Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Disabled People Don't Have Choices For Their Wedding

12 Jul 2011There are so many tasks to be completed during the lead up to a wedding. You just don't realise exactly how much is involved, until it's your own...

I have so many questions that have been answered and some that are still to be discovered through my journey.

Questions like; how do I go down the aisle, do I hold my dad's hand and he pull me along? Does he push me? What will I do with my bouquet? Should I attach it to myself or try and balance it on my tiny lap? Will my wheelchair fit into the wedding car that I want? Will I be able to get insurance to travel for my honeymoon? How do I do the bridal waltz from my wheelchair? Will a normal sized garter fit my tiny leg? Where do I buy children's sized bridal shoes that don't look like child's shoes? How do I stop my dress from touching my wheels and becoming dirty? Do I want my wheelchair to be a focus or to appear invisible? There are so many expectations when it comes to weddings and it's quite easy to become frazzled whilst planning.

Before I really got into wedding planning mode, I did a few internet searches on some of the above questions and didn't really find many helpful answers, so I am hoping to fill in some blanks for any future ‘crippy' brides out there.

Let's start with walking down the aisle, my first thought was to get my dad to hold one of my hands and kind of tow me down the aisle, but our ceremony will be on grass, so I'm not too sure how well that would work. What I am now hoping to do, is have my dad push me, and have my 91 year old Nonno (grandfather in Italian) hold my hand and walk next to me down the aisle. This will solve the bouquet issue, leaving me with one free hand to hold my flowers and it will also give me the opportunity to include my beautiful only living grandparent in my special day... I haven't officially asked him yet, but I'm sure he will be thrilled!

We were originally going to New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles for our honeymoon, but have now decided to stay locally around the NSW South Coast, then we will be headed up to QLD for a few days. We desperately want to have our own house soon, so that modifications can be done and it will be easier for me to get around ect. and we thought that spending $10-15K on a ‘holiday' probably isn't the wisest investment right now, besides, the important thing is that we will be married and we spend time together, so it won't matter where we go, as long as we're together.

I have heard that getting travel insurance can be quite difficult for someone with a physical disability like mine, where small accidents can wind me up in hospital. But insurance isn't impossible, you just have to know who to talk to, so any queries, just ask me and I'll know what direction to point you in, depending on the situation.

So I found that most garters were quite big and wouldn't stay on my leg properly, so I decided to make my own. Not only can I make them the perfect size, I can also personalise them just to suit my style! So if you're handy with a sewing machine, then get sewing. Otherwise, find someone handy to show you how. Be sure to pick out some designs that you like first and don't do as I did and just go into a fabric store, then not be able to decide, I think I spent about 2 hours in there!

I looked around at a few places for wedding shoes for myself, and being a size 13 – 1 in children's sizes makes it quite difficult. If the shoes didn't have flowers or fairy's on them, they had no heal at all and just didn't have that wow factor. So I then decided that because we were having a beach wedding, I would make my own beaded foot jewellery, but got bored with that idea and saw a lot more people are doing it these days. So, I decided to look for the perfect little pair of lace-up, white, satin ballet shoes. After weeks of searching places in Australia without success, I found the one's on an American online bridal store. If you are ordering shoes from overseas, just make sure you have plenty of time before you need them, mine took about 6 weeks to arrive, which got me a bit panicked, but when they arrived, they fit absolutely perfect!

As for my wheelchair being ‘pimped', at first I was getting a bit tired of people telling me that I should add ‘decorations' to my chair, as I want to be the main focus on the day, not my chair, after all, it only transports me around, it's not who I am. After some careful consideration, I have decided now that I am getting a train made up to attach to the back of my chair, so that when I am wheeling away, you won't just see a black back rest and wheels. It will look better in the photos I think. I will also be incorporating my mum's vale into the train, so it will be a bit special too!

My dress is quite big and I got one that will hang over the wheels, so it will appear that I am floating, this looks beautiful, but it does cause a problem with it potentially rubbing on my wheels and getting dirty. A friend and I were discussing this and she came up with a great idea of covering the tyres, I won't give too much away, but I've done a trial run and it seems to work quite well, just needs a little bit more tweaking.

Todd and I have decided that he will pick me up for the bridal waltz, we talked about him leaning down to kind of lean/dance with me, but we wanted it to be more special and intimate, for such a romantic moment. Although, we won't be doing much of a ‘waltz', just more of a slow dance. I just hope Todd doesn't drop me!

The bridal cars.... This was something that has been driving me crazy! I would love to have something like a convertible sports car or a Mini or something fun and a bit unusual, but my thoughts were about my chair, that it probably wouldn't fit into a Mini, or a small sports car. I was thinking that I could have someone follow in another car behind my car with my chair, but that could cause a whole barrage of problems. We ended up going with something quite big, that will hold me, my new husband, our bridal party and my chair, you'll be able to find out more after the big day.

So with only four months to go, and a lot still to be done, things seem to be slowly falling into place. I hope I've cleared up any questions that anyone had about wheelchair wedding issues. Let me know if there's anything you think I should add.

The perfect white satin wedding shoes that I've chosen

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