Wedding-day amnesia. It happens. Everything seemed so sharp on the wedding day as you swirled about in a sea of high emotions. And then, not so long afterwards, you realize that the whole thing is a giant blur in your head.
I’ve read articles here about how to prevent this from happening. They tell you to do things like slow down, remember to breathe, and spend some quiet time with your new spouse. That is all definitely important. But there’s something else that’s even more important if you want to preserve your wedding-day memories for months and years to come, and it’s something I only accidentally stumbled upon.
Write it down, as quickly as you can. Within 24 hours if possible.
Here’s the thing: memories fade. It happens in daily life, which is why you probably remember pretty clearly the conversation you had with your colleague this morning, but the one you had last week is fuzzy or already forgotten. You probably don’t notice it happening as much because if your days are anything like mine, most of them aren’t that special. You don’t necessarily care if you remember most of them in vivid-sharp detail.
Your wedding day, though, that’s different. That’s a day that you really want to remember. (Unless it was awful, in which case you have my deepest sympathies and I’ll treat you to a drink if you’re ever in Montreal.) You’ll solidify some of your memories in your conversations with friends and family members about how everything went. If your family is like mine, you’ll be having a lot of these conversations in the weeks after the wedding. Other memories you’ll regain when you see the pictures or videos from the wedding. After all, that’s one of the reasons we have photographers and videographers in the first place — to preserve those wedding-day memories for us.
But some events are never captured on film, and our thoughts tend to stay locked in our own heads. What about the little details? Things like the first thing you said to each other in private after you were married. Or the incomparably weird sensation of your false eyelashes sticking to your veil as you walked down the aisle. Or the joy you felt watching your mom play with your flower girl. Those are the little details that fade, and they fade quickly.
So write it down
If you want to remember it all, the absolute best thing you can do is to write down as many of your thoughts as you can, as quickly as you can. You don’t need to write everything out in full sentences with perfect grammar. Bullet-point notes are perfectly fine, as are doodles, mind-maps, scribbles, or anything else that will jog your memory later when you get a chance to write things out properly.
Unless you’re having a brunch or afternoon wedding, writing out your thoughts on the wedding day probably isn’t an option, but try to do it within 24 hours. It will be hard. You will still be sleep-deprived, torn in a thousand directions by gatherings of family and friends and last-minute obligations you didn’t realize you had. You may be on your way to your honeymoon. You will not want to write. Do it anyway.
My first chance came at 10:30pm the day after my wedding, after several days of far too little sleep. All I wanted to do was snuggle into my pillow. Instead, I spent two and a half hours writing. It’s the best decision I made around wedding time. My wedding was on a Sunday night. By Monday night, when I wrote down all my notes, I could already feel the details starting to slip from my mind. On Wednesday afternoon, when I started writing up my “wedding retrospective” on the flight to the honeymoon, I was already heavily reliant on those notes. Now, a month after the wedding, I use those posts to remind me of all the details I would otherwise have completely forgotten.
I’ll have them forever as treasured keepsakes, along with my photographer’s pictures and my cousin’s video footage. Years from now, I’ll be able to look back on all those little details and remember, “Oh, right! My brother was wearing his ‘stupid stupid rat creatures‘ pin and it totally cracked both of us up!”
So that’s my advice to brides who haven’t yet worn the white dress, or colored dress, or suit, or sari, or whatever. If you want to avoid “wedding amnesia,” write everything out while it’s still fresh in your mind. Believe me, your future self will thank you.
Want to write about your wedding memories? We LOVE reading about wedding days! Submit yours to us!