3 Ways to Make Sure Your Wedding Is an Inclusive, Accessible Event
When it comes to planning a large event, it may seem difficult to ensure that everyone's needs are met. But whether it's a question of getting your grandmother safely onto the dance floor or making your reception floor plan wheelchair accessible, guaranteeing that everyone can feel safe at your wedding, and be able to participate in your big day activities, is critical. Ahead, four wedding professionals share their tips for creating an inclusive, accessible celebration to make sure that every guest has a wonderful time at your wedding.
Choose a fully accessible venue
If you have a guest that's wheelchair-bound, Lindsay Parrott-Masiewicz, the owner of P3 Events, suggests looking up "open-plan or open-space" venues while searching for a location that is specifically designated for integrated wheelchair use. These types of locales typically have entry ramps, very few corners, wide hallways, and accessible bathrooms; plus, they often keep the festivities contained to one level. "On the logistical side, pay special attention to double-tape any carpeting down and leave space at the lounge area and table empty for a wheelchair," she says.
"Ideally, everyone uses the same entrance, the bathrooms are convenient, and every guest participates in every moment of your special day," adds Shannon Tarrant, the founder of WeddingVenueMap.com, noting that these considerations will prevent guests from feeling embarrassed or singled out. Additionally, keep buffet tables and dessert stations at chest height to ensure everyone can easily access the food.
Rent ramps and other accessibility fixtures, if necessary
If you are considering a location that was built prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act, your venue may not be up to current accessibility standards. Michael Coombs, a DJ and the owner of Michael Coombs Entertainment, explains that he regularly performs at one such location. Although the building does not have permanent ramps, they do have portable iterations that can roll out to cover the steps when needed. "Check with your venue and see if this is something they have or can provide," he says.
Invest in extra transportation—and make sure it's wheelchair accessible
Is the parking lot some distance away from your ceremony or reception? If so, Kristen Gosselin, the owner of KG Events & Design, suggests asking about the transportation services (like a golf cart) your venue provides. "Also ask if they have wheelchairs on-site. It also would not hurt to ask if there is a staff member at the venue that would be able to assist with the wheelchair and the transport of any guests," she says. Are booking transportation—from a hotel to the venue, for example—for all of your guests? Make sure your van or trolley is handicap accessible, and that the drivers are familiar with how ramps on the vehicle are run.
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