The CRPS Wedding Chronicles – Almost There!

By Samantha Barrett, Special Events Coordinator

Getting closer to the wedding date, Samantha updates everyone on some of the tips she has learned through the wedding planning process with CRPS. What questions do you have for Samantha? She can answer them in the next edition!

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I’ve update you on the wedding chronicles. We are just about 3 months out from the big day (I know, crazy, right)? But I’m getting extremely excited, although a tad overwhelmed.

Recently, my health hasn’t been the best it could be. My CRPS has gone into occasional flares, but the EDS and POTS have been what is really affecting me. But the EDS contributes to CRPS pain for me and then the POTS just makes it so I’m down for the count. I’m really glad I started planning actively so early in the process. I’ve had quite a few days when I had intended to do so much, but was able to do so little. It is a gentle reminder that we have to pace ourselves and roll with the punches. Some days will be bad. That’s when you have to listen to your body.

Since the last time I blogged, we’ve had a lot go on. Our best man dropped out of the wedding, but was replaced with a best woman. Our amazing photographer also did a super fun engagement picture session for us. We’ve had suits and dresses ordered, started on the floral arrangements (which I’ll get to below), almost completely finished our centerpieces, received our invitations, and we’ve been getting all of the other décor items and accessories in stages. It’s all really coming together!

Our engagement photography session was fantastic. I found an amazing photographer whom is all about making sure I’m not straining myself. Plus, she lets you do whatever you feel is natural, so most of our pictures are just how my fiance and I are as a whole. It was so much fun. She even found a location that looked like it was right out of Beauty and the Beast (which is my wedding theme after all). We did a lot of pictures sitting down so I could rest, since I had been flaring around that time and had just recovered from a dislocated hip. It was incredible to have someone that was so willing to work with my limitations. She’s now on the top of my recommendation list for everything. This whole day was just really special and so much fun. I can’t wait to see what she does for the wedding. She even came up with a plan for if I get a pain surge the day of the wedding! Woohoo!

The floral arrangements are really a fun element. My maid of honor is the one that is actually doing my flower arrangements. Because of my dye allergy and the sensitivity of my hands, we decided to go with fake flowers. I was extremely hesitant about this decision, as fake flowers can look, well, fake! But Michael’s Craft Store has some extremely realistic flowers that even the petals feels real (but the stems don’t). They are coming out beautifully. Even better, now I don’t have to try to preserve fresh flowers as a memento. Since my main flower is a rose, now I don’t have to worry about de-thorning either. It’s a win all around. I can’t wait to share these floral arrangements with you.

So, what is my current source of stress due to CRPS? Thinking about trying to write out all the invitation envelopes and finishing the centerpieces. While my hands aren’t too bad, my back and arms start to burn if I lean forward for too long (i.e. to write out anything with a pen and paper). My mom and my maid of honor have volunteered to help me with this so I don’t have to do too many, but it is frustrating. There are so many envelopes to fill out, but I’m working on accepting help. It’s the only way it’ll get done without sending me into a full flare after all. For my centerpieces, I have to paint some stands and get some appliques printed out with the Cricut. I know my grandfather will be the one doing the Cricut, but it’s the application that stresses me. Much like the writing, any kind of leaning forward for extended periods of time, or extending my arm out for extended periods of time, sends me into terrible flares (and I tend to dislocate because of all of the extending). I think my fiancé will have to put the appliques on our teapots. I can at least spray paint the stands. Other than that, I just need to arrange some flowers for inside of the teapots and I’ll be good to go!

We did some cake testing about a month ago. My fiancé hates cake so he’s a fun one to bring. Granted, I’m just as fun with all of my restrictions (no red dye, gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, etc.). We had wanted to bring my grandmother to our cake testing, but unfortunately, she was too sick to come, which was a blessing in disguise since her wheelchair wouldn’t have fit. I’m lucky that I was using my cane and not my wheelchair, because there is no way I would have been able to fit in to the testing area with my own wheelchair. What a reminder that you must check EVERYWHERE. Even if they say they are handicap accessible, some places do the bare minimum. I realized in college how many places do the bare minimum. I almost started something I wanted to call Sammie’s Challenge, where business owners or higher ups have to navigate their entire place of business in a wheelchair without assistance. I always thought that would open their minds and eyes a little more. I think I saw that someone recently started something like this. I hope they go far with this. But, I digress.

I’m currently working on customizing a cane for the big day. I feel as though the zebra print may take away from some of the classier details. Let me know if you think I should do a cane customization tutorial or share links to where I found a cane that fit!

I recently booked my honeymoon trip as well. How on earth I’m going to get through the full wedding, then flying, and then a ton of walking at theme parks is beyond me. You know how when you really want something, you pull the strength from deep inside of you and pay the price later? I have a strong feeling that’s what’s going to happen. But I’m strategizing. I’m going to start with the theme park that has the most walking. I’m also making dining reservations so there are designated times when I have to sit and rest. My fiancé is one of the best people I could take a trip with in terms of resting. He makes sure that I don’t overdo it when we just go out to do errands. I imagine this is going to be interesting.

So, now that we’re a little closer to the end of this process, let me give you some more tips. Whether you’re the bride, groom, maid of honor/best man, or parent of the bride/groom, you can make these tips your own.

  1. Start planning and buying things as soon as you can. This will save you time and energy as the big day gets closer. It’ll also seem like less of a financial hit since you’ll be doing everything in stages.
  2. Take breaks. If your health is doing poorly, focus on getting yourself better. Nothing is worth overdoing it, especially because it could take away from your special day.
  3. Make a realistic budget. Remember, a budget is an estimate. Don’t go over what you can handle. The day is about you and your soon to be husband or wife, not about how many flowers you had, how extravagant things were, or anything else. Do what feels best for YOU!
  4. Make changes based on how/where your CRPS affects you. Have it in your feet? Ladies, avoid the heals and opts for cute flats or sneakers (or whatever you can tolerate). Make time to sit (even if you have to schedule it), and online shop as much as possible. Have it in your hands? If you can’t grasp flowers, consider a pinned corsage on your dress. Can’t wear a ring? Find a necklace that you can put a ring on or a necklace that will symbolize your marriage.
  5. Call everywhere to see if they are handicap accessible, especially in the areas that you will need to access. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises.
  6. Accept help! Have an envelope writing party and have snacks or food for everyone that helps out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either. The worst they can say is no! This applies to every part of your wedding.
  7. Find vendors that will work with you and that will accommodate your needs. You are paying them for their services, don’t settle!
  8. Find bridesmaid dresses and suits with plenty of time to spare. Everyone has at least one flaky bridesmaid/groomsman that will wait until the last second to get what they need to get.
  9. If you’re going on a honeymoon, try to find somewhere that you think your body can handle the best. Can’t handle the feeling of sand on a beach? Don’t do a beach resort. Can’t have anyone bump you? Don’t pick a popular tourist destination during tourist season.
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