Use a period tracker
If you’re one of those women who isn’t blessed with a super regular cycle, you may be completely in the dark about what day each month your period is meant to arrive.
Start tracking your cycle as soon as possible and you may surprise yourself and notice a pattern. This can take a lot of stress out of the guesswork that you’ve been doing up until now. Not only can you track when your period starts, but how long it lasts, on which days during your period your flow is heaviest or lightest, and any symptoms — including bloating, cramping, headaches, acne, tender breasts, fatigue, and cravings — that may show up as well.
You’ll feel a lot more prepared come your wedding day when you know exactly what to expect.
Consider talking to your doctor about skipping it
This isn’t a last-minute fix, but with proper planning, some women can delay or manipulate their periods so that it doesn’t clash with something as important as a wedding day. If you’re on birth control — either the pill, the patch, or the NuvaRing — you can plan ahead so that you’re within the three weeks of taking active hormones during your wedding.
Your doctor may even give you the go-ahead to take 2 rounds of active hormone birth control pills back-to-back or immediately replace the patch or NuvaRing and skip your period altogether.
This may be an especially appealing option for those who experience heavy menstrual bleedings or sickness during periods. You wouldn’t want to risk having to deal with nausea, vomiting, and severe cramps during your wedding.
Talk to your doctor to come up with a plan to safely skip your period on your wedding day.
Try a menstrual cup
There’s a good reason many women have stopped using pads and tampons, and it may be time you considered starting to use a menstrual cup too.
Tampons need to be changed every few hours, particularly on your heaviest days. If you forget or go too long without changing your tampon, you risk dangerous infection. Use the wrong size or insert it at the wrong angle, and you risk leakage. Not to mention all that waste collecting in landfills from disposable feminine hygiene products.
A menstrual cup is a reusable period product that collects blood instead of absorbing it and can be used for up to 12 hours without emptying. In other words, you can insert the cup before you put your wedding dress on, and forget about it until after you take it off.
There is a bit of a learning curve with the menstrual cup, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’re used to inserting tampons. Start using it a few months before your wedding, and you’ll be good to go when your wedding day comes.
Invest in high-quality period panties
Stop fiddling with panty liners and pads. There are too many things to consider — length, shape, absorbency level, and the infuriating tendency they have to unstick, twist, and crumple, with just the slightest sweat or movement.
Instead, slip on a stylish, comfortable pair of period panties and forget about leakage, odor, and wetness as you dance the night away. Depending on the brand and style, period panties can hold up to two tampons’ worth, so they’ve got you covered.
Make sure to get a good quality pair with an antimicrobial lining for fighting bad odors, and proper ventilation to prevent yeast infection.
No desire to feel bloated on your big day?
Use Flo to plan around special occasions!
Don't keep it a secret
There’s a reason you have a maid/matron of honor, and now’s the time to clue her in. She can help you come to the wedding prepared so that a “situation” doesn’t escalate and become a full-on crisis. She’ll keep calm and put things into perspective so that you can enjoy yourself, even with a period on wedding day.
However awkward it may be, your MOH should accompany you to the bathroom so that she could keep your gown out of harm’s way.
Bring pain relievers
Whether you’re expecting your period on your wedding day or not, it’s a good idea to pack a bridal emergency kit. In it should be safety pins, bobby pins, a sewing kit, a hair tie, deodorant, breath fresheners, and of course, pain relievers.
Medication like ibuprofen or Midol can help to relieve PMS symptoms such as cramps, backache, headache, and more.
Tampons, pads, panty liners, period panties, shorts, baby wipes, painkillers, hot water bottle, chocolate — any period paraphernalia that you can think of — go in the bridal bag. Bring it all along with you even though you probably won’t be using most of it. You’ll feel a lot more at ease when you know that you have everything you could possibly need on hand.
Make sure your MOH knows where everything is so that you can quickly gain access to anything you need.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods
Bloating is no joke, and to make sure you can fit into your wedding dress on your big day, stay away from foods that make period bloat even worse.
Sodium, or salty foods, cause water retention, so avoid anything high in sodium and cut back on adding salt to your food starting a week before your wedding day. If you’re accustomed to having a daily cup of Joe, you’ll also want to start weaning yourself off a week before your big day. Coffee is acidic, and it can irritate the stomach.
Other foods that cause bloating include artificial sweeteners, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and refined sugars and flours.
Drink plenty of water, although you may want to come back on your actual wedding day to avoid having to make too many trips to the bathroom.
Don’t let your period ruin your big day
This is (hopefully) the last wedding you’ll ever have, so don’t let a thing like having your period on your wedding day ruin it. Build yourself a team of supportive bridesmaids and allow yourself to joke around, have fun, and make light of any mishaps that come up.
You’ll just have to roll with the punches because, unfortunately, the world can’t come to a screeching halt when you get your period. Wedding dresses like yours deserve to be worn proudly and with confidence, so gather your troops, get a little silly, take some fun photos, say some tear-jerking vows, and go dance your heels off.
Having your period on your wedding day can be quite disheartening, but with the right protection in place, you can definitely prevent your monthly visitor from ruining an otherwise perfect day.
Surround yourself with supportive, positive people and with things that make you happy throughout the menstrual cycle, no matter what phase you’re in. Remember that you and your partner have a lifetime to spend together, and focus on the reasons you’re getting married rather than the things that threaten to get you down.
And of course, congratulations! Now get out there and have some fun.