How to Accommodate Wedding Guests Who Are Handicapped or Disabled


As the bride, you're one of the main hosts of your wedding. This means that not only should your day reflect your tastes, style, and preference, it should accommodate your guests, as well. We're not suggesting you should serve an all-vegetarian menu if you have a few herbivore guests, but there are a few scenarios in which you should absolutely frame your plans around friends and family's needs — for instance, if one or more people is handicapped or disabled. Whether your college roommate is temporarily on crutches or your grandmother uses a walker, take your guests' physical limitations into account when planning your ceremony or reception. See the tips below for examples how to best accomplish this:

Accessibility: If there are no wheelchair ramps, build or rent portable wooden ones. Rest rooms should have accessible entryways and one stall at least 32 inches across, complete with grab bars for those in wheelchairs. If bathrooms in the house of worship or ceremony space are not accessible, warn guest(s) in advance.

Low elevator controls are needed for guests in wheelchairs, and elevator buttons in Braille that emit a tone at each floor, for the blind. (Describe the physical layouts of both the ceremony and reception sites to a bling guest in advance.) Elevator hallways and doorways should be wide enough for easy wheelchair passage.

Ask a disabled guest if he or she has any other special needs; if so, invite him or her to bring a guest.

Seating: Tell ushers to reserve seats next to aisles for guests in wheelchairs or on crutches, but allow these guests to sit where they are most comfortable. For the reception, tell the banquet manager to set one less chair at a table where a guest in a wheelchair will sit. Try to leave room between tables for a wheelchair to negotiate and fit comfortably for a meal. Seat guests who are hearing impaired near a wooden dance floor, where they'll be able to feel the music's vibrations.

Transportation and parking.: If your guest doesn't drive and is coming alone, is there an accessible public transportation or taxi service that he or she can use? If there are not "handicapped parking spaces," allocate a few near the entrance to the site.

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