Diabetes on My Wedding Day

In honor of World Diabetes Day (November 14) and Diabetes Awareness Month (every November), I wanted to throw it back to a blog post that I wrote for Medtronic Diabetes over at The Loop Blog. It was published just a month after my wedding in 2015 and I love hearing my ‘newlywed voice’ again. So here it is, a throwback to my blog post on what it was like to be a bride living with type 1 diabetes. I have lived with it now for 18 years and while it is a very big part of me, it didn’t take away from my big day, and that’s what I was hoping for!

One of my favorite types of blog posts to read is how women with diabetes manage their diabetes on a wedding day. How does it fit in with the dress, the menu, the event flow? I’ve come to realize the reason a wedding stands out from other couple-of-hour events, like prom or a birthday party, is because so much planning goes into it, and it is a day that puts you in the spotlight. In my case, I spent one year focusing on all of the details.

On March 8, I married the love of my life at an intimate destination wedding. To say it was the best day (and week) of my life is an understatement. Since it was a destination wedding, we had both the wedding and honeymoon in the same location during a week-long vacation. We chose Jamaica, and 50 of our closest loved ones were able to celebrate the big day with us! There was unlimited food and drinks at our resort, and a lot of variability that had the potential to impact my blood sugar, so I had to be cautious while still finding ways to relax. I was able to find this balance and was so glad I did because I was able to truly enjoy the day of the wedding.

The Dress and Insulin Pump (Most Important Detail, Of Course)

I selected my dress a year prior. I did a lot of research ahead of time on the types of dress I liked and went in to my appointment with a few arranged on a Pinterest board. I mentioned my insulin pump to the person helping me select dresses, but let her know I didn’t want to plan the dress around the pump. I knew that if I found the right dress, there would be enough options to figure out how to include my diabetes device. I fell in love with a blush colored (!) multi-layered dress. It didn’t have pockets and wasn’t a good silhouette to have pockets tailored. I considered wearing my pump in a thigh pouch, but wanted it to be more accessible.

I decided the best place to wear it was clipping it on the front inside of my bra. There was enough material to cover it so you couldn’t even tell. The great thing about the placement was I could get to it when I needed it and allowed me to clip the pump on the outside of my dress for some pictures. It also worked out that my pump matched my dress, and since it’s a big part of who I am, it was important to capture it in some shots. I also found the PERFECT pump skin that captured the texture of my dress. This was a small detail, but something that was very special to me.

The Reception

The reception décor had a nod to my diabetes: the color blue. To most, it seemed to be a typical white-and-blue nautical theme, but the color blue was important to me for more reasons than that. A few of the toasts made by loved ones referenced my diabetes and how it has shaped me, a very special reminder for me.

 The Food

We had a lower carb dinner with Mahi Mahi as the main dish, so I was able to enjoy a piece of cake and our specialty drink. The resort we got married at didn’t have carbohydrate counts available, so I had to guesstimate when I bolused, but it turned out just fine.

The Blood Sugar

It’s really important to prepare ahead of time for what you think your blood sugar might do. How do you usually react during high stress or emotional moments? I typically run really high and then drop back to normal, but sometimes keep dropping until I go low. The morning of the wedding, with all of the hustle and bustle, I ran in the 300s. But once the rest of the activities went underway, my blood sugar started coming back down to normal because of all the adrenaline (and champagne). By the end of the night, I dropped back to 81 and was able to enjoy the rest of the dancing with the people closest to me.

The Biggest Take Away

Here’s what surprised me most the day of the wedding. As much as diabetes is engrained in who I am, diabetes was not at all on my mind. There was too much going on: people, music, the big dress, the scenery, the décor… and the roller coaster of emotions!

My biggest tip would be to designate at least one person who can help to think about your diabetes on your behalf. In my case, it was my amazing Matron of Honor, my sister. Think of someone who:

1) Already knows your diabetes basics

2) Will be around you for most of the day

3) Is responsible enough to make sure to prioritize your health over all of the wedding day tasks.

My sister carried my glucometer and fast-acting sugar with her, and had me check my blood sugar before the wedding, during the post-wedding photos, and a few times during the reception before the night was over. This was absolutely invaluable and helped me to stay on track with someone watching over me so that I didn’t have to worry about it.

It’s true, a wedding goes by in the blink of an eye. But it’s also true, that with diabetes, you can enjoy and savor life’s special moments and I am so blessed that I was able to do that.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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From the Archives: Seasonal Wedding Details

Update: Since Halloween is now behind us, it’s ‘ok’ to begin to focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas (YAY!) Here’s a throwback blog that I posted this time last year. Enjoy!

