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Wheelchair wedding...

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by eve789, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. eve789

    eve789

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    After a month completely homebound, I've bit the bullet and ordered my first wheelchair. On the one hand, I'm excited about it because I am sick of being cooped up in my house, and just to be able to "walk" around the neighborhood with my fiance and to actually be a part of the world seems like a marvelous thing.

    On the other hand, it's difficult to think that I might need to incorporate this wheelchair into my identity. I hope it's a temporary measure. I'm afraid, if we run into people we know, what they may think. Hell, I'm even afraid my doctors will believe in me less if I show up to appointments in a wheelchair. ("She's bought a wheelchair this time. Munchausen, clearly.")

    But to my actual question. I'm getting married in three months, and while I hope to be recovered from this relapse by then, there's no telling. Medical devices are generally hideous and almost never designed with the user in mind (although there's a quiet revolution underfoot http://www.ted.com/talks/scott_summit_beautiful_artificial_limbs.html), and there's no wheelchair I've seen that actually looks beautiful/not out of place at a wedding.

    What I have seen and liked are some of the vintage wheelchairs that are more like a wooden, woven-back seat with wheels and legs. They don't look particularly practical or comfortable, but in terms of the aesthetics, would fit in nicely with the palette and design of our vintage/rustic/country wedding.

    Anyone know anyone designing wheelchairs with either custom or unusual designs? Ever seen a vintage wheelchair made for modern comfort? Or know of any other online communities (say, of wheelchair enthusiasts!) where I might pose the question?

    Any other suggestions for making sure I can enjoy as much of my wedding as possible (whatever my state of health) and conserve energy for the things that really matter?

    Thanks!
     
  2. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    Wheelchairs are wonderful for getting out and about, so I wouldn't (and don't) hesitate to use one when you need to. However, it is far from a stylish accessory :rolleyes: and tends to snag its own attention. No bride wants to be upstaged by her mobility equipment. Many of us PWME are fortunate to be able to manage a bit of getting around without a wheelchair, unlike wheelchair bound people, so you might be able to use that to your advantage.

    Assuming that you are able to walk around your house to some degree (since you don't mention being bedbound), I wonder if you couldn't at least walk up the aisle (if you make it a short one :p). I imagine you could arrange to have an attractive chair to sit on for the majority of the ceremony if the officiant understands your limitations. Surely it's been done before. That way the focus can be on you, not a wheelchair, during your short transit down the aisle and during the ceremony.

    As for the reception, I think you could just plan to sit through the whole thing and let people come to you. If you are uncomfortable imagining that people are thinking you unfriendly, then perhaps you can arrange a part of the reception where someone (groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids) go around a table at a time and explain that since you are not able to walk or stand for any length of time, you would very much appreciate if they would join you briefly so that you can thank them for their attendance. Or something like that. Or maybe you can walk from table to table to greet your guests as long as you arrange for one of your attendants to inconspicuously make sure there's a chair for you to sit at as you get to each table.

    Use the old lemons to lemonade trick. Since you'll have to sit through most of the wedding and reception, incorporate that into your plans. Have a lovely receiving area with maybe an arch and some fancy chairs where you and your groom can sit and chat with your guests. Play it like you're an elegant queen on her throne. ;)

    A little warning from a sometimes wheelchair user -- a long dress can be murder in a wheelchair. Keeping it out of the wheels and avoiding dragging it or running over it is no mean feat. I imagine it can only be worse in a fancy wedding dress. I suggest either going with a simple short dress and a wheelchair or, if you want a long or fancy dress, consider skipping the wheelchair and plan to walk only brief distances and sit most of the time.

    I bet you can also find some suggestions searching the internet. Surely there are wheelchair bound brides who worked out clever ways to manage their weddings.

    ETA: I just searched 'bride wheelchair wedding' and got a number of hits on things like how to plan a wedding with a wheelchair and how to find a wheelchair-friendly wedding dress.
     
    eve789, taniaaust1 and SickOfSickness like this.
  3. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Great that you ordered a wheelchair! I have one for my home for bad POTS days, one if I need it for a large store that stays out in the garage and a darling scooter. Also, several small folding chairs. It depends on the day if I am lightheaded from POTS.

    I saw a show about buying a wedding dress and they covered the wheelchair with the same fabric and had it all made so it wouldn't catch in the wheels.

    I agree, possibly you can walk down the isle and have a pretty chair for both of you waiting.

