How to survive attending your first wedding after divorce –
You can only avoid them for so long.
At some point, your excuses of, “I have to shampoo my cat” will wear thin or you’ll be confronted with the nuptials of a person you can’t refuse.
And you’ll be faced with attending the first wedding after the demise of your own marriage.
Okay, not really. I mean, you feel happy for the couple and all. It’s just that you also feel sorry for yourself. Sorry and a little ill.
How in world are you supposed to attend this bridal bash without choking on a big glass of bitterness and jealousy spiked with a pinch of cynicism?
It’s not easy. But it’s also not impossible. Here’s how to help make the big event a bearable one:
Before the Wedding –
If the first time you see a wedding dress or hear the vows since your divorce is in the ceremony, it’s going to be a shock to your system. Desensitize a little first by watching a wedding-themed comedy in the privacy of your own home.
You will have nervous energy before the event. So plan to bleed some of it ahead of time. Not only will it relieve some anxiety, exercise releases some feel-good hormones. And goodness knows, you’re going to need them!
Divorce can make you feel like a failure. Especially when you’re confronted with the smiles and sap of a wedding. So go all out on your outfit and wear something that makes you feel good. Engage in something ahead of time that you’re good at. Remember – you are not your divorce.
Practice Your Elevator Speech
“I’m fine, thank you. The roses in the backyard are really getting tall!” Or whatever canned response you decide on.
During the Wedding –
Accept That You Will Cry
Hey, it’s a wedding. Lots of people cry. No biggie.
Choose Your Seat Wisely
Plan to sit at the end of a row (in case you need to escape) and next to a “safe” person who has been warned of the significance of this day for you. If you are not seated at the front with family, try to secure a seat towards the back. The space acts as some emotional insulation.
Give Yourself Permission to Hide in the Bathroom
Just knowing that an escape is available is priceless. And take it if you need it. Anyone who judges you for it has either never been divorced or is being an obnoxious jerk.
If Your Ex Will Be There
(Blech)^2 The world can really be an unfair place, can’t it? Fantasize all you want about them getting pulled along behind the wedding limo, but please don’t put those dreams into action.
Avoid if you can. Apply the elevator speech if you cannot. And if all else fails, excuse yourself by saying you have to go shampoo your cat.
If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…
You will be flooded with all sorts of emotions, from happy/sad ones of your own wedding to angry/despondent ones of your divorce to cynical/bitter ones about this wedding. Keep your mouth shut about them all. This isn’t the time. It isn’t the place. Those words can wait.
Hang With the Single People
Divorced, widowed, never married, under 18, four-legged? Who cares. Just seek them out. For today, they’re your tribe.
It’s Okay to Have Fun
Be careful not to make such a big deal out of this that you forget to have fun. After all, a wedding is about the marriage, but it’s also about the party. Focus on the latter!
Watch the Alcohol Intake
No, really. I know it’s tempting to numb and distract with the booze. But just say no. Lowered inhibitions + overwhelming and often downward trending emotions = no bueno. Save the drinks for when you’re home after the wedding.
After the Wedding –
Be Kind to Yourself
Ask any divorced person, the first wedding is big deal. And often the aftereffects can last for a few days. Be nice to yourself.
Oh, and if you are suffering from a post-wedding emotional hangover, stay off of the social media for a few days. You don’t need to be subjected to an endless stream of wedding pictures or, even worse, lovey-dovey honeymoon photos.
Remember those words that can wait? Write them out now.
Have Something Planned
Schedule something that you like to do and find engaging and/or restorative for the next day. If the wedding totally sucks, at least you’ll have that to look forward to.
You just survived the only first wedding you’ll have to experience after your divorce!