Blind women get married too #Philosophizing#disability June 1 | Guest post by Elsa Sjunneson Photo of Elsa aka Snarkbat by Stephanie Jones Photography I am completely blind in my right eye. I'm super nearsighted in the left. Not allowed to drive, no depth perception, limited peripheral vision, and calcium deposits in the right eye that cause me migraines if I don't wear a scleral shell. To the left is what my eye looks like when I wear the clear shell that I have. It is my preferred way of going about things. I do have a painted shell, it makes my eye match my other one, but after twenty-five years of having mismatched eyes, matching feels weird and untrue to myself. I carry a white cane. It helps me to warn sighted people that I can't see them, since I lack all the things I mentioned above. Furthermore, it has made my life better. I can look around and not stare at the ground. The cane has changed my life. So what does this have to do with weddings? It has everything to do with my wedding. Families can have a specific picture in their head of what a bride will look like; people on the street will even have images in their head. I am not that picture. It is no one's fault though, it's the fault of the Wedding Industrial Complex. The WIC likes to project the image of a bride to be one specific thing, possibly so that we all try to look like their models. Which would be why I've always envisioned myself as having an "offbeat" wedding. I am not wearing a veil, because I know that it would prevent me from using what peripheral vision I DO have. I am not wearing a white dress, because I would not be able to see the detail on my own dress. I am walking down the aisle by myself because the idea of a bunch of people on either side of me and one person really close to me makes me very nervous. And this doesn't really get across with some people. Within three days of becoming engaged, I had already been told that I shouldn't wear my glasses, because they're not bridal. I was told my cane wasn't bridal. I was told my eye (featured above) was not bridal. And I realized that if I was going to be "bridal" in their eyes, I was going to have to change who I am. I am proudly disabled. I am the blind woman who moved across the country by herself to live in New York City. I am the blind woman who has done sword fighting and parkour. I am the blind woman who loves to lindy hop on a crowded dance floor — and I will not change to meet what the Wedding Industry believes is bridal. When I was told that I shouldn't carry my cane, my fiance's comment was this: Related Post Elsa & Jonathan's paleo-riffic literary wedding Check out Tribesmaid Snarkbat's awesome manifesto that challenges the WIC's assumptions about what is "bridal," to get to know this awesome bride. Then get a... Read more Him: I think you would look very pretty walking down the aisle with your cane. Me: But it'll be a flat aisle, right? Him: Actually, I was thinking speed bumps and broken glass! My glasses are a part of my face. And he loves my face. So they stay, too. When a vendor commented that they weren't comfortable with a guide dog (even though I don't have one), or when another venue told me that they were impressed with my typing skills and asked if I was the "helper" for the bride, we chose not to hire these people because they were not supportive of who I am, or who we are as a couple. I am so glad that my fiance chooses to combat my frustrations with laughter, and to support the decision to never give our money to someone who doesn't get the fact that blind women get married too. So, what did I do about the cane, you might ask? Well, a very dear friend of mine Michael Angelus Salerno made me this cane: This is the Steampunk White Cane aka, "The Steamcane." And lord help anyone who tells me it's not "bridal." I will carry it with pride on my wedding day. Updated to add: be sure to check out Elsa's wedding profile! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Elsa Sjunneson Elsa (Tribe member Snarkbat) is a burlesque historian and performer (second generation burlesque performer!). She just received her Master's in Women's History, she's an ardent feminist, and is a disabled woman who enjoys referring to her white cane as a "thwacky stick of destruction." http://offbeatbride.com/2013/03/new-jersey-dinosaur-wedding PREVIOUS Scary-good monster movie poster wedding invitations! NEXT Sasha & Ra's vegetarian gluten-free burner fire-spinning wedding Toggle comments [ 147 ] I like you. I like you a LOT! 280 agree Reply Ditto what Laura said And I completely get not going with vendors because they don't get the decision to not fall in step with outside expectations. 48 agree Reply Totally! You're paying the vendor, which means that they're working for you. I'm not paying someone who is working for me to do something other than what I want. I hired you, I'm the boss. Employees do what the boss asks. 14 agree Reply WOW. That's a whole lot of people that agreed with you. *blushes* Thank you! 4 agree Reply Love the dress, love the cane, love the glasses. You look beautiful. 