Feeling down after your 'big day'? You are not alone as many suffer post-wedding blues
With wedding season in full swing, you might find yourself one of the newly-wed blushing brides. When the wedding is over, the guests have stopped buzzing, the dress has been returned and the honeymoon has passed, sometimes all that is left to do for some brides is to let the post-wedding blues settle in.
While the fairytale cliché of “they lived happily ever after” is often assumed, many brides experience post-wedding blues that follow the so-called “happiest day” of their lives.
Relationship expert Paula Quinsee says the wedding blues are a very common thing that the bride or couple can experience after their big day.
“It’s that empty feeling or void of what to do with their time and energy now that the fairy tale day is over and there is nothing urgent, pressing or demanding to focus on or driving them forward,” Quinsee says.
In a study Laura Stafford from the University Bowling Green and Allison Scott from the University of Kentucky conducted in 2016, almost half of the participants interviewed said they felt depressed, or slightly let down, after their wedding.
In a study carried out by the pair in 2018, 12% of women said they felt depressed following their wedding and all the participating women reported feeling bored.
Quinsee warns that in some instances, if not managed, the wedding blues can lead to couples questioning whether it was all worth it or if they have made the right decision. This can lead them to feel down and, in extreme cases, cause depression.
There are many reasons someone may experience a post-wedding slump, including no longer being the centre of attention or not feeling like you have something to look forward to. You may even feel the wedding was underwhelming or experience a sense of anti-climax once it’s passed.
Quinsee says the wedding blues usually happen because couples have been so caught up in the process and focus of planning their big day, having gone through the stress, anxiety, decisions and overwhelming feelings that goes with it. “When that big day eventually arrives it’s can be an anti-climax leaving them feeling disappointed and wondering ‘what now?’.”
Another contributing factor can be losing support after the wedding. During the planning period, couples have many external factors such as parents, in-laws and the bridal party. They may add to the pressure but that also offer support and when the big day is over, everyone goes back to their normal lives, leaving the couple to face their new life together alone.
It need not be all doom and gloom, however. Despite the fact that Scott and Stafford found all women in their 2018 study felt bored post-wedding, not all of them had the wedding blues. The distinguishing factor? The brides who experienced the wedding blues viewed their wedding as the end goal while the bored but happy brides viewed their wedding as the start of something new.
Sometimes the blues may be merely fleeting. All the emotion that built up – from the engagement through to the first dance – can become overwhelming. Sometimes you just need to take a moment, debrief, and let everything sink in before throwing yourself into a regular routine again.
Here are some tips to survive the post-wedding blues:
1. Recongnise the post-wedding blues for what they are
It is not just you and it is not something to be ashamed of. Logically, feeling down after such a happy time in your life makes no sense. Reach out to friends who are already married and speak to your new spouse about what it is you feel. Throughout the process, it helps to remind yourself that this is completely normal!
2. Find a hobby to do together
Women aren’t the only ones who run the risk of catching the post-wedding blues. While it is often women that are more involved in the planning side of things, men may experience similar emotions. If your husband was a rather hands-on kind of groom, chances are he may be going through a similar slump. Why not find an activity that you both can do together? Or make it a goal to arrange regular date nights that involve spending quality time together combined with a level of fun and excitement.
3. Plan past the wedding
Similar to how you’ll create a wedding folder or board on Pinterest, create a hub of ideas for after the wedding. If you like to cook, collect recipes to try out once you settle into married life, think of ways you want to revamp your home or what you’d like to do with the wedding gifts you received. Throw yourself into something new: take up a class or learn a new skill. Find something that will excite you again and fill that void you now feel.