So, it’s been a little time since my wedding day now – but I’m sure many people would still consider me a ‘newlywed’ even if I feel like an old hand at this being married thing now! To be fair, a lot has happened since the wedding, so it has felt like there’s been no time to reflect on such a key moment as we’ve just been getting on with getting on and the days have whizzed past. But all the while things have been a little tough, I’ve been making notes to come back to this post one day, as it’s still relevant!
Regardless of how distracted we’ve both been, getting married is obviously a Big Thing and it does feel like a new chapter. I really wanted to talk about that in terms of both how the day felt and how it feels since, being a newly-married woman. I’m not that vocal about my personal life on this blog, but I do enjoy the odd muse now and then…
Let’s see how many people can relate!
It was a happy day, but I still got stressed
You’re told to expect a day of overwhelming joy and happiness, but what does it really feel like? For me, it did have a lot of happiness but it also had a lot of worrying about things not flowing as they should because actually, what I really cared about on my wedding day was how much everyone else was enjoying themselves. And I don’t know why I expected to feel any differently – on the rare occasion I’ve ever held a party (er, once, I think) I found the whole thing exhausting because I felt so deeply responsible for other people having a good time. Given I planned and executed 90% of the wedding, it was that feeling x100. And no plan goes off perfectly – there were bits we ended up with too much time and bits with not enough – and I’m just not the kind of person not to care about people being bored/restless/annoyed. At the wedding breakfast most of my time was spent watching how people were reacting to my hard work and personal choices.
Things that should have stressed me out, didn’t
The strange thing was that anything stressful that happened to me didn’t seem to bother me as much as it normally would. This was totally unexpected – I’m a huge perfectionist and on a good day something happening to my dress would seriously work me up… I managed to RIP my wedding dress before I even left my hotel. I walked past a chest of drawers, part of the front of the dress caught on a handle and it just plain ripped. And I was totally cool about it. I calmly told my bridesmaids my dress had a little hole at the front and they’ve since told me they couldn’t believe I just carried on like nothing had happened. I can’t explain it myself! At another point one of my earrings pinged out of my ear and we couldn’t find it for half an hour. It turned up in one of my bridesmaid’s trainers. Again, I wasn’t really that bothered even though leading up to the wedding I’d spent ages trying to choose them (I have 9 ear piercings – it took a while to figure out how to dress them). It was one of the great mysteries of the day why I had a personality transplant…
The best moments weren’t the ones I was expecting
There were parts of the day I was really looking forward to as big moments that define a typical wedding day – one of them being the first time my dad saw me. In my head, this was some big reveal where I came down the stairs to my dad waiting patiently at the bottom and at the very least he’d have the decency to have a tear in his eye. As it happened, just before I ripped my dress, everyone was running about doing last minute tasks and I realised I didn’t know where anyone was, but had to wait for them to come back so we could go take photos with the car. I meandered into the hallway on my own and bumped into my dad who was pacing about waiting for my mum in the other direction. And it was such a non-moment it could have been any other day. The moments I did love weren’t ones I anticipated – one of my favourites was walking down to the beach to take photos with the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Everyone was just so happy and getting along so well (most of them didn’t really know each other before the wedding) and there’s some great photos of this walk. It kind of went like that all day – the things I treasured were usually the things that took me by surprise, like Teddy the dog turning up, and everything else just felt a bit over-hyped! (Don’t get me started on the first dance – could have happily done without it!)
I didn’t notice a fault in the decor
Before the wedding, I remember thinking that if I got to a venue and the props I painstakingly slaved over weren’t there or were in the wrong places I’d be so annoyed. As it happened – I didn’t notice that two crucial signs about our postcard guestbook were totally missing, meaning no one knew what they were supposed to be doing with our random postcard display and treasure chest. My bridesmaids realised and went round telling people, but I didn’t even notice until I looked at the photos weeks later! I find it amazing I didn’t spot this error – it’s incredibly unlike me and given how strongly I felt about things being ‘right’ before the wedding even more surprising. I also distinctly remember when I was cutting those signs out with a crafts knife and had to take a few goes to get the line straight thinking ‘these better not get missed after all this!!’. The little things really don’t matter on the day though.
