5 Most Comfortable Wedding Shoes for Brides With Chronic Pain (Or Anyone)

My wedding shoes, the Adrianna Papell kitten heels to be reviewed below.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Are you planning a wedding? Congratulations! Are you planning a wedding and have chronic pain? Congratulations! I was there a few short months ago – 2 days short of 3 months – and still suffer from the Postwedding Blues. The Postwedding Blues is a mix of anxiety and depression some brides experience after planning their wedding and walking down the aisle. I’ve got it bad. I still look at wedding dresses, write wedding articles for websites (to hopefully come out soon), and do my research. Then of course, there is the personal component of this blog. Much of my wedding advice for chronically ill brides comes from my own nightmare of a wedding planning experience. This is some solid, tested advice you can trust because I’ve been there.

Why write about comfort shoes?

The shoe is the most important part of your day followed by the dress because of comfort. If your feet aren’t walking on clouds, then you will be in excruciating pain. I tried to wear Adrianna Papell kitten heels for my ceremony and went total bridezilla by the time the reception rolled around because I was in so much pain.

My first suggestion for brides with chronic pain? Don’t even think about kitten heels!

This list is in descending order, with the best, or most comfortable, being first, to least comfortable, being last.

1.Crocs Women’s Flat Sandal in Oyster

I’ll say it. I wore Crocs at my indoor wedding in December. Yes. White dress Crocs. These. I came out in my kitten heels because I was too embarrassed to with my guests, but you know what? No one could tell when I changed into these! These were by far the most comfortable shoes I tried.

My Pick: Crocs Women’s Flat Sandal in Oyster

2.Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor Perforated Stars High Top Sneaker

Everyone knows the popularity of Converse in weddings. It’s more than about hipsters – they’re comfortable for your big day! These converse are extremely bridal and almost look lace-like with perforated stars. Delicate and a little rock-and-roll, the best of both worlds for a bride with chronic illness.

My Pick: Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor Perforated Stars High Top Sneaker

3.Converse Women’s Chuck Taylor All Star Sparkle Trim Low Top Sneaker

A dressed-down, lower profile version of the shoe above, these Converse Chuck Taylors are great for brides with edemas or swelling. A high top shoe can make it difficult to get your foot out of the wedding shoe if your legs and feet are swollen.

My Pick: Converse Women’s Chuck Taylor All Star Sparkle Trim Low Top Sneaker

4.Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor Hi Top Sneaker

This one’s my favorite shoe of all time, my dream shoe, the shoe that would have been my wedding shoe if I could have found it in time. This shoe, this beautiful, comfy shoe, is for my LGBTQ+ brides and grooms, my chronic illness brides who love rainbows all over the spectrum, and brides who want a little color under their dress. You just want to have color and love comfort for this to be your wedding shoe.

My pick: Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor Hi Top Sneaker

5.Adrianna Papell Women’s Tonya Ballet Flat

When it comes to wedding shoes, brides love Adrianna Papell because of her delicate, fairytale designs. She even has Cinderella-like shoes to go with her theme. However, when you suffer from chronic pain, I don’t recommend harsh, firm plastic to encapsulate your feet in for a day. There is only one shoe by Adrianna Papell that I can recommend for a bride with chronic pain, and it is this one. It only covers your toe and heel, giving room for foot swelling, and is flat, allowing yourself to be free of the pain any kind of heel gives you, the bride.

My Pick: Adrianna Papell Women’s Tonya Ballet Flat

Don’t put yourself through any kind of pain just to be pretty for one day of your life! It’s better to enjoy it!

Wedding Regrets

With the onset of COVID-19, I’ve seen many distressed brides grieving the loss of their wedding dates. Some brides have been planning for over two years only to have their hard work and dreams wiped away. To you, I apologize for this post, and take consolation in my disappointments in my own wedding.

It’s hard to look at my wedding photos anymore because of wedding regrets. I have many, and my biggest golden kernel of advice to couples is this:

Never, never EVER let someone else pay for your wedding. Not if you’re marrying a trust funder, not if your parents are insisting, not if you can’t pay yourself. Save up your dollars and have an extended engagement, then use those cold hard Benjamins to have the wedding YOU want.

Why am I saying this?

When you pay for your own wedding, you have complete control over how the wedding goes on. If your mother or your in-laws are calling the shots because you’re too broke or you’re used to taking hand-outs from your rich parents, guess what, it’s technically their show.

