Three years ago I was in your shoes. It was the day before my wedding and I was in the throws of complete and total excitement, as the day that I had spent the last year (okay, let’s be honest, 20 years) planning was finally coming to fruition.
I loved everything about my wedding day. I still occasionally watch our video with a giddy excitement, fondly remembering all that happened. I will say, however, the transition from bride-to-be to wife was a little trickier than I anticipated. Suddenly, I had all this free time and my only main responsibility was to write thank-you notes, a job that I insisted was mine and mine alone. (My husband’s handwriting is equal to that of our one-year-old daughter, and I felt strongly about thanking everyone in a personal and detailed manner. Don’t make my mistake—let your new spouse share this task.)
As I reflect back on those first six months of marriage, there are many things that I wouldn’t change, but some that, if I could go back, I’d do a little differently. (Case in point: those thank you notes.) Here’s my advice on five ways to avoid letting the conclusion of your wedding impact the start of your marriage.
- Reminisce. You don’t need to go cold turkey from all wedding talk; spend some time with your new spouse talking about what you liked and loved about your day. Try not to focus on anything that may have gone wrong—unless you can laugh about it. My husband messed up his vows and it’s still something I tease him about on a regularly basis.
- Put your wedding planning vigor into your marriage. If you think about all the energy spent working through floral arrangements, dress selections, favors, and so on, it's mind boggling how you managed to do all that—and be a functioning friend, fiance, and person. Redirect some of that energy into doing nice things for your new spouse. Send him or her a card on your one-month anniversary, put together a photo album with inside jokes from the day, little things that let them know you care.
- Go on dates! The final few weeks of our wedding planning were chaos. Showers, parties, late-night phone calls to one or both sets of parents working through the seating chart. Post wedding is a time for lazy afternoons and dates. Now that we have a child added to our clan, the days of spontaneous romantic outings are a thing of the past. Enjoy the freedom while you can!
- Make plans, but not too many. I was all about planning the next big thing after we returned from our honeymoon, and my husband—tired of planning—just wanted to enjoy hanging out at home with his wife. Find a happy medium that works for you both. Putting your enthusiasm into some plans helps ease the transition, but remember to bask in that newly wedded bliss for awhile.
- Keep it all in check. The wedding day is fabulous, but it's just a day. The whole purpose is to celebrate the start of your life together, so set aside your sorrows that it's over and start living the next phase of your life.