There is so much that goes into planning a wedding. For months, couples are busy with events like engagement photoshoots, showers, vendor meetings, and wedding dress shopping—not to mention crafty tasks like designing save-the-dates and choosing wedding decor.
So, once the big day is over and, along with it, all the wedding planning busyness, for many couples, that can lead to a serious case of the post-wedding blues. After months of crossing off wedding checklist tasks and building excitement, the weeks after the wedding can feel a little empty.
Don’t worry! If you’re feeling a little sad post-wedding, first of all, it’s super common. Second, there are ways to cheer yourself up—and channel all that wedding-related time and energy into something new, exciting, and positive.
For many, the process of planning a wedding can be a consuming process. The appointments, the phone calls, the fittings, the seating charts … it’s like all wedding, all the time—often for months at a time. Then, the big day comes and POOF! All of a sudden, this event that’s been occupying all of your time, energy, and headspace is over.
According to Ohio-based licensed professional counselor (and new bride) Sarah Thompson, that sudden transition can be jarring for many. “It may sound outlandish, but this is a loss—and what we are experiencing is grief,” she says.
There’s also a neurological component at play. For many couples, their wedding day is one of the happiest and most joyful of their life. “When we experience joy and happiness our bodies are producing serotonin, dopamine … [and] other endorphins,” Thompson says. “The problem is when our brain experiences an overabundance of these chemicals, it tells our body to stop producing them.”
So, essentially, after the wedding day surge, some will actually have a slowdown in the production of all those feel-good endorphins. This can lead to feelings of sadness or depression, AKA the post-wedding blues.
Clearly, the post-wedding blues is a real phenomenon. So, you’ll have to put real energy into coming back from the emotional downfall.
If you’re feeling sad after your wedding, you might be tempted to push those sad feelings down and put on a happy face. (You did just get married, after all.) But if you really want to move past the post-wedding blues, that’s definitely not the way to do it.
Acknowledging that you’re feeling the blues in the first place is a good first step. “These feelings need to be acknowledged, felt, talked about, and worked through or they’ll find their way out in some way,” Thompson says.
Pretending you’re not sad isn’t actually going to make you feel better. In fact, it could make you feel worse. If you’re sad, allow yourself to feel sad. If you want to cry, give yourself space to cry. Feeling your feelings—even the unpleasant ones—is a must if you want to work through them.
According to Thompson, self-care is one of the best antidotes to the post-wedding blues.
Carve out time to do the things that make you feel your best, whether that’s getting a monthly massage, kicking off your mornings with a yoga class, or scheduling a mani/pedi date with your BFF or partner. The more time and energy you invest in self-care, the better you’ll feel—and the better you’ll be able to fight those post-wedding blues.
If you’re not used to the concept of self-care, this is the perfect time to get on board. Not only will developing a self-care routine help you combat your post-wedding blues, but when you take good care of yourself, it allows you to better show up for the people in your life—including your new spouse. “We need to make time and make [ourselves] a priority. We aren’t our best selves for others when we do not participate in some sort of self-care routine,” Thompson says.
With so much time and energy spent on the wedding, it can be easy to forget what’s really important in the long-term—and that’s your marriage.
Focus on the post-wedding excitement that comes with getting to be married to your partner. “The best way I have found to channel my time and energy [post-wedding] has been taking time to enjoy just being married,” Thompson says. “Going to dinner or the movies, taking a short trip somewhere, focusing just on the two of us.”
Your wedding was one of the best days of your life—but there are plenty more “best days” ahead in your marriage. So focus on enjoying them with your partner.
If your instinct is to replace wedding planning with another major project (like launching a new business or getting a puppy), it could be a great way to channel your time and energy, but proceed with caution.
“Jumping into a new big project could be fine for some, and counter-productive for others,” Thompson says. “A new, exciting project could be a great way to … be excited about the future. When this could be counterproductive, though, is when it’s being used as a distraction to our feelings or a sole means to solve the problem [of post-wedding blues].”
So, if you’re starting that business or adding a puppy to your family because it’s something you truly want, it can be a great way to transition to your new, post-wedding life. But if you’re doing it just because you need to fill the void left by wedding planning or to avoid your feelings of post-wedding sadness? Not the best idea.
The post-wedding blues is a completely normal experience that plenty of couples experience. If you find that you can’t shake your sadness—or it’s getting in the way of living your life and enjoying your marriage—make sure to reach out and ask for help.
“If these feelings just will not subside, it’s best not to ignore them—there could be something more going on,” Thompson says. “Talk to your physician or make an appointment with a local therapist.”