My wedding was a nightmare. It was thrown together in 48 hours after my parents decided I was getting married a day early in their house, not at our friend’s venue, and our guest list was going from 80 to 20. Because of the short notice and that it was being held on a week night, none of my friends could get off work so they couldn’t come. It was me and my husband’s family, who I had issues with. There was no music, no dancing, no fun. This was the opposite of how I wanted it.

The door bell even rang as we had our first kiss.

Additionally, I was in pain the whole time, and my face looks horrible in pictures. It’s in a huge frown because of the physical and emotional discomfort I felt.

So, my parents insisted on paying for my wedding, and they forced me to jump ship on my already planned one for an emergency Bridezilla catastrophe because they held the purse strings.

So, what did I originally want?

I wanted to get married at Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World in the summer. My husband vetoed, saying his parents wouldn’t come to a theme park for a wedding. So my next step was to go the traditional route for my parent’s religion, and get married at our friend’s children’s camp. I tried to order catering from Freebirds, also vetoed by in-laws. I quickly realized I was going to have to miraculously turn beer into champagne on my meager budget.

I planned a country wedding at my parent’s behest and with their dollar. But I had been dreaming about a Disney wedding ever since I learned about them at age 13.

The Lesson?

Bear and I should have saved up money to go to Disney World, or some other place nearby. That way, we would have been in control.

If you’re unable to wait to get married on champagne tastes, or even beer tastes, please consider a court house. Halfway through wedding planning you’ll be dying to run to one anyhow.

But really, is there any such thing as being in complete control of your wedding?

Remember, wedding regrets are normal. But there’s a big way to avoid catastrophe wedding regrets: take the reins.

The best way to not have wedding regrets in the midst of COVID-19? Focus on the love of your life.

All in all, I do not regret getting married. There is a big difference between wedding and married. I had wanted to get weddinged in the summer, however, we all know this crazy coronavirus mess is going on right now and we don’t know when it’s going to end. I’m currently riding out the coronapocalypse with my sexy awesome husband who I love very much, and am extremely glad to have married! I just wish he could have been my official Prince Charming in Cinderella’s Castle, possibly in December when we had wed.

How to Shop For a Wedding Dress When You Have a Chronic Illness

This jersey knit sheath from David’s bridal for $199 is extremely comfortable.

When it comes to planning your Spoonie wedding, it’s all about the dress. If you suffer from chronic pain from a chronic illness, the dress will be a big factor in how your wedding day will go. This is because it dictates your comfort level. There are easy ways to figure this out without wasting spoons trying on tons of dresses, which will drain your energy.

Tips for figuring out which dresses to try on

1. Consider a non bridal dress that happens to be white.

These will have less layers and will be less heavy, and also less expensive. I try to be budget friendly on this blog because I know with medical expenses everything else can get in the way. Prioritize your health.

2. Look for a dress with only two or three layers.

Wedding dresses are like cakes. Some have more fabric layers than most. Some have up to 12, and this makes the dress heavy. The heavier the dress, the more uncomfortable you will feel as it places pressure on your body, causing pain and exhaustion.

3. Consider the fabric. The softer and lighter it is, the better.

Jersey knit, lace and satin are favorites. Make sure you bring a flash light to test if the fabric is see through!

4. If your weight fluctuates, consider a corset top.

The dress I landed on was a soft lace up all the way with a ribbon. That meant that no matter how my body changed, the dress could be altered through tightening or loosening the corset lacing.

I originally bought the first dress pictured, and it was zip up all the way which ended up hurting me in the end.

Where should you buy a dress?

My dress was not bought at a traditional bridal shop, so I suggest getting creative with your search. Personal favorites are:

1. Secondhand bridal shops

This way, you can buy couture for less, and get it off the rack the same day.

2. Quinceanera shops

This is where I found my dress. You can find excellent customer service and a different style of dress if you don’t like current bridal fashion, like I do.

3. Department stores

These are good places to find dresses with less layers. The dresses will be simpler and more low key, and a simpler dress is usually a more comfortable dress.

Good department stores are:

– Nordstrom

– Macy’s

I had a bad experience at David’s Bridal with my body fluctuations. I do not recommend them.

How to shop

1. Do NOT shop online.

2. Only go to one store per day.

3. When you dress shop, make it your one goal for the day.

Shapewear

Try to wear as little shapewear and other undergarments as possible. This means no complicated slips or spandex. You’re going to need to pee at some point. These items are also restrictive and uncomfortable. I did wear a soft, expensive strapless bra and soft spandex shorts on my wedding day. I made sure my undergarments were soft and necessary. If it’s your wedding day and you think you look good without your spandex, skip it. I was still comfortable in mine because of the type I wore.

