all photos by Leslie Cervantez Photography
John and I tied the knot a few months ago, on October 25th, 2014 in Houston, Texas. Since I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to marry him, and since we’ve been talking about marriage since early in our relationship, and since John planned the whole wedding and I sorta just showed up, and since I tend to remain relatively unfazed in big life moments for unknown reasons, I thought the wedding wouldn’t have a huge impact on me.
Like of course I knew it would be WOW WOW WOW that night and the next weekend at the second reception in my hometown, but I pretty much assumed we’d jump right back into normal life that next Monday.
Welp, LOL at that. Here’s how it went for me.
You’ll “Work from Home” for a Week
Oh hi, extreme exhaustion. I was wiped out like I’ve never experienced before. And listen, I had a tough job right out of college involving long and physical hours, frequent traveling, and very little sleep, so it’s not like I’ve never been REALLY tired. This was different, man. My body was donezo, but so was my brain, and so were my emotions. I was just a blob on the couch for like 5 days. John was, too, actually. That whole week is a blur.
It sorta makes sense, though: all the excitement and celebrating and love and drinking and dancing and catching up and seeing people you haven’t seen in years… You’re just so zonked after it all.
It’s fantastic, but it’s depleting. Don’t think you’ll get right “back to it.” And speaking of that…
You’ll Decide Normal Life is Stupid and Sorta Shitty
Weddings are freaking magical. You’re SO HAPPY and your families are SO HAPPY and your guests are SO HAPPY and there’s music and fun and laughter and cake and it’s just the best time ever. All is right in the world, nothing can bring you down, and you’ve got this perma-smile on your face the whole time.
And then you get home and you’re like, this is it? This is my life? Wait, what? What am I doing? Why am I not traveling the world, curing cancer, saving endangered animals… Ugh this sucks. Who am I? Life! LIFE! I must live you better! This can’t be it.
You go into a mini depression, really. The magic is over and your typical day-to-day just can’t compare. Eventually you readjust, though, and become pretty okay with normalcy (which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but that’s a topic for another day).
You’ll Reconsider How You Feel About Yourself
I had a bit of a panic attack at our second reception, the one in my hometown. It’s sort of a long story, but here’s the gist: I haven’t exactly kept up with my old friends — with any of my friends, really – which I stopped beating myself up about when I learned about introverts. It’s just not in my nature to reach out to people only to check in (i.e. without a specific purpose for contacting them) — even if I’m thinking about them, even if I love the shit out of them, even if I still consider them one of my “good” friends though they’ve likely moved on to people who actually talk to them.
When I first created the guest list for my Indiana reception, it was very short — but that didn’t bother me. I knew I’d lost touch, and I didn’t want to make anyone feel weird by having to RSVP “no” because they felt like they barely knew me anymore. And then my mom started encouraging me to invite more people, assuring me they’d want to come. She was right about those people, but then I got carried away with the thought of having a good ol’ time with lots of my good ol’ friends, and I invited a ton of people from my past that I wanted to be a part of it, no matter how long it had been.
Keep in mind, there’s an expectation in southern Indiana that your wedding will be huge. Everyone knows each other, and everyone goes to everyone’s wedding. With that came another expectation: that our Indiana reception would be bigger than the Texas one. (I mean it’s not like I had people asking me the guest count every day, but at least among our families, it was understood that the Indiana guest list could blow up. Except it didn’t…)
I got a lot of “no”s. Maybe those people really couldn’t come, or maybe they just didn’t care to. Either way is fine, really. Really! Putting myself in their shoes, I would have found it pretty random that I was invited, and politely declined. I wasn’t surprised at all that my “huge” Indiana reception was actually going to be rather intimate.
But somewhere in my brain there was this “I suck” feeling I did my best to ignore over the following months…
When we showed up at the reception, there were like 5 people there, and that’s not an exaggeration. And suddenly, oh, there it is, can’t ignore it now: I cared. I almost cried or puked or both. I went in the bathroom and asked myself to just get through the night, and then I could go back to Seattle and forget that I had no friends. Because that’s where the panic and sickness was coming from — I felt like I had no friends, and it was all my fault.
This story has a happy ending, though. People showed up. It was a small crowd, but almost all my best girlfriends came. Almost all our close family friends came. I ended up having a blast.
When I got home, though, that “I suck” feeling kept popping up, and I seriously doubted how cool I was with myself for weeks. Who lets relationships fade like that? Who is so bad at friendship that half the people she was once super close with didn’t come to her wedding? I felt really shitty about this. I still do.
But what helps is remembering what my friend Rachel said when I explained to her that as the “no”s rolled in, I had started to worry no one would be there at all: “Did you really think we wouldn’t come?” she asked, referring to our circle of girlfriends. “We love you.”
Cue sigh of relief. I don’t have a lot of friends, but I have really great, understanding, with-me-for-life friends. I’m more than okay with that.
Anyway, my point with this section: your wedding will stir up emotions and doubts you didn’t know you had. Give yourself some head space to work through it.
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