Wedding Reflections | 6 Months On

Why no-one tells you about the post wedding blues, Bumpkin BettyThe month of May marked six months since our wedding day. Last weekend as we spent a wonderful time touring sunny Copenhagen, the 21st of the month ebbed past us with thoughts of that date last November rushing back.

And in truth, that was the first time I’d allowed my mind to go back there in quite some time. It was the first time I’d talked about the wedding since without feeling on the brink of tears. It was the first time I’d had the courage to share one of our official photos on Facebook. It was the first time I’d remembered the day without immediately remembering the flaws.

It was the first time I was able to say;

‘We didn’t have the ‘perfect’ wedding… and that’s ok’.

Because as much as I’d love to tell you that so far our first year of marriage has been non stop sunshine, rainbows and glitter, we all know that real life isn’t like that. In actual fact, the emotional road I’ve walked (with my husband supportively by my side I’ll add) since the day I said I-do has been a rocky one, and I’ve had to work through a whole host of confusing emotions that frankly I just never expected to feel.

Because the one eventuality (and perhaps the most important one) that no wedding magazine, blog or forum ever prepares you for amongst the sea of planning tips, is how you might feel after the day is over. How you might cope when you find that life, as it always does, rolls on as if nothing ever happened. How you can begin to get some of yourself back after you poured your entire being into an event that disappeared like a balloon in the sky before you even had a chance to grab the end of the string and just look at it for a minute. No one prepares you for that.

For those of you who followed my wedding journey on the blog, and read my Wedding Week posts, some of what I’m about to tell you may come as a surprise. Up until now I haven’t spoken much about the aftermath of our wedding or about the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on since that part of my life drew to a close.

It’s not that I’ve lied in any way, I want to make that abundantly clear. I guess some things are just harder to talk about than others, and it’s taken me this long to be brave enough to share the full story. Every word I wrote on each of my Wedding Week posts chronicling our day was 100% true. I did feel all of those wonderful emotions – happiness, joy, relief – and I have felt them since too. But in the six months since that day happened, I’ve also felt a lot of other emotions in relation to the wedding. Ones which are rarely ever spoken about in the wedding world and ones which I truly believe I cannot be alone in feeling.

Sadness. Remorse. Anger. Guilt. Regret. Confusion…. Shame.

Sad that the wedding is over and that I’ll never get to do it again.

Remorseful that it didn’t go entirely to plan and that there are so many things I desperately want to change.

Angry that despite all of my hard work I failed to create the wedding we had dreamed of.

Guilty that we asked so much of friends and family and even more guilty that I’ve since blamed them for circumstances that couldn’t have been helped.

Regretful over everything I didn’t do, didn’t say and didn’t plan for.

Confusion as to why I can’t be like every other bride on the planet and love my day for what it was.

Shame that I feel this way when I have so much to be thankful for.

Shame that I can’t see the good and only see the bad.

Shame that even six months down the line I can’t let it all go.

Shame that I love my husband and yet have negative emotions towards what should be the happiest day of my life.

Because I do.

And in the spirit of honesty I’ll share the secret that’s been haunting me ever since; I didn’t love my wedding day.

Before I go any further I want to make it as clear as I possibly can do, that none of these emotions are at all directed towards my marriage, or the decision to enter into it. Amongst all of the confusing things that have entered my head over the last six months, regretting marrying GB was NEVER one of them. I would say those vows again and again every single day until I die in every scenario imaginable and I’d never change them, never regret them. The one thing that actually has not changed at all since getting married is our relationship – it remains as solid and forgiving as ever – and that in itself has made things even more difficult and allowed me to beat myself up even more about the fact that so many negative emotions about our wedding have swamped my mind, when I have such a caring and loving husband supporting me through them all.

One of the reasons I decided now, six months on, to share some of what I’ve felt post wedding is because I truly thought I was alone in thinking these things. For months I bottled up my feelings and admitted them to no-one. I felt like I had no-one to talk to and couldn’t express the things I was working through in a way that anyone would understand. I felt ashamed.

Ashamed of the feelings that consumed me day in and out, ashamed of myself for even letting them enter my being and ashamed of what I thought they might mean to everyone around me should I admit them. As soon as you even mention the fact that your wedding wasn’t quite what you’d imagined it to be, people look at you in horror, as if there must be some ‘underlying factor’ which causes you to think this way. People draw their own conclusions and write you off in their head as a failed marriage before you even have time to explain that it’s the wedding, not the marriage that keeps you awake at night. That just because you long to go back and change every little detail of that all important day doesn’t mean you want to change the one detail that matters – marrying your husband.

And I get it. I struggled to get my head around it all too. For months I hated myself. I was convinced there was something terribly wrong with me because I couldn’t seem to see past the cloud of negativity to the positive and happy things that the day brought. I cursed myself for spending so much time lamenting over what most people might see as trivial details. I beat myself up for being so self conscious about my looks that I couldn’t just accept that there was someone who loved me enough to marry me. And I felt constantly guilty every time I saw the sadness on my husbands face when I tried to vocalise some of the disappointment I felt towards our wedding day.

Because all we ever hear following a wedding are the phrases ‘it was the best day of my life’ and ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’ we wrongly assume that unless all we feel is unadulterated happiness since that moment, there is something wrong with us. To admit that, actually, we might be feeling a bit down, that the wedding day wasn’t all we dreamed it to be, that we don’t like the way we looked, or that we wish we had better photos, that we feel guilty constantly for not spending enough time with certain people, and that the fact that a years worth of hard work amounted to one day that we can barely remember has felt like a giant colossal disappointment, seems incomprehensible because we are led to believe that feeling those things make us monsters.

And so I didn’t share. Like everyone else, when asked about my wedding day I repeated those time honoured phrases that kept people smiling, like; ‘it was the best day of my life’ and ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’. I didn’t want to bring anyone else down with me. I didn’t want to ruin the experience for other bride-to-be’s, I didn’t want to rain all over their (absolutely deserved) excitement and make them worry unnecessarily in the run up to their own special occasions. I wanted to portray my wedding in a positive and happy way, because I knew in my heart that it was, despite the fact I couldn’t see it.

