so my family and friends can attend. My fiance’ is pushing for the elopement – he knows me better than myself at times. I’ve also have this dire need to have the best photos. This gives me the reality check I needed. Thank you soooo much!!! I believe to be able to feel in the moment that the elopement idea is looking better and better 🙂

  62. I just got married in September and while I am ecstatic to have taken our 10 year relationship to a whole new level, I was let down by my vendors (you get what you pay for, don’t cheap out). While my guests have said it was one of the best weddings they went to, I walked away thinking “meh”. My favorite moment of my wedding day actually had nothing to do with the event at all – it was skipping the after party, going back to the rental house, grabbing two beers and taking our dog for a walk still dressed in our gown and suit, just our little family unit. At the end of the day we are married and that was the goal. I just need to process the fact that there was no “magical feeling”, no “I never want this night to end” thoughts, that the pictures aren’t perfect. It’s okay. I guess I just fell for the big wedding hype and my event, while very special, didn’t live up.

  63. What a post! I thought I was the only one. Our wedding day was ok, it was fine, but it wasn’t a ‘dream wedding’ (not that I ever really dreamt about weddings). I hated my dress, I invited people I didn’t really want there because I felt I had to and our photographer also did terrible job (mostly from her knees as well). We literally never look at the photos, in fact we left them at my parents’ when we moved out. We seriously thought about eloping and to be honest I kind of wish we had, but then it would be upsetting for our parents because I’m an only child and he’s the (very obvious) favourite child. At the end of the day it made the folks happy and got the job done and it’s the marriage that’s important after all. Thanks so much for sharing.

  64. I feel you on this so much! I tried not to put too much stock in our wedding. I just wanted it to be a nice, enjoyable day for all of us. Instead it was hectic, stressful, overwhelming, and I didn’t get to enjoy a thing about it. I’m thrilled to be married, but I wish we had just done it privately and gotten it done and over with. It wasn’t until we got home that night that the thrill of having married my beloved started to give way to the disappointment that I did not get to enjoy any of my wedding. I never even sat down to eat, I didn’t getting to enjoy the fun music or games or popcorn bar that I set up. I just got stuck trying to make sure everyone else was getting along. It’s 2 weeks later and it’s still upsetting to me.
    Marriage is fabulous. The wedding was awful.

    • Wow, glad I found this site. I am the mob or mother of the bride. It’s been 2 weeks since my daughters wedding. 4 days after the big day, I got shigella. Which is the worst food poisoning on earth. OMG, was it from the reception? I called my daughter, nope she is fine husband fine. Whew, must have been the chow down I did at some dive restaurant on Monday. being as I had been dieting for a YEAR!! Anyway..little did I know that my daughter sat for a half hour in a linen closet at the venue, on her wedding day. WTH!!! yes she told me she was mad that everyone ( the grooms friends) got drunk…Marines..go figure. Then I find out that the best man was making out with another groommans girlfriend. At the wedding!!! Most of the young people stayed at the bar area to lap up as many drinks as they could fit in. My husband told me he saw one guy sitting with a bowl of rolls trying to ” soak up the booze” he drank and it was only 8:00 pm!!!! Man, I felt like I was walking around the twilight zone…smiling at people I didn’t know…and getting half grins back. I PAID for this…at least give me a full smile. So we spent 30k the flowers and set up were GREAT!!! But, somehow the fantasy of everyone flowing and smiling and movie like moves…fell flat….my daughter told me she made her husband cry, because he drank too much. We had a 57 rolls Bentley come by at midnight to take the couple home… But the groom was pretty smashed, and they shoved into this beautiful white car….and left…..oh well, I tried….trust..if my fantasy wedding for my daughter didn’t pan out as GREAT, maybe just maybe…I wasn’t living in the real world. remember lovelies…..The real wedding is in your heart….xxo

  65. Omg I am just seeing this post now and I’m so glad I found it! My wedding was in June, and this is exactly how I felt/still feel. I am definitely without a doubt not a center of attention person, but my husband and father both really wanted to have some sort of ceremony and reception for the family, so I conceded to a small wedding. This was at the same time that i began graduate school, so I didn’t have much time to dedicate to planning, and while we were in the midst of planning my father passed away. For the whole wedding I felt like such a fraud…pretending to be happy, pretending that was what I wanted. None of it felt right to me, and I couldn’t be happy or relax, but then I felt like a bad person for not feeling like it was “the best day of my life” or all the other pressure-inducing phrases people used to describe it. Now, looking at pictures turns my stomach. When I see them it looks like we were wearing costumes, like it wasn’t real. Trying to write thank you notes now feels uncomfortable because I feel like my anxiety is coming through and I don’t sound grateful enough or something. I have no doubts about my husband or my marriage itself–he’s amazing, and I’m so secure in our relationship. I just can’t shake these anxious, awkward, sometimes bitter feelings.

