The intent of a disability-friendly wedding is to have everyone enjoy the happy day, from the loving couple to all of the guests. People with disabilities are sometimes left out of the fun. If you are planning a wedding that will include some disabled guests, it’s considerate to think of ways to accommodate their needs, so that they can enjoy the wedding just as much as you do. Safety is also a big consideration when planning for the needs of disabled people.
Provisions will differ according to the type of handicap, but here are some general wedding tips.
The Physically Disabled
Seniors or others who are in a wheelchair will need help with transportation to and from the wedding. Wheelchair accessible vans can be rented from some rental car facilities, and they are much easier for handicapped seniors to maneuver than being lifted into a car seat. Make sure a family member can accompany them for special situations that may arise.
Be sure to check out the location for the wedding and reception to make certain that both are convenient for someone with walking handicaps. The entry to the building should contain a wheelchair ramp. If it does not, there must be an entry door at ground level wide enough to accept someone in a wheelchair. Bear in mind that wheelchair sizes vary according to the size of the person using them.
The space between reception tables should be wide enough for a wheelchair-bound person to navigate easily, even with crowds around. Seniors may have toileting needs, so be sure that the restroom has wheelchair-accessible stalls, and that it is in a location that is easy for the disabled to reach.
Hotels are a big concern. If you are going to put up some of your guests for the night, be aware that those who use wheelchairs need handicapped bathrooms and walk-in showers instead of tub showers. If the hotel room is on an upper floor, they will also need elevator provisions.
If your wedding will be out of doors, make sure there is secure footing for those with walking disabilities. For instance, for a wedding in a grassy area, you can lay a few wide planks to insure a flat surface.
People who are mentally challenged can enjoy a wedding as much as anyone else; in fact, they may even enjoy it more. In such cases, a caregiver will usually be involved. It’s helpful to ask the primary caregiver ahead of time what special provisions they would need.
Seniors with dementia sometimes have difficulty in large crowds, and will become confused or agitated. Make sure they have someone to sit with them for the entire day, and that they can be ready to leave if the situation warrants. It’s not advisable to bring a senior with late-term Alzheimers into a crowded area, because of the risks involved. A much better idea is to visit with the senior on a one-to-one basis at some point after the wedding.
Planning a disability-friendly wedding will make your guests who have handicaps feel loved and appreciated on your happy day. It will add a special touch to the meaning of your wedding as well.