Where was this article last year?

Brides may need help with post-wedding blues

Everything about Brian and Christina Behrend's late summer wedding was picture perfect - from the bright Texas sun to the emotional vows that symbolized a storybook romance.
The Dallas couple - she's an account manager for an e-mail provider, he's a professional Web developer - met six years ago and, as their online diaries say, it was truly love at first sight.
So when the Sept. 2 wedding was over and the honeymoon bags unpacked, Christina headed back to work and was a bit unnerved when her life as a new bride was marked by a case of the blues.
"Our apartment was a mess - there was no motivation to clean. Our bank accounts were empty. The high from the adrenaline of planning a wedding for over a year was completely down. So moving into this new low was quite depressing, particularly when you return home with nothing to do except continue on with work and everyday activities," she said.
The Behrends are not alone. Wedding planners, psychologists and other experts say a post-wedding letdown is perfectly normal, even common.
Carley Roney, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online wedding site theknot.com, said weddings are often the high point in someone's life, particularly young brides.
"There's a certain high to having such an increased sense of purpose," Roney said. The wedding "is filled with all the things that are sort of so celebrity: my guest list, what dress should I wear, how can I spend this $10,000 budget? It's very glamorous.
"You build and, all of a sudden, it is over. Period. Full stop," she said. "The glamour is over. You become another person - sort of on the normal list."
Marg Stark, a San Diego author whose book "What No One Tells the Bride" offers women a realistic guide to the sometimes rough waters of walking down the aisle, said newlyweds often find themselves isolated.
Single girlfriends may not understand, and no new bride wants to sound like something is wrong with her marriage, she said.
"So you're cut off from the friends who used to keep you sane. And your anxiety is doubled, thinking that you're the only bride out there who isn't basking in bliss," Stark said.
Susan Padrino, a psychiatry instructor at University Hospitals of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said there aren't many scholarly studies on the topic but psychiatrists and psychologists are seeing more patients with emotional wedding hangovers.
In many cases, the stress of marriage and wedding planning sparks underlying depression, which should be treated right away, she said.
"You could speculate that today's emphasis on the wedding as the 'best and most expensive day of your life' would put even more stress onto the bride and groom," she said. "Unreasonable expectations about what the wedding day will mean could also contribute to a significant letdown feeling."
The Internet, where wedding postpartum discussions abound, and more realistic portrayals of marriage in the media have helped. But Roney and Stark say the idea of being depressed just after getting married is still somewhat taboo, mostly because people are afraid to talk honestly about the sometimes bad feelings associated with getting married.
"As long as there are women fogged over by tulle in their wedding fantasies, there will be newlyweds who have turbulent adjustments after the perfect wedding is over," Stark said. "I do think society sets women up with a lot of impossible, overblown expectations."
Many wedding planners say they have begun counseling clients about the possible post-wedding blues from the minute they start putting together the ceremony. They recommend a budget the couple can truly afford without dipping into credit cards; enough time to plan without rushing, which could add stress; and postponing the honeymoon to allow time to recover financially and emotionally from the wedding.
Loree Tillman, a wedding designer from Escondido, Calif., said newlyweds often end up missing the fellowship of family and friends that a wedding brings.
"I have had brides say, 'OK, now what? What do I do now?'" Tillman said. "What I tell every bride after their wedding day is, plan another party! Large and/or small - family reunion, barbecue, holiday party. This helps carry those wonderful feelings that brides and grooms had on their wedding day."
As for the Behrends, they have started a weekly date night and work out together at the gym as a way to focus on their marriage now that the wedding is over.
Christina said she hopes their Web log, which details their experience, will help other newlyweds.
"Hopefully, once we've settled into this new phase we can finally start building our relationship and lives together," she said.


366 Days Down

And I can't believe it!

Trevor and I celebrated our one-year anniversary on Saturday. We decided to go to dinner at V. Mertz stay at Embassy Suites on the Old Market. When we checked into the hotel and found our room, we realized we were upgraded to the Presidential Suite. Presidential Suite as in my dad really wanted that room for the wedding last year and they wouldn't give it to him. We opened the door and were in awe, and did what we had to do: call our friends to have them come down to the hotel and party with us. Like Trevor said, "we could not have had that room and not called anyone." It was a super fun night! The only problem is we were planning on staying at an Embassy Suites every year on our anniversary...but Saturday night might have set our expectations a little too high :-).