8 agree Reply Wow, that is a freaking awesome cane. I bet you totally rock it. 39 agree Reply I agree, I was just going to say how bad-ass it is! 3 agree Reply Honestly, I kinda wish I could have a cane like that for my wedding (not blind, just steampunk-loving). Kick ass! 3 agree Reply You rock, I love this post. My best friend is legally blind and I know at times she struggles with the same issues. But she is one of the strogest and most awesome people I know and your story reminds me of her. The best weddings are those made by the happiest of people and almost never fit into whatever image is portrayed out there of what a wedding and bride "should" be. Ignore the nay-sayers, they apparently have no idea how awesome your wedding is going to be. 13 agree Reply You are amazing! I've been wrestling with whether I'd like to do glasses or not, but they are apart of me, and they're likely to stay. I've seen so many beautiful brides on the site with glasses. I would love to know more about Snarkbat, but the link is only for Tribe members. I hope we get see your wedding on the site! 15 agree Reply Wear your glasses! I support it! 5 agree Reply Ms. Sjunneson, you are awesome! I love this: "My glasses are a part of my face. And he loves my face. So they stay, too. :)" I'm not blind, but I have bad eyesight. I wear glasses and have done so since Grade 1. So does my man. He loves my face, and I love his. Sometimes our glasses click when we kiss or hug. I think it's a wonderful sound. So many people, vendors and loved ones included, have asked us "you aren't wearing your glasses in your wedding photos, are you?" It irritates me to no end. How about asking "aren't you going to dye your hair / get a tan / have cosmetic surgery so you can look pretty in your photos?". No, I'm not drastically changing my appearance for one day so I can look "bride pretty". We're just dressing up a bit. I want to look like me. I want to recognize my husband. My man and I are wearing glasses at our wedding, in wedding photos and probably for the rest of our lives. We both want the wedding photos to reflect who we are, not a "picture perfected" version of ourselves. Sure, we're wearing nicer clothes and I'll have my hair done. But to take our glasses off would be a far too drastic change. We wouldn't be "us". Ms. Sjunneson, I'm so glad you aren't giving into all the "photogenic bride" hype. Thank you for your integrity! It makes me feel more confident about my choice. 20 agree Reply I plan on wearing my glasses at my wedding too! I've worn glasses every day of my life since I was 12. I'm 30, and not about to take them off just for one day. My glasses are my trademark, I am not taking them off to look "bride pretty". But considering I have dreadlocks and tattoos, i don't think too many people expect me to be "bride pretty" 8 agree Reply YAY! Bespectacled brides FTW! One thing I WILL do with my glasses is to have them re-adjusted so they sit correctly on my face. This pair seems to not want to hold the adjustment on one side : ( 2 agree I'll most likely be wearing my glasses, too. I have too much face without them. Does that make sense or do I sound crazy just now? 9 agree Reply lol, that totally makes sense, i've thought the same thing about myself! 2 agree im muhammad sadiq from pakistan im work dubai i love blind woman im no blind im so glad you aren 't giving into all photo bride hype thanks Reply I asked my partner to at least try to wear his contacts for the wedding. He only wears them rarely because the old ones he had were dumb. He's going to test new ones to see if they're more comfortable, and if he hates them I've promised that I'm not pressing the issue. But we fought with a lot of issues regarding glare & tinting on his particular glasses with our engagement photos, and there are already a lot of issues with photos due to my disabilities and his distractibility and a somewhat tight timetable. Plus his eyes are gorgeous and pictures NEVER capture that with his glasses on. Putting him in contacts, assuming these new ones are more comfortable, is just one of the multiple ways we are managing the situation to set us up for success. 1 agrees Reply Yay bespectacled brides! Personally, I'm planning on finding another pair of kick ass glasses to wear that will coordinate with my ensemble a little better. But I normally rotate between a few pairs, so it doesn't feel weird to me to wear another pair. If you usually wear one pair, there's no reason to feel un-bridal for wearing them. I'm sure they look awesome on you, so why would they look any less awesome on your wedding day? 4 agree Reply You sound amazing! I wish you the best of luck on your wedding and I look forward to seeing it on here too! As a side note, with the comment by a vendor about a guide dog, is it even legal in the US for them to not serve someone because they have a service animal? It really seems like it wouldn't be… 15 agree Reply It is illegal! I reported