Reality check: wedding planning isn’t SO bad

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Photo by Conway Liao from Rebekah and Shayne's wedding in a hospital.
Photo by Conway Liao from Rebekah and Shayne's wedding in a hospital.

We have a tag archive here on Offbeat Bride called overcoming adversity, and it's all about couples who've dealt with significant challenges on the path to the altar. Now, I don't mean challenges like, “My divorced parents don't get along; how can I do the seating chart?” or “What if it rains?” Not to diminish the reality of these challenges, but they're just on a different level than, say, “My mother is dying so we organized the wedding in a month so she could attend” or “my partner survived a shark attack.”

In the name of perspective shifting and reality checks, let's take a wander through some of our overcoming adversity posts… because there's nothing like cancer, premature babies, peg legs, hysterectomies, and tornadoes to help you get your seating chart woes in perspective.


Our biggest challenge was my suffering liver failure due to HELLP syndrome at the reception. I was seven months pregnant, and at our small restaurant reception I started feeling bad and so I cut it short to go to the hospital, along with the nineteen family members and my new husband. I was taken by ambulance to a bigger hospital, and spent my wedding night there. The next morning I had an emergency c-section, still with the feathers in my hair, and gave birth to a 3lb. 4 oz. baby boy! It was quite the wedding weekend.


Shayne and I knew as soon as we started dating that we would be together for a long time to come. About six months prior, we packed up everything we owned into a van and moved to Brooklyn. I was going to Parsons to get my MFA and Shayne was taking a leap of faith to become a full-time musician. A few months later, Shayne was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma and we decided not to wait any longer. We got married in the hospital a week after we got the diagnosis.

ceremony (122 of 212)
Our wedding was special because it was the first time I walked in eighteen years. I walked down the aisle on a broken toe and a peg leg!


We had planned to wed two summers earlier, but then my dear old granddad suddenly became ill at 92 and passed away. We thought we would postpone for a few months, but then our Justice of the Peace also suddenly died, and that was followed by a tornado that ripped through our property and knocked about our house. Rescheduling for the next summer was nixed when my dear old dog Lucille died, and our house still wasn't repaired from the storm. It seemed to be never-ending.

Happiness... (Photo by Erica Chambers Photography)

Due to a previous medical condition, two days before our wedding, I started hemorrhaging and was told I'd need to have a hysterectomy.

“ACK! But I'm getting married tomorrow, going to Mexico for a week and moving to Florida a month after we get back!” My fantastically wonderful MD gave me heavy doses of estrogen and scheduled me for surgery 2 days after our honeymoon.

LuvFest 2010

I am a breast cancer survivor (cancer-free one whole year, YAY). We relocated to Michigan from the Washington, DC area after I was diagnosed with cancer, mostly because my body doesn't process pharmaceuticals properly, so we knew I would be needing Mother Nature's medicine to help me get through chemo. Michigan is a legal medical marijuana state where I am a patient and a caregiver and very active in the “green movement.”

Picture perfect.
Jeremias suffers from emetophobia and has a problem with being the center of attention. So standing up in front of all 66 of our guests during a long wedding ceremony? Not gonna happen.

To be honest, I had prepared myself for the possibility of not getting married that day. [Due to his emetophobia,] Jeremias was a mess before the ceremony so there was a risk that he wouldn't be able to make it. I was okay with it though. I had told him beforehand that if he felt he couldn't go through with it, we'd just come back another day. He managed to pull himself together beautifully though and felt great the rest of the day. All this just made me appreciate him more, because I knew that he went through all that for me.

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Comments on Reality check: wedding planning isn’t SO bad

  1. My husband’s dad unexpectedly died six months before the wedding, and his mom had an emergency liver transplant a week before. She was in the hospital for the ceremony. When we found out she needed the transplant we contemplated moving the wedding up by several months in order to have her there in case she died.


  2. My wedding is in 2-ish weeks (on May 17th) and my mother passed away unexpectedly five days ago. I’m having a difficult time planning both her funeral and my big day, but I know she would have kicked my behind if I even considered cancelling my wedding plans. That’s the kind of woman she was.

  3. It is all about perspective, isn’t it? There are ‘problems’ and then there are ‘real problems’. Its not a real problem as long as everyone is healthy.

    thanks for sharing.

    • Yeah, as I said in the post… I don’t want to minimize the frustration and emotions that can be a part of all wedding planning challenges. But I know that when I was planning, it was helpful for me sometimes to take a step back and try to get some bigger-picture reality-check about just how intense the challenges could be. It helped me take a deep breath and dive back in with a new perspective. 🙂

    • Does that mean that all of our problems get a free pass because my husband is a diabetic and will therefore never be completely healthy? Awesome!

      (Sorry, I totally agree with the sentiment of your comment and this post does offer great perspective – but the “as long as everyone’s healthy” thing is a pet peeve for me).

      • I think healthy is a subjective term defining baseline more than overall objective definition here. My fiancé has a gluten allergy/ possible celiac’s disease, so I count a day without insane intestional pain a day of health.

  4. We were planning to get married this year until I unexpectedly lost my job around last Christmas (and during the probationary period to boot). Now we are talking about moving the wedding to next summer/year. I’m still so scared shitless that life will once again interfere with our plans and fuck them all up all over again, but my man is constantly telling me that we will get married no matter what, even if we have to elope at the last minute.

  5. I’m having a chronic illness relapse, and we realized about a month ago that my meds were causing me to go into congestive heart failure (that had been disguising itself at a persistent cough). Add to that an early pregnancy loss last week and it’s been a fun few months.

    I still get pissed off with absentee bridal party members, though 😉

  6. I didn’t even think of moving up the wedding. 🙁
    My dad died last month and our wedding is next month. His goal was to get better, so he could walk me down the aisle. Him dying was my worst case scenario… That I didn’t want to think about. He told anyone and everyone about how he was going to get better and walk me down the aisle. He was so proud.

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