Our wedding day was not awesome and it’s okay

Guest post by AGK
Feelings cat pin from Etsy seller thesparklecollective
Cat pin from Etsy seller thesparklecollective

Right after the 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 Bride.”

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.

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

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 disappointment? You need to read these posts…

Comments on Our wedding day was not awesome and it’s okay

  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. 🙂

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