Seven Days and Counting... Planning a Wedding with Mental Illness

In hindsight, I should have been writing about this journey all along. But also in hindsight, there's so much I wish I had done differently, not simply recording this time in my life.

It's September 25, 2022... seven days, ONLY ONE WEEK (yes, I meant to shout that) before my wedding - the wedding I started planning back in late March of this past year - about six months ago (... about 180 days ...about 24 weeks). 

*Keep in mind, that's planning the actual wedding. I had been planning my dream second wedding since I divorced about 20 years ago.*

When I started, it was all fun. I had a blast making my wedding unique. Basically, I took all of the parts of a wedding, researched the traditional way each is done, and then found an alternate way to accomplish the same thing.

There are all kinds of quirky aspects of my wedding - things I'm proud of coming up with:

- We couldn't find a wedding topper that represented us, so we found Lego photographers.

- Instead of a fancy, traditional wedding cake, we are building one with Little Debbie snack cakes.

- My fiance' absolutely loves baseball so we're making a special small Little Debbie cake to put on our table at the reception, complete with a Lego baseball player for our Lego selves to photograph and various Lego people (including superheroes) in the stands.

- I have a full-size suit of armor named Lance who was going to be a prominent part of the reception when it was going to be held at our house (more on that later), so the main wedding cake, the Little Debbie cake I mentioned earlier, is going to be in the shape of a castle... complete with a moat made with a mixture of sanding sugar and sprinkles... as well as a moat monster (Randall from Monsters, Inc).

- I don't like to wear dresses so I'm wearing a tunic with leggings... and an incredibly sparkly long veil and rhinestone-covered tennis shoes.

- My fiance' and I are becoming fluent in sign language so we are going to sign parts of the wedding. One of the decorations is a set of jointed wooden hands. We put gloves and wedding rings on them as well as watches handed down from our grandparents. We will be forming the fingers into  the hand shape that says, "I love you."

- Instead of a ringbearer, my daughter's fiance's emotional support animal will carry the rings up the aisle. When it's time to give them to the officiant, the plan is for her to say "Shake," and he'll hold up his paw with the rings tied on it for her to take.

- Sand ceremonies are becoming more traditional so that's not too unusual, but we are also including a blend of four colors to represent our parents, white sand to represent God, and additional colors for my daughter and her fiance'. The sand is going in a shadow-box frame and on our anniversaries, we are going to turn it one rotation - so that the sand gradually being blended shows how our lives are becoming more enmeshed.

- Our flower girl is going to push a cart that holds the sand ceremony materials... and on the cart will be a sign I made that says, "Though I'm undeniably adorable, wait until you see the Bride."

In addition, there are many other unique aspects to make this wedding ours, too many to list.

But though all the planning was fun at first, my and my loved ones' mental illnesses and physical issues have come into play over and over throughout the process. I'm thankful that I was able to figure out ways to overcome them.

1 - It's not directly related (pun intended), but my family has added a lot of stress, which makes my mental and physical issues worse. 

Originally, the wedding and reception were at my and my parents' home with only a few attending in person, due to financial issues but mostly because of my social anxiety disorder. (I don't like crowds.)

Then my family started taking over and telling us how to do our wedding. 

To combat that, we decided to move it to a neutral venue... one we could control easier. It didn't eliminate the stress my family continued to pile on concerning the wedding, but it helped.

2 - My daughter is not doing well right now - physically or mentally. I really wanted her to be much more involved than she can be. I understand what's going on with her but it's still disappointing.

Because I know that some days she does well and others, not so much, I have backup plans for all of her parts of the wedding, in case she's having a bad day. I also changed some things I originally wanted her to do to give her more time to rest in between all of the wedding activities.

3 - I have a similar issue to my daughter's... I also have good days and bad days physically and emotionally, though not as extreme or life-altering as hers.

Similar to the strategy to help her, this whole time I've been trying to get as much done upfront as possible, so I'm not having to go from sunup to sundown every day this last week. I'm still nervous that I'll overdo it so I'm making a conscious effort to try to rest some every day.

There is a lot more that I could share, but I honestly do still have a lot to do. If I think about anything else, I'll either add it to this post or will do another one after the honeymoon.

One last thing I need to say, though. At the top of my master to-do list, I wrote:

REMINDER FOR TRACY - and anyone else who might need to know: 
    IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, JUST PICK UP AND KEEP GOING.
        PERFECTION AND FORMALITY ARE NOT THE GOALS…
            HAVING FUN AND SHARING LOVE ARE

As a perfectionist with a lot of OCD traits, this is very difficult to do. However, I know how important it is to remember. If I worry about perfection, there will be no way to be in the moment and enjoy what a great time this is.

Like we say in addiction support groups... It's "Progress Not Perfection."




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