I can’t tell you exactly when these negative feelings began but what I do know is that they weren’t instant. When I do now talk about the things that went wrong on our wedding day to other brides, I follow it with the reassurance that none of it mattered to me on the day. Which it honestly truly didn’t. I didn’t notice that things weren’t laid out quite right, it didn’t bother me that the band were two hours late or that my dress didn’t fit me properly. All of those things, on the day, were inconsequential to the real event that was getting to the top of the aisle and saying my vows. I would have done it in a bin bag if I had to, and that’s the truth.

And in those first initial weeks following the wedding, nothing could get to me. It was as if I was still confined inside the happy bubble and nothing anyone said, did or reminded us of could penetrate that. During our mini moon in the Lake District, GB and I spent every waking moment excitedly reliving the wedding with each other. Going over details, and conversations, laughing about silly moments and telling each other how proud we were to have pulled it off. As the mini moon drew to a close and we dropped in on GB’s Mum on route back to London, I can remember very clearly saying the words ‘It was absolutely all worth it – all the stress, all the worry, all the hard work – 100% worth it’ to her.

I think about that often now, as well as the euphoria I felt during the mini moon and I long to get back to that. I long to find that positive attitude within myself again and erase everything I’ve thought since then. Because somewhere between returning to London and going on honeymoon, the bubble burst. And suddenly I was vulnerable. Vulnerable to all of the ‘in jest’ comments that people made about the day, vulnerable to my own self hatred about how I looked, and vulnerable once again to that Pinterest Dream that I realised I hadn’t been able to make a reality.

It only takes one person to tell you they don’t like your wedding photos for you to admit your own disappointment. It only takes one (probably well meaning but ill fated) comment about how you looked a little thin in your dress to bring up every insecurity you were holding back. It only takes one bad photo to appear on Facebook for you to realise how truly self conscious you really felt on the day. It only takes one mislaid remark about timings or food or the cold to make you question every decision you made and want to take them all back. It only takes one friend to tell you they felt overworked for a never ending well of guilt over taking advantage of those around you to appear. It only takes one guest to say the words ‘we hardly got a chance to talk to you’ for you to feel eternally sorry for your actions on the day.

It only takes one thing to burst that bubble. And once it’s burst, there’s no going back.

By the time we were on honeymoon, thoughts like ‘I wish we’d done this’ or ‘why did we do that’ were beginning to fill my brain and as the time for us to come home and face reality drew ever nearer, I admitted my feelings to GB and asked whether he too felt that perhaps, shock horror, it hadn’t all been worth it. But seeing the obvious hurt on his face at my words made me instantly sorry I’d mentioned anything. I backtracked, told him I was just sad that the honeymoon was almost over and told him to forget I’d ever mentioned anything.

From then on I tried desperately to push my feelings aside. But as the reality of being back home, with post wedding money troubles and the miserable January/ February slog, wore on, they started to get the better of me.

When I plucked up the courage to share our day on this blog back in February, after trying to block out the beginnings of these feelings for two months, I truly wanted to focus all of my words and energy on the positive. I wanted to write down every last happy memory I had about the wedding, as if in fear that the negative thoughts that had begun to consume me might overtake and make me forget them (which they eventually did). But doing so wasn’t easy. I had to fight against phrases like ‘X was a total disaster’ or ‘I’m still crying over Y’. But I knew that those were not the memories I wanted, despite them filling my head. I knew that I wanted to be able to look back at those posts in years to come and remember the truly important aspects of our wedding day, the things I had to be thankful for.

I thought about not sharing our day at all, knowing that perhaps in doing so I might be opening up a well of feelings that until that point I’d been managing to hold back. That letting the world in on something that for now was just ours, might bring with it a flood of reality that I wasn’t yet ready for. But I felt a certain responsibility. A responsibility to my readers to share the final result of everything I’d talked about at length for the last year, a responsibility to the suppliers we’d worked with who I wanted to support, and a responsibility to myself to, in some way, conclude our story and hopefully put those feelings behind me.

But as I suspected, doing so didn’t bring the remedy I so desired, and instead just fuelled the fire of guilt, sadness and pain that was building up inside me. I wished I hadn’t shared the photos, I cringed at the thought of people seeing me in my dress, I over analysed every comment (or lack there of) and I worried my readers would secretly be thinking I was a total fraud as my wedding clearly didn’t look nearly as good as my year of Wedding Wednesday posts had alluded it would.

I began to resent the wedding and everything it had caused. I resented the fact that I’d had to put my freelance career on hold slightly to get through it all, and was now starting again with new clients and projects and having to accept things I wouldn’t normally have accepted. I resented the fact that we’d spent all of our savings and were having to work ourselves to the bone to get them back. I resented the fact that I’d dedicated a year of my life to something that now had me feeling so rubbish. I resented what I’d put myself through with stress and worry and how I’d at times made myself ill because of the pressure of it all. I resented my family for allowing that to happen, my friends for not doing more to help, and GB for not telling me to stop.

I resented everything and everyone. And then I felt unbelievably guilty for having ever thought those thoughts in the first place. GB and I were seeing so little of each other as he was travelling for work and as I was working most evenings and weekends, I couldn’t see much of my friends. I found myself crying all of the time and I didn’t know how to deal with the emotions in my head. Whenever I did begin to even scratch the surface of it all with someone, they would just urge me not to be so negative and to focus on the good parts, which was infuriating as that was ALL I was trying to do. It was as if there was a thick fog in front of me that just wouldn’t shift.

Jealousy is an ugly trait and I’m ashamed to say I began to feel it. I tortured myself by still reading wedding blogs daily and wondering how those brides, who described their picture perfect day and shared photos of bright sunlit photos and perfectly styled tables, had achieved what I could not. I felt jealous of their days, of their photos and of their clear planning ability that I assumed I didn’t have. Every time a friend got their phone out to show off photos of themselves in their wedding dress, I hated them. I wondered why I didn’t feel like that, why I had no photos on my phone and was scared to share a single professional shot with anyone. I constantly asked why I wasn’t lucky enough to be one of those brides who felt beautiful on their wedding day? Why I was the one out of all of the brides I’d followed who hadn’t got the day they wanted? Why we had been unlucky with photographs when it meant so very much to us? I continued to look at blogs and Pinterest and browse wedding dress sites as if I was still planning, pleading and wishing to do it all again and lying awake at night cursing every wrong decision I made.