them to the ADA SO FAST. 83 agree Reply props to you! That was totally my first reaction–so not cool! I hope you show the offbeat empire your wedding, I am sure it will be beautiful. OH! And I totally dig the steampunk cane. 2 agree Reply Did he say *why* he had a problem with it? I've definitely seen some people who are so afraid of dogs they just *shut down* and curl up in a ball, or worse, try to attack the dog even if it's not acting threatening. …OF course, some people just hate dogs, not to mention telling you that without even inquiring if you HAVE a dog is lame. "oh you're blind? I now know everything about you, and decide you're not what *I'm* looking for" -lame. So if the white stick is "thwacky stick of destruction." What shall you dub that awesome wedding cane? 2 agree Reply Well, even if someone is afraid of dogs the ADA is pretty strict about allowing for mobility accomodations which a guide dog IS. That being said, they said it was for health board reasons not for fear reasons, which is not cool. Secondly – the cane is named the Steamcane 3 agree Reply That's what I was thinking! I was completely shocked that a vendor would even suggest it. Also rock on with the lindy hop. My heart gives a little swoon for my fellow swing dancers 3 agree Reply The part about the speed bumps and broken glass had me laughing my guts out. I do want to see/hear more about your wedding! I had never thought about it before, but clearly being blind, or even physically disabled in general, is the best litmus test for awful to work with vendors. If they can't accommodate a bride with functional requests, you clearly can't trust them with aesthetic requests. Also, how can your eyeball not be bridal!? It seems to me the eyeball of the bride pertains to the bride. How ridiculous. 31 agree Reply That jumped out at me too! "Your eyeball isn't bridal." "Your ankles aren't bridal." "Your left ventricle isn't bridal." Absurd! 19 agree Reply It's the same concept as suggesting an engaged woman lose weight, solely because she's getting married. Really? How did one little ring make me look so fat to everyone I know? 26 agree Reply Your left earlobe isn't bridal! I think everyone on OBB needs to start using this format to throw joke insults at other. 19 agree Reply to a bride on horseback: "That bridle isn't bridal!" so sorry. 58 agree Reply OMG! Jill that is hysterical! 1 agrees I can't help but love that cane, and all it's steampunk goodness! 7 agree Reply You rock! Your wedding should be exactly the way you want it, however that may be. I have a friend who's lost 90% of the vision in one eye; she's a bellydance instructor, so her solution to the issue has been to create her own line of custom eyepatches. Check her out at http://www.oneeyedjills.com! 4 agree Reply Oh that is awesome! I've got a friend who has a glass eye and she'd probably love these. She doesn't need an eye patch but she's always up for fun ideas and some of those look truly fantastic. 1 agrees Reply Sometimes it's nice to have an option other than the insert; I also have a friend who has a prosthetic eye, and there are times it's simply too painful for him to wear, so I do get it. Reply I wish I could wear eyepatches. Unfortunately, I NEED to wear my glasses all the time, and eyepatches and glasses don't really mix… Reply Snarkbat! You could wear an eyepatch and a monocle! now there's a bridal look for you x Mich 14 agree Actually, Holly (of One-Eyed Jills) has the exact same issue, so she's working on making designs specifically to be worn *with* glasses, if need be. 2 agree They make sticker eye patches. My mom's done daycare for a young child with strong eyeglass prescriptions, and they had to give her a patch to correct her lazy eye, which she wore under her glasses. Granted, they aren't as fancy as the ones from think, but nothing a bit of rhinestones couldn't fix! 1 agrees You can get eye patches that slip over your glasses, there is a slit on them where the wing of the glasses go through. I saw a little girl wearing a GORGEOUS pink leather one the other day :)! 1 agrees I made a lot of similar choices, but for aesthetic or personal reasons, rather than practical — I wore my glasses, didn't have a veil, had a dress that was as much green as white, and my husband and I walked toward each other from either side of the front of our (outdoor) venue rather than having someone walk me up an aisle to where he was waiting. Fortunately, most of our choices weren't questioned (or at least not much) by our family, friends or vendors, and afterward even guests who said they hated weddings said they loved ours (and they sounded surprised and honest, rather than pandering). So don't be afraid to make nontraditional decisions just because you want to, whether there's a practical reason or not! Also, *awesome* cane! 2 agree Reply That's a gorgeous cane, you're going to rock it. It's like decorating or getting an awesome wheelchair for brides who can't walk down the aisle at all…the point shouldn't be shedding who you are but gussying up who you are and what you want/need for your day. I hope you find more vendors who "get it" and that your wedding goes wonderfully. Also, I know some people who've gone without glasses for their big day, but my take is to wear them if they help you see it better. Better to see your wedding. 