Christmas and New Years weddings are the best, but since they often overlap with an already well-known holiday, it can be easy to become too cookie cutter. Think outside of the box and make this season your own.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas to implement for weddings taking place in December and January:

  • Have a hot chocolate bar. It’s unique, budget-friendly, and super easy. Don’t forget flavor additions like candy canes, marshmallows or even cinnamon! You can also take advantage of seasonal whipped cream flavors like pumpkin or peppermint (just don’t put the cans out, please! Place them in another container that feels more wedding-appropriate.)
  • Consider adding a s’mores bar if the venue you’re at can help you figure out the logistics.
  • Have some cozy blankets or pairs of gloves available for guests. Consider matching them to your wedding colors.
  • Speaking of colors, don’t get caught up in what you ‘think’ you should do. A red and green or blue and silver wedding theme has been done a million times. If you have other colors in mind, go for it. They won’t feel out of place if you keep the seasons in mind.
  • If you are fans of Christmas, Christmas trees and poinsettias can make for beautiful decorations. Wrapped Christmas boxes that look like gifts can be cute for your table centerpieces, too. Just be careful not to overdo it because it’s a wedding and not another Christmas party.
  • Don’t forget that you can use candles as part of your decor! They can be super romantic and easily set up the environment. Throw in some that are scented like pine or cinnamon.
  • On the sweetheart table, wrap super thick and luxe blankets around the bride and grooms chairs. Then you can use those in your future home.
  • Get creative with a signature drink with seasonal colors, alcohol flavors and drink names.
  • Tie in the season with your favors. Think, hot chocolate pouches, peppermint coffee or mini-liquor bottles and ornaments can be great ideas for your guests can enjoy after the big day (without breaking your bank!) If you want to invest a little more, you can give away blankets or snow globes that help represent you as a couple.
  • Light up the dance floor with glow sticks and confetti. If it’s around New Years, bring in a disco ball or fun hats and sunglasses.
  • For your grand exit, bring in a snow machine…if there isn’t real snow coming down!

At the end of the day, remember that this is your wedding and it’s important that you don’t get too caught up in the seasonality of details. Incorporate the ideas that feel true to who you are as a couple and don’t force it! For more seasonal wedding ideas, visit my Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/girlwithadiamondring.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Wedding Planning Tips from Real Bride Erica


For newly engaged ladies: the best kind of person to get advice from during this life season is from someone that just walked through it so I hope this blog is helpful for you! I connected with a beautiful newlywed named Erica a while ago on Instagram. I followed her wedding story closely and was inspired by her attention to detail throughout the planning process. From a custom Hayley Paige bolero to 26 unique centerpieces, she takes you down her path of becoming a bride…so here you go, 10 Q&A with Erica!

