When you are a bride to be, MS or not, you just want the day to go without a hitch. You buy the magazines, listen to advice and stress about all the usual things (Will it rain? Will my bum look big in this dress?) but having a chronic illness puts another spin on the worrying.
My partner ran the Great North Run for the MS society and then proposed. I was excited that I was going to be a bride but after my MS diagnosis nine months before the wedding day, I didn’t want to be known as the bride with MS and just wanted the best day for both of us.
So here are my tips for planning for the big event:
Don’t sweat the small stuff!
It was our day so in the words of Frank Sinatra “I did it my way”. I think most of the stress was down to juggling other people’s opinions. Stress makes MS symptoms worse or can trigger new ones. Please remember to be kind to yourself.
The right date
Choose a date that works for both of you and don’t be swayed by availability. If heat makes symptoms worse, try a spring or autumn wedding. Avoid times that you know energy levels might be low. This can be dates or a time of the day.
Have someone who will help physically and emotionally before and on the day. It’s a bonus if that person understands how your MS affects you. If it’s more than one person, even better!
I planned rest. Quiet time at home was deliberate, the weekend and day before the wedding. My chief bridesmaid cooked at her home and brought the food over. This was a great help.
I looked for a MS friendly venue (Merchant Taylors’ Hall, York). The sofas gave me rest and time with my new husband. There was a planned break between the wedding breakfast and evening. I took an air bed and duvet for the separate room, in case I needed forty winks.
The honeymoon was planned with rest in mind. My new husband and I enjoyed time in a lovely local hotel with a spa (Rudding Park) after our wedding then we flew away to our main honeymoon (Jersey) a few days after the wedding day. This gave extra rest time, important for me with my chronic illness and also giving us both time out as a new husband and wife.
What to wear?
You’ve got the dress. But make sure you have comfy lingerie and shoes.
Let’s start with the lingerie. Don’t scrimp on under garments. You probably want your lingerie to screen sexy but it also has to be practical. You don’t want to think about loo stops, but if bladder weakness affects you, you have to think will my lingerie work or can I use the loo easily? There is no law in having more than one pair of wedding shoes. I had a low heel pair and a flat pair. No one really saw my shoes under my dress so go with what ever is comfy. I also practised walking in my new shoes at home in case I stumbled! I’m worse on my feet now and would probably buy some pimped up pumps.
Let’s get physical!
The biggest worry was how I was physically on the day. How would I be walking down the aisle, would I stumble, would I have trouble standing, shake at the register signing, do the first dance like a buffalo and what if I had a relapse beforehand? I think these worries are natural for a bride with MS. Everyone knew about my condition even the Vicar, so I tried not to worry.
So what ever occurs, MS is like the relative you don’t really want to invite but we won’t let them spoil the day.
MS Society York branch, co-sponsor of ticket sales at Blossom and Belle Bridal Tea party, York. Details on image.