It is meant to be the best day of your life, but are bride and grooms-to-be are putting themselves under so much pressure to organise a memorable wedding?
Marriage: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But as thousands of newlyweds across the UK return from honeymoons to begin their life together, a whopping one in ten of them will suffer from post-nuptial depression (PND).
After the dress has been packed away, the cake has been scoffed and all the gifts opened, married life starts for real. But for those unfortunate enough to be afflicted by this modern condition, the anti-climax that follows the big day is too much to bear.
PND doesn’t just last for those first few days after returning from the honeymoon. The condition can in fact continue to dog couples for months after the big day, leaving them feeling upset, disillusioned, confused and, in some cases, even asking themselves if getting married in the first place was the right thing to do.
Back with a bump
Wedding planner Tamryn Kirby, managing director of TK Weddings, said: “PND hits a lot of couples when they get back from their honeymoon. They have to go back to work and suddenly, after planning for so long, have nothing to look forward to. It can be a huge reality check.”
Kirby has first-hand experience of the condition. “I found myself feeling really down after my wedding and noticed that some of my clients, after we’ve organised their wedding for them and contacted them to see how the honeymoon went, actually tell us they too have felt down after the event. It’s happening more and more and can even hit people on their wedding day.
“It’s partly because they enjoy the planning so much. They get so involved in the search for the perfect wedding, then all of a sudden it is gone and they feel as if something has been taken from them.”
Kirby also believes high-profile celebrity weddings, like that of footballer Ashley Cole and girl-band member Cheryl Tweedy, pile extra pressure on couples. “Brides begin to feel like they are the star,” she says, “and this gives them unrealistic expectations of what their wedding day will be like.”
PND stems from the belief that marriage will somehow elevate couples to a higher and somehow happier state of existence. But the mundane day-to-day actuality can lead to problems, especially after months of being the centre of attention and generally indulged and spoiled.
Kirby said: “Many people find the early months of marriage are full of differences of opinion. Both partners want to make sure things are right from the start and often trivial issues get blown out of proportion. You’ve had months of talking about lovely wedding related things and then you’re back to talking about who’s doing the ironing and why the toilet seat has been left up. It can be a real culture shock.
“A lot of couples keep going on sheer adrenaline before the wedding, when they get to relax they find they are exhausted. An overstretched immune system can also lead to illness and depression.”
Kirby has come up with these top five tips for avoiding the post-wedding blues:
Plan a few social events for after your honeymoon so you have got other things to look forward to.
Your friends will help get you through this. Don't cut them off while you're planning.
Don't get too used to being the centre of attention – it's hard to get back to the ‘real’ world if you do.
Try not to get consumed by the wedding. Take time out while planning to remember why you're getting married.
Don't cling on to your wedding after the day. Throw away those wedding magazines and look forward to your future.