Weddings to me are of course mostly about the couple, but it’s also a time to honor and thank the people that have been pivotal to our lives. My sister suffered an extreme and tragic illness as a young child that left her brain damaged and develop-mentally disabled. She can walk and speak just fine, but cognitively and emotionally she’s stunted. Growing up with her was a unique experience for sure, but she’s still my sister. I think even when I was a little girl playing wedding with my Barbies I knew that Lila would be my bridesmaid. So when I got engaged and was picking bridesmaids, I didn’t think twice. I warned her that it would include being in lots of pictures, and she agreed.
Which got me thinking: What are some other ways we can honor our differently abled loved ones? If you have a disabled loved one that you want to include in your wedding in some way, you would know best how to do that because you know them best. Think about their strengths and weaknesses. If it’s a physical disability, check with your venue: is it wheelchair accessible? Will the space between the tables be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs?
A chatty and friendly person could make a great usher. A girly girl may love to be flower girl, regardless of her age. Maybe you’d like to invite them to do one of the readings at the ceremony? Or invite them to give a toast during toasts time? Perhaps your loved one is too shy, or non-verbal. In this case, they can have an honorable mention in your program, given a seat of honor and/or be given a flower corsage or boutonniere.
Most importantly, talk to them about it too. Let them know how important they are to you and how you were thinking of including them. Be aware of their needs, desires and limitations. Obviously I’m aware that my sister won’t be planning the bachelorette party or helping me stuff envelopes (also because they live 2,000 miles away) but I do want her to stand up there with me. I don’t care if she makes awkward faces in the pictures. That’s just her, my sister and bridesmaid.
Are you Honoring Loved Ones With Disabilities in your wedding? If so, how are you including them?
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.