The guilt of it all was the worst. I felt guilty about so many aspects of the wedding which was then doubled by the guilt I felt for feeling so negative following the wedding. Your supposed to love your wedding day, your supposed to think it was the best day of your life and you’re not supposed to think badly of it in any way. I felt like a bad wife, a bad daughter, a bad daughter in law and sister. I felt like a bad friend, and worst of all a bad person.

I was a mess.

Buy you know what the turning point for me was? It was reading an article very similar to this one on Love My Dress, written by a reader who poured her heart out about the emotions she felt after the wedding day. Reading it, I sympathised and nodded along with almost everything she described and just knowing that I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t a monster and that I wasn’t the only bride in the world who had dealt with negative feelings in the aftermath of their wedding was amazing. I joined the Love My Dress brides group on Facebook (a place where pre and post brides can talk and share openly without any judgement) in a bid to thank her, and found that the group itself provided me with the therapy I’d been seeking. No one judged me or made out I was a leper when I admitted I hadn’t loved our photos, felt disappointed with our decor and didn’t feel great about how my body looked in my dress. Instead comments of agreement flooded in and members went out of their way to exclaim that they felt the same way giving me tips for how to get through it. I realised that so many brides went through issues in the run up to the wedding and on the day itself, and hearing other people’s stories (which in many cases were much sadder than any of mine) made me realise that I had so much to be grateful for with my wedding day. My excitement for the wedding came back when I was able to weigh in and help others in need – giving advice on choosing underwear and telling them why the weather wouldn’t affect their day.

I realised that I did love my wedding day, and that there were so many parts of it that were truly wonderful. The ceremony forever lives on in my mind as the beautiful and emotional experience that it was for example. But I accepted that in many other ways I didn’t love it (the nerves, the stress, the exhaustion), and there were many parts of the whole process which got the better of me and turned me into someone I didn’t recognise. And most importantly, I realised that having mixed emotions about the whole thing were completely normal, and that most brides go through at least some degree of this (however small or fleeting) following the adrenaline and long build up of the day.

Last weekend we spent a wonderful few days in Copenhagen, and reminded ourselves how much we love spending time with each other, away from work, and weddings and daily stresses. We talked about the wedding and we laughed. We remembered the good bits and not the bad. I shared a photo on Facebook and finally submitted our wedding story to Love My Dress for feature.

And that’s why I knew I needed to share my post wedding journey on here too, because it’s part of my story and despite being beyond scared to click publish, I know that it might help someone else going through these emotions. It’s why the portrayal of a ‘perfect day’ in the wedding industry really must stop and why we all must be more willing to share all the things that went wrong, and that problems that we faced, as well as the things that went right. Because everyone has them, and yet no-one talks about them. The perfect wedding doesn’t exist – I know that now – and those who seek perfection so dearly (as I did) will only be left feeling disappointed, inadequate and sad when they don’t get it. But you can make your own version of perfect, and even if it doesn’t include a matching colour scheme and you don’t look as drop dead gorgeous as the images on your Pinterest board, it can still be yours and it can still be treasured.

I can’t tell you I’m completely cured and have come out the other side unscathed (I still cried like a baby when a friend mentioned my dress the other day) but I can say I’m back on the right track.

I still have very mixed emotions towards our wedding day, but I’m learning that that’s ok. It’s ok to feel both sadness and happiness for such a monumental occasion in your life. It’s ok to feel some loss at the fact that such a big event is behind you, and it’s ok to both want to forget it all, and want to relive it over and over like ground hog day simultaneously. I spent a really long time feeling like I’d messed up my one chance, and I found it so difficult to get over that, even when I began to accept the smaller things that had gone wrong. I kept going over the fact that I’d never to do it again. Never get to be the bride again, never get to wear the dress again, never get to walk down the aisle again, never get to say those words again, never get to live out the day again, never get to have those photos taken again, and I’d messed them all up.

But when I began to think about it, I wondered what one chance I’d really messed up? My one chance to marry my best friend? Nope, I did that. My one chance to find someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with? No, I found him and I married him. My one chance to become husband and wife and have all of our family fit and well enough to watch us do it? No that definitely happened. And my one chance to live out my life with someone I love? No, we have our whole lives and everything that they might bring ahead of us.

So what if I messed up my one chance to have a Pinterest worthy wedding. So what if we only have one photo from the day that we both like. So what if my dress didn’t really fit me, our flowers were dead and we were so knackered on the day that we could barely even enjoy it.

The wedding was just one day in our story, and I think the pressure for it to be THE day, made it difficult to leave behind.

We didn’t get the perfect wedding, but we got each other. And I’m slowly realising that that’s more than enough.


*Update*

I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to read, comment and share their own stories (and those who emailed, tweeted or Facebook messaged because it felt too private) following this post. I absolutely loved hearing from all of you, and even though I regretted putting the post up almost immediately, I think it has done me the world of good. Having said that I know that I did worry a few people, and perhaps (without meaning to) came across as a bit sad and negative. It’s left me feeling truly torn over whether I should be sharing posts this personal in nature anymore, now that so many people who know me in real life read my blog (tales of a once anonymous blogger!). But I just want to reassure everyone that I’m totally fine – I just very much enjoy writing from the heart. Pouring my thoughts out onto the page has always been therapeutic for me and in doing so I probably get a little carried away and write in an overly emotive manner (that’s why I’m determined to write a novel at one point in my life – and a real tear jerker of one at that – as I have a sneaking suspicion it might be my calling in life). I wouldn’t have been able to write those things if I was still feeling them, and I’m definitely looking back at my wedding in a much happier way now and seeing it for what it was – a wonderful occasion where I got to tell the world how much I love a ginger boy. Now looking back at it all, I can see that I truly just missed it all so much after it ended. I think I enjoyed the planning and anticipation of ‘what will be‘ so much that now that I only have ‘what was‘ it’s been hard. But please be assured that I do have happy memories from my wedding – the ceremony lives on as one of my favourite ever things – but I also just wanted to be honest and tell people that I was exhausted for a big chunk of it, could barely string a sentence together at the meal and found a great deal of it quite stressful.

