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How to Make Your Wedding an Accessible Wedding

Photo by Judita Tamošiūnaitė from Pexels
Whether you suffer from a disability yourself, or you have a close friend or relative who is disabled, you may well be one of the growing number of people looking to throw a more accessible wedding. People with physical and psychological disabilities have been shunned from weddings and similar gatherings until relatively recently in history. As a result, there are still a great many misconceptions that exist when it comes to catering for the disabled.
Most people are nothing but well-intentioned around the disabled, but without the benefit of firsthand experience there is a lot of room for error. Any wheelchair user who has married will be able to tell you how much more difficult wedding planning - not the most stress-free activity at the best of times - is when you have to factor in disabled access.
Whether it’s the bride, the groom, or one of the guests, if any of your invitees are in any way disabled, you will have to account for this in every decision that you make. Everything, from you where you get married to where you eat will have to be decided with accessibility in mind.
The good news is that making your wedding more accessible is easier than you might think. It might make things more complicated, but it is a perfectly manageable situation, as long as you handle it right. Of course, it’s that last bit that presents the challenge for some people. This guide pulls together some tips and advice gleaned from disabled bloggers that will make planning an accessible wedding a little bit more, well, accessible.

Work with the Disabled Person

Ok, so there are two possibilities - either you yourself are disabled, or you have close friends and relatives who are. If you aren’t disabled yourself, it can be hard to appreciate even the most immediate difficulties a disability can present. It is therefore important that you work with your disabled guests to ensure that their needs are met.
Working with them, rather than trying to second guess their needs and requirements, is much more efficient and will save you time and money in the planning process. It will also prevent you from wasting time and money on steps that aren’t required.

The Venue

Choosing the right venue is always one of the most difficult decisions facing any wedding planner. When you have to choose a venue that is accessible, your choices can narrow significantly. Fortunately, the number of wedding venues that offer disabled access is steadily rising. Unfortunately, many top dream destinations remain inaccessible to those with mobility impairments.
As you are looking at potential venues, check what their disabled access is like before you look at anything else. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue, only to then discover that it isn’t suitable. The type of specialist access you will need will depend on the disability in question. If you are unclear, contact the venue directly by phone. If possible, arrange a visit beforehand to ensure that everything is ok.
It is also worth remembering that moving between venues is often more difficult for your disabled guests. It is therefore a good idea to choose somewhere where you can have both the wedding reception and the after party. If you get married in a church, for example, you will likely have to clear out pretty soon after you’ve finished the ceremony. You will then need to arrange for everyone to get to the next venue for the party.
The simplest solution to this problem is to scout out a venue that will allow you to do everything in one place. It might seem like a tall order, but there are more suitable options than you might realize. Many businesses that occupy particularly picturesque grounds, as well as the operators of famous landmarks and buildings, will allow weddings to book their premises and hire out some or all of the available space.
The other option is to arrange transport between venues, but this can quickly get expensive. If you are disabled yourself, you might want to investigate disability loans; loans that are designed specifically for disabled people. This can help you to cover additional costs associated with making your wedding accessible to your disabled guests; just make sure you will be able to pay it back.

Choosing an Outfit

If a bride or bridesmaid is disabled, finding them a suitable dress can be an even more difficult prospect. The good news is that there is a network of people out there who specialize in altering wedding dresses for disabled women. The bad news is that these services can sometimes be a little elusive and difficult to find.
As always, looking online is probably the easiest way of finding someone who can help you to alter a wedding dress. There are some retailers who will alter their dresses for you if you ask them; it is always worth checking.
If you find it difficult to try on dresses while in the store, ask the owner if you can take dresses home to try on. In exchange, leave a deposit or large sum of money as a guarantee. Obviously, it is up to individual retailers whether they want to make such an arrangement with you, but it is always worth asking just in case. You might find you are more comfortable trying dresses on in your own home rather than awkwardly in a retail store.
Planning an accessible wedding isn’t quite as straightforward as your average wedding, but it is also not the nightmare it once was. The key to ensuring that your wedding goes off without a hitch is to make sure that you check its suitability at every stage. Work with any individuals coming to your wedding who have special needs. Just as you need to make sure that all the food you serve is suitable for your guests, you will also need to make sure that your venue is accessible.

With a little extra planning, your big day can be a perfect experience for everyone, regardless of their disability.


  1. Excellent suggestions. My best friend uses a wheelchair so I always am aware of places that are accessable.


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