5 agree Reply That cane is beautiful. I hope your wedding is profiled on here! I'm sure it'll be amazing. 2 agree Reply I love the cane! It's going to look so awesome! And yes to glasses on your wedding day. I'm wearing mine. Amazingly only one person has said something about it, and that person just suggested a few pictures without them. But they're part of who I am, I refuse to wear contacts, and I can't see without them and/or suffer migraines if I don't wear them. 2 agree Reply I have black plastic frames and feel naked without them. They will be a part of my every one of my wedding pictures because they're a part of me eveyday. 3 agree Reply Thank you so, so, *so* much for using the phrase "proudly disabled"! Your wedding is going to be awesome. You're a bride, therefore whatever you're wearing or using at your wedding will be bridal. 8 agree Reply You are 100% welcome. And thank YOU for being so supportive. 3 agree Reply How is being blind different from anything else? I have severe adult adhd and my husband is so rebellious that you'd think he was getting paid for it, we weren't exectly accepted by the wic either. It just goes to show that all of us 'special' chics are way more hip than the squares that subscribe to the wic's traditional way of thinking! I hope your wedding is everything you dream it'll be and i can't wait to see the amazing pics! PS. That cane would look aaahhhhhhmazing if paired with a funky tophat! 4 agree Reply I was thinking the same thing about the top hat! 2 agree Reply Thirding the top hat idea!! Reply You rock! You are my favorite person of the week! I am seriously inspired by this. I'm so proud of you for sticking by who you are and not falling into the WIC trap. Your glasses are a part of your face. Why would your partner (who loves you for who you are and exactly what you look like) want you to look differently on the one major day he is pledging his eternal commitment and love to you? What a disappointment that would be. You stay true to yourself, the way that you look and the aspects that make you completely comfortable. 3 agree Reply That cane is amazing. And since you're the bride an it's your cane, then it is officially a bridal cane. Tell that to any haters, and keep being awesome! 5 agree Reply I'm not doing traditional – no bouquet toss, garter toss, wearing a costume as my dress- and get funny looks from family, friends, and even people who don't know me. I've been asked to leave forums since 'no one has such weddings' and I am 'not taking [my] vows seriously'. More power to you! And to your funny fiancée! This is about your love- who you both are individually and what you make together- and people are INVITED to share and celebrate your happiness. Be happy, be yourselves, and just do what feels right. I hope you have a day better than you imagined! 4 agree Reply P.S.: Just an idea, but what about dressing up your glasses to match your cane a bit? Some gold pinstriping that you can put on a car (and remove later) would tie them together without changing the frames or who you are. Just a thought! (I love reasons to change my frames) 2 agree Reply Seriously, Andrell? What forums are these so that I can join and be kicked out? Thats some serious kudos right there. 1 agrees Reply Believe it or not it was on the knot! I wasn't kicked out, just rudely told 'maybe this isn't the right group for you'. Offbeat bride has been a lifesaver! 6 agree Reply Andrell! Join the tribe! It's a great sounding board and support system for us OBB's. Reply I love it! Your "Lord help anyone who says this cane isn't bridal" makes me a very happy girl. THAT CANE IS BEYOND AWESOME. It is the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. You are one lucky girl to have that cane, and such good friends, and such a cute, cheeky FH. 2 agree Reply oh man…you lindy hop? this is me, over here, in awe. i mean, following with your eyes closed is supposed to make you a better dancer, sure, as an exercise. but trusting your partner like that on a crowded floor? you, my friend, are awesome. 4 agree Reply I. LOVE. TO. DANCE. It is the best feeling to be able to totally let go. 2 agree Reply I feel the same way. Dancing is probably the one activity that when I am doing it I just forget all the crap that is going on in the world or in my life at the time. It may not be dancing for everyone, but it's so important to let yourself just feel care-free! