Wedding Bells With IBD: Will Ulcerative Colitis Ruin My Big Day?

Patient Expert
Mandy Morgan and her fiancé.
Kerry Colombo

I'm at that age now where major life events are happening for me and my friends — weddings, babies, buying houses, buying cars, and more. We're all slowly turning into adults. Right now, I'm in the middle of planning my wedding to the most amazing man. I could not be more excited to get married later this year.

But I also couldn't be more terrified.

Hello, nerves: Will ulcerative colitis ruin my wedding?

If you know me, you know that I'm a type-A personality with a knack for organization and a strong desire to have every box checked off on my to-do list. I'm a planner — I have a vision for things, and I execute according to that plan. You can imagine that my ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic digestive condition and form of inflammatory bowel disease, has disrupted this highly organized life that I strive for on more than one occasion.

UC interrupted my freshman year of college, my college graduation, plenty of dates, family trips, you name it — this condition has had its way of showing up and wreaking havoc all over my nicely organized to do list countless times. While I've been planning my wedding, a momentous life-changing event, my guts are in the back of my mind yelling "what if" over and over again.

My UC wedding what-ifs list

These what-ifs include, but aren't limited to:

  • What if I flare on the day of our wedding?
  • What if I get too fatigued during our rehearsal or the wedding?
  • What if my nerves make my guts freak out?
  • What if I run out of medicine?
  • What if I have to go to the hospital during the ceremony?
  • What if I don't make it down the aisle?
  • What if I get sick during wedding planning and we have to dip into our wedding savings to cover hospital bills?
  • What if I let everyone down because I'm sick?
  • What if we waste a ton of money on a reception I can't attend?
  • What if my dress doesn't fit because I gained or lost too much weight?

All of this leads me to think, "Is my fiancé really ready for all of this for the rest of our lives?" And, "How am I going to handle it when things don't go according to plan?"

Speaking my fears

I say that my fiancé is the most amazing man in the whole world for a lot of different reasons, but the big one is this: When I told him about all these what-ifs that are plaguing me about my UC, he replied, "We'll get married in a bathroom if we have to."

Talk about a sigh of relief. While getting married in a bathroom isn't my perfect wedding vision, I know it could certainly be a possibility. The fact that he also recognizes this, can make light of this situation, and make it digestible (pun intended), means the world to me. Speaking your fear about a life event can be just as life changing as the event itself. No matter whether you find yourself engaged, pregnant, buying a house or car, or even moving out of your parents' house — if you are afraid, tell someone. Anyone. You might be surprised at their response.

When I told him about all these what-ifs that are plaguing me about my ulcerative colitis, my fiancé replied, "We'll get married in a bathroom if we have to."

My UC contingency plan(s)

Chronic disease makes your life complicated, and as much as you plan, it can throw everything out of whack when you least expect it. So, for those of us with UC, a contingency plan is a must.

Ah, the infamous plan B. Or in a UC-er's case, plan C, and maybe plan D. As of right now, we're full steam ahead for plan A: the dream wedding, the dream location, the dream vendors, and the dream man. I'm slowly learning to accept that plan B might just be the dream man.

Mandy Morgan newly engaged.
Mandy with her fiancé.
Carlie Williams

I'm taking steps to manage my UC as much as I can for the next several months leading up to the big day. That means taking my medication on time, talking with my gastroenterologist, making sure the food I put in my body is nourishing and easy on my guts, and getting plenty of rest.

I'll admit, it's difficult to keep my mind off the what-ifs, but knowing that a contingency plan exists and that we can change up the way we do things helps to alleviate my worries.

What it all boils down to

…To quote Alanis Morrissette, is that everything is going to be just fine, fine, fine. The important thing to remember is that UC doesn't have to ruin your life events. Sure, it sucks that UC has to be involved at all, and that you have to take it into consideration when making those big plans, but there's still some possibility for things to turn out just fine.

I'll lighten up on my to-do lists, continue to develop plan B and plan C, and remember that either way, at the end of the day, I get to marry the man of my dreams.

See more helpful articles:

My 5 Ulcerative Colitis Insecurities — and How I Overcame Them

10 Ways You Can Support Your Loved One With Ulcerative Colitis

It Gets Better: 10 People Living With Ulcerative Colitis Share Words of Wisdom