  66. Oh my goodness, thank you for this!!! My wedding seems to have been a hit among most of the guests, but I feel like I have PTSD from how many things went wrong. I have found solace in the idea that some things went amazingly well, and others went horribly disastrous. The big surprise was how much I did not enjoy being “on” all day, doing small talk with people I didn’t know that well, and how much that would take away from “my” day.

    So many people say, “the day will fly by, so cherish every minute of it!”–I felt like the day did not fly by and I felt every hour go by. I would have been happy if it ended an hour earlier to be honest, lol.

    But I am happy to say that in retrospect, I actually enjoyed planning the wedding more than attending. I can live with that truth about my personality and preference. Being on is just not my thing. I’d rather dance, be at the bar, and ooh and ah over the bride and her beautiful, personal choices she made on her day. We all deserve a pat on the back for just hoping and believing and trying to make the day what we wished it would be–many people phone it in, and I’m so glad I went for it, even though it wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.

    xoxox to all the brides out there!

  67. Thank you so much for writing this. My fiance and I are planning an elopement (in the sense of it being just the two of us) and I’ve really been struggling with the guilt about not having my mother there. I know this is just because of her reaction to the news, and I’m 100% certain that the elopement is what’s right for us–like you, I am very uncomfortable being stared at by a crowd. This post has helped me realize what caving to guilt would really mean: a wedding where I am uncomfortable and just trying to get it all over with. While I know that the marriage is the important thing no matter how my wedding day goes, I feel reaffirmed in sticking to my guns and going on with our elopement. When the day comes, it’ll just be him and me with a fun relaxed day planned and no one else to worry about.

  68. you are so lucky you got a wedding, my whole life I wanted to have a wedding, and have my family and friends around me in that special day, my husband did not wanted anyone on the day with us, i feel so sad, I feel like I don’t deserve it, like somehow i am worse that all the women in the worl, i am so tired of him, he has damaged me so much in so many ways, my self esteem, my life, he has cheated on me, he has hitted me, he has damaged emotionally and physically and I feel so sad to stay with him, I feel like i deserve better, I am a beautiful woman and I am smart and decent with good values, but my husband always treated me diferently, i stayed because of my kids, and it makes no sense maybe to other people, but my kids love him and he loves them and I only want their happiness even if it cost mine.

    • Oh lvonne- please, please don’t give up like that. Your post breaks my heart. You say you’re staying for the kids, but do you want them to grow up with your husband’s treatment of you as their model for a loving relationship? Wouldn’t you be crushed if your daughter grew up and married someone just like her father? Wouldn’t it be awful if your son grew up to treat his future wife or series of girlfriends the way your husband treats you? Would you want him to be like your husband? Because if this is their model, both of those outcomes is very, very likely.

      I’m not saying there’s nothing you can do- in fact you can do plenty. You are stronger than you know, you’re just so used to being powerless you can’t see it. Sometimes a divorce is actually better for the kids than staying. A situation like this is absolutely one of them.

      Please, please call 1-800-799-SAFE and read this: https://www.sacredheart.edu/media/sacredheart/publicsafety/3570_domestic_violence_the_facts.pdf

      Please reach out. I can speak as a child of a divorced couple that I am happy my parents divorced- they are so much happier now than they could have ever been together, and I was raised in a home that felt safe- no constant fights, and never ever any hitting. Please get help. You don’t have to be alone, and your sacrifice of your own happiness may only hurt your kids in the long term.

      Again, please read this:

      And PLEASE- call 1-800-799-SAFE

      You don’t have to face this alone.

  69. I wish I had someone in my life whom I loved enough, and loved me enough – to get married.

    I am alone. I am in my 50s now. My dream day – or partner – or children – never materialised.

    So, maybe you didn’t have such a terrible day after all – try 3 decades of dating.
    I’m done.

    • Lana, don’t be sad I have been married for almost 30 years. We sleep in separate rooms, as he snores like a train. Also, with menopause etc..I just don’t feel it. Sometimes we get along other times I wish I could live alone. I didn’t marry till I was 30 years old. I dated some very daring risky sexy men. They weren’t marriage material, but the memory lingers on cold lonely nights. I married a stable hard working man. I respect him, he has some faults and anger issues, but I choose to,ignore them. Am I happy? I’m just getting along. The grass always seems greener on the other side. Marriage sometimes is not all it’s cracked up to be. That’s only my opinion. BE kind to yourself. Stay healthy..and you never know what’s just around the corner.

  70. It feels as if I wrote this. Everything. Every single part was us The wanting to elope. The crappy images. The “will this make OBB?” (It didn’t). Girl. thank you for writing this.

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