The Wedding Guest’s Guide to a Flare-Free Day
Last updated: October 2019
With the wedding season in full bloom, one cannot help but wonder: how does an IBS sufferer survive the wedding season without flying from flare-up to flare-up and collecting bad memories?
I am by no means an expert wedding guest. But my friends have certainly reached that age where we attend multiple weddings in one summer. And with this experience in mind, I wanted to talk about a couple of aspects that can make or break a wedding: the stress of going there, the clothes, the food and drinks, and the sleeping arrangement.
How to manage stress before a wedding
Stress is usually part of the deal whenever I am invited somewhere. There’s the anxiety about missing the event, being sick, not finding a private enough bathroom just in case… you probably know what I mean.
Being invited to a wedding is worse because you can’t really miss the event. Especially when the people getting married are close friends or family members. Therefore, you may want to minimize all anxious feelings before the wedding to reduce the probability of a flare-up.
In order to make the whole experience as easy as possible, I suggest avoiding early-morning departures at all costs. If you have a long drive, think about getting a hotel room the night before. It might seem like an unnecessary expense at first, but you’re already spending a lot of money as a wedding guest, so you might as well spend a little more to actually enjoy the experience.
Instead of rushing, take your time, get ready while listening to music and plan some extra time in case your IBS does react to the pre-event stress. Avoid being late or too early (I don’t know about you, but waiting always makes me super anxious), and give yourself enough time to find a bathroom before the ceremony just in case.
The perfect wedding outfit
No matter your style, you should opt for clothes you feel comfortable in. The less you need to worry about readjusting your outfit, the less you’ll add to any anxious feelings you might have related to the wedding. For me, this means avoiding tight dresses and going for something that will hide my belly, even if I get bloated.
It’s also important that your clothes don’t make it too difficult to use the bathroom. At the last wedding I went to, I saw a girl wearing a jumpsuit. She looked amazing, but I would never be able to survive in an outfit that requires a team of engineers to get on and off. Overall, just wear something that you feel good in and that will not require any thought or attention during the event.
Wedding food and drinks
If you’re anything like me and your nerves don’t allow you to properly eat before an event, you might be pretty hungry once you arrive at the venue. Especially if you just sat through both a civil and religious wedding ceremony in a row, which is pretty usual where I live.
To avoid being super hungry and eating the first thing you can find, I suggest bringing a couple of snacks that sit well with your digestive system. And then wait for food that you can actually digest.
I’ve made the mistake of not bringing snacks too many times. I either ended up starving for hours or eating trigger foods, which came back to haunt me later that night.
Another tip is to not force yourself to finish everything on your plate. I always ask my boyfriend if he wants the foods I can’t have, which is pretty much code for “please take this so people don’t ask me why I’m not eating it”. And it works really well!
As for drinks, my technique is to have a few at the beginning of the evening and then stop drinking altogether. The reason for that is that weddings, at least where I live, usually start with champagne during the reception, and then wine during dinner. As long as both are of decent quality, which you can pretty much expect at a wedding, I digest them fine. So, I tend to have a few glasses to bring my introverted, socially awkward self to actually talk to people and have fun.
After the meal, people usually start serving things like cocktails, which are, in my opinion, much less safe. You don’t know what’s inside, and I also find that the more products are mixed together, the more likely something will upset my IBS.
How to find the perfect sleeping arrangement for the wedding
A major aspect of having fun at a wedding despite my IBS is having a safe place somewhere nearby. In my case, most weddings tend to be at least a three-hour drive away because my boyfriend and I live in the middle of nowhere. This means that we always need a place to spend the night.
Even if it might seem logical to stay at a friend’s house, I suggest rather opting for a hotel room that is as close as possible to the venue. Preferably within walking distance. You’ll probably feel more comfortable in your own space, and it’s always nice to know that you can just quickly go to your hotel room if you end up feeling sick.
If you’re an introvert like me, this also gives you the opportunity to take a quick break from people if you need to!
In addition, knowing that you’ll be sleeping in your own space means that you won’t have to worry about having a flare-up during the night or the morning after the wedding. Even if you do, at least you won’t need to use the bathroom at someone else’s house!
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?