Anyway to recap: Me = happy. Wedding = wonderful. Life = there for the taking. Thanks all!

Natalie ·

Nice and refreshing to read! I asked several married friends in the run up to my own wedding what they regretted, what they wish they could change/have done, thinking I could have used it as a constructive tool for my own. All of them said “nothing, it was perfect”
I figured it must just be this post wedding bliss that you look back and glow with love for your day. However I came away from ours with loads of things I’d change! It’s not just you!

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Jaclyn ·

Haha thanks Natalie – you should have come to me, I would have reeled off a giant list. But in all seriousness I think there is that worry for us brides who have been through it that we’re conscious not to ruin the dream for those still in the planning. Everyone has a different experience of course and i know some people who genuinely did think everything was perfect, so maybe it’s just some of us who are more nitpicky than others. I’m definitely a worrier and I over analyse everything – it’s something that has always reared its head in my life so in hindsight I should have known these feelings were inevitable for me. I’m glad it’s not just me who would go back and change everything, thanks so much for taking the time to read and for your lovely comment xx

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Emily Scaife ·

Jaclyn, you’re so brave for writing this – please know that you’re not the only one. I loved my wedding day, but for ages afterwards all I could dwell on was the fact the vicar had been stroppy with me for being late, that a close friend who was one of my bridesmaids was pretty vile to me in the run up and hasn’t spoken to me since, and that certain people hurt our feelings (probably without meaning to). I got so stressed the week before (not just work related, I also handed my notice in at work and was dealing with some pretty vile people) that I suffered from some health problems on my honeymoon and I’m still battling them. To write that seems ridiculous, but it’s true-the first thing I had to do when we stepped off the plane was book an emergency appointment. There was so much that wasn’t how I had ‘pictured it’ but over time I’ve managed to focus on the things that pleasantly surprised me. People always have the capacity to not think before they speak or only think about themselves, even on the supposed biggest day of someone’s life. You’ll find that over time you’re able to edit your memories of the day – you won’t forget the less than perfect things, but they won’t shine as brightly. Please know that you looked absolutely stunning and I thought the day was beautiful. Also, if it helps, I had a complete meltdown when we got our first photos-I thought you could see the top of my knickers, and no one could convince me otherwise! The pressure of weddings is huge-be kind to yourself 😊
Lots of love Emily (a fellow lovette!)

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Emily, thank you SO much for taking the time to leave this comment – it means so very much to know that you also went through some similar niggles. As a fellow lovette I can honestly say that I loved your honesty in every one of your LMD posts, it was really what drew me to your writing. And when you shared your own wedding day, I re-read the post for days (I don’t think I’d married yet at that point) going over and over how beautiful it all was. I thought you were stunning, your dress unbelievably beautiful, your styling of day incredible and I’ll admit I was very jealous of your gorgeous photos. It just shows that we are really our own worst enemies, and no matter how many people say good things about us or our weddings, we will focus on that one bad comment (that probably wasn’t even that bad). I’m so sorry you had to deal with some issues on your honeymoon (I had a friend who went through something similar) but I can definitely sympathise. I think because the wedding becomes such a big preoccupation of our lives in the run up, we often ignore other issues or problems that come along and I too did a lot of ‘I’ll deal with that after the wedding’ which inevitably means that not only are you dealing with post wedding blues but you’re working through all the crap that you put off the year before. I’m glad to hear that your memories are now focusing on the good things, as that’s where I feel I’m finally getting to too. If it helps, I studied your photos in depth at the time and this knickers business is totally news to me haha. But I equally had underwear-gate which plagued me for months. What are we like?? Thanks so much for the solidarity! xx

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Eve ·

It’s lovely and refreshing to read such an honest post but I found this really sad to read. It’s difficult as an outsider to really tell what the problem was – I thought your photos, dress and the whole wedding looked beautiful when I read your wedding Week posts in February and just went and looked over them again – I still honestly do. It sounds as though some people have been rather rude to you – I would never tell someone I didn’t like their wedding photos even if I didn’t, and I truly think yours are lovely. What is it you don’t like about them? And what you say about people feeling like the decorations not living up to your plans certainly isn’t true for me – I read all the wedding blogs and I think yours would fit perfectly among them! The decorations look beautiful and while there may have been bits you weren’t happy with on the day I can honestly say that this doesn’t come across on the photos. It looks beautifully styled. Of course it’s normal though that there are things you would have done differently, and I’m sure everyone feels the same. You’re probably just more honest than most in admitting it!

I’m getting married next year and it makes me feel quite anxious reading this post that I will end up feeling as awful as you did afterwards. Have you got any advice for other brides to be? Do you think your problem was down to managing expectations and having an unrealistic view of how the experience would be? Or is there something specific that went wrong that you can advise against? I hope that in time you come to feel differently and can enjoy your happy memories of what looks like a very special day. X