My Dress

My dress was satin and silk. It didn’t have structured hard boning in the corset. This meant the corset was soft, which was good for my costocondritis. The dress had an empire waist, so there was no pressure on my abdomen, which is a constant painful spot for me. It had crystal sparkle detail on the bodice, and a simple three layer skirt. It was not heavy at all and twirled!

You can still have a princess dress and comfort. Just know what to look for, and don’t give up on the dress of your dreams!

My photographer had me take bridal portraits sitting down to save spoons.

The Spoonie Wedding

Imitation meteorite band for my husband with my diamond baguette ring on my Texas themed bouquet.

My husband and I were struck by two tragedies after our wedding, and we’ve only been married a month. I’m trying to cling to the magic moments in these dark times to superglue myself to him.

The ceremony space that later doubled as a dance floor, AKA my parents living room.

Because I was bed bound most of the time and walking with a glitter cane the month of the wedding, my parents took my $5,000 wedding at at a family friends children’s camp and moved it inside our house so I wouldn’t have to walk far and could rest in my bedroom if needed. We lost a ton of money but gained spoonifying the wedding this way. After all, a small house wedding was originally what I wanted.

We DIY’d all of our decorations. My mother, sister, father, myself and family friends set out heirloom china. Early on in the planning process my mom and I found a pack of vases, orchids, pearls, and tea lights used in a previous wedding on Craigslist, and they were used everywhere as decorations. Our tablecloths were also from Craigslist from a previous wedding.

Please note that while I did help set up I lost spoons and did have to rest during my wedding. I’ll get to spoonifying your wedding in a moment.

Why I considered my wedding spoonifyed

1. I didn’t have to travel to a venue. All I needed was right there.

2. My walk down the aisle was a walk down the short hallway. At the 30 acre venue, where I would have to cross a creek to get between the ceremony site and the reception space, we were afraid I would have to use a cane. It was also outdoors and could be muddy. This way, no one would know I was using a cane as I didn’t use it around the house.

3. I could rest during the wedding reception, and I did. The reception was a vegan dinner with a fabulous vegan cake held in my parents formal dining room that shared a wall with my bedroom.

The very fabulous vegan cake that got compliments from the non vegans present.

4. We had a 20 person guest list cut down from 80. This was hard to do, but worth it.

Dos and Dont’s of Planning a Spoonie Wedding

1. Hire a full package wedding planner. You may be on a budget but my wedding stole my health because I didn’t do this! Please at least hire a day of coordinator, some of these are very affordable if you go to your local bridal expo.

My glittery yet still simple wedding dress that was comfortable but forgiving.

2. It’s all about the dress. Choose a simpler dress that is comfortable! You will still be beautiful even if you’re not in a Pnina Tornai!

3. It’s honestly about the shoes. Don’t even wear kitten heels. Wear flats, sneakers, or even crocs that don’t look like crocs (don’t cringe but crocs makes flats and they are my fancy shoes). I have lots of foot problems so this is my go to.

4. Thou shalt NOT go dress shopping without watching Say Yes to the Dress at least 10 times, and thou shalt NOT be ashamed of your tiny budget. Not every girl can drop even $600 on a dress. I dropped $200 each on two dresses, one I couldn’t wear anymore because of swelling and the one pictured I wore on my wedding day that was really perfect. I found my wedding dress at a quinceanera shop that was local, and they were really kind to me when I explained my situation.

5. Let. People. Help. Please. You need your spoons for the wedding. Your community will be your rock through the process.

6. House weddings are the way to go if you can’t afford a hotel. See if you are close enough friends or family with someone with a nice house. With a house or hotel wedding, you have the option of going and resting during the wedding day. A house option is cheaper.

7. Be open with your vendors about your illness. You don’t have to disclose what type, but by being open I was able to move my wedding date 3 times due to my diseases progressing. You may also get free stuff and advice!

The send off in the rain (yes, it rained on my wedding day).

Blunders

Make sure you know what you want in a dress before you buy. I had no idea I wanted a glittery ball gown until I watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, but I had a lace sheath that I couldn’t fit into three months out that I bought the day I got engaged (I know…).

We had an awesome day of coordinator, but we lost her when we moved the date due to a medical emergency. In Texas wedding season is winter, so we only found a set up/tear down person.

The doorbell rang with our aisle runner as soon as Bear and I kissed to seal the deal and our flower dog ran off.

