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So, you’re planning a wedding and you’ve invested hours of time curating unique details, making sure your other half is involved, working with suppliers, choosing stationery and menus, making sure you’re able to meet all the needs of your guests and your family.

And in the midst of all that planning, if you’re anything like Michelle, you might leave one of the most important points to plan for to the very last minute.

Michelle Hopewell has the chronic condition endometriosis, even suffering a flair-up on the day of her wedding! Here she gives us all the best advice for planning your special day around a chronic condition.

As someone with endometriosis, a chronic condition, my life is mapped out by said condition and more specifically around my cycle; and my wedding day was no exception.
My now husband and I deliberately picked a wedding date that would align with the least painful point in my cycle and yet I still experienced a flare up on the day! That’s right, in the middle of wedded bliss, I was in extreme amounts of pain.

In hindsight, I should have invested some of the energy I was pouring into absolutely everything else but me, into ensuring that I invested time into making our wedding day as chronic illness friendly as possible.

And so, while those of us with chronic conditions may not be able to avoid pain and discomfort, even on our wedding days, there’s certainly a few things we can do to help us navigate it.

Give Yourself Time

When you’re fighting day to day with your body, showing up for your responsibilities, and your relationships, and doing what you can to look after yourself, anything additional to the roster of things to deal with can be overwhelming. And no matter how excited you are about marrying the love of your life, even planning a wedding can end up being one of those additional points of stress.

So, give yourself and your partner ample time to plan the wedding day of your dreams. Yes, sometimes we have time constraints, but if you have the luxury of time, gift it to yourself. You deserve to enjoy the process rather than be overwhelmed by it. Set a timeline that gives you the space and rest time you need.

Venue accessibility

The hope is that most venues ensure that accessibility is a priority, but lots of venues don’t. And, depending on your chronic condition, the environment your wedding is in matters. It may matter that the bathrooms are close and that their dimensions are ample, it may matter that the stairs aren’t too numerous or steep, it may matter that the catering chef understands and can accommodate your dietary needs.

Look for a venue that fits you – don’t try and fit a venue, because you shouldn’t have to just “make do” on your wedding day.

You should be as safe and comfortable as possible.

Budget For A Planner

In the past when I thought of wedding planners, I unfortunately had the super archaic and somewhat problematic image of “Franck” from Father of the Bride come to mind. But truthfully and fortunately, wedding planners are incredibly diverse, wonderfully accommodating and supportive.

There is endless minutiae that exists in wedding planning, and to be honest some of it is tedious and time consuming, and so a wedding planner is the perfect person to step in and take over some of the stress of that. The right wedding planner will feel like your best friend. They’ll get you, they’ll get your vision, understand both of you as a couple and, more importantly, be ready to go to bat for you and help you build the wedding of your dreams.


Now, if your budget doesn’t allow for a wedding planner that’s totally okay. This is where, if you can, delegating is important. In an ideal situation we would handle it all ourselves, but the truth is asking for help is important and allowing those who you’ve asked to actually help, even more important.

Outsourcing responsibilities and tasks, and trusting that the community you have around you will rise to the challenge is an opportunity to not just create the wedding of your dreams, but grow stronger bonds and create memories to carry with you for a lifetime.

Make Your Wedding Outfit Work For You

It’s so easy to look at all the styles and silhouettes, couple that with our wedding fantasies and end up going on this incredible ride that ends with a wedding outfit that’s dreamy but totally impractical.

Whatever you end up with, make sure that the outfit works for you in the same way that your trusty pair of leggings work for you. Make sure it can stand the test of keeping you comfortable, and not get in the way of whatever you have to do to manage any symptoms you may experience during your day.

Prepare Your Management Toolbox

We all have a toolbox filled with a variety of things that help us manage our conditions day to day. For me, I have things like TENS machines, my painkillers, heat packs, heat patches, etc., and those things go where I go, which means I always like to have doubles, so I’m prepared at home but also when I’m out. When I got married, I was so caught up in the day, I forgot to be prepared and so I didn’t have access to my toolbox, and I regret it to this day.

Ahead of your wedding, make sure that you not only have doubles but triples of anything you may need from your toolbox and make sure that it’s easily accessible, which means ensuring that the most important people around you have what you need, so that you can quickly call on them to assist when you need them to. It’s also worth talking to your doctor in advance about anything you’re concerned about and perhaps they can give you additional ideas or support for making your day more comfortable.

However you plan your day, you deserve to have a wonderful one and I can only hope that it’s as comfortable and safe, and as full of love as possible. And I hope some of that love is you doing all you need to do to look after yourself.

Michelle Hopewell is a London born actor, writer and blogger now based in Edinburgh. She made her West End debut as an original cast member of Disney’s Aladdin, has worked with companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company and has written for publications including the Black British Bulletin and The Unedit. Michelle is an advocate for proper representation within all industries but especially within the arts and the wedding sector. She married her true love in a micro-wedding here in Scotland last autumn.