On the morning of her wedding, Vicky called her husband crying. She wasn’t upset because she had cold feet or because she tore her veil. No. To her, it seemed much worse: She got her period. “I started getting cramps at 10 a.m., and I knew at that moment it was my period,” she says. “I have severe pain in my abdominal muscles and my lower back on my period, and I vomit and get headaches frequently. So this was definitely a 'start crying' moment for me.”
20-year old Vicky says she cried on the phone to her fiancé. She was worried she wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of a wedding and the pain of her period at the same time. In a rash moment, she even tried to convince him to postpone, but it was too late.
Many brides worry about bleeding on their wedding day. Imagine getting your period while wearing white shorts, but, in this case, you paid over $1,000 (or much more) for them. Here are some expert-approved tips from experts and women who've been there on what to do when you get your period on your wedding day.
Talk to Your Doc About Manipulating Your Cycle
Dr. Kecia Gaither, an OB/GYN and the director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, says it’s common for women to ask they gynecologists about manipulating their period when they have important trips or events coming up, such as weddings.
“‘Menstrual manipulation,’ as it is called, involves adjusting the menstrual cycle by taking hormonal contraceptives,’ Gaither says. “The most common methodology involves taking oral contraceptive pills continuously without the placebo days. There are also an extended cycle birth control pills, like Seasonique or Seasonale, both of which are designed to allow menstruation every three months.” The National Women's Health Network says it’s as safe to skip a period as it is to have a regular menstrual cycle, but it’s always best to check with a doctor first.
Some women use the birth control technique to stave off their flow before their wedding, and some actually schedule their weddings around their time of the month.
It's not a silver bullet, though. Vicky says this kind of planning wasn't in the cards for her. “I've always been a girl with irregular periods,” she says. “It will always be a week early or a week later.” In the case of her wedding, it was early. Her nuptials fell on October 12, but she didn't expect her period until the 20th of the month. This isn’t so surprising, because Gaither says that irregular cycles sometimes occur when someone is under extreme stress — the kind of stress a wedding could elicit.
Chelsey Taylor, 24, says she knew she’d get her period on her wedding day, because her cycle is always consistent. “I was annoyed that I was expecting it on that day, but at the same time it wasn’t a big deal,” she says.
Her advice is to make sure you're prepared for any period mishaps by making a "go with the flow" kit, which you'll bring to the reception and ceremony. "Pack tampons, pads, or a cup," she says. And maybe some Tylenol or Advil to help with cramps." Maybe even some emergency chocolate, if you trust yourself not to get crumbs on your dress.
It also couldn't hurt to invest in some period-proof underwear, either as a backup or as your full-on protection. Lunapads, for instance, make absorbent period panties that keep you dry.
Trust in your MO
You don't have to go through this alone. Let your maid-of-honor know what's going on down there. She can be on patrol for leakage, and gently remind you to change your tampon or pad when necessary.
Don't let your period ruin your day
Vicky’s experience wasn’t pleasant, but she made the best of it. Although she battled through her wedding ceremony — which took place in 2018 in Hulhumalé, an island south of North Male Atoll, Maldives — with abdominal pain, things did get better for her at the reception. Once the DJ started spinning tunes, and her guests started dancing, she joined in, and made the best of it.
“It was the happiest day of my life,” she says. “Despite this little issue.”