Before the wedding I had many concerns about our big day: would our guests find our ceremony loca- tion? Would the groom step on my train during our first dance? Would it rain on our beachside ceremony? But one concern that particu- larly plagued me was… how on earth was I going to, erm, go to the bathroom in my wedding gown? (Note: to avoid offending any sensitive eyes, I’ve done my best to keep the descriptions… delicate.)
This challenge first came to my attention during the film “27 Dresses”, where the opening sequence shows serial bridesmaid Katherine Heigl awkwardly holding up two brides’ gowns while they “take care of business”. I was mortified! I couldn’t do that! I don’t go the bathroom in front of anyone – not even my groom. (Films that try to show how marriage loses its thrill often point to an open bathroom policy, so we decided to skip that to keep some mystery!) Not being close with my parents, I would feel similarly awkward “going” in front of my mother, and my bridesmaids and I don’t have that kind of bond. No no, I would simply have to handle things myself. How hard could it be?
Well, that’s what I’d concluded beforeI tried on my wedding gown at fittings. A heavy satin dress with four layers of tulle and fabric, and six-foot train that couldn’t be tamed even with a three-point bustle, I was going to have an itsy- bitsy problem holding everything up… while also tending to other matters. As well as keeping all the fabric out the way of embarrassing spills or staining, I’d also need to keep the fabric off the floor; the floor of any communal bathroom is not a place I want an expensive gown to be trailing. Maybe I could simply take it on and off each time I go? No can do. As I learnt at my dress fittings, with a corset closure it would impossible to get the dress on and off by myself (and it takes 15 minutes to lace it up), which would necessitate someone coming into the bathroom with me to help… and kind of defeat the whole point of doing things myelf. Augh, we didn’t I opt for a simple sheath wedding gown?
And so I turned to the interwebz. I read articles, I scoured forums, I even watched YouTube videos. (Yes, there are videos.) I learnt about adult daipers, I learnt about funnels to help women peeing standing up… and swiftly moved on. The experts suggested sitting on the toilet “cowgirl” style (that is, sitting on the toilet back-to-front) so that if your dress is trailing behind you it’s at least on the front side of the toilet and away from the action.
Armed with this information, I resolved to go it alone in the wedding-day bathroom department… and only involve a bridesmaid if absolutely necessary. I would also wear a knee-length slip to avoid anything being seen by said helper.
As it turns out, my bridesmaids were way ahead of me on all things bathroom. A year before the wedding my three bridesmaids and I, spread across the globe, were scheduled for a group Skype chat. At the last-minute, one of them had to bail (for the very good reason that she had gone into labour), and the rest of us carried on the call. After we covered off everything and I started to wrap up the chat, one bridesmaid quipped, “No, we can’t finish yet; we haven’t covered the toilet situation!” And the second replied, “Haha, no, we haven’t! Ooh, let’s make the other bridesmaid do it, as punishment for missing the call!” The first bridesmaid said, “Yay, solved! And the other bridesmaid is a nurse and soon to be a mother, so she won’t have a problem with it.”
So apparently that was settled! I sheepishly confirmed the plan with the absent bridesmaid at a later date: “Of course!” she said. “Nurse, mom – I’ve seen it all.”
So that was that. There was one last concern though. None of the articles or YouTube videos mentioned, well, the other thing you might need to do in the bath- room. Everything was focused on peeing, but seriously “number one” is a trifling matter compared to “number two”. Why is there now discussion about this? Where is the how-to guide? And regardless of what my nurse bridesmaid has or hasn’t seen, I absolutely would not be able to do that in front of her without dying of embarrass- ment. It was hardly an option to eat nothing at the reception in order to avoid the issue. So, I turned in fact to the pharmacy. I recalled that Immodium can be taken for the treatment of diarrhoea, so perhaps it could be taken preventatively to avoid nature’s call? My nurse bridesmaid warned me that it was unsafe to use the medication that way and it could cause a “back up”, but I was desperate.
Going it alone, cowgirl style, Immodium, and only a bridesmaid helper if absolutely necessary. And so, my big day bathroom plans were laid. :O
And along comes the wedding day! I spent the morning and early afternoon getting dolled up with my bridesmaids in a hotel room. Being concerned about a possible need to pee later I tried not to drink so much water during the prep time, but realizing I didn’t want to end up with a headache on my wedding day, I started hydrating. We were all dressed and ready an hour ahead of schedule, so spent the remaining time posing for pictures. The photographer eventually left to get a headstart to the ceremony, and our own transport was due to arrive in 10 minutes. It was at this point that I realized it was three and a half hours until my next opportunity to pee. There were public toilets near our beachside cere- mony spot that I could use after the formalities… but I knew from experience that the cubicles were really small (not good news for my massive dress) and in a concrete building that didn’texactly get a regular cleaning. I could go in the hotel bathroom now before we left, but if things didn’t go successfully I risked ruining the dress before everyone had seen it.
And, so, I bit the bullet. I invited the nurse bridesmaid in with me.
Logistics-wise, it went smoothly. Phew! I was wearing a hoop petticoat, so to hold up all the layers of train fabric, my bridesmaid simply lifted the hoop. Once she did so I pulled off my panties, and while holding them in my hand sat down cowgirl-style. I did my business, took care of my own wiping, stepped back from the toilet and put my panties on again… and that was that. I was completely embarrassed, but after doing it once I did not have a concern about doing it again, and my bridesmaid was not embarrased at all. That ship had sailed.
And so it continued! I was fine during the ceremony, photos and cocktail hour, but visited the bathroom several times during the reception – always grabbing my bridesmaid to escort me! Fortunately our reception venue had a separate disabled bathroom that gave plenty of space for two people (and a massive wedding gown).
And on the number two matter? Well, I ignored my bridesmaid’s advice (like I said: desperate) and took one Immodium before leaving for the ceremony, and one at the start of the reception. And it worked perfectly: not only was there no need for number two, but there was also no back up.
The lack of needing to go may have also been due to not eating as much on the day as I’d expected. I missed the cocktail hour canapés because I was in the bathroom with a bridesmaid getting my train hitched up, and I was so nervous ahead of the speeches and first dance (or my corset was tootight, who knows!) that I could only manage half of my main course and dessert. I was also pulled onto the dancefloor by friends before I could eat even two bites of wedding cake. Oh, well!
So in the end, all things washroom went fine on the wedding day; not exactly the solo victory that I’d hoped for, but fine nonetheless. If like me you have a massive dress and a nervousness in front of witnesses, bite the bullet and bring an escort to the bathroom; it’s not worth it if things go awry!