Why People Cry at Weddings

I’m writing today’s blog in sunshine as the warm rays of light stream through my window on to my desk… This is a welcome experience, as I have just recently returned to France from a 10 day visit in the UK for my daughters wedding. A sharp reminder for me (that is if I needed any) that winter in the UK is far colder due to the fact that there is so much moisture in the air (I guess its because it is essentially an island) and it is this dampness that cuts to the bone…![](upload://j4zDO5jzBplGIJJm1AxoD4LbiCQ.jpg)
I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding and my daughter looked stunning. It was a beautiful day and even the sun shone on what started out as a damp February morning. The venue was idyllic and the ceremony moving and poignant.
When friends ask me how it all went, nearly all of them added ‘and did you cry?’ A not so strange question as it seems that although considered a joyous and happy occasion, there is nothing quite like a wedding to turn the teardrop taps on, as most seemingly ‘normal’ people start sniffling into their hankies.
Weddings in general are such an emotional time in more ways than one, particularly for those close to the couple for all sorts of reasons. It’s not just about the additional stress of the preparations of the wedding and practicalities, (like what on earth am I going to wear); it is also about those unexpected emotions that arise from the occasion as well. As Mother of the Bride I was immensely proud of my daughter and felt great joy for her happiness, yet at the same time I was aware of a sense of loss, amazed at how quickly time had flown since I first held her in my arms as a baby to this moment when she was ‘given away’ to her new husband.
A wedding it seems, marks a time of change within the family dynamics… it’s a time when a dramatic change occurs in the relationship between a mother and her ‘child’ that feels irreversible! It is one of the most significant rites of passage in our culture. It marks the moment when you realise that your daughter has finally left the nest and won’t count on you as she did before and this can lend itself to a feeling of redundancy and disempowerment.
I am reminded however, that this is not the first time I had felt this way. In fact when I look back I can recall a lifetime of ‘separations’ in our relationship as mother and daughter. I suppose it starts initially at birth. The physical pain of giving birth and the separation of your child from your body stir up a whole gamut of emotions, Then there are those first steps as your child explores the world stretching out for independence and there is that first day at playgroup or nursery class when you are not there, and subsequently that first day of school when you wonder what on earth you will do with your day. Their movements away continue as they grow and develop (as they rightly should) leaving you to adjust your life to each stage as they become adults.
The changes although seem to have passed quickly when you look back, are subtle and gradual and take place almost without you realising them, and it is only when we are faced with a ceremony or ritual (like a wedding for example) that we actually come face to face with the fact that life will never be the same again and it can be quite scary.
The important thing is to remember is that these emotions (even though they can be quite conflicting) are normal and necessary as part of the adjustment process. The best thing is to acknowledge these feelings and not push them away (for they will only come back and haunt you again and again). Your emotions are telling you something important and shouldn’t be ignored, so it is often helpful to take time out to explore your feelings, and understand them and they will help you move on. Meeting with a therapist, counsellor or life coach can be immensely beneficial in helping you work through these transitional times at it offers you a safe environment whereby you can express yourself without judgement or fear. If you find yourself in a place today where you feel a sense of loss or even uncertainty about the changes in your life, remember you don’t have to struggle alone… send me an email and we walk through it together.

Jackie, I experienced a similar relationship change with my mother when I was married. I was highly independent, branching out on my own with my new life, affluent and enjoying lots of foreign travel and a successful career. It seemed for around 10 years that we had little in common and the distance between us was both emotional and physical when we moved to France years ago. But all that has changed since I became a mother, I really appreciate her and we now have a closeness we haven't had since I was in my childhood. The physical distance now does not seem like a barrier at all, we talk every other day and text daily, in fact besides my husband I'd say she's my best friend.