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Eve, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Firstly I am SO SORRY that I’ve made you feel sad or anxious in any way in the lead to your own wedding – this was certainly never my intention and probably my biggest fear and why I didn’t share this for so long, but at the same time I kind of wish I’d read more posts that said – hey it’s not all rainbows and fairydust – so that was my reasons for writing it, but I truly am sorry if it has affected your own view of your upcoming wedding day – please be assured that your day will be wonderful, as mine was, and you will love it, as I did. But just be careful in the aftermath to look after yourself, be kind to yourself and not get hung up on things that really don’t matter. Ultimately everything you’ve said is 100% true – there is nothing wrong with my dress/photos/wedding and as an outsider you probably think I’m mad. hey as an insider I think I’m mad. But sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for the feelings we feel, and I guess I just wanted to let other people know that, you know what it’s ok to feel sad after your wedding day. It’s ok not to love every part of it. I don’t want you to worry about feeling the same way as me, as the likelihood is that you won’t – I think to go through as much of a downer as me is quite rare, and in all honesty it wasn’t ALL because of the wedding. There were a lot of things in my life that I had to work through and the wedding was merely a catalyst and in turn what got all the blame. I realise that everyone else can look at my photos and say ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ and I fully admit that I am my own worst enemy and put unrealistic markers on things but my own perception of things was just different and no matter how many people told me I looked beautiful or the photos were fabulous, I couldn’t see it. As far as advice goes – it’s a tough one, as everyone’s experience will be so different and like I say I have no doubt that you will have a great day and feel wonderful. I’d also really like to re-iterate that I DID have a great day and if you read my initial post wedding blog posts you will see that – I was euphoric and loved every single thing about the wedding. Now that is my solace as I think – I must have enjoyed it at the time, I’ve just forgotten that. It was the emotions that followed that got me into a bad way and made me start to doubt that euphoria. Like Kasia (in the comments below) I could reel off a whole list of things that went wrong on our day and tell you to be mindful of them, but really it wouldn’t help you as your wedding story, and the hiccups you have (because everyone has them) will be totally different. I guess, yes I did perhaps have too high an expectation for both the day itself and how different my life would be afterwards (it’s really exactly the same!). I am a perfectionist and I set a really high bar for everything I do in life, so really I was never going to reach it no matter how amazing the day had been. I think there were two main catalysts for it all – one being that we were unfortunately quite disappointed with our photos. I know to others they might seem fine, but we spent a large chunk of our budget on them and are both very passionate about the art of photography so there were certain things that just didn’t come through for us. I don’t blame our photographers in any way as they did a cracking job but in some ways I wish we had spent money on a video rather than photos, as I found that my own memories of the day were SO vivid that no flat image could ever convey that for me. To me the photos are of something totally alien, and not the bright colourful day that was in my head. And so I began to question my memories and wonder whether things weren’t as wonderful, colourful and creative as I remembered. The second thing was that my dress didn’t fit me on the day – probably every brides worst nightmare and no-ones fault but my own but a pretty huge disappointment to me after working on it for so long. I went along with it on the day thinking it wasn’t that bad, but seeing the photos come back was a huge shock and made me immediately self conscious about how my body looked. Two things that I’m sure many many brides go through, but two things I couldn’t get past unfortunately which then led to me questioning every other little thing. Like I say, your experience will be different and hopefully you won’t worry about those same things but whatever you do – get good underwear, underwear that makes you feel great no matter what! Anyway enough from me, please don’t worry and please don’t think that I’m trying to be negative as I really really am not. I just wanted to be honest and share what I think a lot of people don’t speak about. Thanks again for reading and commenting xx

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AMP ·

Just wanted to send you a big old squeeze my friend. You’re one tough cookie and a super brave bird. I know one of my friends has very similar feelings to you – but like you say, you got to marry your best friend and every other good thing that came out of the day was just a bonus. I think when you look at it that way, maybe the bits you didn’t love so much, won’t seem so bad xx

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Jaclyn ·

Thanks so much Alice. And oh my gosh you calling me a tough cookie makes me feel like a right old moan, considering what you’ve been through in the last year. Sometimes our problems just get the better of us I think, no matter how big or small. You’re totally right – all the extras are just that – extras. But I think that’s where I struggled, as the extras are what take the time to plan, the extras are what stress you out, and the extras are what you pour so much of yourself into. I often wonder if I’d still have felt this way if we had just eloped, or done something super simple with no one around but that probably would have come with a whole different set of guilt and worries. We are our own worst enemies – thank you for stopping by and commenting. Big hugs xxx

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Kirsty ·

This is such a brave, refreshing post Jaclyn – thank you for your honesty. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with your feelings about the day. I’m not engaged/married so don’t have similar experiences but I can totally relate with putting huge pressure on yourself to make everything perfect and focusing on the negatives.

I feel like weddings are built up so much to be this absolutely picture perfect day that it’s almost inevitable that they’ll disappoint on some level! It also sounds like there were a few fairly insensitive (if well intentioned) comments made which can’t have helped.

Hopefully as time goes on you can remember the good bits and forget the things that didn’t go quite to plan x

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Jaclyn ·

Thanks so much Kirsty, and lovely to hear from you! Whether it’s a wedding or not, I hope that people can relate to those feelings around anything in life. I constantly put the pressure on myself, and it’s only me who sets those bars, no one else. My mum constantly tells me ‘the only person putting pressure on you, is you’ and she’s right, but I can’t help it. I think I’ve learned that we are all different as people, and just because someone else sails through something in their life seemingly un-phased doesn’t mean that you will, and vice versa that same person might struggle with something you didn’t. I’ve learned that I’m a pretty anxious person – I worry and I stress and I put a lot on my shoulders – that’s just who I am and I can’t really change that about myself. I just need to learn to deal with it better and to accept that I can’t take on as much as I’d like. Life is one big learning curve right? Thanks so much for commenting. xxx

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Julia ·

While I can understand that there must be little elements from the day that could have gone more smoothly etc. this was quite a sad post to read. I thought your wedding day looked wonderful and was really taken with the styling of the day! I have not been married so cannot identify with the sentiments in this post directly, but I think it’s fantastic to have people open up and work to eliminate this idea of the ‘perfect’ day. Social media can be inspiring but intimidating, and in this case and many others like it it seems like Pinterest is positively toxic! I hope with time you can continue to focus on the positive parts of your day. While you may not be over the moon with the styling or the running of the day, you are so fortunate to have found someone so wonderful that you want to spend your life with. The wedding day is just the beginning of a marriage, and it’s better to have a great partner and a lacklustre wedding bash than the other way around!

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Jaclyn ·

Thank you so much Julia, that really means a lot. It’s like you say, I’m sure others will look at the day and think it was lovely and i’m worrying about nothing but my own perception of it got warped somewhere along the line and I couldn’t seem to change it. I definitely think that the online world can be both wonderful and inspiring as well as slightly toxic and competitive. I think because I work in social media, and digital, SO much of my life is consumed by reading blogs, looking at social feeds and aspiring to that lifestyle. I know it’s not all true, or real, and I am as much guilty of that in my own feeds as I want them to look pretty. I think it’s fine to have that aspiration and those curated pictures – I’d never want them to disappear, but I also think we just need more spaces for brides especially (as I think there is a lot of pressure on the bride) to talk through the emotions they feel and know that whatever they do/feel/say it’s ok and it’s normal. I’m sorry if it came across as sad, and you are right – finding someone to be with is the only thing that matters. That’s what I’m working on now xxx

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Ami ·

You might only have one wedding photo but it’s an absolutely brilliant one! You can see the love between you both and just how happy all of your guests are to witness you getting married. You look beautiful! The location looks amazing and unique too, was it in a forest?

