How to find a wheelchair-friendly wedding dress

Guestpost by Andy on Jun. 7th Photos by leah rae photography

I'm a bride who's disabled (I don't want to say I'm CONFINED to a wheelchair, but I do need one when I don't feel like crawling on my hands and knees.) My experience as an oft-seated individual is that beautiful dresses don't have quite the same visual sweep on me as they do on someone standing up.

It's also my experience that it takes people a minute to notice that I've entered a room, because I'm just simply not at their eye-level. So I've never really been able to do any real entrance-making. How do I make a little drama when I go to walk down the aisle?

Also, what kind of gown would be visually stunning for a bride who's sitting on her ass? And is there a way to convey me down the aisle that makes it so I'm looking at my guests and not up at them? -Nicolette

For this particular advice we thought we'd hand it over to our favorite wheelchair-rocking bride, Andy. You may remember her from the amazing bright green Edmonton wedding.

First of all congratulations!

I know exactly what you're going through — I'm in a wheelchair and have never worn a ton of dresses, so the wedding dress was kind of a guessing game for me, too.

My best advice? Get it custom made!

Do your homework and get a dress designer, rather than just a seamstress. A designer can come up with ideas you wouldn't have thought of. Pay the price you have to pay to feel beautiful — it is worth it! A custom dress will be fitted to YOU and can be designed around your wheelchair.

If the dress is a cut that fits you perfectly and accentuates your body, you'll look stunning whether you're sitting on your ass or not, you can't go wrong!

Simple with a unique twist (like the side ruffle I had on my dress) is the best way to go … and then accessorize! A great hairstyle and great accessories are just as important as your gown. Also, you're the bride, so no matter what all eyes are on you and you will stand out.

Additionally, you can hit up a specialty store like IZ Adaptive Clothing, which specializes in adaptive clothing for those in wheelchairs. And they have formal wear!

There are two options I can think of to make sure you're looking at your guests and not UP at your guests:

  1. Keep guests sitting! No one needs to stand up when you walk out, you can have the officiant requests that guests stay seated, then they're all eye level.
  2. Make sure your aisle is very wide. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Our lovely ushers set up the chairs and we ended up with quite a skinny aisle. I didn't think about it until I was rolling down but it was super claustrophobic and uncomfortable because I was looking straight up at everyone (I ended up speeding down really quick). If the aisle is wider then you'll just be slightly looking up at people. Its not exactly eye level, but it will seem more eye level.

Other than that, I think you just have to have fun with it! Get people you trust and who you know will make you look beautiful. Like I said, you're the bride so no matter what, you're making an entrance and all eyes are on you! You'll be glowing and thus, breathtaking.