Just a few weeks ago I celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary. Actually, it wasn’t much of a celebration; it was the middle of the week, my husband and I were both feeling too tired to go out after work, and when the weekend rolled around, the pump on our well decided it didn’t want to work anymore. That’s married life for you folks; all bliss and romance all the time.
Anyway, my anniversary, lackluster as it was, got me thinking back to my wedding day and the whole planning process. As some of you may know, I kept a blog during that time in order to record my experiences. I did this for two reasons; the first was that when I searched online for information about being a bride with a disability, I found very little, which annoyed me. I wanted to make sure that brides after me had some decent resources. The second reason was that I wanted other women with disabilities to know that despite the messages society has fed us, we can get married and we do get married.
Of course, when I was planning my wedding, I spent most of the time worrying about how my disability might affect it. Would I be able to walk down the aisle? How would I carry my bouquet? Would my dress get caught in my wheelchair? How would I pose for pictures?
One of my biggest concerns was looking like a bride on my wedding day. I am normally not a vain person, but on that day, I wanted to be beautiful; not a beautiful girl in a wheelchair, but a beautiful bride. I found the dress and the shoes pretty easily, I made appointments for my hair, nails and makeup, and then I was faced with one more thing: My Wheelchair. Let me be clear, I am not ashamed of my wheelchair, but when you live an unlimited life, wheelchairs get pretty banged up. The paint chips, you scratch it, one wheel gets a squeak and sometimes pieces are missing. It was ugly and not exactly bridal, so I worried that it might take away from my photos and be a eyesore coming down the aisle.
The solution? Some strategically placed fabric, some contact paper and a beautiful bouquet. My mother is a seamstress, so she created slip covers for my wheelchair to cover the back and the seat. She then covered my wheel guards with ivory contact paper and my sister helped to strategically drape some additional fabric over the back to create a train. When I met with the florist, we figured out a way to attach the bouquet to my chair. The results were absolutely gorgeous.
Aside from the enormous bouquet, (which could be created with fake flowers to save money) this was a pretty cheap makeover. It only took about five yards of fabric, much of which I was able to reuse for another project.
I know that ultimately my wheelchair did not matter that day. What mattered was that I was marrying the man that I loved, surrounded by my friends and family. But for me, it felt great to make my wheelchair a special part of my day. It was that last little detail that brought everything together. Plus it looked awesome in the photos.