Sunday, June 23, 2013

Catching My Breath: Attending My First Wedding Post-Divorce

“Wise men say, only fools rush in…”

I rushed out of the softly lit ballroom.

Last night at Nora's wedding, I ran down the hall in my towering high heels. My eyes filled with tears and my throat thickened. My hand covered my mouth to keep any sobs from escaping. My breathing turned from shallow to near hyperventilation by the time I reached the bridal suite, the private room reserved for the bridal party. I flung myself down on a velvet couch, the full skirt of my bridesmaid dress fanned out around me. With my face buried in my hands, I gasped for breath and the tears started.

Apparently another bridesmaid and a friend spotted me leaving the ballroom and kindly followed me (I didn’t even know they were behind me). They entered the bridal suite and saw me, a trembling pile of pathetic bridesmaid elegance with my updo and rhinestones and liquid eyeliner. I looked up at them and thinly said, “That’s my wedding song.”

My hands started shaking and briefly I got lightheaded. I felt like I was about to drown. My entire body was reacting to having heard the song!

Each of them hugged me tightly as I started rambling to justify my silent outburst.

“I did so well today!" I exclaimed. "I haven’t cried at all, not even a little. Max even texted me before to see if I was OK and I told him I was and I really meant it. I made it through their first dance and was all happy for Nora, even though it made me think of my first dance with Max and how we took dance lessons but I still wasn’t sad. But then our song came on, our fucking song, of all the romantic songs in the fucking world, our song!”

Even in the moment, as I tried to recapture my own breath, I couldn’t believe the abrupt change in me. One moment I was the happy bridesmaid clapping and cheering and genuinely grinning with joy for my friend, and then boom, I hear a few bars of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and I go to pieces. Another one of those wacky emotional rollercoaster divorce moments had blindsided me.

I looked up at my friends. “Shit, did I make a scene? I was trying not to! Did anyone see me?”

During the week leading up to the wedding, I had given myself a talking-to about making sure I just enjoy the wedding and do not take away from the happy experience for anyone else. Up to this moment, I’d totally stuck to it, from the toast I gave at the rehearsal dinner to walking down the aisle in the church. I had maintained my composure and genuinely enjoyed everything about the wedding festivities.

They assured me that no, I didn’t make a scene. (Added bonus: with almost 300 guests at Nora's wedding, it would be easy to get away with escaping the ballroom unnoticed.) I sighed with relief.

Enough of this, I told myself. I took a few more deep breaths as I shook it off. I dabbed my eyes with tissues; remarkably, I hadn’t totally screwed up my makeup. Over the past few years of crying in bathrooms, I have gotten quite skilled at crying and not messing up my makeup. I stood up and found that I was again grounded. 

I exhaled.

“OK.  Let’s go back in there. I don’t want to miss anymore of the wedding.”

We left the bridal suite and I calmly strolled down the hall back to ballroom. My confidence and composure returned. The rest of the evening was wonderful, and I didn’t shed any more tears about me, my divorce, or Max. (In fact, I ended up only getting two hours of sleep last night, but that'll be a story for another week!)

What was your first wedding post-divorce like for you? Read Nora's perspective on this time in our friendship.


  1. I did, I had a wonderful time. I am quite proud of myself. :)

  2. Thank you. I didn't want to miss the fun. My friend and her new husband are really a terrific match. Made me excited to find love again (eventually).

  3. Urgg Elvis!! I'm happy you were able to regain your composer because I would be locked up in a room for the rest of the night! Keep going strong!

  4. Sometimes you just have to shake it off and keep going! ;)

  5. I know how you feel. I recently got divorced and I'm not looking forward to the coming holidays. I'm grateful that I've had a lot of help and support through this process from my attorney Marshall Davis Brown in TX and my therapist. The biggest advice I can give you is have a strong support structure.

  6. I'm fortunate that I have a wonderful group of friends and a supportive family. I don't know what I would do without them! Glad it sounds like you can say the same.

  7. i had to go to my first post divorce bomb wedding the same day too. I got teary eyed during the ceramony but held it together.

