What it feels like... to spend your wedding day wishing it was over

What would you do if your wedding was a disaster?

What would you do if your wedding was a disaster?

From getting your first promotion to organising your wedding day, there are certain life stages that society regards as the peak of happiness.

While you don't need to do either of those things to be happy, they're frequently regarded as the big moments in life - alongside having a child, buying a house, and so on - that indicate both happiness and success.

Take your wedding day, for example - a whole day to celebrate your love to someone with your nearest and dearest. But in recent years, weddings seem to have gotten bigger and bigger, with many choosing to host lavish and extravagant ceremonies in exotic countries with 200+ guests.

This is all well and good if you thrive off social interaction and event planning - but what if you don't? What if you'd prefer a quieter affair, but only realise this - well, after the wedding?

Here, one bride shares her story and what happened when her wedding day was a disaster. Don't miss our first-person pieces on what it feels like to be in an open relationship, work as a dominatrix, or sleep with your best friend, while you're here.

"My wedding day was a disaster - it was too much pressure."

When Sarah Cowgill*, 31, got engaged she couldn’t wait to get married. But by the time the nuptials hit, she’d had enough.

"Looking around the room at everyone’s boozed-up, smiling faces during my dad’s father-of-the-bride speech, I made eye contact with my friend Kate."

"B-r-e-a-t-h-e,” she mouthed. "I c-a-n-t," I mouthed back. My dress was too tight.

"To the rest of the guests, everything was fine. The sun was shining, the ceremony had gone down without any glitches, the band had arrived on time and now Dad was regaling people with stories of my youth. But inside, I was counting down the hours until I could take off my gown and exhale. Deeply."

My wedding was a disaster: a husband and wife who are newly married

"From the moment we got engaged, people had been crazy happy for us. “Perfect couple” cards flew in, loving Facebook messages filled our inboxes and we got invitations to dinner from people we hardly knew. I found my sudden popularity a bit strange, but dealt with it. All I wanted was for my Dad to walk me down the aisle. He hadn’t been well for over a year and even though he was better now, it was still early days; I wanted that moment more than anything."

"But I hadn’t realised that there would be so much to get through first. The morning after Tom* and I announced our engagement, my mother-in-law sent us a gushy email with a list of 30 names. Tom didn’t recognise anyone. “No, those are my pals,” she replied."

"A week later, a big box of wedding stationery arrived at our house. She’d only gone and chosen our invitations – and they were awful. It marked the first of a series of fights."

"Meanwhile, I was attempting to get my friends together for their dress fittings. They’d barely entered the fitting room before the whispered words “gross”, “ghastly” and “I’m not wearing that” hit my ears. My maid of honour stepped out, wincing. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but I speak for all of us when I say we don’t feel at all special in this dress.” Then my brother rang, asking if he could bring a girl he’d met on Tinder – but, crucially, hadn’t actually met in person yet. By this point, I was simply too exhausted to say no."

My wedding day was a disaster: A wedding table

"When the big day arrived, I floated around in my rib-crushing dress like a tragic heroine on steroids, while Tom grew increasingly stressed out by the photographer. After the speeches, people started rowing. There was an activist arguing with a politician, a bridesmaid hurling abuse at an usher and a strange man nobody knew who vomited all over the floor of the ladies’ toilets"

"By 10pm, my newly wedded husband was so agitated by the whole situation that he, in turn, got mind-bendingly drunk and fell into a small fire. (He was fine, by the way.)."

"We lay in our hotel room the next morning in shock – a whole year of planning and it was finally over. Did we enjoy it? The uncomfortable faces in our photos say it all. Coming to terms with the fact that my wedding day was a disaster was hard, but there was just far too much pressure."

"We’ve already agreed that if we divorce, we’ll run away to do it."

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.