    Yes, you can sit for the reception. Whatever makes you feel better and saves your energy is the best. :)
     
    SickOfSickness likes this.
  4. Tito

    Tito Senior Member

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    What about walking a (short!) aisle and sit TOGETHER with your husband on a chic slightly elevated bench for the ceremony (and choose a priest who is not tall -lol-). So it won't look weird.
    You can also choose a relatively small venue where walking from A to B is a max of 20 yards if you can manage it. Also carefully select a place with the right temperature (very important). And if you have 50 guests, make sure to have 60 seats so you can move from one spot to the other and always find a seat. If you have the finances, perhaps book a person for the day whose job would be to carry around a foldable seat and as soon as you make an agreed sign, he rushes off to open the seat for you to sit in (between pictures for example).
    If it were my wedding, I would not like to see a wheelchair because I wouldn't like my companion to marry my illness but me. But of course, we decide so little with this cruel illness...
     
  5. eve789

    eve789

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    There are days when talking too much, writing too much, or even sitting is, well, too much! Right now, most days I can walk to the bathroom, but spend about 95% of my waking day laying down. Some days I can spend half the day walking around the house and can actually make my own breakfast. It just depends. Also, it's only been this bad for about a month. So I guess I am thinking of the worse case scenario, when I am trying to conserve what energy I have to just be present and enjoy the moment.

    I do think, that no matter how bad I am, I can walk down the aisle on my own steam (and if I can't, then I really shouldn't even be there!) I love the idea of selecting beautiful chairs for my fiance and I to sit with our officiant at the ceremony, and at the reception, to "receive" guests in royal style :) This is actually what they do at Muslim weddings. The bride and groom are married, while seated, in front of guests already seated at tables. And afterwards, all the guests walk up (over the course of the evening) to congratulate the new couple. There's no drinking and generally no dancing. Sounds like my kind of wedding!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A Malay wedding ceremony in Brunei. In a traditional Malay wedding, the bride and groom will sat together in a traditional wedding lounge known as the pelamin thoughout the celebration.​
     
    CJB likes this.
  6. eve789

    eve789

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    That's a really good way of putting it. Also, my symptoms fluctuate wildly. I'd hate for a wheelchair to be memorialized in my wedding photos just because I am having a particularly bad day. I think we'll have it there (and I may try to find a new one that is not so un-photogenic!) but it will be there for emergency use.
     
  7. Tito

    Tito Senior Member

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    Also, don't forget light and sound. Make sure the venue is compatible with your tolerance levels sound and light-wise. If i were you, I would try the wheelchair first. Some people feel 'seasick' as soon as the chair is moved. A stationary chair might be better. So, wait for a very bad day, then sit in the chair, then see how you feel when you are pushed around. The try again with a stationary chair and see what is the most confortable.
     
  8. Tito

    Tito Senior Member

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    I forgot to mention: the shoes! If you wear a long dress, we don't see the shoes, so make sure they are confortable. White slippers are fine ;-) and to avoid tiredness, choose a hairstyle and make up that does not require hours of preparation.
     
  9. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I say go with a fancy litter or sedan chair, carried by strapping young fellows :) It looks like they're not too uncommon in Eastern weddings.
     
  10. Sacajawea

    Sacajawea slightly bedraggled

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    Hi Eve.

    Congratulations!
    I am getting married in about four months. I may or may not be able to be able to walk down the isle myself. I have a transport chair, which is more narrow than a wheel chair since it doesn't have the big wheels. We already discussed (other friends of mine and myself) ways to decorate the chair or at least downplay the color...it's navy blue so not too ugly. I bought my dress based on needing to sit and lay down so it's long but very light weight and not poufy at all. I didn't want a traditional dress anyway so what I found works well for me as far as standing, sitting and laying down.

    We plan to drape the back of the chair with a similar colored fabric as my dress, champagne, and some have suggested various cute ways to do it.

    I'm really determined to walk down, so we will be decorating my cane. My father will walk and or push me down the isle so I figure I'm not really going to care too much about the chair if it's necessary...I will have to go on how I'm feeling that day to know if I'll need it or not.

    I also plan on sitting down, as will the groom, for the ceremony. I have a thread on here in the same section. I've been in such a fog lately I haven't been back for awhile to check back until today. I think the idea of an old fashioned chair sounds lovely, especially if it's outdoors or in a huge space. I have a friend who has one and it is huge and has a very high back, so for me it would detract from the ceremony. I think that's why I am happy with my transport chair since it's so much smaller, and comfortable for me.

    I also ordered some slippers from Zappos and a friend plans on dressing them up. I ordered two pair (free return shipping) so see what will work better for me. My dress is long but doesn't cover my feet and I can only wear shoes that don't touch my heels so it's annoying.

    Have fun planning your wedding...I love that photo with the couple on the couch...we just may have to do that ourselves!




     
  11. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Congratulations. Maybe you can decorate the chair in case you end up using it. You could put some fabric, ribbons, flowers etc? I hope your wedding day is wonderful, wheelchair use or not.
     

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