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so inspiring to read something from a woman who knows herself, what she wants, chooses to be true to who she is and has the courage to find the way to make it all work, come hell or high water. I needed to be reminded that I can be that woman too… 2 agree Reply This entire piece was so inspirational, but especially the part about lindy hop! Fiance and I started learning west coast and east coast swing, and blues, and lindy about a year and a half ago and we suck at lindy the most! So amazing that you learned how to rely on your other senses to dance! You and your fiance sound like amazing people and I hope that you have the wedding celebration of your dreams! Reply Your fiance is hilarious. And lucky to have you. Wishing many years of happiness to you both. 2 agree Reply I love you. Just a little bit, in a non-creepy way, but still. <3 8 agree Reply <3 No offense taken. 1 agrees Reply LOL, that's too funny…"just a little bit, in a non-creepy sort of way, but still…" Definitely going to use this phrase. 1 agrees Reply Can I just say that you are AWESOME!?!??!?! And I do hope that you carry your beautifully-awesome cane on many many days after your wedding! 2 agree Reply I carried it in my MA graduation ceremony about 2 weeks ago, to all steampunk events, and will carry it for as long as it holds out. I am even carrying it at all the events this weekend at Burlesque Hall of Fame. Because that's how I scan. (Scanning being a term for the use of a white cane.) 5 agree Reply Firstly: you are awesome! Secondly, I got my BA in women's studies two weeks ago and CONGRATS on your MA! Totally awesome, so jealous!! <3 Reply How is a white cane not bridal? It's white, it's carried by a bride, sounds pretty bridal to me. Although any excuse for steam punk is good in my book and that cane looks fantastic. Will you be using it after the wedding too? 3 agree Reply You refer to your cane as a "thwacky stick of destruction". That right there makes you one of my favorite people ever. And boo to those who don't think your choices are "bridal"! You're the bride; therefore, what you decide to do is bridal. End of conversation. 10 agree Reply This is such an awesome post! I'm sure your wedding is going to be incredible – and I'll add my name to the list of people who hopes it gets profiled! Snarkbat, you rule Reply "My glasses are a part of my face. And he loves my face. So they stay, too." I wish I had read your story before I had to have my knock-down, drag-out fight with my mom about my "unbridal" glasses. To her, they were just a thing getting in the way of my otherwise pretty face. To me, they're as much a part of me as my brown hair or weird dimple–why the heck would I change those things?! As far as I'm concerned, changing things about yourself to the point where you can't fully enjoy or experience your wedding isn't very bridal. And holy sh!tbombs–that is an amazing cane! 1 agrees Reply Show your mom the post. I think sometimes families forget that glasses aren't actually cosmetic. And wear the glasses, I'm sure you'll be beautiful on your wedding day. <3 1 agrees Reply Or show your mom this link: http://offbeatbride.com/tag/brides-in-glasses. I wore my glasses on my wedding day, because they are part of me! My husband requested I would take them of for one or two pictures (on most of them, I wear them) and we both agree now that those are absolutely the worst pictures of our wedding! Good luck! 1 agrees Reply I really don't get this attitude that brides shouldn't wear glasses, especially coming from family members. My brother has worn glasses since he was 6 and now I can't imagine him without them. When he does take them off he looks strange, it's almost like if he'd suddenly dyed his hair or when he cut all his dreadlocks off after having them for years. Just as people say they want to look like themselves I don't see why your family wouldn't want you to look like you. (And y'know…be able to see.) All I can think is it really is a case of the WIC and general media (because honestly I think TV, movies etc. have as much to do with this stereotypical image of a bride as anything) getting one specific image of a 'bride' so ingrained in the public conciousness that it completely overrides the image of "my friend/family member who happens to be getting married today". 2 agree Reply I was thinking that a wedding would be a PERFECT excuse to go out and get a brand freaking new, super stylish, banging pair of fancy glasses (ones that are just a little bit "more" than your everyday glasses.) Or a pair of prescription steampunk goggles, or benjamin franklin style specs, or whatever trips you out! 4 agree Reply The wic always pushes white as the only bridal color, so how can a white eye be anything but? If anything, you should be considered more bridal than those of us who only hit up the dress, becauseyou've got more white engrained in the ensemble than I could ever hope to achieve, just by being you. It's so awesome that you have such a ROCKINGLY supportive partner! Rock on! 4 agree Reply Add me to the lovefest! Snarkbat, you ROCK! (And Lindy hop, too – as a fellow swing dancer, I salute you!) Go on with your bad self and know that a whole boatload of people are cheering you on (and dying for pictures!). 