Flower dog 🌸 🐶

We threw the wedding together in 48 hours. Don’t do that. Plan more meticulously like I was for my big outdoor wedding.

We weddinged, it was spoonifyed, it may have inconvenienced a lot of people, but now we have each other.

Let’s dance the night away forever.

Are you chronically ill, differently abled, or a general Spoonie planning a wedding needing support? Check out my Facebook group, Differently Abled Wedding Planning Support Group.

At this group, you can find support from other people whose needs may be different from the mainstream and brainstorm ideas, find support from stress, and connect!

Continue reading “The Spoonie Wedding”

Honeymoon Glamping

The small cabina on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica where I honeymooned with Bear.
Literal tent bathroom.

My honeymoon to Puntarenas, Costa Rica was my first time out of the country. I know, I know. I’m not a modern woman. But I never had the cash to fly, not to mention airports gave me anxiety poos.

I was formally diagnosed with full-on lupus three days before my wedding and four days before my honeymoon. Bear booked a rustic resort in the jungle on the beach in Costa Rica in early July, before I had my first bad pain flare. We still believed we could do anything, and we still can!

The honeymoon really was proof of that.

By “rustic”, I didn’t really know what he meant. I grew up camping with friends and family. Surely he knew that honeymoons were luxurious and romantic. But I was wrong. Wrong about that, I was.

We strolled up to our beachfront cabina and I noticed there was a tent attached to it, then the size of the cabina. Entering the cabina I would say it was about a foot around three sides of a queen size bed.

For many people this would be the ultimate relationship test, and I must say we passed it with flying colors.

Not that it was never rocky, two people being in such cramped quarters, but we had fun with it. But the biggest lesson I learned about marriage started here:

A big fat turd lie I grew up believing was that men are the head of the household and therefore must be relied upon, thus they know everything. This is a horrible, nasty lie because men are human beings who can get pick pocketed on a tourist boat, screamed at on an airplane, and have meltdowns in the middle of the pacific ocean. You, as a woman generally fully in tune with your magnanimous faults and very aware of how dangerous the world is, run security on his ass and he runs intel on your emotional and physical needs. This is how you get out of the safest Latin American country alive laughing and having fun.

I had to grow up a lot on the honeymoon because I realized I had the right, and the responsibility, to keep my sweet husband out of danger because my dangerdar was higher tuned than his. I wasn’t supposed to be a help-meet lamb in the kitchen as I may have consciously or subconsciously led to believe, I was actually his security guard. He was, on the other hand, responsible for getting my needs met when I couldn’t walk for more than ten minutes, requesting wheelchairs at airports (seriously go team here), and being a great travel nurse.

But these lessons were ultimately all laughable and fun. They’ll make great stories down the line and anyone who volunteers friendship will hear about them. My next few blog posts will be about the honeymoon and its depth, as I process it and get over jet lag.

I hope you all had happy holidays, whether you were at home or by the sea, or at home by the sea.

May you all have giggles and light.

Grace and Gratitude

The Bouquet that started it all.

I never thought I would meet a nice guy. Or a decent guy. A kind guy. Someone who was sweet to his mother and animals. The kind of guy who had interests, passions, and hobbies. A real person that cared about things that mattered, who lived for a cause, and wanted things in the earth to grow.

This is, to many people, the definition of an interesting person. But when my fiancé went out of his way to meet my dog, get to know my roommate, FaceTime my father, all before we became an official couple standing in my doorway with a bouquet of wildflowers, wherein I made the move – I knew he was intentional. Nothing he did was by chance. He saw the world in a grand design of patterns, a graph of charts and maps to set upon to reach a glorious destination. His heart was tender but it’s beat was strong, rhythmic and deep, he was searching for someone with whom it could roam the forests with in the daytime and snuggle up with by the firelight after dark. That heart saw something in mine and it didn’t want to leave.

If I seem like I romanticize him here it is in part true. He deserves it because of what I’ve put him through, and the path that he’s chosen that I’ve so often warned him about: a life married to someone coming to grips with chronic pain.

Very often I flip flop between positivity and deep negativity on this blog. It’s hard to remain objective at age 27, engaged and not used to parts of yourself you didn’t know exist emerging in pain on random days of the week. My fiancé has been a real trooper in that he miraculously understands that when I try to rain on his parade, it’s my physical pain talking. This is why he is my Bear. He is strong and elusive, yet fuzzy, warm and a great comfort.

