Today I want to share some thoughts or approaching your Wedding Planning as a disabled or ill Bride.
When your heart says ‘I do!’ but your body says ‘I don’t, its really useful to have plans in place to make sure that your Big Day is unforgettable for all the right reasons.
The focus of the article is on the Bride but this applies to Grooms too.
I hand over to Kerri of Flipside Bride who gives some really solid advice…
So you’ve said yes, you’ve got the shiny rock on your finger, and you’re crazy excited.
Yay! Happy happy!
For most people, surviving your wedding day is just a case of emergency blister plasters, and not swilling too much champers.
But for others who have a range of ailments or physcal challenges to consider, it can be overwhelming in the extreme.
We’re all wonderfully weird creatures aren’t we? It would be a boring world if we were all the same.
But for those of us who have medical issues, sometimes we long to be ‘normal’.
Just for a day. Just to get through the ceremony, or the meal, or the first dance.
People with disabilities, physical or mental health issues need to approach their wedding planning from a different angle.
They have practicalities to consider.
Can I access my dream venue? Is there a quiet, private space I can use to administer meds? Can I schedule time into the day to rest? Do I need different food than my guests? Am I going to feel embarrassed? The list can seem endless.
As someone with 3 autoimmune diseases to contend with, I feel your pain (sometimes literally!)
There is no magic solution, or one size fits all approach, but here are a few heartfelt tips to help you with your big day.
1. Don’t follow a traditional schedule
We’ve all seen the lists on Pinterest.
The ‘ideal time’ for your ceremony, when to sit down for your meal, how much time for photographs. Remember that these are not hard and fast rules.
Your guests won’t be checking their watches, counting down to the scheduled first dance.
These lists are put together by venues and wedding planners, to suit their needs not yours.
So before you grab a pen and start scribbling down an order of service, stop. Have a brew (or water, or gin, whatever helps). Take a breath.
Now close your eyes and think about a day that you really loved.
A day where you felt happy and healthy.
It may have been a day trip, a walk in a park, a night in Vegas (I can’t go into details on that one, due to legal reasons).
How did the day flow? Think about your normal day too. What actions do you need to take each day to balance your physical and mental needs?
That should be your starting point.
If you have to take early morning meds that make you feel rough until lunch, don’t get married at 11am!
Have a late afternoon wedding, so that you can enjoy getting your hair and make-up done, without wanting to pass out.
If you know you run out of energy by 8pm, have an early morning wedding, a proper lunch, play some daft games, then wave your guests off and get to bed.
You don’t have to pay for a disco into the wee small hours, if you’re going to be in your unicorn onesie by 10pm.
2. Put your needs first
I’m talking food now. Not surprising, for me I know! I love food. Seriously love it.
Probably because the list of foods I can’t eat, far outweighs the things I can.
You become obsessed with ‘normal’ food when you can’t eat it.
When you’re making your own lunch it’s easy. But coming up with a 4 course meal for 70 people you can send you into panic mode.
Please don’t isolate yourself. I made the decision straight away that my menu would be designed around my needs.
I didn’t want to have a totally different meal to everyone else. And you know what? The Muggles didn’t notice. They stuffed their faces and sat back happy. And I didn’t feel like a singled-out freak.
If your condition means you can’t eat big meals, then consider ditching the sit down option, in favour of a buffet where you can choose exactly what you want.
Or opt for an all-day BBQ/picnic approach where you can graze. (If you do this, please invite me!!)
3. Don’t allow the fear pixies to take over
What if I have an accident? What if I get a migraine on the day? What if I have a bout of illness? What if I feel sick in front of everyone?
People are going to stare at me. I’m going to look bloated. I’ll be bright red and sweaty…..
I have most of these thoughts before I get out of bed!
Then I tell myself to shut up and suck it up.
If you work yourself into a frenzy during the weeks before the ceremony, guess what? You’re going to get ill.
When you’re planning the big day, look at it from 6 months out.
Can you schedule in any treatments that help you? What foods do you need to avoid to make sure you feel ok?
Do you need to be brave and admit to the doctor you need more help?
I had to, and it felt like a failure at the time, but boy was I healthier in the end.
If you have to take tablets, or make regular hospital visits, stick to the plan.
Don’t skip them for dress fittings or cake tasting sessions……well….maybe cake…NO! Not even cake.
YOU are the most important part of your day. You want to be in tip top condition.
If you know you need an operation that will need a certain amount of recovery, allow yourself enough time to heal physically and mentally before the big day.
Let someone else help with the planning so that you can rest up.
If your condition impacts your mental wellbeing, talk things through honestly with those closest to you.
Explain to them the cycles you get into, what the triggers are, how it manifests, and what they can do to help you overcome it.
If they know what the signs are, they can help you avoid any serious issues before they begin.
Write your triggers down and actively head them off whilst you’re planning.
4. Have a back up plan
Although we don’t want fear pixies, we need to keep the optimism fairy in check too.
It’s great to have a positive ‘nothing bad will happen’ vibe, but you need to be realistic. Have some back up plans in place.
Make up an emergency kit – spare meds, medical contact details, your emergency tags/necklace, a brief explanation of your issues.
Give this to a trusted guest (Moms are great for this, and usually have massive handbags.)
Make people aware that the kit exists and what it’s for. MAKE SURE IT MAKES IT TO THE WEDDING!!
If you have mobility or skeletal problems, but are determined to wear heels, remember to pack some flats to switch to.
If you need sticks or a wheelchair when you get tired, don’t be stubborn. Use them.
If you suffer from anxiety, take something which soothes you.
It could be music, a message to yourself, a mantra or a nominated person to give you a massive hug (or tell you to man-up, whichever approach works for you.)
Avoid stimulants, as they inevitably result in crashes.
5. Be loud and proud
Don’t feel embarrassed about your problems.
Everyone has things they’d rather hide. This is not the time for pretending to be normal! What is normal anyway?
Stuff normal people, they’re boring sods.
Tell your key suppliers about your condition, and what impact it might have on the day.
If you get ill, it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.
Thank you to Kerri of Flipside Brides for her insight and advice.
Now relax, you’ve got this! Your wedding will be freakin awesome, because you are!
Image Credits: Haywood Jones Photography