So firstly, I’d like to point out on part one of this blog, in a comment, I was called ableist for “not thinking about those with autism” etc when it comes to planning one’s own accessible wedding. I’d like to mention that I clearly stated that with appropriate tools that MANY of us could plan our own weddings, not that we all could. Wedding planners/coordinators are an amazing resource to use if you truly need one, or your budget allows for one, this blog is just to show ways that I’ve found to make planning one's own accessible wedding doable for many of us (obviously not all!) with various disabilities. This part two is going to be a continuation of part one, with more tips and tricks I’ve picked up while planning my own accessible wedding, and shows that *many*, not all, of us, can, and do not let others insist that just because we are disabled we must, by default, need a wedding planner/coordinator. If using a wedding planner/coordinator is what’s best for you, then you do you! Don’t insult someone for showing how some, if not many, of other disabled people can plan their own weddings!
So the last blog focused on a lot of the pre-work and research one can do, web and Skype/other video chat program-based, to begin to narrow down choices, or even, in some cases, MAKE your choices, certain things are harder to do online. Like, for the ladies who choose to wear dresses, dress shopping! Dress shopping can be intimidating for anyone, and I think adding mobility needs, wheelchairs, and other accouterments such as tubes and lines that many of us have, can make it a daunting task, at least for me it has been! While I am still waiting to go dress shopping, thanks to some health stuff going on, I have called several shops in the area that I am interested in working with, that have online options that I really like that are within my budget, and explained my needs. I have to say ALL were incredibly accommodating, stated that it was nothing they hadn’t dealt with before, and suggested times they were the least busy, if I preferred a quieter time to come in based on the questions that I was asking (I was nervous about too many people, but that’s just me being shy, and just part of who I am), though they didn’t suggest that I come at a quiet time and said they could accommodate me at any time the schedule was open. Several also mentioned having tailors on staff who have done many alterations for wheelchair users, and one had even done previous dress modifications for feeding tubes, which was excellent to hear! So when looking for a shop, don’t be afraid to ask questions in advance, and ask about their tailor’s history with any previous wheelchair users, as that can be truly helpful! Additionally shopping online is always an option! I suggest, from previous experienced online shopping and tailoring, that if you do plan to shop online, whether it be for men’s or women’s wear, find a good tailor first who knows what you need to be done. Not only can they suggest some possible styles and material that may be easier to tailor to your particular body, but then you won’t be trying to find one last minute, as alterations can sometimes be the most time-consuming part of the process!
Wedding decor. Scary words, even to me. I was filled with dreams of making everything myself, like a Pinterest queen. Ignoring the fact that I’m as artistic as a potato, and that’s being generous, the sheer amount of work that it looked like was getting me near to a panic level. But the thought of having to buy everything premade was giving my budget nightmares as well. I know I don’t have the energy or spoons to make as many decorations as we’ll need, and my wedding party is, for the most part, not living in the same part of the country that I am! When you find your venue, ask what they have included. Between catering and venues, many will cover your linens and such and have an incredibly wide variety to choose from. This is a great base to work from. Depending on your budget, Etsy can be an amazing resource as well. What we are doing is a combination of all of the above. For my wedding, we are planning on about 100 guests. That’s about 10 centerpieces. We’ve done a mix of finding simple mason jars on Craigslist, ribbon/burlap and cheap twinkle lights on Amazon, along with burlap and lace table runners, and fake flowers at Hobby Lobby. Slowly, over the next few months, we’ll slowly be putting them together so that it can be done, little by little, and never get to be too overwhelming with time and energy spent. With my particular disability, my hands aren’t terribly strong, so my partner will be getting to do a fair bit of help with this step. That’s not to say that making your own centerpieces is doable for many of us, just the tricks that I’m personally using. Others I know have gotten amazing centerpieces off of craigslist and eBay, used for other’s weddings and used them as is, or modified them a bit. The prices were very reasonable because, unless you give them to guests as favors, there are not too many ways to use a ton of centerpieces after a wedding, though if you know of any cool ideas, please let me know in the comments!
This is far from a comprehensive “How to plan a wedding” two-part blog series, but I wanted to address the idea that just because we are disabled we MUST use a wedding planner/coordinator. We certainly don’t all have to, and it’s a very personal decision between one and one’s partner how they want to go about planning their wedding. I just wanted to provide a look into how I am planning my wedding, and what tips and tricks I’ve found to make it easier, especially living with fairly serious chronic illness as well as disability. So cheers and happy wedding planning, with, or without, a planner, but with your best friend and partner, and congrats!
Image credit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/withloveandpetals