A few weeks ago I wrote Bear a letter and asked him to put it on the wall, somewhere he could easily see it, in case my pain took over and I didn’t behave how I wanted. In the letter I put a piece of myself that was still gentle and loving and would give him a kiss when he needed it if he would only look at it.

Maybe that’s marriage insurance, but I can only do so much for my dear Bear right now.

To my Bear, I give you all the tenderness in the world and I thank you for sticking by me through all my inexplicable suffering. I’m glad you’re the team optimist. Let’s make it to the wedding day.

Why I Turned to Online Dating

My entire life, I only attracted and dated schmucks. Even these instances were few and far between, maybe once every three years. 

It wasn’t that I was unattractive at the time. I was fit, tan, and pretty. But I was shy and dealing with a lot of trauma. My insecurities outshone my physical features, and that drove away men more than any of my better qualities could attract them.

When I was in college, I had a particularly bad dating experience that left me feeling broken. During and after the breakup I felt like a shell of a person. I didn’t even feel human. What happened between the two of us made me develop agoraphobia and I feared men the most. 

For a while this wasn’t a problem, until I met a certifiably nice guy at my friend’s wedding the summer after I graduated college.

He was tall, handsome, and polite. At the last slow dance of the evening he approached and respectfully asked me if I would like to dance. I said yes. It turned out to be the last song of the reception, and we quickly exchanged names and numbers.

I checked him out with my friend, the bride, and found out he was a close friend of the groom. She was excited for me, enthused with the idea that I had found my future husband at her wedding. Her husband had great things to say about him.

Hopeful, I became electrified when he texted me saying he was coming to my area. He asked me to dinner and I decided to go to a vegan diner relatively close to my house. I really didn’t want to mess things up so I scrubbed my front door which was covered in bird poop (my family and I had a family of swallows that lived above the door that we couldn’t bear to get rid of). To my surprise he pulled up in a brand new red Lexus.

Well, I thought, this is going to be different.

I was dressed in my bridesmaid dress (faux pas, but it wasn’t formal, more like a sundress) and he came to the door in a suit. I think. I don’t remember. He was dressed much nicer and more fashionably than most guys I’d met. My parents met him at the door high school style and I was dying inside, knowing I was falling on my face with this dating thing. It was no wonder I was single and an old crone by Christian standards at age 23.

When we made it to the diner, he expressed he wasn’t expecting something so informal. But he was charmed by the local artwork for sale on the walls, and tried to make eye contact with me. I felt anger turn up in my stomach when he did this, and it wasn’t because I did not like him or find him unattractive. Quite the opposite. My manphobia had reared its ugly head, and I found myself giving him terse and abrupt answers to his polite questions.

I finally had a gentleman, and my brain was on the fritz. This scarred brain, hurt by all the scoundrels it had been with before, did not know what to do with a decent human being.

He proceeded to continue with the date, but I cut it short after I couldn’t bear it anymore. I felt bad about this after a few days because I did like him, who wouldn’t, so I texted him. He told me he didn’t want to be in a long distance relationship, and I understood.

After this I went to therapy for six months, got a big kid job and moved out with a family friend from high school.

Within the first few months of us rooming together, I learned my friend had an evil ex as well that she was trying to put behind her. After I volunteered at a few funerals, she kept nudging me to sign up for Tinder, find a guy, settle down, and have the “wedding of the century” (my exaggerated words in an attempt at a joke, not hers) at our home area to make up for all the funerals. 

I like boy talk as much as the next girl, and it seemed to me that in today’s world, the only way anybody went on a date was to go online. My roommate was extremely beautiful, and it seemed odd to me that no one would approach her in person. She explained that nobody approached anyone in person anymore. 

The more I heard about her dates, the more a creeping notion grew in my brain. It wasn’t about finding someone to settle down with. It was about healing.

Maybe I could use these dating apps to expose myself to men gradually, screen them for red flags, and heal myself of the fear I was living with. 

Although the fear is not completely gone and it bleeds into my current relationship, I have found great healing in going slow and giving it a shot. Along the way I found my fiance. 

It is true that I came across some really bad apples. With online dating, it is imperative to use caution and safety guidelines. 

Some people are real jerks and can really test your emotional limits. Walk away and let yourself be. 

When the time is right, your healing will come. I did not desire healing for years. But when I wanted it I found more than I bargained for.

And now, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: Online dating can be used for multiple purposes, including overcoming our greatest fears.

Pocket full of darkness: Online dating can be emotionally draining and dangerous, please exercise caution!