Ami x
http://www.cranberryandapricot.com

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Jaclyn ·

Thank you so much Ami, yes it was in a woodland area in Scotland. You’ve just reminded me of one thing I truly loved about our wedding – the location and setting of it all. So thank you for that! xx

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Sandie kennedy ·

I admire your courage to be so
Honest and open with us all. I find your posts inspirational . I just adored your wedding dress and thought it was so very you – beautiful and different. Xxx

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Jaclyn ·

Thank you Sandie, I’m glad it came across as inspirational and not just a big pity party! Thanks for your kind words xx

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Emma ·

Sorry to hear you’ve felt this way but well done for putting it into words – hopefully it’ll help anyone else feeling they’ve had a less-than-perfect wedding, and I also hope / think that getting it out will be a lot more cathartic than bottling it up!

This has actually been a wake-up call for me as a wedding attendee, because I’ve been guilty of making flippant remarks about other people’s weddings – nothing major, but of course you’d be hypersensitive about your own wedding, when you’ve invested so much thought, time, money and effort into it!

And for the record I really loved your wedding posts and thought it (and you!) looked beautiful. The posts came at a perfect time for me because I’d been a little bit down in the dumps, feeling like everyone in the world was getting engaged / married except me (oh woe) but then you and another blog I follow posted your wedding pictures and I found them so gorgeous and inspirational that I suddenly got over it and decided I’d indulge myself in a teeny bit of imaginary wedding detail planning – I’d always felt that was a bit weird and something I should only ever do once engaged, but honestly even if / when I do get engaged, I’m still going to choose my own dress and probably have the main influence on colours and flowers and all that jazz, so no harm in a little advance daydreaming 😉

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Emma, Thanks so much for your comment and I’m so happy to hear that my posts cheered you up back then! Definitely NO harm in some early imaginary planning, as I’m sure your ideas will all change when it comes along anyway haha! It definitely was cathartic to write it all down, and of course to have so many lovely comments. Don’t worry too much about being a guest – I think I am over sensitive and perhaps took things to heart too much too. Thanks for reading xxx

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Kasia ·

Thank you for sharing this. You had the courage to put into words the feelings that many, many, must feel. You are not alone!

The day of our wedding, and indeed, the days after, I was absolutely elated, just like you. Then, as the high wore off, I started to nitpick. It rained relentlessly on our wedding day, preventing us from having the creekside celebration we planned and the beautiful outdoor photos I so desperately wanted. We were running an hour late, so my hair was rushed and I didn’t even have the chance to look in the mirror before heading out, so my neckline was situated about an inch too high. My father-in-law completely bungled our hand-fasting ceremony and called my sister by the wrong name during the readings. I realized in pictures later that half the vases and decor I made for the tables didn’t get put out. The list goes on. I had a crying jag while we were honeymooning in Iceland because I hated our simple ceremony backdrop so much and was furious at myself that I had abandoned my earlier, more ambitious plans. A couple weeks later, still on honeymoon, I had a breakdown over the aforementioned NecklineGate.

I do think that the fact that brides like you, who, by all accounts and photographic evidence, had a stunning day, feel so much regret over their wedding is just indicative that social media can be so toxic. I promise you that a million girls (myself included) look at your photos and say, “Why couldn’t mine have been like that?”

I also take solace in the fact that all weddings, regardless of how beautiful and chic and perfect they seem now, will be laughed at by future generations. Just like we laugh at our moms’ Princess Di dresses, our kids will laugh at our preoccupation with taking photos of stationery and food. 🙂

We’re having our one-year anniversary in a couple weeks- and I’m pleased to report that the crying jags have stopped. The jealousy twinges at a particularly chic bouquet or a jaw-dropping venue still pop up here and there, but I’ve moved on, and it sounds like you’re well on your way, too. There are bigger and better things in life than a wedding. Isn’t it glorious that the best day of your life didn’t happen so early on? 🙂

With love and solidarity, and apologies for the novel of a comment,
Kasia

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Kasia, thank you SO much for reading and commenting – it really means a lot. I think out of all the comments, yours might have helped me the most as I adored your LMD posts and loved how creative you were being with everything. You were a true inspiration to me and I just thought that everything you turned your hand to looked unbelievably fantastic, and was annoyed at myself for not being able to do the same. I was really sad when your wedding didn’t appear on the site as out of everyone’s yours was the one I was most excited to see. But at the same time I can totally understand, as it’s taken me six months and a gentle push from Annabel to finally share our day (it goes up next week – eek). To know that you went through similar emotions and regretted parts of your day, is hugely cathartic for me. Not that I would wish things to wrong for you, but simply because it reassures me that it is the creative in me, that is causing me remorse. My mum often says that artists are the most tortured individuals in life, because they have to live with the fact that they can very rarely realise the vision inside their heads. It’s why so many of them went mad apparently! And while I’m not at all comparing myself to Van Gogh, I can kind of relate. My biggest problem throughout the whole wedding planning process was that I would have a vivid and clear image in my head for how I wanted something to be, and then was almost always disappointed by the end result, leading to me beating myself up for not being better at it. If I could have, I would have made everything myself (which if I remember rightly, you and your talented husband pretty much did) so I can only imagine how it must have felt when things didn’t go entirely to plan. I’m sorry the weather didn’t play ball for you (after a week of storms that was one thing that miraculously did go right for us but I can appreciate how it might have felt it it hadn’t) and I too had a very similar neckgate issue. I too looked at your photos and thought – why doesn’t mine look like that – so I guess we really are our own worst enemies. From what I saw of your day – it was absolutely incredible and so so creative. But I know that saying that won’t change your own perception of certain things. I’m glad to hear that the crying has stopped and your enjoying life as husband and wife (exactly what we’re now doing too) and you are totally right – why would I want the best day of my life to be behind me? Me and Stu often say the same thing about the photos – they will all get laughed at in years to come so as long as we have one to frame and treasure that’s all that matters. Thanks so much for commenting and for the solidarity. Please keep in touch xxx

