Hi, I’m excited to say I’m getting married next year but I’m quite anxious about some aspects of the day as I’m a wheelchair user and can’t stand up at all. I’m nervous about how everyone will look at me when I come down the aisle, or when we have our first dance. I don’t want to feel awkward just because it’s not going to be the ‘normal’ way of doing things. Do you have any ideas as I’ve never seen a wedding where the bride is in a wheelchair?
Firstly, a big Congratulations!
You have loads of experience, I’m sure, of having to adapt the ‘normal’ way of doing things. It’s standard for us disabled people! So your wedding will be no different. Make it your own. There are lots of things to think about when planning a wedding – venue, guests, dress, photos. They’re all things you want to get right when planning your day. Some people spend years planning these things and being disabled can make planning a wedding more complicated.
Finding a venue that is accessible can be full of difficulties. Things to look at include wheelchair access, accessible toilets and if you’re booking a venue that guests can stay at, making sure there are accessible rooms for disabled guests. It may also be worth enquiring if the honeymoon suite is accessible as if you are disabled you should not be excluded from using the honeymoon suite if you are getting married at a hotel style venue.
Make sure you spend time looking at dresses and trying them on. If you have hand dexterity issues you may need to think about zips and buttons and if you will need someone to help you get in and out of the dress. If you are a wheelchair user, you may also need to think about how the dress will look when you’re sitting in your chair. Or if you are an ambulant wheelchair user, you may want a dress that looks good both in your chair or if you stand.
Coming down the aisle
There is often pressure for brides to walk down the aisle and to have the perfect photos. If it is not possible for you to walk or you may use all of your energy doing this, try not to stress about this or let it get you down. The day is about you and your partner so do what feels best for you both rather than worrying about what others think. There are plenty of examples of people coming down the aisle in groups dancing or doing something funny – again, removing that pressure and focus on you ‘walking’ down the aisle and staring at you. But people know you as a wheelchair user so equally be proud of that and flaunt it if you want!
This also goes for wedding photos; you may think of fun ways of using your wheelchair or mobility aids in your photos. Don’t feel any pressure to not use them. They are part of you, so don’t feel you need to disguise or hide them for your wedding day.
The first dance can also put a lot of pressure on couples. It seems the days are gone when a simple slow dance would do. Even that can feel awkward if you’re a wheelchair user. Many people do complex fun dances, maybe including all the groomsmen and bridesmaids… this may make it seem even more daunting but actually you can make this really fun with whatever ability you have. It can make you
less conspicuous too if you’re worried about that.
(But everyone will want to see you looking glowing, happy and having fun! It’s all about you!)
The main thing is to enjoy the day as much as you can, as the day will fly by so it’s best to do everything that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Weddings are less formal nowadays and less structured in their tradition – anything goes! So you really can tailor it around your disability and omit or add bits you want that suit your personality best!
Hope you have the best day,
Zoe and Damian x
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