I love this photograph of a bride and groom from the sixties and the bride’s seeing eye dog.
I also loved my grandmother’s second husband who, as it happened, was legally blind. In fact, Granny met him while volunteering with a group dedicated to helping the blind.
And so I was frankly appalled when I read this article by a legally blind bride-to-be at Offbeat Bride. Not, I hasten to mention, because of anything about the lady or her plans. Her steampunk cane is a delight and her groom’s sense of humor is beyond awesome.
No, what appalled me was the ignorance and small-mindedness displayed so casually by potential vendors, not to mention others who simply couldn’t conceive of her choices based on her comfort and ability to navigate the event easily. Choices such as wearing a colored dress so she can see it, not to wear a veil so as not to impede her limited peripheral vision, or to use her cane to help her navigate the aisle successfully.
Apparently these things are ‘not bridal.’
To that, all I can say is a hearty cry of “horse hockey!”
A bride is a bride, is a bride. A groom is a groom, is a groom. And if the ring bearer needs a cane or a wheelchair, then that’s what he needs.
I remember some years ago reading on the web about a blind bridesmaid who had a disastrous time in the wedding party because of the attitude that any acknowledgement of her disability was somehow less than ‘bridal.’ She wasn’t allowed to use her cane down the aisle, and after she had practiced many times with a certain configuration at the altar, a major item was moved directly into her path at the last minute and nobody warned her. Of course she crashed into it and people got mad at her for ‘ruining’ the wedding. After all, a sighted bridesmaid would have known to move out of the way!
If you or someone in your wedding party has a disability, the key to making things work is not to ignore that disability or try to make it go away for a few hours. The key is to looking squarely at the practical issues it raises and then dealing with them frankly and without making a huge fuss.
Blind people marry. Wheelchair users marry. Deaf people marry. Amputees marry.
And you know what? They’re beautifully bridal, too.
For more ideas on planning a wedding when someone in the wedding party has a disability, check out some of the terrific tips and planning ideas on disaboom.