Having a chronic illness has stopped me from participating in many social events – birthday nights out, lunches, family gatherings, I could go on forever! I am constantly cancelling on friends because I’m too fatigued and dizzy to go out of the house or I’m in too much pain to walk anywhere. Even though those events are important to me, there will always be more lunches, dinners etc in the future. But … When I was invited to one of my best friends wedding, I knew this time I couldn’t cancel or rearrange this time as my friend is only going to get married once (hopefully)!
While of course I wanted to go and enjoy myself at her special day with no worries at all, I knew there were so many things to consider:
- I get very dizzy and will pass out if I stand for more than a few minutes at a time
- I get hot and sweaty from the smallest bit of physical exertion (I.e. talking a lot)
- Putting make up on and doing my hair will involve concentration which will cause my fatigue to worsen
- I need as much sleep as possible before the event
- Showering uses a days worth of spoons at the moment
- Travelling is exhausting and uses spoons
- I am unable to do anything in the evening as I am too exhausted
Keeping all of those things in mind I planned around them so that I could participate in as much of the wedding day as possible without causing too much payback.
So here are some tips so that you can enjoy a friends wedding as much as me:
Tip one – work out what is most important to you
Attending the ceremony was the most important part for me. I wanted desperately to see my friend walk down the aisle and make her vows. I also wanted to spend some quality time with friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time. To catch up with them, to reminisce and to have a laugh.
I decided to aim to get ready with my friends in the morning and then attend the ceremony at 1:30pm.
Tip two – Get a Chair
Before the wedding I decided to hire a wheelchair so that I could take part in more of the day than I would have normally been able to. This was the best decision I made, I don’t know what I would have done without it in the end. I never realised how much standing is involved in a wedding – standing outside the church mingling before the wedding, standing to welcome the bride and groom and to sing hymns, standing outside again after the service to throw confetti etc etc…
I’d wouldn’t have made it past the standing outside at the beginning without it – I collapsed after walking around a shop for five minutes last week, so I wouldn’t have made it in.
This was the first time I had been in a wheelchair. I’m not going to lie it was strange and a big step but I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again for going shopping, to the park etc – things I am unable to do at the moment as I am pretty much housebound. I think it’s going to give me some of my independence back that I so desperately long for.
Obviously if you can manage without that’s brilliant but with how poorly I am at the moment it was a life saver.
Tip three – do as much preparation before the day
If showers are absolutely exhausting for you and wipe you out for the rest of the day, then i’d highly recommend you wash your hair the day before. On the days I have a shower and wash my hair I know I won’t be able to do anything else so it would have been silly to have to it on the day.
Also, I find doing my nails requires a lot of concentration so I’d also recommend doing those before the day too. I did them two days before and they lasted!
Tip four – travel the day before
I knew I wouldn’t make it to the wedding if I travelled to the venue on the day. I am living in Cheltenham at the moment (my family home – having some medical treatment) and I needed to travel to Guildford for the wedding which takes between two – three hours. My parents kindly drove me down the day before and I stayed the night in a hotel close to the wedding venue.
Tip four – get an early night
I was staying with two of my friends at the hotel. I asked to have my own room so that I would have the best chance of getting a good quality sleep. We had a good catch up when we all arrived and then I went to my room and rested as much as possible to conserve my energy for the following day.
Tip five – get an itinerary of the wedding day
I did not have a detailed plan of my friends wedding day which was a mistake. After the wedding ceremony, I assumed that there would be photos and a chance to speak to the bride and groom straight after. But this wedding was different.. We showered the couple with confetti and waved them off on their way to the reception. I had planned to leave after the ceremony, but as I didn’t get to speak to my friend, the bride, and take some photos, I decided to go to the reception. I thought, even though I felt absolutely terrible at this point, I’d only be another hour or so – I’d go to the reception, have some food and leave. But, what I also didn’t realise was that food was not until 6:30 pm. So I soldiered on for a few more hours before they called us in for food and pushed my body more than I wanted to. In hindsight I should have asked for a run through of the day; I’d probably still have gone to the reception but only for an hour or so as by 6:30 I was slightly delirious, I felt very nauseous, and I was in an awful lot of pain.
Tip six – take some snacks with you on the day
Quite often at weddings you have breakfast before you go and then you don’t eat again until mid afternoon or evening. So I’d highly recommend you take some cerial bars (e.g nakd bars) or alternative healthy snacks so that you don’t go too long without food. When I have a low blood sugar level my symptoms worsen so I need to make sure I eat regularly. I also take meds that made me feel very sick when I have an empty stomach.
Tip seven – wear a dress/suit that is comfortable
My body temperature is about ten degrees higher than everyone else’s at the moment. So I knew I had to get a dress that was loose and breathable to avoid making me hotter than I already would be. I also knew that because I have allyodynia anything that clings to my body causes lots of pain. My dress was loose, sleeveless and quite short which was perfect to avoid additional pain and to keep me cool.
Tip eight – surround yourself with amazing friends
I attended the wedding with my two best friends. They stuck by me every second of the day, pushed me in the wheelchair and made me laugh constantly. They were so understanding and willing to do anything to help make the day easier for me!
So there you have it. I really help you find some of those tips useful!
I had the absolute BEST day at my friends wedding. Since I got Lyme disease in January this year, I’ve not really been able to do anything. So going to this wedding was the event of 2014 so far for me. It was a HUGE HUGE achievement to get through the day and be there for my friend on her special day I am so proud of myself and I am so grateful to have had such amazing support from my wonderful friends and family on the day!