A bride tosses a bouquet of intestines to a guest who is holding their arms up and turning away from catching it

My Anxiety About Being a Wedding Guest With IBS

Ah, weddings. Where we celebrate love, eat good food, dance, and just have a blast. Weddings can also be a source of stress. There's so much planning to do, so much to get done to make sure everything is ready and will run smoothly on the big day. So many pieces need to fit into a place that it can almost be hard to actually enjoy it until you're in the moment.

Oh! I should probably say this isn't my wedding. One of my best friends from college, it's her wedding. She is beyond stressed, having planned this all in just 6 months.

But even though this wasn't my wedding, my anxiety was creeping up on me.

Before the wedding

About a week beforehand, my stomach started being very sensitive. Like the "I couldn't eat until 12 pm but was still having to jog to the bathroom hourly" sensitive. And I knew that my anxiety, plus all the stresses of travel and being away from home in general, could potentially be a recipe for disaster.

I knew I had to prepare in the limited amount of time that I had the best that I could.

Resetting my sleep schedule

The first step I took was to reset my sleep schedule. Living with a night owl but needing to be a morning person was tricky because when I wanted to go to bed, they would be in the middle of their day! FOMO and the lack of sleep were taking their toll on my entire being, so I knew that I needed to make sure I was getting enough sleep if any of my attempts to quiet the gurgle monster would be successful.

Controlling my IBS and my gut microbiome

The next step I took was supplementing my gut microbiome. I started taking a probiotic pill, on top of the yogurt and kombucha that I already regularly consume. The food at the wedding was going to be Indian food (YUM), and I did NOT want to be super picky about what I could eat. I've done big events where I'd barely eaten because I was afraid of having an accident, but at the cost of feeling ill regardless because I had no food in me. I also resumed drinking a tiny amount of apple cider vinegar with water in the mornings to help prep my stomach acid to receive foods to break down. Prepping my stomach and giving it the tools it needed to help support its health is very important, and even more so when I know my control over what food choices I have would be limited. I also started incorporating digestive bitters again. This was a huge help when I had really bad acid reflux and I knew this would be an essential tool in my kit, both leading up to and during the celebrations.

One thing I did not do, was cut foods out or limit intake, particularly dairy and spices. I consume very little dairy, mainly sticking to yogurt and cheeses. But I could already see that if I cut out dairy and spices completely leading up to the wedding, the likelihood of them being in the food offered was high. And reintroducing them at that time would be, ah, horrendous. Not good.

Probably would make me miss the bouquet toss. And all of the dancing.

Planning for the wedding

And lastly, I tried to plan as best as I could. I had my suitcase as pre-packed as I could a week before leaving. I made sure everything was in order way ahead of flights, laundry, and my cat's care. I even planned what days I would wash my hair before the wedding so I wouldn't have to do it there! Anything I could do to try to ease my anxiety about surviving that weekend, I did. I wanted to enjoy it! It was the first time I would see my girlfriends together in a year and a half. I wanted to celebrate my friend getting married and starting this new chapter of her life. And I wanted to feel good while doing it.

Life is full of big events, and I intend to be able to enjoy them the best that I can. Now let's hope that when it comes to my turn to get married, I'll have a better handle on this because I'm nervous about going to a wedding. Who knows what will happen when it's mine!

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