Category Archives: Weddings

A Wheelchair Fit for a Bride

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.

Maid of Honor: Wheelchair Style

Next Saturday my little sister is getting married. Yes, the little munchkin who was born when I was in first grade is marrying the love her life. And she’s been in quite the epic romance. This wedding is a longtime coming.

My sister is marrying her longtime boyfriend who she met in high school, eighth grade actually, and they’ve never dated anybody else.  This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s 100% real.

So when my sister asked me to be her Maid of Honor earlier this year I was thrilled. I haven’t however ever been a Maid of Honor until now. All of the responsibilities, formalities and traditions that a Maid of Honor carries out is something I’m learning on the fly, but when it’s your sister, everything is that much more important. I also feel an extra sense of responsibility in making sure I’m a fabulous Maid of Honor because of my disability, and here’s why.

I was injured when I was 14 years old and my sister was only 8. I’ve have always felt I short-changed her in some ways by not giving her the full able-bodied sister experience she deserved – being able to go on bike rides with her, waterskiing together, none of that ever happened because of my paralysis. I’ve sometimes felt like even though I’m the oldest sister, she’s been more of the older sister because she’s had take on more responsibilities. So naturally, since I’ve always felt guilty over this, I’m determined to be the best Maid of Honor as humanly possible.

And to be a great Maid of Honor requires you to know the bride intimately, to anticipate what she needs before she asks so you can make her day as perfect as possible. You should remind her that she’s beautiful, give her the creature comforts she needs to feel ready to walk the aisle.  It’s a lot of planning. Sure, I can’t do some of the physical deeds of a Maid of Honor such as holding her train, but I can hold her bouquet on my lap perfectly.

Possibly the most important task of the Maid of Honor however is to give a speech at the reception.  I’ve been working on this for awhile, trying to make sure I say everything that needs to be said (I would feel so bad if I forgot a funny story and didn’t include it).The purpose of a Maid of Honor speech of course is to talk about why the new couple are going to be so happy. Stories and memories you have of them during their courting that are indelibly romantic are highly encouraged.  Pretty much anything that can make the crowd laugh or cry is a winner.

I think though that looking the part will be the most stressful of all.  I want to look perfect in the photos, and that requires a lot of annoying chores that must be done to the body. A good fake tan is a must, and I always reach for Jergen’s NaturalGlow.  It’s not easy getting your lower legs naturally tan can when you’re sitting down and pasty white skin is not attractive, I don’t care what Dita von Teese says.

5 minute teeth whitening gel is also my secret go-to beauty enhancer, and it’s a lot cheaper than those white strips you can buy. I will be applying this gel all week  every time I brush my teeth. And last but not least, a good foundation. I’m a big fan of L’Oreal’s Airbrush Perfect Foundation, mainly because of the word “perfect” in the title heh. This stuff makes your skin look great in photos.

At the end of the day however, we must brush vanity aside and enjoy the day for what it is – the coming together of two souls that can’t live without one another so. Gosh, talk about romantic. To see who has helped me through so many rough times join herself to the perfect man is truly one of those life moments that transcends disability.

Congrats sis xxoo.

Have you been in a wedding party? How were your responsibilities different because of your disability?

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.

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