Planning a Wheelchair Accessible Wedding

Tying the knot, getting hitched, saying “I do,” whatever you call it, getting married can be one of the most exciting times of your life. A disability doesn’t have to get in the way of that. Making your wedding day wheelchair-friendly is simpler than you would think, whether the bride or groom uses a chair or one of your wedding guests does.

If you’re planning a wedding, make sure you’re following these tips on making the big day accessible for all.

Be Responsive to Accommodation Requests

Even if no one in your immediate wedding party lives with a disability, you might still need to accommodate a family member or friend with limited mobility. To gather all of the information you need as you’re planning, include a space for accessibility requests right on your RSVP. This way, guests can let you know of their (or their plus one’s) needs when it comes to wheelchair access, and can also inform you of any dietary restrictions. As soon as you receive requests, reach out to your guest to make sure you completely understand their needs and how you can accommodate them.

Explore Venue Options

Choosing an accessible wedding location goes much further than simply checking that the venue is equipped with a wheelchair ramp. Your definition of accessible may be quite different from that of the venue’s management. The best way to determine if a venue you’re considering will work is to visit it in-person, especially if you are able to visit with the person using a wheelchair. If your guest is not able to be there for the assessment, you can always take a few pictures and share them.

It’s also a good idea to choose a ceremony venue that can accommodate your reception to minimize travel between locations. If you do choose to host the ceremony and reception at two different venues, make sure you everything is wheelchair friendly.

Rethink Traditions

Making your wedding wheelchair accessible does not mean forgoing the romance and style of wedding day traditions. This is your opportunity to get creative.

Always dreamed of a long, white train on your dress? Your designer or a tailor can help you bring that dream to life by attaching the train right to your wheelchair. Why not ask that everyone remain seated throughout the ceremony to allow guests in a wheelchair a clear view of every detail. You could even choreograph your own wheelchair dance number for your first dance. Reimagining these wedding traditions lets you put your own unique spin on your special day while ensuring every person in attendance has a great time, regardless of disabilities.

Practice Run

Is the cake table at a comfortable height for cutting? Are the aisles wide enough to fit a wheelchair? These items can turn into big problems if they’re not addressed in advance, and the best way to do that is to have a dry-run before the big day. You’ll be able to take notes of what works and what needs some work, let your wedding planner or venue manager know and stay on top of any changes that need to be made.

Are you planning an accessible wedding or was your wedding wheelchair-friendly? We would love to hear your tips and see photos of your big day on Facebook.

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for caregivers and drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our Quality Assurance Program mobility equipment dealers.

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