Monday 1 May 2017

7 Things to think about when planning your accessible wedding

Your wedding is one of the biggest, most special days of your life and planning the celebrations can be incredibly exciting. When considering accessibility however, there are few things to bear in mind when you’re planning your wedding.

Whether it’s yourself, your bride or groom to be, or other members of the wedding party who require mobility aids or additional accessibility, what considerations are needed when planning your wedding day?

Accessibility is being discussed much more now than it once was and so making the biggest day of your life accessible is an important consideration. As such, mobility aid experts and suppliers, Ability Superstore, give their run down of what to think about when planning the perfect accessible wedding.

1. Plan your guest list first
Whereas most wedding plans begin with choosing a venue, start by creating your guest list to make sure the needs of your wedding guests can be accommodated , ensuring your wedding will be as accessible as possible for everyone attending. Even if the two of you do not have any accessibility needs, it’s important to think about all the nearest and dearest that you would like to attend, as well as any plus ones that might attend.

You could even send out a save the date note, to find out if there are any accessibility needs from your guests and their plus ones. This will give you plenty of information to help you find the perfect venue for your wedding.

2. Look for your perfect venue
Now that you know what you and your guests might require in terms of accessibility, you can begin looking for a venue that caters to your needs. Make a list of everything that is required, so that when you find a venue that screams out to you, you can get in touch and discuss your needs with the manager.

Look for disabled access, lifts or ramps to upper floors, wide enough aisles to accommodate wheelchair users and stage access where the exchanging of vows might take place, for example.

Be aware that older venues may not be as accessible as more modern options, however if a classic venue is a must, you can easily discuss your accessibility options with a number of traditional venues to find one that is right for you.

If you are looking to get married in a church, your reception venue may require some travelling to get to. In this case, consider taxis and other methods of transport that will be able to assist.

3. Accommodation should be accessible, too
Once the big day draws to an end, you and your guests will be looking to head back to the hotel, a B&B or even an apartment to sleep off the celebrations. Wherever you choose to stay, make sure you follow the same procedure as you did to find the perfect wedding venue. That way, you can be rest assured that there will be no hiccups when you and your guests are ready to finish the day.

4. Make the most of your stag and hen dos!
While a night on the town might sound appealing, not only are the queues incredibly irritating, but so too are many of the bars and clubs’ accessibility. In fact, research from Trailblazers, a support network for those with disabilities, found that 80% of their network had difficulties enjoying time in their local pubs, bars, restaurants or music venue.

Consider some alternative options, like hiring a lodge for the weekend where you can enjoy some traditional hen and stag party games, along with making the most of your time together with friends before the big day. If a night out is something you would prefer to do, you should look into your options and how accessible your preferred options are, before making a decision on where to go.

5. Don’t take their word for it
It’s easy enough for venues to tell you just how accessible the venue can be over the phone, but it’s well worth visiting and testing the venue to see if it meets your needs. Try walking from your dressing room all the way through to the end of the aisle, for example. Think about whether you or your guests, who will require accessibility, will be able to get around the venue comfortably.

Although you might find a few spots that you feel may not be easily accessible, speak to the venue’s manager before making a decision on whether or not to book. They could have a solution to the problem that you might not have thought about.

6. Think about the little things
The venues have been arranged, you have your dresses and suits sorted, your wedding rings are on their way, what else do you need to do? Little considerations will make a huge difference to your guests’ comfort on your wedding day, especially if they are part of the ceremony.

Do you have any bridesmaids that may not be able to carry a bouquet? Why not have a corsage made for them instead? 

A member of the wedding party might need to bring their guide dog along with them, so consider catering for the pooch’s needs throughout the day.

Of course, these are just a couple of the things to think about when it comes to mobility and accessibility on the day, so it’s worthwhile taking the time to consider the needs of your guests and what you could do, to make sure they thoroughly enjoy your special day without any worries.

7. Add personal touches for the big day
It’s time for the final preparations for the big day, so how about adding some personal touches to make everything absolutely perfect?

Many brides and grooms consider pimping theirs or their guests’ wheelchairs for the event, whereas others dress up ramps with some luxury material for that added touch of elegance. Whatever it is that’s going to make your wedding day perfect, do it. You don’t want to look back on the day with any regrets, no matter how small they are.

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