It’s the most special and important day of your life, but coming back down to earth after your wedding can be a bumpy ride. Jo Hemmings, celebrity psychologist, relationship expert and This Morning’s resident sex therapist, tells us how to cope with the post-wedding blues.
A life-changing step
After building yourself up to a huge, life-changing event, it’s no wonder brides experience an anticlimax afterwards. Your wedding day is like reaching a summit of a mountain, or running a marathon; it’s the culmination of everything you’ve worked towards and you’ll experience exhilaration, pride, happiness and joy.
But the higher you’ve been, the bigger the fall, and unless you’re incredibly calm it’s hard to come down slowly. There’s also a sense of displacement because everything you’ve been thinking about and working towards has been achieved and a feeling of emptiness is not uncommon.
Your mind needs a little time to repair itself from the intense excitement and pressure, and you can also take steps to prepare for the post-wedding comedown.
The key to avoiding the post-wedding blues is organisation; the more prepared you are, the less you’ll suffer afterwards. Blips will happen - you can’t control 100% of things 100% of the time – but take that with grace and acceptance.
If you’re well-prepared, you can spend time relaxing, watching TV or listening to music. Having a sense of normality provides a break from the chaos and pressure that can cause a post-wedding crash.
For many couples, post-wedding blues stem from pre-wedding rows and tension, not from taking your vows. Many men feel marginalised during the planning stage, particularly if they haven’t adopted a meaningful role, and that’s an imbalanced way to start married life. The bride inevitably does the lion’s share, but that can lead to arguments if you don’t agree your wedding roles upfront.
The more prepared you both are, the less likely an emotional crisis is afterwards. Give the groom tasks that he can do well and cut him some slack if he makes mistakes, otherwise he’ll see your behaviour as controlling.
And take time out together during the wedding preparations; don’t let the wedding take over your whole lives and forget why you’re actually getting hitched.
Most brides experience massively mixed emotions on and after their wedding day. It’s a day of extremes; it’s self indulgent, but you also have to please other people and stay incredibly organised, which is draining.
No one really knows how they’re going to feel on the day, but to avoid an anticlimax it’s important to realise that you’ve done everything you can do - there’s no use stressing about it. Remind yourself how well you’ve done, even if everything doesn’t quite go to plan. Holding on to some perspective helps to lessen the post-wedding blues.
Expect that nerves, anxiety, tiredness and stress will take over at some point during the day, but this will pass. A sip or two of champagne is fine but alcohol will heighten these emotions and intensify the wedding hangover. Adrenalin will also kick-in, but it’s important to eat something to maintain your energy levels and keep drinking water to de-stress your body physically.
If it all gets too much, close your eyes for a moment and take some deep breaths. Reflect on what a great day it’s been – the sense of anticlimax is intensified if you feel the wedding went too fast and you didn’t get chance to appreciate it.
After the event
It takes different people different amounts of time to feel ‘normal’ again after their wedding – it could be days or weeks. Your hormones and psychology may flail slightly given the emotional height of the day and the big commitment you’ve made, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Exhaustion brought on by the planning and panicking can also produce a negative post-wedding perspective.
If you’re still feeling down a month or so afterwards, try something like yoga, meditation or another form of gentle exercise to get your emotional balance back. Try to sleep and eat well – gorging on comfort food is unlikely to lift your spirits for long. If your pre-wedding diet has gone to pot, accept that being slimmer was a means to an end and try your best to put the weight back on gradually and healthily.
Finally, recognise that you’re going to get back to a different ‘normal’ – marriage is life-changing. But when you think about the lovely and loving reasons that brought you here, you should feel better almost immediately.