(c) Carmen Bright Photography 2014
You've heard the traditional wedding rhyme:
(And a sixpence --- or a penny --- in her shoe)
Well, what if the "something blue" were you and/or your newlywed daughter?! Holly has cleverly dubbed this "PWSD" or Post Wedding Stress Disorder. Actually, we aren't far off, if you Google it, it's a real thing known as the "post-wedding blues." The Huggington Post had at least two postings last year on the subject, while the Huffpost and other bloggers have written about it occuring with the mother-of-the-bride, too. I have to admit, I have not been immune. It's a weird phenomenom! You imagine your daughter's wedding probably longer than you imagined your own! In our case, we planned Holly and Chris's wedding for over a year, and we thought we had dotted our i's and crossed every threshold, but darn-it-all, even after the pure elation of the evening, and flopping on my hotel bed at 12:30 a.m., wearing my dress, shoes, and all just to get a second wind for the after-party, and out loud to myself saying, "I did it!" Even feeling high on the extreme buzz and excitement associated with a wedding and recounting every moment of the wedding weekend, I found myself wishing it could have been "more perfect." Where was the snowflake gobo lighting I thought I had ordered for the dance floor? Or the tree gobos for the walls? And were those wrinkles I saw in the linens for the escort card table? And WAIT! THAT was definitely NOT the salad we had at our tasting . . . CAN I HAVE A DO-OVER?! Of course, I'm the only one who noticed EVERYTHING. To our guests, who truly made the party fantastic and complimented us by saying, "It was the BEST wedding EVER," it WAS perfect. And I should leave it at that . . . But "letting go" isn't one of my strong suits.
Perhaps some would say the "letting go" has the deeper connotation of seeing my daughter go from being a little girl to being a wife. I guess that's part of it, and maybe mothers-of-the-bride cover those feelings with the busy-ness of preparing for the wedding. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO, you don't really have time to cry about "letting go." Maybe I thought if I could control (with my daughter's choices, of course) the elements of the wedding, I could control my emotions of the enormity of this life event. No such luck. A wedding takes on a personality and energy of its own. Things don't go as planned, even if things are perfectly planned --- AND you have a wedding planner!
Plus, there is the investment: The financial investment and the emotional investment. You feel like you have ONE shot at this, and BOY was it expensive. Mothers-of-the-bride put enormous pressure on themselves. They want it RIGHT for their precious little girl, I mean bride-to-be daughters. The anticipation is exciting, and you, your family, your daughter and her fiance' have a certain "wedding glow."
A couple of days after the wedding, the father-of-the-bride and I were having breakfast at home. I inexplicably started to cry. Actually, my husband had to keep from crying, too. Come to find out, miles away in Nicaragua on her honeymoon, my daughter was having a similar experience. Weddings are emotional, even if you find you don't shed a tear during the ceremony. You will probably be focused on the happiness of the moment --- and trust me the joy filled the church at Holly and Chris's wedding --- and you will keep a big smile on your face, just in case the photographer is focused on you, but you will also be thinking about the details: the flowers (Should there have been more? Should they have been taller?), and that hem on your daughter's dress (Did she just trip? That petticoat should have prevented that!), or "Please, God, let these moments move slowly so that I remember and cherish them forever because after all of the planning this is really FUN!"
So, how do you "let it go?" You don't have to decide anything (other than, "Who is going to organize all of this post-wedding stuff?!") It's quiet. The guests are gone and the kids are on their honeymoon. You can throw away the wedding mazazines . . . You can start a new hobby or go on a well-deserved "honeymoon" of your own with your husband. OR in my case, I am concentrating on wedding photography and attending a wedding planning conference, because I LOVED IT. I am realizing I have been in denial for years about being a wedding and bridal photographer, while the stacks of wedding magazines I have been collecting should have been a clear sign. Some might say I have been preparing for my four daughters' weddings, but maybe I have really been preparing myself for a new chapter in my life and my photography career.
Undeniably, this beautiful, perfect wedding for Holly and Chris was definitely good practice. And maybe by our fourth wedding (fifth, if you count our son), I will get it really, really right, even if Lionel Richie isn't in attendance. (That's another story.) How can I be blue? It was perfect.