How To: An ME/CFS Friendly Wedding Part 2

20 Oct
Confetti Everywhere! © Jess Bruce 2015

Confetti Everywhere! © Jess Bruce 2015

Here is the second half of my post about how we made our wedding Jess and ME/CFS friendly. If you missed part one, you can find it here.

I’m sorry for the delay in posting this. I was doing so well at keeping to a routine of regular weekly posting on Wednesdays. I was using blogging to keep me in a daily routine – I like to write each morning for an hour or so sat in front of my light box. But now I’ve missed a week – [insert frustrated blowing off steam audio and emoticon here]. Last week was highly disrupted thanks to a) a nasty GI virus that left me barely able to stand due to the pain and b) simultaneously having work done on our house resulting in no landline, internet or TV for several days. Our mobile phone reception is patchy at best in our house due to living at the bottom of several large hills, so I enjoyed several quiet days with a good book cut off from modern life!

But virus is, touch wood gone, and I’m feeling much better and we’re back in the land of the living with technology reconnected again!

So without further ado, here are the rest of my tips on how we made our wedding day as easy as possible for me.

My Wedding Dress © Jess Bruce 2015

My Wedding Dress © Jess Bruce 2015

Outfit(s)

I chose a strapless a-line dress with a beaded lace overlay that I utterly loved. It was practical as well as beautiful: strapless meant there was no heavy weight of fabric pulling on my shoulders exacerbating the myalgia in my neck and shoulders; it was a light fabric with only a few layers of underskirts so it was easy and comfortable to move around in.

I had a second dress that I changed into at about 9 pm when I was getting tired and having a long dress to maneuver was too much. This was a little knee length number with a beaded bodice and a swirly skirt that was so much fun to dance in.

I’m short at 5ft3 and was a heals girl before I got sick. I desperately wanted sky high heals on my wedding day. The old me nearly won out but in the end I was glad I listened to my head rather than my heart and went for kitten heals. High heals put huge strain on legs and backs especially fibromyalgia weakened ones. I also had sparkly flat flip-flops that I wore in the evening.

It’s hard to be sensible rather than following your heart’s desire but your body will thank you for it.

My Wedding Hair © Jess Bruce 2015

My Wedding Hair in the making © Jess Bruce 2015

Hair Styling 

I didn’t wear a veil and although my hair was up it was in a very soft and loose chignon so as not to strain my head that is so prone to migraines. My hairdresser was brilliant and totally understood my special requirements.

Flowers

I had a bouquet of sunflowers, blue nigella and white veronica. We specifically asked for it to be light and not too big so it wasn’t a burden for me to carry.

Pre-emptive action

I took painkillers (my go to are co-codamol but check with your doctor) at the start of the day and periodically during the wedding; anything to ease myalgia pain from being on my feet all day and to ward off the migraines to which I’m so susceptible.

I also took an antihistamine to ward off any pesky reaction to flowers. A bride sneezing all over her bouquet wasn’t the look I wanted!

My Bouquet © Jess Bruce 2015

My Bouquet © Jess Bruce 2015

Chairs

A basic point, but so helpful – don’t stand more than you have to.

Mr B and I sat down through our ceremony as much as we could. We only stood for the actual saying of our vows and exchanging of rings and I don’t think it detracted from the special moment at all.

We had a drinks reception outside on the grass and had arranged for quilts to be laid out for people to relax on and a few chairs for less mobile guests (me in my long dress)!

Our photographer even fetched me a chair during our formal photos so I could have a sit down whilst family members were gathered for the particular shots.

After we had made our entrance (to the Rocky theme tune!) into our evening reception, we had two chairs positioned centre stage on the dance floor for us to sit on during the speeches (which incidentally we split between the wedding breakfast in the afternoon and the evening party so as not to tire me out having to concentrate and listen for too long).

Our Wedding Car © Jess Bruce 2015

Our Wedding Car © Jess Bruce 2015

Car

By having three venues, we needed to get from one to the next. The venues were only a 10 minute walk or so between each and our guests walked en masse carrying yellow and white balloons! I so wanted to be part of that but Mr B and I travelled by car, in a Maserati no less, so it wasn’t exactly a hardship! It saved my tired legs, gave me a few minutes peace and chance to sit down and also gave Mr B and I time just the two of us which was really nice.

Supplies

Pack a bag of all the essentials that you rely on and keep this with you during the event. For me this included: tiger balm, painkillers, snacks, water, plasters, headphones and ipad (for relaxation audios), sunglasses, flat shoes, a calming herbal essence and a wrap.

