Dear Diabetes, You’re Not Invited to My Wedding


Wanting to share

Recently I posted a status on one of my social media accounts telling my friends I was thinking about writing an article to submit to Beyond Type 1. I explained that I really wanted to share my experiences on a few subjects, so I asked for some feedback. I listed about five or six subjects that I felt I could write about that related to type 1 diabetes and asked people to vote.

One of those subjects was planning a wedding with type 1 diabetes. I noticed a few of the comments mentioned how I probably wouldn’t have enough to write an entire article about type 1 diabetes (T1D) and planning a wedding. That’s when I realized I had to write on the subject because I don’t think people without diabetes realize—really realize—that diabetes isn’t something you can separate from your life or an event, even for a night. Unless you live with T1D or have someone in your home with it, you don’t realize how involved a person has to be with proactive planning in order to “live in the moment” while also having diabetes.

A momentous occasion 

I would argue getting married is one of the top things that could happen in my life. For me, it’s up there with: having a child (check), graduating from college (check), finding my person (check), getting cured from a disease (still waiting). I want to enjoy my wedding day in all its fullness, whether that involves rain, a groomsmen passing out during the vows, my little boy smiling at me as he brings the rings down the aisle, or my husband looking into my eyes and telling all of our friends and family we love each other.

Which is why I’m choosing to plan a lot of details so diabetes is the LAST thing on my conscious mind the day of my wedding. In order to do this, I choose to think of all variables and solutions that allow diabetes to butt in, so even if diabetes interrupts, it will only be for a moment…

My plan

  1. When I’m getting ready in the morning and I have to stop for lunch, I’ll have a lunch I’ve had a million times so I will know exactly what should happen with my blood sugars for the next few hours while we are taking pre-ceremony pictures—sorry diabetes, you don’t get to be in the photoshoot!
  2. If I have a low blood sugar during the sermon? Not a problem. My maid of honor has agreed to wear a dress with pockets, which will be filled with glucose tablets. Sit down diabetes, I’m not stopping my ceremony so you can be front and center.
  3. When it is time to enjoy our dinner, I will have already tried all of the food and portions, so I will know how my blood sugar should be for the next few hours during toasts, dancing and hugs.
  4. I’m really fortunate that my parents are offering to pay for a wedding at my cousin’s husband’s sister’s vineyard (I love explaining that). Unfortunately, the grapes of their vineyard make sweet wine which does “quite a number” on my blood sugar, but I’ve already asked the site manager if I can bring my own dry red wine. I know what a particular brand does to my blood sugar so when someone is standing to give a toast, guess what? I will not have to worry about what my drink will do to my blood sugar. And by not worry, I mean that the toasts are strategically planned for 6:00pm which means my liver won’t slow down on glucose production until six hours later which is 2:00am. I will make sure to eat a snack before I go to bed, so I don’t have a low while I sleep since my pancreas is DEAD. And good luck getting my pump to talk with my liver…
  5. The site manager has also assured me I will be able to have as much Diet Coke and Captain [Morgan rum] as I want. I love Diet Coke and Captain as a mixed drink because it tastes good and doesn’t impact my blood sugar very much (every type 1 is different). Don’t worry, I’m not going to get wasted, but I would like to get a little tipsy…
  6. As for my diabetes supplies, I am looking around for a cute clutch to keep my supplies in during the reception instead of my typical purse or diabetes bag.

Getting real

I’m sure diabetes will find a way to show up to my wedding even though it doesn’t have an invitation, but by doing this extra mental work, the usual variables that allow diabetes to get overly involved in my life are at least diminished. I’m sure not every person with T1D approaches their relationship with diabetes in this way, but it’s my way for my big day.

I hope sharing my strategies will help other people with T1D who are considering a wedding day in their future and also helps the folks who don’t live with diabetes in their home—I want them to have a better understanding of what it’s like to live with diabetes every day, even your wedding day. No breaks, no vacation. This disease is all day, every day.

WRITTEN BY Liz Gilmore, POSTED 03/20/19, UPDATED 11/07/22

Liz Gilmore is 31 years old and lives in the United States with her fiancé Doug, nine-month-old son, and her fat cat named Nevaeh. She’s getting married this fall, which also marks 20 years of living with type 1 for her.