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Princess for a day

Growing up and imagining what my wedding might be like, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that not only would I wear the beautiful white dress and the sparkly tiara, but that I would be borne into the church in a red and gold litter! And yet, thanks to CFS, that's exactly what happened.

With my mother, fiance, bridesmaids and friends, many hours were spent teasing out the details of the day. I wanted to share this big event with many of my friends and family, and I wanted it to be a day of celebrating the new marriage, as untinged as possible by regrets of what might have been, were I not to have contracted CFS a mere 9 months earlier.

Thus the day began, after a delightfully restful sleep, with one of my bridesmaids coming to the house after her hair appointment to do my hair and makeup herself. No unnecessary travelling and no stressful strangers. The other bridesmaids and flower girls arrived later to finish getting me and themselves ready, one of them driving us to the church in the special car we'd hired, again avoiding the presence of strangers.

At the church, I was transfered into a stunning litter hired from a theater prop hire company - the rather grand solution to my inability to walk down the aisle unaided!

Heather coming down the aisle in the litter Heather and Martin outside the church in wheelchairs
The service was brief, and much of it was conducted seated, although I insisted on standing for the exchanging of vows and rings. Afterwards we transfered to a side chapel, where my new husband and myself were installed in wheelchairs complete with balloons, tin cans and 'Just Married' signs and wheeled through the congregation to great hilarity.

This was followed by brief family photos, for which I was transfered back to the litter so that I could recline a little and not feel so sick. Then it was time for a well-earned rest on a camp bed in the church hall whilst the bridal party and guests went off to do their own thing for a few hours. It meant that the day didn't flow as seamlessly as might be considered normal, but it was such a long gap that there was plenty of time for people to go off and do something else, rather than just hanging around somewhere.

A few hours later the photographer and bridal party reconvened in the hall and we went off to a nearby park for photos. Just one photo venue, and that a close one, reduced the need for travel and consequent exhaustion. For these photos I was mostly in the wheelchair, although we did get a couple of standing shots and one carried in my strong new husband's arms :-)

Photos were followed by another rest on the campbed and then travel to a nearby Chinese restaurant for dinner where I was seated in a reclining chair rather than a normal upright one. Unfortunately I had to leave before the meal was over, but we had scheduled speeches and the cutting of the cake early in the meal so it didn't matter too much. I was also unable to make the speech I had planned, but my husband did a sterling job of filling in :-)

In church for the service Resting before the photos Bridal party formal photo
Then it was off to a nearby B&B for three nights before we headed north to a friend's bach for the remainder of our honeymoon.

All in all a delightful and memorable day where my illness was thoughtfully accomodated but never allowed to dominate. May you, too, be able to enjoy the special days in your lives as you live with CFS.

February 2006