Wedding planning has its own planning to worry about, but the add of being in a wheelchair does not always mean that people know how to accommodate your needs, or even understand them. Here are some tips to help you make sure your big day is perfect.
Voice all concerns & solutions.
A wedding is a lot to manage, so if you feel that asking about the bathroom dimensions feels inconvenient, compared to everything else wedding related, it’s not inconvenient. This is a celebration for you and your partner, and everything should make you feel comfortable. There are many people who will be there to help out with everything because they too want your dream wedding to come true. Make a list of problem areas and find some solutions to each. Nothing is more exciting than working hard to get what you want on your wedding day. It should be a beautiful, worry-free day, that can include handle bars in the bathroom, if you need them.
Taste & test everything.
Cake tasting can be one of the sweetest things about wedding planning. So dive in (and point out if you have any dietary needs)! If there is a disagreement is cake taste, some cake shops will create different layers of cake in different flavors. Like, chocolate at the bottom, the middle circle as vanilla, and the top layer as velvet cake. Or maybe you’d prefer cake pops in different flavors? Or cupcakes? Whatever it is, make sure to include gluten-free options as well.
When making your dinner menu (and tasting it), think about giving guests options, but don’t go too broad either. This includes drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages). If there’s something to put into your mouth, taste it, and more importantly, test it in terms of eating abilities. Can you cut up that chicken by yourself? Is the wedding cake silverware light enough to feed your partner when the time comes? Maybe you need a special spoon or cup for the night to give you independence in eating/drinking on your own?
Find that perfect dress.
Let’s start with the struggle of (1) finding a wedding dress shop that is wheelchair accessible, and (2) getting to actually try on dresses. You may look at a dress and think, “That could work.” But then you get it on and decide that beads on the butt is a no-go . . . on to the next dress. Time manage how long it takes you to put on and take off one dress. Think fit, and not size.
Places are supposed to be ADA compliant, but that isn’t always the reality. Make sure to check out pictures and look at Google Maps to investigate the accessibility of a store, BEFORE visiting the store. Then, make a list of what you want in a wedding dress, what you do not want in a wedding dress, and what will definitely not work. Even if a wedding dress is perfect, but the train does not work, it can be altered. Bring 2-4 people to help you when trying on dresses. Remember that you will be sitting in the dress for a long time (although, most people opt for a ceremony dress and a reception dress).
Visit the venue.
There is no worst thing than to be told that a place is accessible only to find grass and gravel between the ceremony and the reception area. Take names of people you talk to and what they told you, and keep a list of questions to ask (like if there is a step into the bridal suite). Roll through every corner and spot. Most couples take pictures on the wedding day at the location, so eye places where you could take photos, while not getting stuck in the dirt at the same time.
Pick your support team.
Need a little ramp for the entrance at the venue? Know anyone who can do that? Or, ask the venue, some are required by the ADA law to be fully accessible and others have portable ramps on hand from previous events. Do you need someone to help you with the food/drinks? Figure out when and whom will be able to help you eat/drink at what times. Will you and your partner make it into a romantic gesture or have a staff pre-cut your chicken? If you have a hair and makeup artist do a particular look, make sure you let them know that your head leans a certain way so hair accessories need more support on the left side than the right. Possibly, you’re fully independent and can do it all on your own. Whatever it is, know who can do what to make sure you’re comfortable on the big day.
Good luck, beautiful bride! You got this!