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Kasia ·

I’m glad I could offer some comfort- I’ve really vacillated between feeling like I should only embrace and share the positive of engagement/wedding planning experiences with other brides, and feeling like perhaps some honesty about the nastier bits/darker moments is a better approach, so we don’t all feel like there’s something wrong with us and JUST us! I’m looking very much forward to seeing your LMD feature- I actually got a nudge a bunch of weeks ago from Lyndsey so maybe mine will still show up someday… it’s that combination of feeling like maybe mine just isn’t good enough/fitting enough with the aesthetic/etc that perhaps I should just get over… anyway… best wishes and do let me know if if you are in NYC at any point! 🙂

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Jaclyn ·

I definitely will – we loved Brooklyn last time we visited, and I’ll be buying up all your jewellery!!

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Sarah ·

I can to the massive pressure but our venue closed six days before the wedding so we had to relocate and we had to let go of any idea of what the day would look like.

Our elements still remain but they were in a new setting. It actually took the pressure off us and we got no comments because everyone was impressed there was still a wedding. I think it took that pressure off our shoulders.

I wish someone before your wedding had told you things go wrong. They do every day in our lives and we deal but usually with the person you married. Thats the best thing as you wrote, the wedding day starts a new life with your best friend.

One thing I thought about was a couple session in our wedding outfits some random afternoon. I loved our photos but I do know the stress we were under behind the smiles. It may help you as an option

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment. Oh my – I can only imagine the stress you must have been under with your venue closing so suddenly like that. GOOD ON YOU for being big enough and inventive enough to pull it all together at the last minute and make it happen elsewhere. I have a feeling I would have just crawled into a ball somewhere and forgotten about the whole thing if that had happened! What a superstar you are. People definitely did tell me that things go wrong, and I knew that they would. I mistakenly thought I’d prepared myself for it but perhaps not well enough. To be honest, it wasn’t so much the things that went wrong that altered my view of the day, but simply the emotions I dealt with following such a momentous occasion. I wasn’t expecting them and I didn’t know what to do with them. We are actually planning a second photo-shoot, whether it will help or not I don’t know but we figured we’d give it a go, just to have a few more shots of us looking a little less awkward and tense. Thank you for your words, xxx

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Linda ·

This is painful to read -I can’t imagine how painful it must be to feel. You were unbelievably beautiful on your wedding day and the day itself seemed a delight, you are married to the nicest guy on the planet and he is married to an amazing woman. Enough said.

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Jaclyn ·

Thank you, and I’m sorry it was painful to read, that wasn’t my intention. I just think that sometimes honesty is the best policy, and I don’t know why saying bad things about your wedding is so taboo. Actually having a good rant with some of my married friends and bloggers who went through it alongside me is one of the most therapeutic things.

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Flic ·

Sending you all the hugs – if my day looks HALF as good as yours I’ll be thrilled. You’ve been my pinspiration ever since that ring landed on my finger!! Winter wedding included. Lots of love xxxx

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Jaclyn ·

Thank you so much Flic – and happy that I can be your pinspiration, that means a lot! Your day will be fabulous, just remember to make it all about you two and try (as futile as it is to say this) not to worry so much about all the peripheral nonsense that can often bog you down. I’ll live vicariously through you now, so that I can still talk weddings for a while ha! Big hugs xxx

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Steph ·

What a brave post and I’m sure there will be many brides out there that have some similar thoughts! I’m getting married next year and am trying to be super relaxed about it, just in case things don’t go to plan (especially when everything is so darn expensive)! Hope the next 6 months are more positive for you. Steph xx
http://www.stephstyle.com

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Steph, thanks so much for your comment. It’s great to hear from others still in the planning stages. I think you’ve got the right idea with staying relaxed about it all. I somehow managed to get so engrossed in it all, despite telling myself we’d keep things simple haha! Good luck with your plans! xx

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karys ·

Hi Jac,
I’ve just pondered for sometime on whether to write, and after reading the comments that others have written I knew I just had to.
As with some of the other comments, I too am yet to be married (I’ve just realised that it’s 4 months today -eek!), my worries are more than anything how I will feel on the day. I worry about how nervous I’ll be, whether I can deal with everyone watching me, what people will think, whether people will see all the effort we’ve gone to, whether the money will be worth it, whether I’ve invited the right people, and whether I will look back afterwards with a smile on my face. I haven’t said this to anyone as I’m sure their answer would to not be so silly; and in my mind I know it’s silly, but the perfectionist in me still wants it to be perfect.
I totally agree with you, that reading wedding blogs and the community can give you an absurd view that all weddings are supposed to be “perfect”, and that gives a totally unrealistic view to prospective brides to be.
I read your wedding wednesday and post-wedding posts religiously and totally loved them. You gave such good advice, and I can’t wait to see your LMD post. Above all, yours has truly been the wedding I go to for most of my inspiration – I’m sure our days will turn out differently, we’re having an indoor ceremony in a castle, but your flowers, rugs, wooden features, accessories and photographs are all things I have taken with me to suppliers and remembered when choosing my own details. So to me, your wedding looked amazing. So hopefully you will in time be able to look back at your photographs and see what I see along with the smile that you married the boy!
Wishing you all the happiness in your marriage for years to come xx

