Accommodating Your Guests with Special Needs
With all the details you have to worry about for your wedding day, one thing can go overlooked: your guests and their needs. Even thought it is your day, it is also a joint celebration. You want to make sure that everyone you have invited can celebrate with you safely and comfortably.
Guests who have issues with walking need to be taken into consideration for transport and seating. This is especially true for grandparents, who may have trouble navigating outdoor weddings with difficult terrain (e.g., parks, beaches, etc.). For the reason, some grandparents elect to be seated at the start of the ceremony, avoiding inclusion in the processional. For those grandparents who do wish to walk down the aisle, allow them to stand at the rear of the seating so their walk is not too strenuous or difficult.
Guests who need the assistance of walkers or wheelchairs need extra space accommodations with seating. This is crucial to know before the day get started, as when your guests arrive reconfiguring the layout may not be an option. Preferred seating areas with adequate space and prime views can be created during setup.
For the reception, these guests should be seated close to areas where they will need access (exits, restrooms, etc.) as well as a sight line to key events (dining, cake cutting, dancing, etc.) Avoid putting guests with limited mobility near high traffic/loud areas (bars, DJ, etc.). This will be important in figuring out your seating plan.
Another biggie! As someone who has recently had to drastically change their diet, knowing what I could eat at a wedding is a big deal. Most guests with food allergies and dietary needs know what they can and cannot eat, however, it is still vital to relay anyone with food related needs to your caterer. This will give them the opportunity change the way they prepare or serve/display food. Having plenty of alternatives will ensure your guests with dietary needs aren’t forced to eat a plate full of one item.
You may also want to consider having a smaller dessert for those guests who cannot eat gluten. With wedding cake being the pièce de résistance at weddings, it’s a shame to have any guest miss out on a sweet ending.
If you are having an outdoor wedding in Spring, Summer or early Fall, be sure to communicate this to your guests via your wedding website or an enclosure in your invitation suite. As someone who oversees countless outdoor weddings, I cannot tell you how utterly miserable some guests are when they come ill-prepared to fight pollen or bugs at an outdoor wedding. Those with seasonal allergies or have worse than normal reactions/attractions to bugs, often find their remedies too late. Bug spray (Off Wipes and No Natz are the best we’ve seen) will help greatly, citronella candles don’t put off enough of a guard, so look for sticks and tiki torches if possible.
Nursing Moms and Kids with Special Needs
One thing brides think of when they visit venues are to inquire about changing rooms. These rooms may also be a great place for a nursing mom to privately feed her baby without sitting uncomfortably in a restroom. Weddings with their flashing lights, loud music and crowds can be overwhelming to those with autism. This quiet area may also be a great respite for children on the Autism spectrum to decompress.
Some of these considerations can have a great impact on your wedding as well as your guests’ ability to enjoy it. Contemplating them before you select a venue or menu can be easier than trying to find quick fixes on the day of the wedding.
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