Having blind or visually impaired guests at your wedding will mean you may need to think about certain aspects to make sure that they can enjoy the day as much as anyone else that is attending. Accessibility and weddings is something we truly believe in. Today is World Braille Day the perfect time to talk about it and share with you some expert advice on how to make your wedding day accessible for blind or visually impaired guests.
Sally Messer, who is registered legally blind, talks about how we can make weddings more comfortable for guests and how we can give them what they need in order to fully enjoy and be part of your wedding day.
Ask Your Guests About Their Needs
This is something that is really important and vital when it comes to accessibility. Ask your guests what it is that they need to be able to enjoy the day and be able to participate in the day fully. Not all guests who are blind or visually impaired have the same needs so it is really important to open up the conversation before you make any adaptations or arrangements. Simply ask them as if you were asking anyone else who needed particular requirements.
Sally states that a good place to start is that “you need to know whether they read braille or if they prefer large print. I’m registered legally blind and that confuses people because they see the word blind and think you have no sight. I can see enough to read large print instead of braille”
Sally says that she really appreciates when people just open up the conversation and just ask questions. If your guests are relatives or close friends to you then you might already understand some of their needs but checking in on things that maybe you haven’t considered is a really good idea.
Finding out whether someone reads braille or large print can inform your decisions with stationery. If you understand this, then you can cater the stationery such as save the dates, invites and on the day stationery to your guests. This can be really helpful and also shows that you are acknowledging their accessibility needs too.
Sally also says that often certain fonts and colours can be difficult for those who are visually impaired too. Swirly and more creative fonts can be difficult to understand and also certain colours on others. For example, a lot of people find white text on a pastel background difficult to understand so considering these choices can often make a difference too.
Every guest wants to feel they can understand and appreciate your wedding ceremony and be able to participate in that special moment. So there are a few things you can do to make it easier for your blind or visually impaired guest/s.
One thing to do is to consider their seating arrangements. Do they require a seat that is closer to the front of the ceremony? Another is to consider if your guest has a plus one. If they don’t have a plus one and you can afford to give one then definitely do as it will make them feel more comfortable. It could also be beneficial for them to feel as though they can understand more of the day too. Especially if they need more help getting around and want to know more details of visual aspects.
Sally mentioned “Ceremony wise, I would make sure the person either has a plus one or has someone they’re very comfortable with already attending. I get extremely nervous being on my own in these situations and I know it’s fairly common amongst my other VI friends”
Do They Need Space
Does your guest have a blind dog that they need to bring with them to the wedding? If so, discuss this with your venue and work with them to create the accessibility that is needed for the dog. Consider the position of their seating arrangements and also any extra space for the dog to be able to lie down, exercise and eat. These are all things that you can ask whilst going through the planning process and work closely with your venue and your guests.
Styling and Decoration Considerations
Sally mentioned that one of the key things when it comes to styling and decor is to ask if there is anything that is incredibly uncomfortable. Again, not all blind or visually impaired people have the same needs so opening up that conversation with them personally is the best thing. Some people find lighting very difficult and it can be a little more complex for some people than others. So if your venue has considerable bright lighting then speak to your guest/s and ask if they have any issues, then speak to your venue about the options. It is also worth speaking to musicians. DJs and anyone else who might use lighting effects on your wedding day. This can also relate to decor items such as candles and lanterns so if you are planning on having candles on your tables, check with your guest/s to make sure they are ok with them being in close proximity.
In terms of the decor, making careful considerations for getting around the venue makes a big difference. Think about the placement of items, especially near entrances, exits and tables. Clear decor can cause some issues but if this is what you really want then it is just a case of making sure that they are aware and having someone who can escort them around any tricky areas.
Sally says that the best way to approach any kind of accessibility needs is to just ask questions about people’s needs in an open way. Not to draw too much attention to it but by asking, people know that you care.
If you want to read more on disabilities and accessibility needs and weddings then take a look here. Thank you so much to Sally for her advice.
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