How to Not Cry at Your Wedding

If you're wondering how to not cry at your wedding, never fear—Zola is here. Manage those happy tears with this guide to a sob-free wedding day.

By Emily Forrest

Tissue box image
Photo by Zola Inc

On your wedding day, you want to take in every sight and sound, as this is one of the most memorable and emotional days of your life. You want to capture each moment and savor the memories forever; however, it can be challenging to do that when you spend all day looking like 😭

If you want to mitigate the chance of a bawling session on the big day, here are some ways you both can keep your eyes dry from the “I do” to the honeymoon.

How to Not Cry in Front of Everyone at Your Wedding: Assess Your Tear Risk

When it comes to combating tears, you have to be strategic. When are you most likely to get teary at your wedding? We’ve broken it down into three targeted weep-wary zones:

  • How to Not Cry During the Ceremony
  • Fear No Tears at the Reception
  • Stay Dry-Eyed and Smiling Throughout Your Wedding Day

Do you always get choked up during the wedding vows? Do you feel tears forming during the mother-son or father-daughter dance? Or, do your tears ambush you at will? Determining when your tear ducts are at their most vulnerable can prepare you for a dry-eyed wedding day.

Well, at least we can help with yours. Your guests can release the dam for you.

How to Not Cry During the Ceremony

The marriage ceremony can be one of the most overwhelming parts of a wedding day. The promises you make to your spouse are momentous, and it’s hard not to feel moved to tears. Here are a few ways to avoid crying during your wedding ceremony.

  • Do a First Look– Have a private reveal between the two of you (with the wedding photographer on-hand). That way, the incredible moment when you see each other for the first time (and all the emotions you have with it) is just yours. Have your photographer snap a few pictures of the two of you, give each other a quick kiss,say “See you at the altar,” and then do a quick makeup touch-up (if needed).

  • Practice Your Vows– If you (or your partner) is someone who gets choked up when observing a couple says their vows, you might want to practice yours. The more you both practice your vows, the more you can be desensitized to your words. Not that you want to be desensitized to love, just desensitized enough to not cry.

How to Not Cry at Your Wedding Photo Credit // J Lebron Photography

Quick Tear-Free Tip: If you are hoping to be surprised by each other’s words of commitment, there might be a way to incorporate those elements into your wedding. You and your partner can write each other letters the night before the special day. Open the letters privately, when it’s just the two of you. You can read them the next day, during your honeymoon, or on your first anniversary.

  • Use a Safe (Funny) Word – Think of a word from an inside joke between the two of you—something that, whenever either of you hears it, always makes you both smile. If either of you sees the other starting to get a bit watery, you can just whisper it to stop the tears. Try these ideas to help find your go-to funny safe word.

    • Think of a time when one (or both) of you made a total fool of yourself. Use a word strongly associated with that memory
    • Choose a TV show that you both watch, and then think of your favorite character. Reminisce about a funny episode or look up his or her funniest quotes to help narrow down a word to use.
    • Google some jokes on the internet. Go through them together and see which ones make you laugh. Find a word from one of those jokes.

Fear No Tears at Your Reception

The reception is a minefield of emotional moments—your best friend’s toast, your first dance, your first bite of wedding cake. We’ve included some tricks to keep the crying at bay during the most weep-worthy moments of your reception.

  • Practice Your First Dance – For some, a couple’s first dance may be the most romantic part of the reception. But, tears present an extra danger here—a few loose teardrops on the dance floor and your graceful dip can become a sudden drop. Practice your first dance. The more you both practice, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the less chance of turning your ballroom dance into a bawl-room dance.

  • Sip Water During Toasts – Focus on taking a sip of ice water during emotional toasts. By concentrating on the cold water going down your throat, you can help shock yourself out of that lump-in-the-throat feeling. Plus, it’s really difficult to cry and drink. Second, it’s a pretty well-known fact that busy brides and grooms can barely get a bite of dinner during their wedding, let alone water. Take a sip to stop the tears and stay hydrated.

  • Pinch Yourself (Not Just to Check If You’re Dreaming) – If your wedding day gets too dreamy for either you, and you feel yourself welling up, just do what dreamers do—pinch yourself. The sudden pain will distract you enough to close the teary floodgates. The best spot for a quick pinch is the skin between the finger and the thumb.

Stay Dry-Eyed and Smiling Throughout Your Wedding Day

The emotions of your wedding day can sneak up on you anytime. It might be when you see your grandparents holding hands. Or, you might start tearing up when you get your first taste of champagne. You may even start leaking happy tears when it’s time for the horah. Wedding days are roller coasters of emotion. Try these tips for how to stay smiling all day long.

  • Talk It Out – The emotions that come from a wedding day can build up for weeks beforehand. Let loose some of that pressure by talking out your feelings with someone you trust, whether that’s with each other, your best friend, your mom, or your therapist. A day or two before the wedding, go through and talk about everything that could make you cry.

Just let it out, and you may be amazed by how much better you feel, and how much less power those emotions have over you. That way, on your wedding day, when your tear-ducts are triggered, you have a better handle on those feelings.

  • Take Deep Breaths– Taking deep breaths can help ground you to your body, provide a bit of clarity, and distance yourself from the urge to cry. Plus, you can do this discretely throughout the day. You can even incorporate a counting system to help your mind concentrate on breathing and distract yourself from the onslaught of tears. It can look something like this:
    • Take a deep breath through your nose, counting to seven and imagining the air expanding all sides of your torso.
    • Hold your breath for a count of three.
    • Exhale out your mouth—slowly and gently—for another count of seven.

Practice your deep-focused breathing together throughout wedding planning. It can help ground both of you whenever things get overwhelming. And, by the time the day comes, you’ll both be yogic masters of calming breath exercises.

  • Laughter Is the Best Medicine – Whenever you start to feel weepy, find the funny in the situation. Maybe that means keeping your eyes on your wriggly nephew in the pews, or perhaps that means asking your best friend to make a silly face whenever you blink twice at her. Keep yourselves grinning (and your makeup intact) by finding the funny moments on this incredible day.

Be Okay With Crying

Your wedding is an incredibly momentous chapter of your life. Sometimes, telling yourself that it’s okay to cry can release some of the pressure of the day and help you stay tear-free. If you let yourself off the hook and forgive yourself for a few tears, you may be able to focus less on what you look like and more on the moment.

Here are some precautions to take, just in case tears strike:

  • Keep tissues close at hand by stashing them in your pockets or the pockets of your wedding party members.

  • If you’re planning to wear makeup, go mascara-free with eyelash extensions. Plus, they look great in photos!

  • And, when it comes to makeup, repeat after us: waterproof, waterproof, waterproof.

  • Have a member of your wedding party keep your makeup on-hand for quick touch-ups.

How to Not Cry at Your Wedding Photo Credit // Bethany Micheala

Don’t Sweat the Tears on Your Wedding Day

From repeating funny safe words, practicing deep breathing, and pinching yourself, you can try every trick we’ve included here to prevent the wedding weeps.

As a last helpful tip, make sure to avoid the avoidable tears. That is, the tears that are the result of a missed cue or something not planned perfectly. Here at Zola, we specialize in making your wedding day special. Leave it to us to make sure there’s not a spot out of place, and not a single drip of spilled milk worthy of crying over. That way, when you look back on your wedding, you won’t remember how much you cried. You’ll only remember how perfect it was.

 Shop Save the Dates, Invites, and More in One Place

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.