One of my favorite childhood movies was John Hughes’ teen comedy Sixteen Candles. I wore my VHS down to pulp, even though I was too young to understand most of the humor in the film (probably for the better, turns out it’s… problematic). In one of the final scenes, Molly Ringwald’s sister Ginny gets married. We’re not supposed to like this sister for all the reasons our culture tells us we’re not supposed to like women who are getting married (she’s self-absorbed, there are questions about the seriousness of her relationship, and in one throwaway line, it’s implied she’s only getting married to avoid having a baby out of wedlock). So the scene gets big laughs when she comes down the aisle high off muscle relaxers, and tries to take a nap in one of the pews.
It wasn’t until I re-watched the movie as an adult that I finally grasped what was happening with Molly Ringwald’s older sister and her wedding. Ginny had gotten her period on her wedding day. And was trying to make it suck less. And then I just felt bad for her.
The Unforgiveable Curse
It surprises me that we don’t talk more about periods and wedding days. I mean, ostensibly half the people getting married are women. And most women of a marrying age are dealing with periods, you know, every month. Which means that there is a 25 percent chance you are going to get your period in front of a large crowd, while possibly wearing white. So, pretty much the stuff junior high nightmares are made of. But then again, it also doesn’t surprise me. Because if periods are women’s problems, then why would we ever bother ever talking about them? (Insert laughing/sobbing emoji here.)
I think part of the problem is that, when you’re planning a wedding, the primary objective is that nothing should go wrong. It’s like living in a dimension between reality and fantasy, where you can only acknowledge the best possible outcomes for any given scenario. Rain? Never heard of it! Traffic? New York City is basically smooth sailing during rush hour. Menstruation in a white dress? I don’t think that even exists. So it didn’t occur to me until very close to my wedding date that I even could get my period on my wedding day. Because who gets their period on their wedding day? (Spoiler alert: lots of people.) Your period on your wedding day is the thing you never mention, but that you go to great lengths to stave off (who here has messed with their birth control in an attempt to evade the period/wedding crossover?).
Are You There, God? It’s Me Maddie
The truth is, while my wedding is long since over, I’ve been struggling with my period for a while. I’ve always hated pads for anything but sleeping. And since giving birth, even the most discreet tampons are uncomfortable. I bought not one, but two menstrual cups, and never quite got the hang of them. (I tried different brands, in varying shapes and sizes, but it always takes at least three tries and near perfect form for me to get them to work right. And when it does work, it always makes my cramps exponentially worse.)
So I was really excited when I was introduced to a brand new period company called The Flex Company. Flex isn’t a menstrual cup or a tampon, but kind of the best of both. It’s a flat flexible disc-shaped contraption that collects, rather than absorbs, menstrual fluid. But unlike menstrual cups and tampons, which plug the vaginal canal in a way that I’m finding really uncomfortable these days, FLEX sits at the base of your cervix (so you insert down, instead of up), then warms and forms to the shape of your body to create a leak-resistant seal. When I tried it out for the first time this month, I was actually really surprised at how easy and intuitive it was to insert (it’s hard to explain, but it’s like FLEX fits in your vagina that way something actually wants to go in there), and how little I noticed it was there. And unlike tampons, there’s no link between FLEX and TSS, so I can keep it in for twelve hours, and it’ll hold up to five tampons worth of blood totally safely. So this month I’ll be trading in my collection of period devices and trying on FLEX for size. (I’m only on day two of my period right now, so I’ll be sure to report back in a future post or Happy Hour and let you know how it goes!) And for a limited time, you can also try out FLEX for three months for just $12 (just use the code BRIDAL at checkout).
And here’s where it’s especially awesome for brides and honeymooners: not only does FLEX reduce period cramps in the majority of its users, but because FLEX doesn’t block the vaginal canal, it means that you can actually have sex on your period, and it’ll be like… you’re not on your period. Which, basically takes away all the annoying parts of having your period on your wedding day (or hello, honeymoon), apart from… you know, having your period on your wedding day.
And in the meantime, can we talk about periods and weddings for a second? Are you afraid of getting yours? Do you have a contingency plan? How have we not talked about this yet? Are you there God? It’s me, Maddie.
Let’s talk about periods and weddings! Or just periods in general. Because It’s been almost two decades and I still don’t have this sh*t figured out.
This post was sponsored by The Flex Company. FLEX is a female-founded, female-led company (yay!) whose mission is to make periods less of a pain in the ass (and less painful) with their innovative menstrual disc. Unlike other period products, you can keep your FLEX in for twelve hours without worrying about leaks, and you can even keep FLEX in for mess-free period sex. You can get three months of FLEX for just $12 when you use the code BRIDAL at checkout.