  1. Hey Erica, once you had the ring on your finger, where did you begin with the wedding planning process? I actually took my time with the planning process. My now husband and I were together for 8 years when he proposed. I never put pressure or expectations for marriage. In so many ways I am so happy we waited to get married. We had everything in a perfect place before taking the next step in our lives together.  I enjoyed every second of dating and wanted to savor all the precious moments of being engaged. It wasn’t until at least 6 months later I started to look for venues. I knew I wanted something more formal and elegant and our wedding size was on the larger side. I needed a venue that could hold 300 plus people. For me it was a no-brainer…The Tropicana Atlantic City. Mostly because I work here and have seen lavish parties throughout my tenure. The food is outstanding and fit my vision perfectly.
  2. Was there anything that surprised you during the planning? A great deal was surprising. However, what I found the most surprising was the responsiveness of the vendors. Some were so attentive and their responses were swift and informative. Others wouldn’t even respond until I would call or email several times. For someone in sales, this was extremely disappointing. You are seeking out these vendors for a service you are paying for and to not even get a response is unacceptable. In the end, it all worked out.
  3.  What was the hardest part of planning your wedding? The hardest part was actually picking a ceremony spot. Tropicana Atlantic City acquired The Chelsea Hotel in 2018 and I knew instantly I wanted to get married there. It embodied a vintage art deco architecture with deeply rooted history to Atlantic City. However, they did not have a wedding in this building for 5 years. In addition, all the weddings were less than 200 people. We had the tough task of working through construction, layout changes and space constraints. With some first-rate problem solving skills, the Chelsea 5 Cabana Pool was the answer. It flowed perfectly into the cocktail hour and I loved the unique outdoor landscape it provided for the ceremony.
  4. What was the best part of planning? The best part was by far was the day I got my wedding dress. I thought it would be fun to take a trip to Kleinfeld with my mother and two sisters. It was literally like heaven. I remember opening the doors and just being in complete awe, even the waiting room was gorgeous. There were over 20 appointments going on the same time as mine and felt apprehensive that I wouldn’t get the time and attention needed in order to Say Yes To The Dress. As I was waiting for my consultant, Lisa Furhman from SAY YES TO THE DRESS introduces herself and instantly felt like the only bride in the store. She escorted me to the dressing room and asked me questions. I told her I was looking for something clean and timeless, almost vintage old Hollywood. She literally nailed it on the first try.
  5. You were such a glamorous bride! How did you come up with your wedding style for the big day? I saw the bolero first in my favorite wedding blog Green Wedding Shoes. The mIMG_2220oment I saw it, I knew I had to have it. The problem was trying to locate it. I literally called over 200 stores in the Tri State area trying to locate the Hayley Paige Bolero. Each and every bridal salon that carries Hayley Paige within a 6 hour radius I called….nothing! I even called Hayley Paige corporate and they did not have any on hand I could try on. I finally found a place in Hammonton, New Jersey called Meadows Bridal Shop who decided to take on this task in finding the bolero for me. They took my measurements and sent to Hayley Paige. They had to make it custom. This was a huge risk because I wasn’t able to try it on and if I didn’t like it I couldn’t return it. Luckily it was gorgeous and I fell in love all over again when I put it on for the first time. My bridal inspiration came from the vibe of the venue. I wanted a vintage, art deco feel. The elaborate sparkle and design of the bolero paired with the clean satin gown was a combination made in Hollywood heaven.
  6.  I understand that you had a really unique wedding theme! How did you go about selecting it? The theme I chose for the wedding was Whimsical Summer Garden Party/Alice and Wonderland. I wanted bright florals, stripes and white draping in the ballroom. I wanted to create a feeling of being outside even though the reception was in a ballroom. (Some other themes considered were Great Gatsby and Kate Spade.) In the end I loved the theme of the wedding. I did not want to go over the top in your face Alice and Wonderland. All the details were very subtle and understated. It all tied together when you walked into the ballroom/rabbit hole.IMG_2833
  7. Once you selected your theme, how did you bring it to life? All the little details tied it together. I got inspiration from Alice and Wonderland. The cocktail hour had subtle details that touched on The Alice and Wonderland theme. For instance, our wedding had a Gin Bar featuring my Husband’s Gin Company Mr. Finger’s Alibi Gin. The signage focused on the “Drink Me” message from The Alice and Wonderland book. The drinks also were custom crafted by my Husband and garnished with an edible disk that displayed our initials. Moving into the reception, the seating chart was done with mini gin cocktails in little glass jars containing their table assignment with the message “Drink Me.” The welcome sign for the reception was an old wooden door with a glass door knob with the message “Welcome to Brian and Erica’s Wedding Come Join Us down the Rabbit Hole.” I wanted to give the impression the guests were opening the door to a whimsical fairytale taking them to a place of wonder and love. The wedding cake and dessert station had signage that said “Eat Me” and the guest book had signage that said “Sign Me.”Not one of the 26 centerpieces were the same. Each one unique with vintage clocks, teacups, tea kettles and lush bright florals. It was truly the best feeling in the world to see my vision become a reality.IMG_3276
  8. What was your best memory from the wedding? IMG_2214The best memory from my wedding was our first dance. We walked into the reception hand in hand with over 300 people watching and came together to dance to our song “Tenessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton. Although everyone was looking at us, I felt like we were the only two in the room. As we got into our first dance, the sparklers went off and everyone’s faces lit up. It was truly priceless. I also did a surprise father and daughter dance with my dad and the entire room went nuts—it was hilarious.
  9. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? The only thing I would do differently is I would have gotten pictures during sunset or golden hour. I love my pictures but it would be nice to have some variety of pictures from day to night outside.
  10. What’s your biggest piece of advice for other brides now that you have gone through this process? My biggest advice to brides is to focus on the love you and your fiancé share. Sometimes you get so focused on the details trying to make everything picture perfect. The truth is, it’s not going to be perfect and things won’t go as planned. At the end of the day it’s not about the pictures or getting your wedding mentioned on social media, it’s about celebrating your love and coming together as Husband and Wife and sharing a beautiful life together.