I really enjoyed leaving the wedding to do photographs
I read so many tales of couples hating that they had to slip out for half an hour to take photographs, away from the party and where the action was. I was expecting it to be disruptive and a chore therefore – but in fact the photographs with B and with our bridesmaids and groomsmen were among my favourite parts of the day. I was so exhausted worrying about people not enjoying themselves and having smalltalk about what an amazing day I was having (while in my head I was still worrying about my sister’s face of disgust at the meal), that it was really nice to have an excuse to go and think about something else and not nervously watch everyone – not least with my favourite people! My close friends have always felt like my family and we just had the best time messing around for our group shots. B and I are pretty calm taking photos together, and we were naturals for our couple shots. It was nice having someone shout directions to me for a change, rather than me having to come up with them!
So that’s the day, but what about since then…?
I fundamentally don’t accept that I’m a Mrs
I’m sorry, Mrs Who? You surely don’t mean me?? Basically how I’ve reacted the three occasions someone’s called me by my married name so far. I took B’s surname in both my personal and professional life, but that hasn’t brought me round sooner. I wonder if I’ll ever feel like the words ‘wife’ or ‘Mrs’ are words to describe me, but so far… nope. Not remotely.
Things haven’t really changed
We were a happy, committed couple before we got married and guess what – we still are! The only difference is I’ve got a different name and we both have shiny new rings. Because honestly, that’s how it feels. Deep down, I think if something had appeared to change I would have been unhappy – because things were great as they were. The marriage part was just making it public, really. We still behave exactly the same ways – but is it really that surprising given we’ve lived together a while and already had a joint mortgage? In a lot of ways the mortgage felt like the bigger deal at the time!
The honeymoon was more enjoyable
The honeymoon was the hard-earned reward after the mad stress of wedding planning and it was worth the wait. As far as I’m concerned, I was much happier sipping a pina colada in tropical paradise with a good book, occasionally showing my new husband funny dog videos I’d spotted on Facebook, than I was going through the formalities of the wedding day with everyone staring at me. If I were to average my levels of enjoyment throughout a typical honeymoon day vs my wedding day, the honeymoon would probably win most days. Just me and him in the sunshine with nowhere to be is all the happiness I need!
I don’t think it was the ‘best day of my life’
So on a related note, the number one thing that surprised me about getting married is it wasn’t the best day of my life. And actually, I really think it’s unfair that brides are under a lot of pressure to have The Best Day Ever (and as I’ve already said, for me that was quite difficult) and feel like they’ve done something wrong if they haven’t. Sure, it was an amazing day and no doubt up there in the top 5, but I don’t think it was the best. For starters, I find that thought so damn depressing. Fantastic, I’ll look forward to nothing else amazing ever happening to me. But secondly, I just don’t believe that’s going to be true. As I’ve just said, my honeymoon was a fantastic time and the best day of that would definitely be in that top 5 too – and I’m sorry, it might just rank above my wedding day. I ate the best piece of fish I’ve ever had during our special ‘honeymoon’ five course dinner, while wearing my all-time favourite dress. I’d probably been swimming in the sea earlier that day in a scene out of a postcard, having previously eaten three courses of my favourite breakfast foods (pancakes, porridge, pastries). And, just like the wedding, it was also just about B and I. But this time it really was because there was no one else to please. Unlike my wedding day, I didn’t nearly throw up over breakfast – bonus!
I like to think that the best is yet to come – and especially now I have B by my side as my husband.
So tell me married ladies, what surprised you about getting and being married? And if you’re not yet but intend to be, do you think you’re going to relate to my list??