CouplesMegan HerelleTrauma

Wedding Trauma and the Effects on Marriage

flowers and wedding bands to show the commitment between two people on a wedding day. Weddings can be very stress-inducing. Seek out a couples therapist to help with anxiety and stress during wedding planning.

Post Wedding Depression?  Post Wedding Anxiety? You Might Have Experienced Wedding Trauma.

Your wedding day is something that for many has been portrayed by families, friends, and social media as one of the happiest days of your life. The words “magical”, “special”, and “perfect” are often associated with it. In movies and television the weddings we commonly see go wrong are attached to a huge plot where the love isn’t truly there. We think to ourselves, that situation would never happen to me. The dream is that everything falls into place. Friends and family will help move mountains. Finances will be managed smoothly. And everyone will have a great time all in the name of love.

However, maybe that was not your experience. Perhaps you were full of ambiguous and complicated feelings. Perhaps you are experiencing post wedding depression. Or post wedding anxiety. If it helps, the fairytale wedding isn’t the norm for many people. Weddings can be hard, complex, and strenuous no matter how strong the love is between you and your partner. Indeed, this was my experience with my wedding.

Is trauma too big of a word?

Today the word “trauma” is used quite frequently. It’s all over social media and often a way to joke about learned patterns and previous hurts. One way trauma can be broken down is in big T trauma and little t trauma. Big T Trauma would be events that are experienced by the mind and/or body as life threatening., Keep in mind that to a child events that are experienced as life threatening may look different than for adults. Examples of these events are natural disasters, sexual, and physical abuse, life threatening medical diagnoses, and war. These types of Trauma are also most often associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Little t trauma are moments in life that may not be life threatening, but still are highly emotionally distressing. Some examples of little t trauma could be divorce, bullying, financial stress and even a complicated wedding experience.

Planning a wedding budget to include attire, photo and video, gifts, jewelry, the ceremony, beauty and spa, flowers, and invitation. Planning a wedding can be stressful so look for a couples therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ to help.So yes, planning and experiencing a wedding can be a traumatic experience. Post wedding anxiety is real. While there are many different stressful scenarios that can impact you on your wedding day, here are a few:

  • Honoring a person who has died
  • Working hand in hand with a narcissistic parent or family member
  • Calling off a wedding
  • Lacking the finances or financial help with high family expectations
  • Blending two different cultures or religions
  • Managing divorced or antagonistic family members
  • Navigating differences in personalities
  • Unapproving family
  • Planning a wedding in the light of the pandemic

I planned my New Jersey wedding during the pandemic. I am intimately familiar with moving wedding venues multiple times, trying to balance family expectations, and honor different backgrounds. It can leave you feeling angry, resentful, and grief-stricken, even years later. It can leave you stuck in a post wedding depression.

Post Wedding Blues

So maybe your wedding felt like a heavy day, and a hard journey for you and your partner. When the honeymoon comes to a close, and you return to your normal routine, it’s possible you might still feel the effects of the wedding. Some effects can remain for months, or even years after.

Post Wedding Anger and Resentment

That weight might look like anger or resentment. Feelings of anger or resentment can pop up suddenly, when you’re at another event, when you see your partner planning for something new. You might notice an increase of arguments between you and your partner that all seem to trail back to smaller details such as being on time, knowing what to wear, remembering what to bring. Sometimes these feelings can cause your excitement for other’s events to dampen as well. Suddenly your best friend’s wedding is harder to navigate without comparing it to your own. Or a family member’s baby shower seems like a breeze and you kinda wish for just one thing to go wrong.

wedding day setup with chairs and flowers, exemplifying the light at the end of the tunnel of wedding planning. Weddings can be hard, complex, and strenuous. Look for a couples therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ to find help recovering from your wedding.

Post Wedding Depression

Or maybe instead you feel a post wedding depression, like there was a key life moment that you didn’t get to enjoy. Upset that no matter how hard you tried, it just didn’t turn out the way you were hoping. Your interactions with your partner feel clouded. Even little disagreements don’t feel solveable because you are circling around the same point. More so, maybe you and your partner are in different places when it comes to how you talk or think about the wedding. It’s possible that one of you is ready to push past while the other needs to sit and grieve a little more.  This was my experience.  My partner and I were in very different places, one pushing to put the hurt of that day behind us and the other needing to process further.

Post Wedding Anxiety

Lastly, you might have noticed post wedding anxiety. Not only does thinking back on your wedding increase your heart rate, but now you get that sinking feeling of anxiety in the pit of your stomach when thinking about any future events. What if questions race through your brain as you think about how to prevent what went wrong in planning your wedding.  You can feel overwhelmed when you consider your baby shower, child’s first birthday, graduations, or your partner’s big birthdays. It can feel like you will never be able to truly enjoy any of these events. 

Reflecting on Your Wedding Experience

therapist talking to a couple on a couch. do you need help working through the aftermath of wedding planning? Look for a couples therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ.

It can be beneficial to your relationship to reflect on the experience of planning and attending your wedding.  Understanding how each of you were involved and what dynamics emerged with each other and other family members, can be enlightening.  This can help you process what happened in order to confront and conquer what might resurface in the future.  Indeed, weddings tap into many important relationship skills including:

  • Conflict Management
  • Family of Origin Dynamics
  • Communication Skills
  • Empathy and Validation
  • And more…

A neutral third party can be powerful in navigating the traumatic impact of a wedding. Couples counseling in New Jersey is a great way to create the space to reflect on the wedding experience. Through discussing the wedding further with your partner, you can reflect on the moments where you both felt loved.  You can celebrate what you have accomplished together while learning to continue to honor and care for your relationship.  As a NJ couples counselor and a married person, I can attest this can be a powerful experience. Couples counseling can be preventative work that can help to empower you and strengthen your relationship moving forward.

Begin Working With a Couples Counselor in Branchburg, NJ or Scotch Plains, NJ

Couples often have many questions and concerns when starting couples therapy. Our caring therapists are happy to walk you through what the process looks like, and how your relationship may benefit. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Brave Minds Psychological Services
  2. Meet with a caring therapist 
  3. Start improving your relationship

Other Services Offered at Brave Minds Psychological Services

Couples Therapy isn’t the only service provided at our Scotch Plains, NJ-based therapy practice. Other services offered include parenting counselingcounseling for teensonline therapytrauma therapyanxiety treatment for childrenchild sexual abuse therapyanxiety treatment for teens. We also offer teen social phobia therapyadult anxiety counselingcounseling for parentspostpartum counselingbirth trauma therapysexual assault counseling for adults, and food allergy therapy.