By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie
Weddings and events are difficult if you have a chronic illness. You often have to stand around for long periods of time and the food can be restrictive not just due to allergies but timings as well. At one wedding that I attended, I sat down to a full meal at 3 pm! My stomach was not happy as I usually have to eat small meals at specific times of the day due to my POTS. However, planning a disability-friendly wedding is very easy.
I got married two years ago and I planned my day according to my POTS. Unfortunately, It was not the day that I hoped for as the wedding planner at the venue I booked did not show up to the wedding at all and he had not informed his staff about my special requirements. Everything was going fine until I disclosed my illness to him. Hopefully, you will not have the same problem!
Read my full wedding story here
Whether you are a spoonie bride/groom or you just want to plan an accessible wedding: here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Be realistic about your own abilities
Maybe you’ve been dreaming of a large wedding, wedding breakfast and wild reception that goes on until the small hours. If you struggle with your energy levels normally, you are likely to crash if you plan a full day for yourself. Cutting down the guest list is a good place to start so that you don’t drain your energy speaking to 200 people in a day. You could also split the ceremony and reception across a few days to give yourself time to recover in-between.
Only you know what your own abilities are. If you’re planning a large wedding and want to make it accessible for all your guests, have the reception in a hotel so that people can take time to rest in their room if they need it. Alternatively, you could set up a quiet room at your venue for guests who need regular time to rest.
2. Dress comfortably
My wedding dress had a boned bodice which looked amazing, but cut me up on the inside. When you’re trying on your dress/outfit, make sure that it will be comfortable to wear for a long period of time. If you usually don’t or can’t wear heels, then don’t wear them on your wedding day. (I opted for kitten heels because then went with the 50’s style of my dress).
3. Dress your mobility aid
If you use a mobility aid normally, then don’t be afraid to use one on your wedding day. Ask your florist to provide flowers for your wheelchair or walker. If you’re going to be sitting down a lot, then why not add a coloured petticoat to your dress for a pop of colour like I did.
4. Be flexible with food
There will be people attending who have food allergies. Having a set meal with only a meat or veg option is not going to give enough variety for those who are on restrictive diets. Same goes for drinks. Not everyone is going to want to toast you with champagne. Make sure you have non-alcoholic alternatives for those who don’t drink alcohol and jugs of water for everyone.
5. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks
Your wedding day is going to be stressful. Don’t add to it by trying to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to those in your wedding party so they can deal with trivial things that go wrong on the day, like your wedding planner not showing up and the staff not knowing that they were hosting a wedding that day.
What are your tips for planning a disability friendly wedding?