Planning a wedding around chronic illness, as it pans out … is a logistical nightmare. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve tried, or come close to trying, to organise our wedding since getting engaged nearly six years ago. All I can say is, it’s a good job I’m only getting hitched the once.
… Well, if Pete plays his cards right.
My M.E has ranged from Severe, right through to Mild during our engagement (please bear in mind a person can lose up to 50% of their functioning even at the Mild end of the spectrum; so it’s still no picnic). At the Severe end, we were faced with some pretty grim conversations about how to navigate what is meant to be the happiest day of our lives. These gradually became less grim (but still not ideal) as my condition thankfully improved.
To give you an idea, here’s a snippet of questions we’ve had to consider along the way:
“Can I get wed from bed? Would a registrar come to the house to do it, or would I have to be dying? What if I was well enough to get married in the living room or back garden – would a registrar come then?”
“Should we wait and see if my health improves, so we can do this ‘properly’? But, how long should we wait?”
“How would I pace myself at my own wedding?”
“Would I get married in my wheelchair, or would I walk up the aisle and then sit down for the vows?”
“What kind of wedding dress would look nice in a wheelchair? And how would I stop my wheels from running over it and ruining my dress?”
“How many guests is tolerable for me? The more guests there are, the more my M.E is likely to flare up, and the more I will suffer – on my actual wedding day – and for god knows how many days and weeks afterwards. Is it really worth it?”
“Would our friends be offended if we don’t invite them? Is getting married without them really what we want?”
“Will getting my hair and makeup done in the morning ruin my health for the rest of my Big Day?”
I grew up with a vision of what I would like my wedding to look like one day. And honestly, being a chronically ill bride and the myriad of issues that comes with, was NEVER part of my vision.
But that’s the thing with M.E/POTS. There’s a lot of ‘letting go’ involved. Letting go of the person you once were, and letting go of some of the ideas you had. It’s the only way I’ve been able to make space for the person I am NOW, and the ideas/accommodations I need, in order to make my wedding day a memorable one – for all the right reasons.
Thankfully, we no longer need to consider getting wed from bed. I can have the summer wedding I’ve always wanted, and our chosen venue is perfect.
However, I’ve had to let go of my dream of a beach wedding, and of all our friends being there, and I’ve had to schedule in a rest break after the ceremony so I can go lie down and recover enough/get some blood back up to my brain and organs before the photos and wedding breakfast. And frankly, I just don’t know how this will pan out on the day. The adrenaline might kick in and carry me through – and the whole day could be absolutely wonderful. Or it might not and I might feel like shit and have to push myself regardless, and have the best time I am capable of.
… And that’s okay.
What Really Matters
In letting go, I have made space not only for acceptance … but also excitement. I truly can’t wait to finally marry Pete after all these years. And at the end of the day, all that really matters is that I look fucking amazing.
… Wait a minute, what?! Ahhh, shit. Slip of the tongue.
What I meant to say is … all that really matters is me and Pete, our love for each other, and the commitment we’re choosing to make. When we’re together, and both saying “I do,” then really … everything else is simply a bonus.
(But still, it would be kinda nice to look fucking amazing.)