Vendor Love:

Venue: Tropicana Atlantic City

Wedding Planner: Kyle Holzemer

Bolero: Hayley Paige

Dress: Pnina Tornai

Dress: Kleinfeld

Photography: Magdalena Studios

Video: Flagship Studios

Hair: Regina Halper

Makeup: Brielle Zangari

Flowers and Decor: Janet Chester’s Flowers and Events in Atlantic City

Sparklers: White Isle Events

Stationary and Signage: Petal and Paper

Cocktails: Mr. Finger’s Alibi Gin

Ceremony Entertainment: Marc Diomede

Cocktail Hour Entertainment: Hildy and The Peptones

Reception Entertainment: The Exceptions

GIF Machine: Flagship Studios

Bridesmaid Dress: Hayley Paige Occasions

Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Tommy Hilfiger

Thanks for a great interview, Erica! Best of luck to you and Brian as you embark on upcoming life adventures as newlyweds.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Expectation Setting When Planning Your Wedding

Once you have the shiny ring on your finger is when you need to step back and realistically ask yourself and your future spouse about expectations for the big day. The reality is that your wedding day will not meet your expectations. In many, and likely unexpected ways, it will likely exceed your expectations. In other ways, it will not meet the details of the image that you have made up in your mind.

Leading up to the big day, here are a few times that wedding planning did NOT meet my expectations.

  • Once I got engaged, I knew that planning the wedding would become a priority in my life. But I got a quick and very harsh reality check when I realized that other life priorities would still be important, and unexpected hard challenges might still come my way. Life doesn’t stop or become more smooth just because you’re engaged. My ask to you: know that juggling these priorities is a dry run for what life will be after you are wed. When two become one (even from the engagement) means there will be double the joys and double the sorrows. Prepare for that earlier and try your best to welcome what comes your way.
  • After I selected my wedding gown, I came back 8 months later for my first fitting. I thought it would fit better than when I first picked it out and would only take a few alterations to make it right. Wrong. It felt like it almost got worse than the sample gown. It took two other fittings to make it right. It wasn’t a big issue, but it definitely deflated the emotions from my first fitting after dreaming about it all of those months. My ask to you: be patient with the vision that you have for the big day. Whether it be your dress fitting or trimming down before the wedding, it will all come together beautifully.
  • I had three women in my bridal party but only two attended the wedding. A longtime friend let me down leading up to the big day and on the day itself. My expectation was that having a small bridal party with my closest would be a smooth experience, but it blew up and brought a lot of unwanted drama. It ended up working out for the best because the people that genuinely wanted me happy were standing next to me, but it was something that I wish that I could do over. My ask to you: when you choose your ‘team bride’ ask yourself if it’s someone that will be by your side for life before you invite them to join you to be in all of your photos. If there’s someone that you’re on the fence with, trust your gut.

My hopes are that hearing about my experiences, you might benefit when you’re setting your own expectations. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be happy because you will be over the moon, but sometimes a mental reset of what you might expect can be helpful!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Sweating for the Wedding

Now that we’re more than half way through the year, you might want to dust off those New Years resolutions and begin to evaluate where you’re at. If one of those resolutions was to get fit, especially if for a wedding, then let’s take a look at that one together.

Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day, and that will be true whether or not you’re a certain shape or size. A woman in love, in a gorgeous dress, is always stunning.

I had goals for my wedding day and the way I envisioned myself looking. I am proud to say that I was in the best shape of my life on the day I got married. I worked hard at it, and was thankful for my one year and two month engagement because it allowed me a reasonable window of time.

When it comes to your wedding, consider these things:

    Don’t go over board by setting unattainable goals. You are going to have new stressors that you have never handled before. Some will be task-oriented, but it could also be related to relationships or life events that are not directly related to planning.
    You have to be realistic. In many cases, work outs will naturally have to wind down before the big day. You are going to likely have things like a weekend away with the girls, dress fittings, hair and make up trials…and then guests come in along with the rehearsal dinner etc. Because of this, it’s likely more realistic to set your milestones to up to two weeks before the wedding, and then allow yourself some time to breathe before the big day.
    Quality time is going to continue to be important so consider a few active things that you can do with your spouse. Go for a walk together. Ride bikes down the beach. Or join a boot camp class that you can both take.
    While feeling and looking good will be important, you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of your mental health, too. Make sure you’re scheduling time to focus on some soul-nourishing activities that will keep you in the right headspace.
    Once your honeymoon is over and you’re settled into being a newlywed, pick back up where you left off! Your body might rebound quickly if you are too extreme with your lifestyle changes before and after the big day. Aim to continue to be healthy and strong so you can be the best spouse you can be for years to come.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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