Couples spend months planning and stressing about their wedding days. And then after all of that buildup — poof! — it’s over in the blink of an eye.
There are plenty of photos documenting the wedding itself but what happens the morning after the wedding when all of the festivities are winding down? We recently asked HuffPost readers to send in one photo that represents what that morning was like for them — usually some combination of joy, gratitude, relief and exhaustion.
Below are 19 honest photos that sum up the wide range of post-wedding emotions.
Courtesy of Natalie Kent
“Fire alarm at hotel goes off at 5:30 a.m. I’m screaming, ‘Grab the dress!'” – Natalie Kent
Michelle Cheer of Cheer Wedding Photography
“The morning after the wedding we did a trash the dress session. To sum it up, it was a beautiful, divine relief.” – Sara Nguyen
Courtesy of Ashlee DeAngelis
“Relaxing on the beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Just the two of us!” – Ashlee DeAngelis
Courtesy of Kayla Bailey
“Because same-sex marriage is not legal in our home state of Georgia, we road-tripped 16 hours to Iowa to be legally married. We had to return to work quickly, so the morning after we were married we woke up at 5 a.m. to make the long trek home. Most of that day looked like this.” – Kayla Bailey
Courtesy of Tania Donovan
“This is us the morning after on our way to meet family and friends for brunch and say our goodbyes to them. We were both recovering from the night before but it was a complete blast!” – Tania Donovan
Courtesy of Sarah Hughes
“Catching up on some well-deserved sleep after the wedding.” –
“We had a destination wedding in the Outer Banks and while it was amazing and the best day of my life, everything leading up to that day was stressful and intense. All I wanted the day after the wedding was not to have to answer a single question. Afterwards, I did an underwater session in my dress in our pool. This image is me finally having some silence!” – Corey Ann
“200 people and a three-month old. We were pooped.” – Megan Dayton
“From Ms. to Mrs.” – Charlene A. Cuaresma
“After 12 years, my wife and I were finally able to get married this January. Here she is, 7 months pregnant and exhausted.” – Nichole Mabel
“After all the planning, meeting, greeting, eating, smiling, laughing, crying and dancing, it’s just perfect to be able to do absolutely nothing together.” – Howard Hunt
“This picture is literally right when we woke up that morning, still in bed, rehashing our fairytale night. I’m still in full makeup and hair because we were so exhausted the night before. Regardless of how exhausted we were, we were just overjoyed to be married and able to wake up together as husband and wife.” – Megan Owens
“We took brunch and a bottle of champagne and our snorkel gear and hiked to a secluded black sand beach. While my new husband was snorkeling and I was prepping our champagne brunch, I wrote our initials in the sand with white rocks. A perfect start to our first day of married life!” – Susan Blades
“We went swimming in the ocean fully clothed, just because we could. We were young and in love, and finally married!” – Ariel Cheney
Courtesy of Jason Lufkin
“My wife and I woke up in our cottage the morning after the wedding. And although we were already a bit late to our brunch due to celebrating with friends late into the night, we took a moment to snap this picture and take it all in — the happiness and amazement that we were actually married and that we were able to celebrate it all with our family and friends.” – Jason Lufkin
“The week we got married was one of the worst storms California had seen in a long time. We were lucky the rain had paused just long enough for our wedding. The morning after was a beautiful day, and the phrase the ‘calm after the storm’ comes to mind — not only for the weather, but also after the whirlwind that was planning and having a wedding.” – Kelly and Matthew Hidalgo
“We spent the morning after rushing around to find a way to get my dress and rented diamonds back to my parents and visiting with the family members who flew in from all over the country to be with us. A quick trip to Starbucks was necessary!” – Megan Holland
Courtesy of Joyce Novak
“We were full of love, happiness and gratitude — and still kissing!” – Joyce and Tod Novak
Courtesy of Jessica Reid
“Doing what we love the most — being outdoors! We drove to Ponca, Arkansas to climb to Whitaker Peak. That whole honeymoon we felt like we were on top of the world with one another and for that moment, we were.” – Jessica Reid
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