For those who are a little hesitant to adopt the bridentity to begin with, the transition out of wedding mode tends to be a little easier . . . but there’s still some letdown, even if you lead a fulfilling life packed with adventure and excitement. Irene Alvarez confessed to feeling "Relieved, but empty at the same time. I was surprised I felt that way; wishing I could have my wedding day back. I remember thinking, ‘I love my marriage . . . but I miss my wedding.’"

The offbeat brides I spoke to who reported post-wedding slumps mostly blamed hangovers and physical exhaustion, combined with a readiness to get back to their lives. Mary Donnelly cut her honeymoon short after a wave of post-wedding exhaustion hit her. "We were traveling all along the East Coast, and a point came when we just felt like going home. We ended up canceling some of our plans and driving home two days early. It was like the high we were on from the wedding and the excitement of being husband and wife finally just crashed down on us, and we were ready to go back to normal life."

There’s also just a totally understandable transition period. Elisabeth Obie recounted, "We came back from our honeymoon on a Friday or Saturday, and I remember walking around almost in a daze. No big responsibilities! No calls to make! It took a while to feel normal again."

Some brides, however, find themselves having some dark thoughts. Some even admit to being scathingly jealous of newly engaged couples, resentful that they might somehow have a better wedding. This is a dangerous path to walk down, and if you sense these feelings coming up, it’s advisable that you turn your attention away from the engaged couple (who’ve done nothing wrong) and weddings as a whole, and instead focus yourself on planning a weekend road trip with a group of friends, founding a nonprofit, picking up a new sport, or getting yourself invested in some other new, healthy, productive endeavor. Weddings are not competitions, and if, in your post-wedded slump, you find yourself slipping into the mind frame of trying to compare your wedding to others (past or future), do whatever you can to recalibrate your emotions. Seriously. You’ll be doing yourself and women everywhere a favor.

Then again, mostly it’s just a relief when the wedding is over. I may be an attention whore, but it was a huge release to have the pressure of planning a wedding off my project plate.

This sentiment was echoed again and again by offbeat brides. Brittany Wager said, "It was nice to have the world slow down again! I was really happy to get back to regular life and didn’t miss the wedding planning at all. I had just finished school, and so my focus shifted to finding a job and getting my career going."

My theory is that many nontraditional brides skip the stereotypical post-wedding slump because many of us live action-packed lives and have lots of other ways to get attention and validation. One bride who’s active in theater laughed, "I feel like I’m the center of attention quite enough, thank you." Another chimed in, "I enjoyed the attention of the wedding but quickly found other ways of getting attention — I’ve been a ham all my life."

Copyright 2007 by Ariel Meadow Stallings from
Offbeat Bride: The Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides. Reprinted by permission of Seal Press (, and imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.