From early on in the planning process, Sophie and Sam wanted to pay tribute to Crohn's & Colitis UK as part of their wedding day. When the coronavirus pandemic threatened to undo their plans, they regrouped to make it happen regardless and ensured their big day was as special as they always knew it would be.
I wanted to feel beautiful. I wanted to feel special. I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin.
For many brides-to-be, planning a wedding is a very stressful time. As a bride-to-be with Crohn’s, I felt even more pressure to get things right. This was pressure that I put on myself because I had dreamt of this day since I was a little girl. Stress is a primary trigger for my Crohn’s and where possible I try to minimise stress in my daily life. It felt like an almost impossible task in relation to wedding planning but after our engagement in October 2017, Sam and I both made the decision to take our time. We wanted to save up our money and to spend time planning without the financial and time pressures. We set our date, 10 October 2020, and our wedding journey began. It had worked well for us.
By the start of 2020 I had everything under control. The venue was booked, the photographer was booked, flowers were picked, my dress was on order. You name it, I had it booked. We had just started to enjoy the build-up. Then the events of March 2020 threw everything off course. In our original plans we had 75 guests for the day and an additional 30 joining us in the evening. In March we remained optimistic and we really did believe that by October the world would be back to normal. Looking back, this was a little naive. The weeks rolled on and the months passed by. By August we realised that we were going to have to make changes. There were days where I would cry and cry. I was conscious that if I didn’t take a step back, I was probably going to end up in hospital again.
I could feel myself dipping into a bad place; I was stressed, my stomach was in agony and I was tired all of the time.
Sam sat down with me and together we talked about our dream day. We had two options to pick from.
1. Postpone, continue to live through the stress and the uncertainty for another year.
2. Get married and go with the flow, enjoying whatever day we are permitted to have.
Together we realised that we were lucky to be able to have a wedding. We also wanted our day to be a day to remember. How can anyone forget about a wedding that took place during a global pandemic? We knew we would have a story to tell and with that in mind we decided to press ahead. Sam was so supportive; he always has my best interests at heart.
Together we can get through anything and are the ultimate team.
The 10th October 2020 was the best day of our lives. We had 13 guests. Everyone went above and beyond for us. We didn’t miss out on a single thing and the day was imperfectly perfect.
I wanted to give our guests something meaningful as a favour.
At the very start of our wedding planning journey, I had chosen to give Crohn’s & Colitis UK charity pin badges as the favours. This way, not only could I honour Crohn’s & Colitis UK during our day, but I could also give back to them. I felt that giving back in this way was a beautiful thing, especially as I had found my happy-ever-after. Traditionally, the wedding favour is a symbol of good luck. Even though 2020 has thrown good luck out, giving Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s pin badges was special. We had made our own luck in more ways than one. The fundraising team were excellent and within hours of my first email they had called to confirm my order. It was delivered to me within a couple of weeks, along with a beautiful card of well-wishes from everyone at the charity. I had ordered the pins a number of months before our wedding and therefore had ordered seventy-five. In the weeks leading up to the wedding I sent the remaining badges out to our guests who unfortunately couldn’t attend.
Our wedding was a celebration of our love and our favourite things. For example, our chosen songs were songs from Disney movies; our first dance was to Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’. The table centrepieces were made from gin bottles and the cake was a chocolate Ferrero Roche cake. Our guests loved the badges and I know many of them still wear them on their coats and bags today. Sam kept one for himself which he wears on his uniform at work. I keep mine in my purse and every time I open it, I smile to myself, it is a lovely reminder.