Wedding Night Confessions: 10 Newlyweds Dish on How to Manage Expectations

What happens on the wedding night? Read stories from real couples about what they expected…and what actually happened!

Photo by Zola

Expectations for the long-awaited wedding night are high. You might envision an unforgettably romantic evening as newlyweds in the swankiest hotel suite you’ve ever stepped into, but is that how things really pan out? What do couples do on their wedding night? To find out, we asked real couples about what really happened on their wedding night—the good, the bad, and everything in between. Here are 10 true stories from married couples about what actually happened on their wedding night. Need help prepping for your upcoming wedding night? Jump straight to our infographic below!

“My husband's blood sugar started dropping”

“We had rented a cute cottage on the wedding venue property. I thought we'd go back and read some cards, maybe make love, eat some leftovers in bed, and fall asleep—waking up joyous, well-rested, and newlywed. Here’s what actually happened:

During the cleanup process, my dad backed my car into a post. I should have taken this as a sign of things to come. My feet hurt so bad from a night of dancing in heels that I could barely walk. We did read the cards, but then the fatigue really set in…my husband is also a T1 diabetic, and his sugar started dropping. At this point we discover that the leftovers never made it to the cottage and all we have are some grandma-style hard candies—not gonna cut it. My feet are still throbbing, so I can't get my shoes on. We scramble into my freshly crunched car and I drive us barefoot to the nearest fast food place—Taco Bell—at 2 a.m. Having saved my new husband from a medical emergency, we return to the cottage, climb into an uncomfortable bed, and wake up gassy and grumpy.” —Caitlin H.

“Guests kept popping in to say congratulations”

“I had been really excited to finally get to the love of my life, and although we did not plan the night, I was more excited on our wedding night than any other night we've spent together before then. After the reception, we were already tired and retired to our suite. We took a warm bath together, drinking wine and reminiscing about how we met. Afterward, we lay on the bed cuddling, forced to take things slow because of the guests that kept popping in to say congratulations! Eventually we fell asleep and when we woke, we knew we had to go somewhere private to consummate our union, away from the disturbance of family and friends!” —Emma G.

“The foreplay consisted of 30 minutes of helping her out of her wedding dress”

“I, the groom, was extremely hungover from blacking out the night before from the rehearsal dinner. It wasn't my plan at all, but with out-of-town friends, my dad's fraternity brothers, and an open bar, things were bound to happen. The wedding ended and my wife and I headed back to our hotel room for some marriage sex. The foreplay consisted of 30 minutes of helping her out of her wedding dress, followed by both of us complaining about how sore we were after standing and dancing all night. The adrenaline from the day was wearing off and exhaustion was setting in, and we both realized that whatever sex would come that night wouldn't be nearly as memorable as we had thought. Instead we decided to reflect on the night, our future, and all of those sappy things married couples do. We woke up the next morning feeling much more energized and actually excited about being married, and had the wedding night sex—albeit in the morning—we dreamed of!” —Ryan M.

“We woke up to a literal jungle in our hotel room”

“Wedding night expectations are to dance the night away with friends and family, and still somehow look glamorous and perfect as you make your way to your hotel room that night—not reality! We finished celebrating around 3 a.m, forgetting that we had told our wedding attendants to put all of the leftover ceremony flowers in our room. Because we’d had a couple of cocktails, that realization didn’t set in until the next morning when we woke up to a literal JUNGLE in our hotel room. I (the bride) started sobbing because it was an overwhelming amount of flowers and it meant the wedding celebration was over. It took us two nights to clean everything up and even feel in the mood!” —Michelle K.

“Drunk, tired, and exhausted”

“Going into our wedding night, my expectations were that the sex was going to be so special, and it really wasn't. By the time we got back to the hotel we were so drunk, tired, and exhausted that we did it so fast my husband didn't remember the next morning!” —Alexi M.


“She kissed me on the lips…then kissed my husband on the lips”

“At the end of the night our guests were all hanging around the hotel. One specific guest, we'll call her Adrienne, hung out with my new husband and me until just about bedtime. I have to admit, I hooked up with her in my 20s. In the elevator on the way to our rooms, Adrienne kissed me on the lips. Then she kissed my husband on the lips. I could tell she wanted more, but I wasn't prepared for a threesome on my wedding night. We went our separate ways. My husband was wasted by the time we arrived at our room, and we were so tired we did NOT have sex. I planned on wearing bridal lingerie and having this romantic, dream-like ending to our night…it didn't go as planned!” —Kayla B.

