Don't linger on these emotions.

bride and groom wedding cake topper
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You know what they say: "Even the best laid plans go awry." Weddings are no exception—that's true no matter how much time and effort you put into creating the perfect day. If your wedding didn't go exactly as planned—or if, looking back, you wish you'd done things differently—you might be feeling regret. And, experts say, that feeling is more common that you'd think.

As Kevon Owen, M.S., LPC, points out, our culture trains us that our weddings day must be perfect, and perfectly romantic. But, "difficult family members will still be difficult; it's who they are and a wedding day won't change that," he says. "Sound equipment doesn't always work. And your guests [may not be] as sensitive to a timetable as you want them to be." Plus, Stephanie Macadaan, LMFT and creator of the Happy Couple Plan, adds that, "regrets around a wedding often come from prioritizing the wants and needs of others and feeling pressure to create a wedding that does not feel authentic or genuine to you as a couple."

If you're living with wedding-related regret, however, know that you don't have to live with it forever. Here are expert-approved ways to deal with your regret and move on so that you can live happily ever after.

Talk it over with your partner.

Now that you know you're living with wedding-related regrets, "clearly identify and discuss the regret with your partner," says Macadaan, who adds, "my formula for this conversation is staying open and curious, saying how you feel and then asking how your partner feels."

Feel your feelings, and allow yourself to grieve.

Next, it's time to start working through your feelings of regret. "These feelings can include anger, sadness, and guilt," Macadaan says. "Naming those emotions and letting yourself feel and express them will help you move through them." (There's no shame in feeling them!) Also, "understand that there is a grieving process associated with this for the wedding that you wished you had, or elements that you regret and wish were different," Macadaan adds. Allow yourself an ample grieving time before telling yourself it's time to move on.

Plan to not repeat your mistakes.

Now that you've worked through your emotions, it's time to get practical. "Make sense of how the regret came to be and why it played out the way it did, so that you can adjust in future situations and not repeat these again throughout the relationship," Macadaan says.

Learn to laugh about it.

As a last step, Owen suggests learning to laugh about whatever went wrong. "Surprises and things that don't go according to plan are core elements for regret," Owen says, "but they're also key elements to comedy. Laugh about it." After all, he says, "what else can you do?"


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