1 agrees Reply You (and everyone else) will have to wait until after April 28th 2012. As will I. Dammit, can't I marry him already!? There will be so much swing dancing at the wedding! 2 agree Reply Hello! I support you. Have a wonderful day and an even happier marriage! 2 agree Reply Wow. I just have to say THANK YOU to everyone. The outpouring of support is AMAZING. But let me remind you, you too can stick to your guns as much as I am! Be steadfast to who you are! So much love for everyone who has already commented and who might comment later! 4 agree Reply That's so awesome! Good for you. I never understood why people get all upset about what other people are doing for their wedding. It's not about them, it's about the two people getting married. *shakes head* Anyways, I hope you post pictures for us after the big day. Reply This is a fabulous article! It is amazing what people feel like they have a license to say. I hope you have a wonderful day! PS: I love the cane too, I am a friend of Mr. Salerno's happy to see his work highlighted and planned to be such an important part of your special day:) Reply love love love love love LOVE this post. It also makes me so excited to wear my glasses when I get married! Reply My brother has been blind since birth and he was going to officiate my wedding1.0 (we eloped, long story). Though we did have a big joke that I was going to trip and knock him off the platform into the lake behind where we planned on doing the ceremony, because I'm incredibly clumsy… and he'd never see me coming. Ha, ha! Anyways, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the steampunk cane! It's beautiful and will only make you that much more awesome! Congrats on your glorious day! And if you guys ever have a tutorial on how to make such an awesome cane, let me know I know someone I'd like to give one to. Reply I'm easily findable on twitter at Elsawolf! If you use twitter, I can tweet you privately to get my email address. Reply I don't have twitter, I'm so behind the times. Are you on OBT? Reply I'm Snarkbat on OBT. Come make friends! Reply Bridal is what you wish for your wedding, not what vendors wish to sell to you. Wear a wonderful dress (whatever the colour) and use your wonderful cane. And, above all, enjoy your day!! 1 agrees Reply Your wedding is about who you are and what you are comfortable with and what YOU and your man want. I'm glad to see you are sticking to your guns. And that Steampunk cane ROCKS! Totally love it and am somewhat jealous of it. Reply Awesome! Kick ass and take names with that amazing cane, or "thwacky stick of destruction" rather. There is no reason for any bride to conform to what the WIC claims we should all look like. How can a part of you not be bridal if you are a bride? Seriously, people who said that need to think a little more logically. Loved this post. Reply That cane is gorgeous Some part of the wedding industry try to walk all over any one or anything that is different, good for you for dropping those vendors! If no one stand sup to them they won't learn, the more customers they lose because of their own bad attitude the more likely that are to change their ways. More fool them. My cousin was paralysed in a car crash and one of her wedding vendors insisted on measuring her for her wedding dress standing up (i.e. being hoisted up by three people) and refused to recheck the measurements sitting down. Of course if you have no muscle tone things like torso length can change a lot between your normal posture and being suspended in the air. Dress arrived the day before the wedding and was 8 inches too small. Same vendor also told her that "wheelchairs" aren't bridal, and that she should be carried or held up by other people for the whole wedding. After seeing all that drama unfold I'm absolutely determined to make my wedding as disability friendly as possible, so what if the bride and half the bridesmaids are rocking canes and leg braces? It's who we are. 2 agree Reply "Wheelchairs Aren't Bridal" This goes into my list of things that make me angry. I would have run over their toes. 5 agree Reply Hi Snarkbat, I see above that your wedding is a while in the future, but when it happens, you'll do a profile right? And could it include video? Because I would love to see a Lindy Hop first dance! Heck, I love any swing dance as a first dance! If people are going to have to sit and watch the bride and groom dance, it might as well be something fun to watch, right? Reply Andrea, have you seen our last intern Becca's first swing dance!? Reply Props to you for living life to the fullest and being true to who you are. Second, I think it was great that you didn't use the vendors you mentioned. I'm not blind, but I have really poor vision without my glasses, as in, you're a blurry blob unless we're within three inches of each other. I didn't want a diamond engagement ring for a number of reasons, but one of them was I wouldn't be able to see the stone as well as a colored one. The same for a white dress. And I am totally in the same boat with a veil. Bad eyes plus, cerebral palsy plus veil = SPLAT. I think your steam cane is amazing and I hope you and your partner have an awesome day and an awesome life together. 