tears of joy


There I stood, up on the altar. In front of everyone I stood in my glittering stilettos, clutching a bouquet of magnificent magenta roses. I could see everyone’s glowing smiles right to the very back of the church. As the bells chimed and the priest sang, the energy in this space seemed to somehow continue to get more and more incredible by the second. This was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life. So why was it that on this happy day full of happiness, I felt several big warm tears spill down my cheeks?


I’ve clearly led you all astray here. No, this wasn’t my wedding, I was not describing my observations as a glowing bride. This was my brother’s wedding four years ago and my first time being a bridesmaid. And there I was, joy crying.

I’d better preface this by acknowledging that I am a serial cryer at weddings. Beneath this tough outer shell that I developed growing up with two older brothers (and constantly being mistaken for a “cute little boy” wearing their hand-me-downs) lies the beating heart of a sappy hopeless romantic. It’s true, I can’t help it. No sooner does the bride place one foot down the aisle does my chin get it’s initial quivers. I know it’s all downhill from this point, and for the life of me I never manage to bring tissues. By the time she's halfway to her groom I’ll be the soggy-faced sobber in the third row. It is seemingly unavoidable.

I’ve taken step one. I’ve admitted I have a problem. I guess step two is asking why. Why is this happening? Why, on the most beautiful of occasions filled with so much love, do we do something that we associate with our most upsetting and hopeless moments in life?

Some say crying at weddings, however happy you may feel, is a reference to feelings of loss you are having. A mother of the groom cries, through her smiles, because she is dealing with losing her baby boy.

Theories have suggested that our bodies are structured like emotional steam kettles. In this instance the best man is so full of emotion watching his big brother get married, that his feelings “overflow” in a release of tears.

When we get down to the science of wedding wailers like myself, recent studies suggest that emotional tears are composed differently to that of the functional tears that clean and protect our eyes on a day to day basis. In this theory, nanna in the front row is crying what is made almost entirely up of her body’s natural stress hormone, a result of so much general emotion!

I couldn’t tell you which one applies to me. My brother’s wedding in particular was a big tear jerker for me, obviously. For my other brother too, the best man on the day. We exchanged the biggest brightest smiles across the altar as the happy couple spoke their vows in front of a full church. And we each managed one or two sneaky wipes of the cheek. Perhaps we were releasing all those happy feelings, exploding like a couple of emotional steam kettles. Perhaps we were subconsciously feeling a sense of loss, our oldest sibling officially grown up with his white picket fence dream achieved. Whatever the reason, I don’t think I’ll stop my serial wedding tears any time soon. Once a weeper, always a weeper. So we here at I Do in Day guess step three is simply learning to take tissues in your purse to every wedding!