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

Disabled People Don’t Wear Pretty Wedding Dresses

28 Jun 2011Last week, I wrote about how I (tried) to go wedding dress shopping for the first time, and it ended in an epic fail, with the shop assistant virtually ignoring me the whole time I was there.... I was very reluctant to go shopping for a wedding dress again after that experience, however, what's a wedding without a dress?

So off I went once again, this time, taking my mum along with me for the ride. We decided to try a place that had been recommended to me by many of my friends as they had received good service and were quite satisfied with the variety that the store had to offer.

Mum excitedly walked in, and I wheeled in excited/apprehensive. As we went through the doors, I noticed an abundance of stunning white wedding gowns on mannequins all over the shop, this got me more excited. On the right hand side of the stores entry, were the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses hanging up. A little white dress caught my eye and I pointed it out to my mum. But she quickly brushed my suggestion aside, claiming that it was a flower girl dress and that I should see what wedding dresses the store can offer me first.

We met with the shop assistant who was going to look after me, she seemed a bit nervous about me finding a dress, because of my inability to fit into ‘normal' clothes, but seemed eager to help despite this. After over an hour of trying on different dresses that absolutely SWAM on me, I was beginning to feel like there weren't very many options for me. I did find one beautiful dress, but it was $2000 and was so long, that over half of it would have had to have been chopped off, so I couldn't see the point in spending all that money for something that would only get hacked up.

The shop assistant came up to me and said; ‘now, Jodie, I don't want to offend you, but there is a little flower girl dress at the front of the store.....' and before she could finish, I excitedly said; ‘Oh! The one by the door? That's the one I mentioned to mum! That's fine, I'd love to try it on!' So, off she went to grab the tiny dress.

I tried it on, and it was beautiful! There were some things about it that didn't tick all the boxes on my mind's list of the perfect wedding dress, but it was the best one I'd tried on so far. I had my heart set on a strapless dress, and this one had straps, and I really wanted my dress to lace up at the back, this dress had a zipper, I've found zippers don't really work well with me because of my barrel chest (which make my ribs and sternum stick out more than they should), so I usually opt for clothes that are made of stretchy materials, more loose fitting or that have elastic in the back.

I came out of the change room with the straps tucked in and with the shop assistant holding the back of the dress closed (as it wouldn't zip up), but when my mum saw me in it, I could tell that she instantly loved it and her face lit up. We went to the large mirrored wall, where all of the other brides were admiring themselves in their beautiful big gowns, and my mum gave me a big hug and was so happy.

I noticed that every other bride and their possies in the store were looking at me admiringly. I didn't mind though, because I felt like a princess in the dress, and knew that they probably hadn't seen a bride in a wheelchair before.

I enquired about getting the dress altered and if it was possible to have what I wanted done. The shop assistant went and spoke to the seamstress and the store manager to see what could be done. She came back smiling and told me that everything I wanted could be done, and she told me that because the manager was so happy that I'd found something, they were willing to convert the back from zipper to lace-up for no charge. I couldn't have been happier, so after a quick few minutes talking with my mum, I agreed to take the dress!

I went up to pay a deposit on the dress, but when they told me the price, I nearly died... It was $200! Possibly the cheapest wedding dress on earth! Probably not by the time I was finished with it, but it was a good start. With a decision made, one that I thought would be the hardest part of the whole wedding process, we left the store so happy.

Next week, I'll tell you about Todd and I, searching for a reception venue...... One that was not only in our price range, but that was wheelchair accessible too. I hope you'll visit again, to see what happened on the next part of our adventure.

**The top picture is of one of the dresses that I tried on that I loved but would've had to chop half off of..... The others are of one that I loved when first deciding what style I wanted... You won't be seeing my dress until the big day!**

My dream wedding dress (not mine)

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