making sure that your wedding is accessible is important so that your disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent friends and family are able to attend and celebrate you on your wedding day
Accessibility is incredibly important to consider when you're planning any event, especially a wedding. While you may know the access needs of some of your friends and family, other people may choose to keep their diagnoses to themselves so it is important to make sure that your wedding is accessible for a wide range of people, especially if you're planning on a high guest count.
In this blog post, I'll take you through various different considerations that you can take into account when planning your perfect wedding.
For me, perhaps the most important thing to consider when you think about whether your wedding is accessible is the venue. Here in the UK, we have a beautiful range of traditional wedding venues and churches however, many are old and were never built with accessibility in mind. So, what do you need to think about when it comes to the venue?
Can people actually get inside the venue, move around inside it and use the facilities?
Does the venue have steps or a hill outside? Are there ramps? Are there stairs inside? Does it have a toilet? Is the toilet an accessible toilet? Will you be using a marquee, if so is the flooring adequate and safe for people who may have mobility problems or who use wheelchairs? All of these are barriers that might mean that some of your guests may not be able to attend your wedding.
Getting to the venue and parking?
Another big barrier to accessing the venue for people might be the parking. Is there parking on the premises or close by? Is the parking far away, if it is, then people may not be able to get from their car to the venue itself. Are there disabled spaces for people to park in? This is perhaps just as important as being able to move around inside the venue.
As a wedding photographer, I feel that this is a big one for us photographers and for individuals when planning their wedding. Flash photography is often used at evening or night time events, especially for the wedding reception. Many photographers also use flash photography during the day too for artistic style. When you are in conversations with your potential wedding photographer it is important to know if they plan to use flash photography and if they are, it is super super important to let all of your guests know beforehand. Flash photography can affect many people in different ways, for example by triggering migraines or seizures. If you really like the photographer however flash photography means guests can't attend, it is always possible to look into fixed lighting options around the venue both during the day and the evening reception. If you're not so attached to your photographers, there are loads of photographers out there who chose not to use flash photography and you can discuss your options with them!
Something that isn't necessarily just a consideration for people who have disabilities or health conditions is seating. Everyone likes and needs a good sit down every once in a while, and for many people with health conditions and disabilities, having places to sit down and rest can be the difference between being able to attend an event and having to stay home.
I think it is usually a given that during ceremonies there is seating, however if you're planning a reception later in the evening that is less of a dinner affair and more of a party, definitely make sure there are places to sit available. Similarly if you're holding an outdoor ceremony, seating may not feel as important, but there is nothing more important than ensuring the comfort of your guests.
Lastly, for the purposes of this post, is having printed out itineraries or plans of the day either given at the beginning of your wedding day to your guests, or sent to them beforehand. There are plenty of people who can struggle with not knowing the layout of the day for many different reasons and having the plan can bring comfort, help people to plan ahead if they need to, or can help people to understand what is coming next if they struggle to process verbal information. In a similar vein, it can also be helpful to print out any dialogue, or have a screen available for people to pick up any dialogue that is being said. There are many reasons why someone may not be able to fully take in, understand, remember or hear verbal information and so having it in front of them can really help them to be a part of every special moment so they can be right there with you.
This is by no means at all a comprehensive list of ideas and ways to make your wedding a more accessible space for your guests but these are some suggestions for how to make your wedding a welcoming ceremony so that all who love you can be there to celebrate you.
Later on this year I will be compiling a small list of wedding venues who are proud to put accessibility at the forefront of their business and location.
Thank you for reading and happy wedding planning!! ❤️