Walking down the aisle of our church, I held onto my Dad’s arm and tried to breathe deeply, but the flutters in my stomach and beads of sweat sliding down the back of my legs made me wonder if my blood sugar was dropping. When I reached the front of the church, I took my future husband’s hands and saw that he was shaking too. I breathed a sigh of relief and realized it was just nerves.
Managing diabetes on your wedding day takes planning. Emotions and blood sugars can run high, food is often the last thing on your mind, and there are so many family members and friends to talk to, it’s hard to sit down. That’s why planning a wedding for women with diabetes must go beyond the music and the flowers.
When Melissa Partridge and her husband Wayne planned for their big day, she’d been living with diabetes for thirteen years. Melissa says her wedding day was crazy. “I was getting married fast and young and then it was right off to school again. I didn’t really take time to relax. It was go, go go. After the luncheon and during the reception I started to notice little things. People were saying congratulations, and it took everything in me to force a smile. I knew something was wrong. So I tested…458. So much for eating the cake.” Melissa gave an extra dose of insulin and tried to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
After the reception, Melissa and her Wayne grabbed a change of clothes, their “Honeymoon” basket, and headed to the hotel. By the middle of the night her blood sugar crashed. Wayne grabbed the honeymoon basket and opened up the bottle of sparkling cider, only to discover it was sugar free. Along with everything else in the basket. A friend had packed the basket thinking of Melissa’s diabetes. “I don’t remember the details after that. But I survived my honeymoon. I only which I had been prepared in advance and had less stress on the most important day of my life. Luckily I can laugh about it now.”
A day off from diabetes management would be every bride’s dream but ironically, the best way to minimize your attention to diabetes, is to be prepared. Brides have a variety of questions about preparing for the big day including where to hide the pump or supplies, what to eat and who to ask for assistance.
Here is some advice from married women on how to plan for the big day:
Plan a well balanced meal for the reception, this may not be the time to choose an exotic menu
Have a seamstress sew an invisible pocket into the skirt of the wedding gown or use an elastic bandage around thigh for pump
Find a cute clutch to carry supplies
Ask a bridesmaid or mother to remind you to sit down and eat
Expect numbers to unpredictable, this is an extraordinary day
Make sure there is a variety of snacks in the wedding suite
Ask dad or groom carry glucose tabs in his pocket
Newlywed Allison Blass says, “Like anything in diabetes, planning is key. By having my supplies at the ready, an insulin pump I knew I could get to, and friends and family ready to help me in case of an emergency (like when I ran out of test strips), I was able to enjoy my big day without wondering if diabetes was going to cause any drama. Having an idea of when you’re going to eat and when you’ll be able to test is crucial, and making sure that you don’t get too carried away to take care of yourself is also important!”
Your wedding day should be memorable for the right reasons. Plan ahead and take advantage of the people around you who want to ensure your happiness and ask for support.