Weddings & ME

20 Jan
Counting down to the big day!  © Jess Bruce

Counting down to the big day! © Jess Bruce

As most of you probably know this is the year I will get married. Saturday August 8th is the date. My Mum and Sister have made me an amazing Wedding Count Down Calendar (see picture). Starting at 3 months to go and then periodcially in the run up,  each pouch will contain a pressie from a close friend or loved one! As Lou said, I hardly need help with ramping up my excitement but it’s such a wonderful idea and so very me! I’m all about counting down to special events!

I know my wedding is of most interest to myself (Mr B would definitely agree with that statement!). So don’t worry this is not a post harping on about how wonderful our day will be. More I thought it would be useful to write a post about planning a wedding around ME/CFS. I am so very excited about our wedding but slightly increasingly anxious as well. I hope by writing down all the steps I’m taking to help me not just survive, but to enjoy our day, will allay my fears and calm my nerves a little, whilst also hopefully being helpful to anyone else in a similar position. A lot of what I say could be applied to any big event, and not just a wedding.

The Bridge of Sighs at St John's College Cambridge where we are holding our wedding breakfast © Jess Bruce 2015

The Bridge of Sighs at St John’s College Cambridge where we are holding our wedding breakfast © Jess Bruce 2015

Although I am tons and tons better than I was, ME/CFS is still part of my life and so it is, sadly, a factor in our wedding. Though it’s got to be said that I’m just so happy that I can even be planning a wedding day. Walking down the aisle and having a big celebration seemed like an impossible dream for much of the last 4 years when ME/CFS ruled my life. Even though ME/CFS has been the deciding factor in  a lot of our decisions, it is a huge relief and happiness that I’m well enough now to get married.  I am so happy and excited!

Here are some of the ways we are planning our day in order to curb ME/CFS’ wrath:

Planning and Run-Up

  • I’m trying to do wedding prep gradually and little by little so that I don’t get overwhelmed or too busy and wipe myself out.
  • I had grand plans of making our stationary. But perusing online invite options and clicking buy is MUCH less tiring than sourcing the materials, designing the stationary and of course making the things. Not being at all gifted in art nor even marginally craftsy, this was a crazy idea from the outset and would have invariably led to me freaking out, stressing or having a meltdown. Or all the above. My Mum is hugely relieved that I saw sense and abandoned the DIY approach to stationary because, as it was with my school art and design homework, it would no doubt have ended up as Mum doing the making…
  • Delegation is key to any bride but especially to one with ME/CFS. I am lucky that my future mother in law is super talented with a sewing machine and is making us bunting, lavender bags as favours and more besides whilst my Mum is all round wedding star making our cake(s), addressing invite envelopes, making chutney for favours, shopping companion, idea bouncer-off etc etc etc etc – it’s definitely a good job we waited until Mum was retired! My Dad is super organised and was hugely helpful in sourcing quotes for DJs, chauffeurs, hotels, florists, photographers…the list goes on. Basically enlist the help of as many people you trust as possible!
  • We are getting married in Cambridge, the town where we met. My family and I are renting an apartment there for the week before the wedding so that I can travel to Cambridge in advance of the wedding and rest as well as do all the last minute things gradually over the course of the week rather than cramming it all into the last 24 hours and me winding up exhausted before we even start.
St John's College, Cambridge. Where we will marry next summer. Copyright Jess B.St John's College, Cambridge. Where we will marry next summer. Copyright Jess B.

St John’s College, Cambridge. © Jess B 2015

My Dress(es)

  • Yes I have two dresses and that’s not because I’m greedy or a super fashionista keen to do a costume change! Whilst I have a traditional gown for the day time, I also have a shorter lighter dress to change into if my body is too tired from wearing the big dress. I love my wedding gown and doubt I will want to take it off but if needs must, if myalgia and fatigue are setting in, then I will do a quick change during the evening, so that it’s less effort for me to move around and I can be the last one standing on the dance floor 🙂 And if I don’t wear my shorter dress on my actual wedding day, I may well wear it to breakfast at the hotel the next morning! I will be the one trying not to spill gluten free dairy free porridge down a beaded ivory dress….
  • I originally wanted a tea-length wedding dress. But having tried a few on and discovered how heavy they are (and that they did not exactly flatter my figure), thanks to the many layers of netting needed to provide the full skirt, that idea was scrapped.
  • I also didn’t want a strapless dress but again once I’d tried dresses on with straps and found my shoulders hurting within minutes from all the fabric hanging off them I had to rethink that plan as well.
  • It is true what they say, in my case at least, that many brides end up with the exact opposite style of dress to what they originally envisioned!
  • Not a dress, but part of my outfit – I want to wear heals for at least some of the day. I used to live in black heals for work but hardly ever wear them anymore as they make my body hurt pretty quickly. My physio has advised me to wear heals little and often around the house over the next few months to strengthen my calf muscles which over time will reduce the pressure and pain that I get in my back whenever I try and wear heals at the moment.

