You've found your better half, and now it's time to find the right wedding venue. It's going to be a special day, and you want the people you love to surround you, but perhaps your dear aunt is in a wheelchair and you are worried that she won't be able to be there. Then there's the cousin Myron, who is traveling in from quite a distance and will need to stay overnight.
You just want your day to go right for everyone.
A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine wanted a beachfront wedding at a seaside hotel, but she knew that her aunt's wheelchair couldn't roll across the sand. When she spoke to the venue's event planner, she was told that they could have two of the busboys carry her aunt in her wheelchair to the wedding site or she could watch from the distant boardwalk. Arrangements were made to move the ceremony up the boardwalk to a part of the beach where there was a concrete walkway across the sand. Her aunt was able to transfer from the wheelchair to one of the guest chairs on the aisle and watch her niece get married.
Sometimes the disability exists for someone in the bridal party or part of the couple. The role of each person and their accommodations also needs to be accounted for. When looking for that perfect venue and a hotel for long-distance guests, the bridal couple should make a list of any mobility issues their loved ones might have. Know what "accessible" means to you and your group. The website Offbeat Bride offers many suggestions when it comes to guaranteeing that your wedding will meet everybody's needs, from choosing your venue, experimenting with a practice walk-through and even cute decorating ideas to embrace the disability in question.
Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990, many public buildings and commercial services have had to comply with making their facilities accessible to those with mobility issues. There were provisions that allowed some older structures to skirt any modifications and others to make only those that were reasonable when doing renovations. Through the years, revisions to the ADA have broadened their definition of disabilities to include many non-visually obvious conditions such as hearing, visual and respiratory problems, the inability to walk long distances, visual impairments, the need for a walking aid or service animal and more.
When making your decision, make sure to call and ask some general questions to ask over the phone. Is there a handicapped ramp, and how far is it from the entrance? Are the bathrooms handicapped accessible? Are there any accommodations for the use of service animals?
Visit the venue in person before booking the date, and if possible, bring your handicapped family member with you to see if the place is easy to maneuver through; at the very least, bring your detailed list and a tape measure. The event manager should be willing and amiable about helping to ensure your family's comfort. Make sure that your bridal party and your guests will be able to successfully navigate through the joyous event without frustration, embarrassment or peril.