Bridal Depression: The Sad Days After the Happiest Day

Our society can make it seem like your wedding is meant to be the happiest day of your life, and for the vast majority of people, it is.  All of the hard work is paying off, all of your friends and family are together in one place, and everyone is there to celebrate the intense love you have for another person.  This all seems pretty positive, right?  So then why is ‘post-wedding depression’ a real emotional response that a number of people have to deal with?  In fact, one out of every ten new brides are likely to feel this way following their wedding.

Realistically, you’ve been putting a lot of time and energy into planning an awesome party, and when that is over, what else do you have to look forward to?  You might start to beat yourself up over the idea that I should be excited and thrilled to continue the rest of your new life with my partner.  This conflict can lead to experiencing depressive symptoms stemming from this internal struggle and contradiction.  Post-wedding depression can also become a problem if it causes distance or rifts between you and your partner.  Becoming more aware of what your expectations are, post-wedding for your relationship, is a way to address this concern before it becomes seemingly too unmanageable.  Remembering that your wedding day was just one day of your life, that there were happy days before your wedding and that there will be happy days after, is a useful way to reframe what you are experiencing.  Acknowledging that you can be both extremely happy and extremely sad at the same time is a realistic possibility. 

Communication and support are extremely important if you are noticing depressive symptoms stemming from this type of conflict.  Particularly, communicating with your partner that this is no one’s fault is important.  Letting your partner know that they are not the reason for your emotional state and clarifying what is the cause may help your partner better support you though these emotions.  The first year of marriage can be a challenging year on its own, simply because of the adjustments that are necessary.  Continuing to plan different social engagements, such as weekend plans, dinner parties, or small trips, will help to keep that feeling of looking forward to something enjoyable alive.  Making sure to get adequate rest and exercise is always useful to help balance your mood, as well as finding additional hobbies or enjoyable activities to fill this void that had been consumed with wedding planning for so many months.  Setting a schedule or making daily goals could be helpful, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed or if you are uncertain about exactly where to start. 

If you think about it, since we were children, we have been primed to look forward to our wedding day and place a high level of importance on that one event.   Working to keep a realistic outlook of what that day means and that afterwards you might experience feelings of loss can be useful.  Losing a day that you’ve been dreaming about for so long, likely even longer than the wedding planning period, is a real feeling.  Giving yourself a break and realizing that it’s ok to feel this way is necessary.  Continuing on with your life and decreasing these depressive symptoms requires a level of acceptance, which will encourage the rest of your life to be as happy as your wedding day was.

Authored By:  Kaitlan Gibbons, PsyD