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Karys, thank you so much for your lovely comment and apologies for taking so long to get back! If I remember rightly you are also the Karys who was very kind on my first post in the LMD group so a big thank you for that! How exciting that you are only 4 months away – it will fly by trust me!! All of the things you are worrying about are totally normal, don’t worry. I had exactly the same thoughts when I was a few months away from the day as well and I think everyone does. If it helps, I was terribly worried about my nerves beforehand, worried i’d be a blubbering mess and felt quite awkward about walking out and being ‘on show’ in front of so many people – those things too kept me awake at night in the weeks before, but honestly on the day there are so many emotions going through your head that those worries just slip away and get forgotten. You won’t notice anyone in the ‘crowd’ because you’ll only see your husband to be and won’t even notice how many people are looking at you. As soon as the dress is on and you’re walking down the aisle the nerves just disappear. In fact – my walk down the aisle went so fast, it was a blur and I wanted to do it again as I felt like I hadn’t enjoyed it haha! So try not to worry about all those things – they just fall into place. Your wedding sounds lovely – and I’m SO SO chuffed that our day was a bit of an inspiration to you with the rugs and the flowers – you’ve know idea how much that means to me!! I’m so excited to see how your day turn out and will be following along in the LMD group! I’m already feeling so much better about everything – it just shows how great it is to talk things out with other brides and bride-to-be’s who understand! Thanks again for your comment, it means a lot! xx

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karys ·

Hi Jac,
It was defnitely me that wrote on your LMD post! As an avid LMD reader I saw your Lovette’s post and tracked down your blog (in a non-stalker kind of way of course!!). I’m so glad my worries are normal and I’m not the only one to feel that way! The being ‘on-show’ is definitely my worst fear, but getting deep into wedding planning is keeping my mind off things…for now! When is your wedding post going onto LMD? I actually just had an email from Annabel and a piece I wrote for ‘From the Heart’ will be post on the blog this weekend! So now I’m doing a little internal dance/freak-out at my desk at work! eeek. x

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Jaclyn ·

Hey Karys, oh how exciting! I’ll definitely check it out on Sunday. I’m thinking of writing one myself so I’ll keep you posted. Our wedding was supposed to be up last week but no sign of it yet so I’ll need to keep my peepers open for it. xx

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Becky :: accooohtrements.wordpress.com ·

I’m so sorry you feel like this but your closing sentiment is so, SO true and what you should hold on to!

Becky | accoohtrements life, travel + design blog

p.s. “It only takes one person to tell you they don’t like your wedding photos” – someone said that to you?! I’m for honesty but photography, like all art, is subjective so one person’s opinion isn’t a fact (unless the photos are technically bad, in which case your photographer should be ashamed!).

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Jaclyn ·

Hey Becky, thanks for your comment and yes the closing sentiment is what I’m sticking with! No-one really said it as outright as that on the photo front thank fully. It was just an area I was very conscious about anyway so any comments relating to that I took to heart more. Lovely to hear from you xx

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Sophie Cliff ·

Thank you for writing such an honest post Jaclyn. We’re in the process of planning our wedding and I expected it to be all fun fun fun as everyone told me how much they had loved planning their wedding, and while some bits have been really exciting, a lot of it is quite tedious and admin focussed. I keep thinking that maybe I’m doing something wrong or that I’m being negative, but you’re right, I think everyone experiences these feelings and thinks they’re alone because the “wedding industry” focuses on all the lovely, fluffy bits. Credit to you for being brave enough to share the other side of things.

I really hope that with a bit of time you will be able to look back on your day and see how beautiful it really was – your wedding has been one of my biggest inspirations in planning our day, it was just stunning! And you were a very, very beautiful bride xxx

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Jaclyn ·

Hey Sophie, Oh thanks for your comment. It’s great to hear from other bride to be’s and I really hope my post didn’t come across as too melodramatic or negative as I’d hate to think I’d worried those still to go through the experience or make them any less excited for their day. The thing is the day itself is wonderful and I did really love it, it’s just that afterwards I found the little niggles starting to plague me. You are right- so much of planning is admin focused and it’s definitely OK to not enjoy every second of it because boy is it stressful – I moaned so much lol! But you’ll have a great day no matter what I promise! I’m already feeling much better about things and we look back and laugh at a lot of the things that went wrong now so you’re absoultely right – it just takes time to move past those blues and start seeing the joy and happiness of the day again. Thanks for your comment and I really look forward to reading more about your own plans! xx

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Jackie ·

I agree with everyone here that your wedding was inspirational. I’ll bet no one thought “Jaclyn’s dress doesn’t fit” instead they would’ve thinking ” Jaclyn looks amazing! What a heavenly dress. She is like a woodland princess” I think you are so brave to reveal your heartfelt emotions but with the passage of time the intensity of them will fade… And you will have only happy memories xx

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Jaclyn ·

Thanks Jackie, it’s always hard to see ourselves how others see us I guess, I can’t help but nitpick those little things that weren’t right for me. But you are right, with time those niggles disappear and we are already starting to laugh about them six months on. Thanks for your comment xx

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Virginia ·

Jacyln! Have only just got round to reading this post, and first off I have to say well done for being so brave for writing such an honest post. For what its worth, every part of your wedding that I have seen looks every bit the Pinterest, swoon-worthy dream that brides aspire for – the decor, *that* dress and headpiece, the style of your photographs, it really looked like it was the most perfect of days. I loved following you on your Wedding Wednesday posts as you seemed to perfectly capture all the emotions that I went through as a bride last year too! Personally, I feel like I was perhaps overly prepared for the post wedding blues as I was very aware that I am the type of person that was going to be potentially very open to such (I am text book countdown to everything, hype up everything and feel sad once said event is over!), but in my meticulous planning of bits and bobs for the months following the wedding and with our main honeymoon not being until December this year, the full on blues I was expecting never quite hit me. Yes, there are elements of the wedding day I would change, but I cant….so I think I’m okay with that! Wedding days are going to be up there with the most amazing days everrrr, but knowing you have your husband by your side for the rest of time, some of your best days ever are still to come 🙂 Sending a big virtual hug xxx

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Jaclyn ·

Hi Virginia, thanks so much for your lovely comment. As we were near enough wedding twins it’s nice to hear from you and how you got on with it all. I think you had the right idea with planning lots of stuff for after the wedding (I hear you got a puppy – definitely a fulltime project, maybe this is what we need haha) and to keep your honeymoon further down the line. We absolutely loved our honeymoon, but we both admit that we were so tired during it from the year of stress previous. Also because we went away for quite a long time, it made coming home to the january slog even harder! Anyway I’m feeling much better about everything now and like you say, we have so many exciting times ahead of us! Thanks for commenting, big hugs back xx

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Thoughts?