3 agree Reply I didn't want a diamond either! For the exact same reason! Instead I got a beautiful sapphire with diamond accents (and the diamonds are so sparkly and small enough that in the sunlight they're just rainbows of light!) Best of on your day, and if you ever want to talk about this stuff, let me know and we'll try to exchange email addresses. I would love to have a vision impaired bride buddy! Reply Beautiful and cool cane! Great idea! Reply You are so inspirational! I'm so tired of people either with disabilities or their families who say "Well, Susie is autistic (or whatever), she won't be able to do _________." I understand living within your limitations, but nobody ever got anywhere by accepting what they're told! I even read a story about a blind quilter!!! As for the wedding, consider this: An eye lens with the word "BRIDE" beautifully scripted across it! I don't know how hypoallergenic the paint would be, but it would certainly be different! Good luck and God Bless you both! 1 agrees Reply Gosh, I bet you get tired of reading all these posts in which people tell you they love you…Oh well, I just voted you my new best friend and we're going to get along famously, mkay? You be you and I'll be me and our men will love us for it and the wedding world shall bow down. Excellent post! Reply Not tired of it! Just overwhelmed! I want to respond to everyone and say thank you. It's seriously amazing to see just how many people "get it". And yes! We can be friends! Reply In that case, can I feature you on my blog tomorrow? 1 agrees Reply I'd be absolutely honored! And I'll get you my real name, too. This is worth having under it. Reply Weeee! I'll send you some details this evening (gotta take my kiddo to the library right now – aren't you jealous?). I am jealous that you get to take a kid to the library! I love libraries, and I love children! And sure – I may not get back to you until LATE west coast time. I start working shortly. I'm such an idiot! I don't have your e-mail. You e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org haha Your groom is AMAZING. No, seriously, you're going with the speed bumps, right? Broken glass – what's not bridal about that?!?! Reply Great post. Favorite part: " another venue told me that they were impressed with my typing skills " LOL for days… Reply Awesome. You go girl!!! Reply Yes!! Yes yes yes yes yes!! So why all the YES'? Well..when I got married for the first time in 2004… I was much younger and very unsure of myself. Still pretty unsure but I actually was supposed to be married in 2003. Why did I delay the wedding?? Because I felt like fat girls did not get married. Everywhere I looked I saw pretty thin (mostly white, which I am not either) getting married. Every site I went to, every everything. So I freaked…delayed my wedding but still never got thin enough and almost delayed it another year. So yes yes yes yes yes for being confident and telling the WIC to buzz off. YES to being yourself and comfortable and happy because you are you and you are great. This post is a wonderful lesson for all! Reply In my wedding planning process I had a few panic attacks because I "didn't deserve to get married" mainly because I wasn't thin enough, didn't enjoy micromanaging enough, and wasn't enthusiastically screaming "YES! PLEASE help me get rid of my last name, sense of self, and all identifying features just to me a MRS!!!!!!!" Luckily, whenever those voices creeped in I had enough people in my life (and OBB) to sing the song in my heart back to me. I think it happens more than people care to admit (then again, that's not very bridal of us to admit, is it?). 1 agrees Reply I so hope that you submit photos of your wedding to this site. I would LOVE to see it–I have absolutely no doubt it will be unique and beautiful!! Reply Even without the rest of your awesomeness, Elsa, anyone who refers to a cane as "thwacky stick of destruction" wins in my book. 1 agrees Reply I luv this post! Go Elsa; you embody the perfect bride because it IS YOUR DAY and you should feel free to be uniquely you! Celebrate you, your husband and your love not the dress! Reply My friend isn't blind, just wears glasses, and several people (including the women in the dress shop and her hair and makeup people) told her she shouldn't wear glasses as they 'weren't bridal'. Insanity. They are part of her, and even without the fact that she wouldn't have been able to see a bloody thing of her own wedding, she wouldn't have felt like her without them. I also love that cane! My boyfriend has one quite like it that he just likes to stalk around the house with (bless him), I keep telling him he should use it as part of his wedding outfit. Reply Just want to add my praise to the gang. this post just made me take a DEEP breath in and relax about the whole silly wedding