Hair and Make-Up

  • The debate about how I’m going to wear my hair is ongoing. But however it is, it will be loose and relaxed. A tight updo doesn’t fit with the relaxed nature of our day and would also give me head pain and headache. Extensions and hair pieces are a no go both because I’m all about natural and relaxed but also as they are potential head hurters.
  • Having my hair down may make me too hot. My body’s temperature control is still a bit haywire with me frequently panicking that the menopause has set in thanks to the hot flushes I get! As I say debate is ongoing.
  • I’m having my hair and make-up done by a professional. Originally I was going to do it myself but that’s a recipe for a whole lot of stress so I decided having a hair stylist and make-up artist was a luxury well worth paying for.

The Day Itself

  • We are having a fairly early ceremony, at 12 noon, so that there is time for me to have rest later in the day between the wedding breakfast and the evening party.
  • We are having a short civil marriage ceremony so it’s less draining on me.
  • We are having a fairly small number of guests to our day time ceremony and meal. People are tiring! And being the one in the big white dress it will be hard for me to not be sociable! Fewer guests = less energy exerted for me. So it’s just immediate family and closest friends during the day with more people invited in the evening.
  • The evening party is at a hotel so if I’m flagging I can take myself off to our bedroom for a little rest time-out at any point.
Sunflowers are the theme of our  relaxed day  © Jess Bruce 2015

Sunflowers are the theme of our relaxed day © Jess Bruce 2015


  • Having the apartment means I can be in control of my food in the week prior to the wedding and won’t have to eat out in the run up and wind up bloated, blocked up and exhausted.
  • Jess friendly food was a key factor in choosing venues. If the caterer wouldn’t go out of their way to accommodate my dietary requirements then that was the end of them. Both the venue for our wedding breakfast and the hotel for our evening party have been amazing and devised totally bespoke menus to accommodate my needs and to make me feel like it was no trouble. I don’t mind having to take my own food to weddings where I’m a guest but at my own wedding I want to be able to eat the same canapes as everyone else! There are going to be veggie and fish options at all times for me whilst meat taking centre stage for Mr B, it is his wedding day after all and he wouldn’t take kindly to a plate of lentils!

After The Event

  • Mr B and I are having a mini-moon in Cambridge after the wedding. We are going to spend a few extra nights extra at the hotel to rest and relax before setting about travelling home.
  • We are planning our honeymoon for the Autumn so that I have several months to fully recover and rest up for our big adventure – latest thoughts (it changes daily…) Fiji and (parts of) Eastern Australia.

I’m sure there are a ton more things I could write for how we are planning our wedding to keep ME/CFS at bay, not least I’ve already started using the Lightning Process to brain rehearse the day doing calm as opposed to nervous and anxious. But as this post is already practically an essay, I’ll save that and other thoughts for another day.

If you’ve got any suggestions to help me keep ME/CFS under control for our special day please let me know 🙂

If you enjoy wedding talk you might like to read about my bridal shower 🙂

9 Responses to “Weddings & ME”

  1. fabulouslyfreefrom January 20, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    How exciting ! I hope all goes to plan and you both have the perfect day

  2. Sparrowgrass January 20, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Fabulous! I found this post because I am experiencing considerable post-illness fatigue and I was looking for some inspiration to keep me hopeful. What could be more hopeful than a beautifully planned wedding? It has given me a lift to read this. I wish you all the best for the day, the run-up and your for married life.

    • myjourneythrume January 26, 2015 at 9:34 am #

      Thank you so much for reading and for commenting. I’m so glad my post gave you a lift. I hope your fatigue improves. Don’t give up hope, it will get better. If you look at my A to Z page, under the header of my site, it lists the things that have helped me to recover. Might give you some ideas of ways forward. Happy to help if you have questions. Feel free to ignore tho! Thank you for your lovely wishes 🙂

  3. thehomeschoolingdoctor January 21, 2015 at 2:41 am #

    You’ve got it all planned. I’d still ditch those tall shoes and go for flats. 🙂 It sounds awesome. Funny how the dress choice ended up! So many decisions!! Great job planning!

    • myjourneythrume January 26, 2015 at 9:31 am #

      The heals will definitely be a token effort, probably just for the ceremony and photographs and then flats all the way!

  4. Jackie January 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    Great job planning!


  1. Not worth it… | my journey thru M.E. - February 3, 2015

    […] On top of all this, last week I received an email from the owner of the apartment we’d rented for the week of our wedding telling me our booking was cancelled and the apartment was no longer available. No apology or mention of the £1000 deposit we’d paid to secure it. Nothing. So now we face a battle to get our money back and the stress of finding an alternative rental. We booked the apartment last May. The options at this point, with 6 months to go are far fewer. We’d booked the apartment as a key part of doing the wedding in a Jess ME/CFS friendly way. […]

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