How Your Wedding Night Expectations Are So Different From The Reality Of What Actually Happens

Here’s what I learned about wedding nights from the steamy romance novels I read in high school (there were A LOT of them): Your wedding night will be crazy romantic; you will have amazing perfectly tousled hair that goes all the way down to your waist; said hair will always be rippling in shiny, glorious waves (due to a cleverly hidden wind machine?); you’ll have like six orgasms in a row; your new husband will have an amazing magic penis that requires no refractory period; you won’t sleep because you’re too busy with all the orgasms; you’re a virgin. This, as far as I understood it when I was young, was how all wedding nights went, so that's how mine would go, right? Eh, maybe not. Actually, probably definitely not.

In Ye Olden Days of Old, the wedding night was a really big deal because it was supposed to be the couple’s first time together. It was supposed to be the night of the bride’s “deflowering,” and it was supposed to legally bind the marriage. Thankfully, the days of looking for blood on the sheets the morning after are largely over (in this neck of the woods, at least)(also, eww), and by the time most couples reach their wedding nights, they already have a long histories together, and The Deflowering is a ship that has sailed. Recent surveys show that a lot of couples—as many as 67 percent in the U.K.—don’t have sex on their wedding night, due to exhaustion, alcohol, and a host of other reasons. It makes sense that when you already have a significant sexual history with your new spouse, the ideal of an uber-romantic, sex-fueled wedding night just doesn’t seem that important—besides, wedding planning is already full of stress and insanity; why ­add pressure about what’s going to happen afterward? So don’t worry if your wedding night doesn’t live up to all the hype. You have a whole marriage ahead of you: that’s plenty of time for you to live out your romance novel fantasies to your heart’s content.

Expectation:

The wedding will be the most amazing night of your life, and you’re going to make sure to take the time to really appreciate it.

Reality:

The wedding ceremony and reception whiz past in a flurry of vows, flowers, food, and dancing. It’s crazy fun while it’s happening, but now you can’t believe it’s already over.

Expectation:

Your friends will all go to a bar for an kickass “after party” after the reception, and you’re going to let loose and rock out.

Reality:

Maybe your friends did have an awesome after party, but you wouldn’t know because after all of the stress, mingling, drinking, and—oh yeah—getting married part, all you and your husband want to do is sleep. For days.

Expectation:

When you get home, your new husband—husband!—will carry you over the threshold, just like in old movies.

Reality:

Oh, come on. You are tired. So tired. Nobody’s carrying anyone over anything.

Expectation:

After the wedding, you’ll stay in a fancy hotel. You’ll be in the Presidential Suite, and there will be flower petals everywhere and champagne, and the biggest four-poster bed you’ve ever seen.

Reality:

Fancy hotels are expensive, and you just blew all your money on a wedding. Instead, you go home to the apartment your both share. You’ve been doing all sorts of last-minute preparation in the last few days, so right now it looks like a bomb hit it.

Expectation:

You’re going to change into gorgeous, white, sexy-but-still-classy lingerie.

Reality:

You’ve spent the whole day pinned, laced, and hooked inside a beautiful, but not particularly comfortable wedding gown. And you wore heels. Screw lingerie. You’re changing into sweats.

Expectation:

You will then proceed to consummate the marriage with mind-blowing, wedded sex.

Reality:

Oh my God, you are So. Totally. Exhausted. When your husband proposes going straight to sleep, you love him more than you have ever loved him before.

Expectation:

OK, so maybe not mind-blowing sex, but we’ll definitely get between the sheets for a quick—

Reality:

NOPE. Have I mentioned that you are TIRED? SO TIRED. You’re going to sleep, and it will be the best, deepest sleep of your life. You will effectively be in a coma for the next 8 hours.

Expectation:

You’ll have super-awesome, mind-blowing newlywed sex on the honeymoon.

Reality:

You DO have super-awesome, mind-blowing newlywed sex on the honeymoon. That’s what honeymoons are for. Hooray!

Images: Sheldon Wood, Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka, Lianne Nichols/Flickr; Giphy