“My husband spent an hour taking my hair down”

“Sex wasn’t the priority I thought it would be on my wedding night. We assumed we’d have sex that night, but ultimately we were too exhausted and hungry. I had an elaborate hairstyle with more hair spray and bobby pins than I’d ever seen in my life. My new husband spent an hour helping me get my hair down, and then we laughed our butts off about how big my hair was—it stuck out like a dome around my head. In the end, though, we were exhausted and spent the night lounging in the tub and then the bed, but fell asleep before we had sex.” —Leah P.

“We went from IHOP to Denny’s and finally landed at a Waffle House”

“Our wedding was in the late afternoon followed by a dinner cruise, but by the time the boat docked and we’d said goodbye to our families, we were hungry again. So in our wedding attire, we went out in search of food before going home. What we didn’t realize is that a lot of local high schools celebrated homecoming that night and plenty of teenagers had the same idea we did. We went from an IHOP to a Denny’s and finally landed at Waffle House, after 30 minutes of driving from place to place. But the search for food became almost personal—we were going to find something to eat at midnight one way or another.

By the time we made it home, the day had caught up with us and we struggled to keep our eyes open. Also, we had the full feeling you get when you’ve eaten overly greasy, not-great-for-you food. We had sleepy, quick sex that wasn’t particularly romantic or special. We both admit we’ve had better sex before and that we could have skipped it that night, and that we don’t regret our trip to Waffle House at all.” —Kayla L.

“We ordered takeout and went to bed”

“My wife and I are from an Indian background—long weddings and a lot of alcohol at our reception parties. Our wedding was no different. Our wedding night finished around 1 a.m., and we were very drunk, so my wife and I, along with some of our family, got take out from the local place, ate it, then went back to our hotel and went to sleep. For us, it was just another night!" —Ravo D.

“Confused and reluctant”

“We didn’t officially plan our wedding night, but since we hadn’t had sex before our wedding, we knew what we would do. But things didn’t go as planned. We were both confused, and despite being lovebirds, we were reluctant. This was unexpected, but the truth is no matter how much you discuss and prepare, you may still get confused and shy. We didn’t spend time in foreplay, and I wasn’t feeling too comfortable. My wife was in a lot of pain and she was almost crying!” —Edwin M.

4 Tips for a Memorable Wedding Night

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1. Set the Mood

However you and your partner like to get in the mood, you can plan ahead so that your room feels inviting and comfortable by the time you arrive. You might set up candles and flowers, have the perfect playlist prepared, or pack that new lingerie you ordered. Setting the mood could even mean ensuring that someone has cleaned the room you and your partner will be staying in that night. Whatever it means to you, a little planning ahead of time goes a long way when the night finally rolls around and you’re too exhausted to do much.

2. Have a Plan for Food or Snacks

You might be hungry by the time your wedding night is over, and the last thing you want is to be distracted by hunger! Plan ahead and ensure there’s some food available in your room by the time you and your partner arrive—especially if you anticipate your wedding will end late and you might not have many food options available.

3. Relax and Enjoy Each Other's Company

Your wedding night might include an epic romp…or it might not, and that’s OK. What matters most on your wedding night is enjoying the time spent with your new spouse—if that means cuddling up for a movie or just hanging out and talking, then go for it!

4. Keep Plans Flexible

Maybe you do have grandiose plans for your wedding night, and in a perfect world, they’ll go off without a hitch. While that’s totally possible, there’s always a chance that something won’t go exactly as planned. It’s common to hit a few snags after an event like your wedding day, and it’s important to keep things flexible if they do.

Your wedding night is certainly an exciting time, and with the whirlwind of events leading up to it, it’s understandable that it might not culminate into the epic romance of a lifetime—but that’s too much pressure for one night anyhow! Remember that your excitement as newlyweds doesn’t hinge on a single night, and you have the rest of your lives together, so do your best to relax, enjoy yourselves, and lose the pressure. You deserve it!

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