One of evening venue decorations © Jess Bruce 2015

One of our decorations at our evening venue © Jess Bruce 2015

Lightning Process

This was crucial for me. I used the LP in the run up to the wedding to prepare my body and mind for the big day through brain rehersal. Using the LP I visualised doing great energy and calmness both on my wedding day and in the lead up. I interrupted and stopped feelings of anxiety, panic and overwhelm, choosing instead to do calm and happy. It helped enormously and kept me amazingly calm.

Last but not least, relax!

Easier said than done, but try to relax and enjoy the day. I was amazingly calm in the run up, with only a couple of bridezilla moments (an achievement let me tell you!) The day itself I was relaxed and incredibly happy.

It might seem a shame or a drag to say that ME/CFS shaped our day but I would disagree. It did not detract from the love and specialness in the slightest. The illness has been a huge part of our lives over the last 5 years. You have nothing without good health, we have learnt that time and time again through ME/CFS and so safe guarding my health was our priority for our wedding day, as it is in life generally.

We literally had the best day of our lives, so full of love and happiness. I wouldn’t have done anything differently and the best thing was, that I didn’t crash or relapse, so all the planning and special arrangements were worth it and worked exactly as we’d hoped.

If you want to read more about our wedding, and how we raised money for the ME Association, check out this post. If you missed part one, where I talk about our choice of venues, food, timings and more, please read this post.

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9 Responses to “How To: An ME/CFS Friendly Wedding Part 2”

  1. Jen October 20, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    Thank you for writing these two posts! As someone with CFS who is not yet married (though maybe one day) I really like seeing what you did to not just survive, but enjoy the day. It’s given me several ideas I had not though of that can be applied to other big situations as well. Thanks!

    • myjourneythrume October 20, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

      Thank you for your comment Jen, you made me smile! I’m so glad you enjoyed my posts and found them helpful. I wasn’t going to let CFS get the better of me. I’m going to use the same strategies for other big events in the future too 😊

  2. silencekilledthedinosaurs October 21, 2015 at 1:46 am #

    Thank you again! There’s a lot of little things here I might not have thought of myself. I’m all over the chair situation (THEY MUST BE EVERYWHERE!) but I hadn’t considered things like bouquet or dress weight! And preemptive action is clever. I’m quite prone to nasty headaches and full-on migraines also, and at present I really just have my fingers-crossed that I won’t get hit by them on the day.

    • myjourneythrume October 21, 2015 at 8:07 am #

      Me too I live in fear of getting one, preemptive painkillers don’t always work but it’s better than nothing. So glad you found it helpful. Feel free to email me if you have any questions – myjourneythrume@yahoo.com. I hadn’t realised about the dress weight until I started trying them on (also trying on dresses is tiring!) I never thought I’d want strapless but I loved my dress and it was me/cfs ‘practical’ (eurgh) too! And yes chairs chairs chairs!!! Good look with your planning, I can’t wait to hear how your special day goes, I’m sure it will be wonderful. Jx

  3. thehomeschoolingdoctor October 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    I love reading how you are managing a “normal” life now! I know there’s still lots you must plan for and anticipate and take care of, but from when I first started following you, that would not have been possible. I learn from you even though I don’t have ME or any diagnosed issues like that, but reading what you write and seeing some of your symptoms really pulls me up short sometimes. (I’m sure I’ve said that before to you.) I just love the hairstyle you chose! Your hair is so thick and pretty! Your wedding sounds like it was perfect! I’ll bet the guests had a great time!

    • myjourneythrume October 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

      Oh thank you Terri for such a lovely comment. It still brings tears to my eyes to think how far I’ve come since I started my blog. We go on honeymoon in 2 weeks time to Australia which is a trip a few years ago I never dreamt I’d be well enough to do but now it’s actually happening! I’m glad I can help expand your already vast knowledge of medicine 😊 increasing awareness one doctor, one person, at a time! My hair is actually really fine (I hate how fine it is!) so my hairdresser clearly did a good job making it seem thick! Thank you for the kind words. Hope all is well with you and yours 😊

      • thehomeschoolingdoctor October 26, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

        Oh my gosh! HAVE FUN! I can’t wait to go to Australia. Hope we hear how to accommodate ME on such a long journey!

      • myjourneythrume October 26, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

        You read my mind 😊

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