Inspiration: Joy On Wheels

Some people walk down the aisle and some people roll – if you’re one of the latter people, you might just want to see pictures of brides and grooms who look a little more like you. That was my reasoning when I went looking for photos of disabled (differently-abled?) brides and grooms – specifically those in wheelchairs. As I usually do, I figured it would be a walk in the park, but you’ll remember my usual rule: I want to find great, or at least good wedding photographs featuring brides and grooms in wheelchairs. Not, you know, some grainy, scanned in snapshot taken 30 years ago.

Turns out it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be – when is it ever? – to find beautiful photographs of brides, grooms, bridesmaids, and groomsmen in wheelchairs. But I did find some:

It’s not always easy for a bride-to-be who’s in a wheelchair to find an accommodating reception venue or the perfect wedding dress, but it can be done! Katie Kirkpatrick Godwin did it while battling the cancer that ultimately took her life. (Note: Not safe for people who cry easily.)


If the wheelchair is going to be in the wedding anyway, why not decorate it? While searching for images for this post, I found many, many pics of wheelchairs that had been given a bit of flair with everything from tulle to signs to floral garlands. I also read about one Belgian bride who had a train made specifically for her wheelchair because she wanted a train and why shouldn’t she have one? (Image via Eron)

What bummed me out a bit was that while I saw some photos of brides and grooms in wheelchairs, I saw hardly any photos of bridesmaids and groomsmen in wheelchairs. Is it because weddings ceremonies can involve a lot of standing? I think if I’d had a good friend in a wheelchair who I wanted in my wedding party and it turned out she was uncomfortable with the idea of being seated while everyone else stood, I’d just sit everyone down. Problem solved. The bridesmaid above is Lianne, and she and her family are in the formal-wear business.

This is the sole picture of a groomsmen in a wheelchair that I could find (thanks to the amazing talent at Whitney Lee Photography) – if you don’t count all of the ridiculous photos of the males of the wedding party having wheelchair races or posing in wheelchairs. Which I didn’t, even though some of the pics were quite good.

I do realize that some people feel uncomfortable around the disabled or around medical equipment in general, so in case anyone was thinking that a wedding involving one or more people in wheelchairs would be somehow different than the usual sort of wedding, here’s a link to a gorgeous bride and her gorgeous wedding. I guess it was different than the usual wedding… in that it was nicer. Def cooler than my wedding! (Also, she has some great advice for those brides-to-be wondering how to pair wheelchairs and weddings.)

7 Responses to “Inspiration: Joy On Wheels”

  1. Sarah G. August 19, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Katie’s story broke my heart into a thousand pieces. Thank you so much for finding it and sharing.

  2. La Petite Acadienne August 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I agree with Sarah — Katie was so brave and so beautiful, and I hope that her widower is able to find comfort in his memories of how joyful she was that day.

  3. cmq August 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    my 5 year old niece who has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair was my flowergirl. of course, we wouldnt have had it any other way. her favorite part of the wedding – all of the dancing :)

  4. Twistie August 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    You know, Christa, I was going to write about Katie a couple months ago when I ran across her story, but something kept getting in my eyes and I couldn’t see to type. Drat.

    @cmq: I bet she was adorable, too!

  5. NTE August 21, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    I’ve been the bridesmaid in a wheelchair in three weddings, and played a part in at least three more… As far as I know, it was never an issue for any of the brides :the people in your life are the people in your life, and you do what you have to do to include them. There were other health concerns that I had to work with them to accommodate, but there was very little drama surrounding any of it, and I was certainly not the only one who had issues we had to plan around (ninety two year old grandmothers need chairs even if you’re planning to get married on a bridge; your uncle and his ex can’t be seated at the same table; your flower girl will have a meltdown if you try to make her wear a headband; etc). I even got a lovely picture of my sister, the bride, sitting on my lap, being sweet.

    Thanks for writing about something that so often seems to be missing from the discussion.

  6. Whitney Lee October 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Thank you for including one of our photos! I photographed a wedding recently where the bride’s dad was in a wheelchair and that didn’t slow him down at all!

    Here is a photo of him “walking” the bride down the aisle: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitneyleephotography/4972284099/in/set-72157624897477418/

    And here is the father-daughter dance: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitneyleephotography/4981127427/in/set-72157624897477418/

  7. Christa Terry October 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    @Whitney Lee You’re so welcome :) Those linked photos are absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing! (And ohmygosh look at those boots…)