Our wedding day was not awesome and it's okay

Updated Nov 18 2016
Guest post by AGK
Feelings cat pin from Etsy seller thesparklecollective
Feelings 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.

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."

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? You need to read these posts…

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. 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?

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 🙂

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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:
      https://www.sacredheart.edu/media/sacredheart/publicsafety/3570_domestic_violence_the_facts.pdf

      And PLEASE- call 1-800-799-SAFE

      You don't have to face this alone.

  19. 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.

  20. 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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