With the transition from spring into summer, wedding season is here. With the amount of people in attendance of the big celebration, there is likely to be people who need accommodations to meet their mobility needs. Whether it be for the bride and groom or for a guest who uses a wheelchair, there are several things to keep in mind when planning the arrangements. Below are some tips and ideas to help begin planning a fully accessible wedding.
- Ask your Guests Ahead of Time
Making phone calls or adding a space on your RSVPs for people to make note of their accessibility needs or food restrictions allow you to be fully aware of everything before the day of. Take care to not assume that you’re aware of everyone’s needs without first asking. When you’re looking at venues or deciding on food, you will know far in advance what to look for to make sure everyone is able to enjoy their experience.
- Pick a Planner with Experience
While many planners have most likely planned weddings making certain accommodations, checking to see if they’ve met more challenging needs can be very useful. If they know what to look for when scouting out venues or reception halls, it can save time, hassle, and disappointment in the long run.
- Choose Accessible Locations
While this may seem like an obvious step, keep in mind that meeting ADA standards does not automatically guarantee the success of a venue. Visit all locations ahead of time to be certain the entrances, pathways, seating, and ceremony arrangements will suit everyone. If your guests are the ones in need of certain features, take them with you to view the venues! For the bride or groom who may need an accessible aisle and altar, it can take a little extra time to find someplace with these accessible features. There will be that perfect location available, just keep in mind when building your schedule that it may take longer than anticipated to find it.
- Book Accessible Transportation
If your guests are travelling at all during the day, look into options for providing accessible transportation if they do not have their own. If they are staying overnight at a hotel, check if they use an accessible shuttle, or alternatively provide your own by renting a van for the day so everyone is able to get where they need to be.
- Set up a Video and Speaker System
If your ceremony or reception venues are larger, if you’ve invited a lot of guests, or if people in attendance have audio or visual impairments, set up a speaker and video system. After putting in so much work deciding what will be said and played during your ceremony and reception, it’ll be nice to know everyone will enjoy it.
- Make the Ceremony Accessible
There are several things to keep in mind to ensure the ceremony is accessible. For members of the bridal party, the path from the aisle to where they will be for the vows needs to be considered. Make the aisle plenty wide enough for a wheelchair and cover it in something that is easy to glide over. Plywood or similar thicker materials can cover sand or grass to prevent getting dirty or stuck, while still looking elegant. If the bride or groom is in a chair, decide if you wish to be at the same eye level at the altar. If so, placing a bench facing your guests can be a great option. For the rest of the people in attendance, make sure the seating options available are accessible, or that there is designated space for guests in chairs. Also keep in mind the total distance guests will have to travel, so that it is not too much for anyone.
- Be Creative
While standard options and ideas may not work best for your wedding, there are plenty of ideas from couples who have had completely accessible weddings. Look for blogs and articles from some who have shared their ideas and incorporate your favorite into your plans!
Planning a wedding can be a long and stressful process, especially when factoring in specific desires or needs. Don’t forget to remember during the process the meaning behind them- to be with the ones you love to share during the happiest time for a couple! Whether you are attending a wedding or having your own, we hope the big day is filled with fun, joy and happiness.