    But as i was heading to the reception I started to get mad/upset about why did my marriage have to fail blah blah blah

    It wasnt easy but I got through the party.

  8. I had a wedding the weekend after this one and I did much better. I would like to think it will get easier to go to weddings.

  9. Holy hell "Can't Help Falling In Love" was our first dance song, too, BUT it doesn't bother me because the ex was the one that picked it and wanted it. I was very so-so about it.
    My first wedding post-divorce was this past April for my friends back where I moved from last year. It was a great wedding and I did fine.

    However, my first wedding post-separation came a little over a month after our separation in July last year at my supervisor's wedding. The emotional wounds were still extremely fresh and I struggled to get through the ceremony without screaming "marriage is a lie!". I cried a lot when they talked about how a couple must support one another and be faithful, etc. I was a well spring of bitterness, anger, and betrayal. I left the wedding once it was over and drove home still in tears because I was in no state to attend the social hour. I went home and bawled and I mean bawled: ugly and messy and absolutely heart-wrenching. I know I stomped on the floor, flailed and maybe threw some things. I began texting my ex to "text yell" at him about how much what he did sucks and how much it hurt and did our vows really mean nothing to him, etc. He knew I was going to the wedding so I'm sure he expected some kind of reaction out of me. That was when he told me "I wasn't going to tell you this but I had an affair because I thought you were already having one" (since we weren't having sex very often and I was distracted all the time - because I was working full time and doing online schooling full time on weekends as well). After some more talking and after I calmed down a bit I changed out of my dress and headed out to the laid-back reception determined to be happy for my supervisor and enjoy my friends' company...and get drunk (rural MN wedding reception featuring potluck style food, lawn games, and lots of booze/beer/wine).

  10. Whew, I am very familiar with the ugly cry! :(

    Have you read my post about me and my dad?

    I went to a family wedding while I was staying with a friend, trying to sort things out. I skipped the ceremony entirely (she was getting married in the same church as me!!) and I had to keep leaving the reception for breaks. It was important to me to be there for my cousin, but it was really, really hard.

  11. Well, a benefit of being in your 40s!
    -I haven't been to a wedding in forever!
    Good job Kat! Way to soldier on!!!

  12. The good news is after back to back weddings in June, I shouldn't have another one until 2014! Plenty of time for the sting to wear off.
    Thanks for reading and cheering me on! :)

  13. I'm heading to California this weekend to attend the wedding of my new boyfriends brother..we;ve only been dating a few months and I have mixed feelings about going, Mostly because I am anxious about possibly getting emotional during the festivities and I'm meeting his family for the first time. I was divorced January 15 this year..and my boyfriend has never been married..I don't want to not go and miss out on a good time but I'm also feeling bitter and negative toward marriage in general. I get jealous when I see happy couples and wonder why that couldn't have been me..ugh!! I feel so bad for being such a debbie downer!! Im also invited to the rehearsal dinner which I I overreacting??

  14. Girl, you sound very HUMAN. I hope your boyfriend will be able to support you though, should you need it. Give him a heads up that you might just need to disappear once in a while to catch your breath / cry in a bathroom. (Plan your makeup accordingly.) Be careful you don't booze too much and end up weepy/angry!! Good luck, and don't forget lots of tissues!

  15. My first wedding after leaving was my cousin's. I went on my own with my two kids in tow - but I had a ball! Less than three years later, and it's their turn for divorce now unfortunately...but that's another story.

  16. That's great that you were able to have fun!
    Three years... That's how long my marriage lasted. :(

  17. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & PaintFebruary 27, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    I was suppose to attend a wedding 3 months after my husband walked out on me and I just couldn't do it. I lost a friend over it but it was way to soon for me. Especially since I would be attending alone.

  18. Oh Denyse, that sounds so hard. I can't believe you lost a friend over it! I hope you otherwise had the support you needed during such a shitty time.

  19. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & PaintFebruary 28, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    I've learned a lot about people these past 6 months...believe me!!!