Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Planning A Wedding With Chronic Illness

It's funny...since summertime is "wedding season", I was working on this blog post well before John proposed to me! Now that I'm engaged, this topic is very much on my mind. Since attending my brother and Erica's family wedding last year, I've been enamored with the idea of a small celebration; an intimate venue where we could enjoy each of our guests to the fullest. But there are so many people who we love and who have supported our relationship over the years. As John and I tried to picture our special day without them, we really struggled. Each of these people have helped us become the couple that we are and, in our eyes, a wedding is way to celebrate and honor their place in our lives. A "thank you", if you will. Furthermore, it would be a gathering point for our two families, who live over 6 hours apart.

An ongoing theme on this blog is enjoying life to the fullest and savoring small joys (take this May post entitled Always Remember To Celebrate). Each of our families have had enough hard stuff to cope with over the years, and I'm sure there will be plenty of struggles in our future. So why not embrace this reason to celebrate? Why not gather our family and friends together for a purely joyous occasion? The decision to have a wedding seemed clear and extremely exciting when we looked at it this way. And, thus, the wedding planning has begun!

No matter how pleasantly distracted I've been, my health needs to remain my top priority. While it's tempting to put medication schedules, doctor appointments and IV infusions on hold right now, I need to remember that a sure-fire way to ruin our big day is making myself sick. If I ever forget that, Spondylitis and Fibromyaliga are right there to remind me (as they have these past few days). I don't have the option of cutting them from our guest list. Thus, I'm faced with a choice: let that fact impact this happy time and become bitter, or accept it and be creative about planning our wedding.  I choose the latter option because we deserve this happiness.

I've been exploring several bridal websites, including one called "A Practical Wedding." The site is run by Meg Keene and it's all about "balancing feminism with weddings and married life; about wrestling with the cultural dialogue surrounding weddings and marriages; and about figuring out how to be a bride and a wife on your own terms. Meg's first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebrationwill be released by Da Capo Press in January 2012."
The site has so many amazing articles on all sorts of topics - from picking the "right" kind of wedding for you and your fiance to blending two families. If something is on your mind, there's a good chance it's there! Meg also has some pretty great philosophies when it comes to planning a wedding (scroll down for a comprehensive list).
As I searched the site, I took particular interest in this article for obvious reasons: Planning A Wedding With Chronic Illness. The author Hannah (pictured with her husband to the left) wanted to help other brides know"how to plan a wedding when your health is unplannable." That line alone says it all. By officially setting a date for our wedding, John and I will be committing to this one unchangeable day; this one date when our dream venue will belong to us; when everyone we know and love will travel just to see us. While all of that is very exciting, I can't pretend it's not a little scary. More than anything, I want to feel my best on our wedding day, and I'm well aware that I may not. This article has some basic, but very important reminders for brides like me.
Here is yet another great article I found on "A Practical Wedding" entitled "What Diabetes Taught Me About My Marriage." The author speaks about life after the wedding and after developing a chronic, life-changing health condition. She writes about the struggle, but focuses on the strength it brought to her and her marriage. I'd be willing to bet that this piece will inspire you.

Here are a few excerpts representing Meg's philosophy on weddings (all of the links lead to more great articles):
Weddings can be laid back, and fun. No really.
Your wedding should be about celebration and joy, not about a bunch of made up "shoulds."


  1. Love this post and loooove APW! Meg and the team got me through wedding planning (and beyond!). Can't wait to hear all about the wedding planning, Maya (and John!).

  2. AnonymousJuly 20, 2011

    I can completely relate to everything you are going through right now! It will truly be the most amazing day of your life! AS nor Fibro will keep an unbelievable girl like you, from having the most memorable and beautiful wedding ever <3 Let me know if you ever need any anything... esp about planning a wedding with chronic illness!


  3. Olivia: Thank you for alerting me to that amazing article on this website! It got me looking at every APW had to offer and it's become a wonderful inspiration for me as I start planning. I can't thank you enough for sending your wedding tools - it was the most amazing surprise and such a sweet thing to think of. You're the best!

    Andrea: Your comment made my day! Your wedding actually gave me courage because I know we have very similar struggles. If you could have the best day of your life, I know I can too! Thanks for your sweet words and I'll definitely be in touch if I have any questions xoxox