process. i admire your attitude in dealing with silly people. and…you totally made my afternoon with the multitude of one-liners in the post! Reply I have no immediate or longterm prospects for getting married, but I stumbled onto this site through a friend today, and am loving the creativity here. And Snarkbat, how awesome are you!?! The Steamcane is seriously cool and I suspect the whole wedding will be too. The wedding vendors who ask you to be someone else for their own comfort–ecch. The best weddings I've been to *are* very individual and personal. Reply i really like this. huge cudos! Reply You're cool! i like you :} dont let those haters change you or try and make you something your not. i think you're awesome!!! Reply i love this post and i love yew. Reply Thank you so much for reminding us all that it is these differences in life that make us who we are and make us special. A wedding is about celebrating the love between two people and being genuinely happy that these two individuals are coming together for a lifetime. Instead, we use it as a time to make people feel inadequate for who they are or for wanting an experience that is different from “the norm”. In the end, it only matters that the bride and groom are happy because it is truly their day. Your fiancé fell in love with you for all that you are, I’m so glad you did not present a fake, watered down version of yourself for your wedding. Reply I think it's good that you shunned certain venues for non-support. I chose not to go with a dress shop that I originally loved because they made the comment 'you have to have parents with you to try prom dresses' in a vary stuck up way (assuming I was like 15/16, which I am not), when I was clearly looking at WEDDING dresses. Even when I explained the situation, you could tell they were dubious. So I left and got my dress elsewhere. I would have definitely went with them if they were polite, so they're only losing business for themselves by making presumptions. Reply if i didnt wear my glasses for my wedding i would have had a migraine before it was time to walk down the isle to my *quite* disabled husband. (you wouldnt believe the grief i got just for marrying him lol) i love that you didnt change who you are for someone elses idea of "perfect". i gotta ask tho. parkour??? im not coordinated to do that sighted, how on earth do you do that blind? **APPLAUSE** Reply I only just saw this comment – I did parkour very carefully, mostly I did the vaulting work and the running, but we tried to stay away from jumping ACROSS things that had gaps between them. Reply I loved reading your post! It's pretty inspirational. I also particularly love the cane – it's something that my SO would love (he's legally blind, has a cane, and loves all things steampunk). It's something I'd love to give to him as a gift – is there a tutorial of some sort for this? Reply Oh my gosh you rock so much! And that cane rocks! I totally think the WIC is in need of a kick in the pants. Taking off glasses, losing weight, getting extensions, why must we change the way we look to get married? Obviously our SOs love us enough to marry us with the way we look as is! I really love the fact that you are a burlesque historian and performer, that's the coolest most rocking job title I think I've ever read! Reply I thought about this post when I heard about brides who are using a nasogastric tube for liquid nutrition in order to lose weight for their wedding. The whole wedding thing (as well as the prom thing) has gotten so huge it overshadows everything else. It's like a Broadway opening for a show that closes after one night, on purpose. Here's to all the brides who push back when outside expectations are shoved at them. Reply I am a photographer and have looked into photographs fro the blind – something that interests me. Locally there is a special venue that deal with weddings for people with disabilities but especailly visibile impaired people.Windermere Manor in the Lake District. Its your day and you need to have it perfect and easy for you Reply GO, SNARKY!! <3 I can see and I STILL want your cane– its amazing! Reply I must say that I admire you, I can't swing dance to save my life and I'm only near sighted! I totally agree with your message, brides come in every shapes, sized and colours and genders for that matter, the wedding industry has to accept that not everyone is a cookie cutter bride. My friend had the same trouble as she's in a wheelchair and has limited use of her legs. She wanted a simple wedding with a knee length dress that wouldn't get caught in her wheels and found that bridal shop sales people grew impatient with her very fast as she had to have her friend's help to try on the dresses and venue owners looked at her strangely when they realized that their venue had to be wheelchair accessible because of the bride and not an aged relative upon meeting her. Still in the end, she had the wedding of her dreams and looked beautiful. I wanted to finish this by saying, I saw your wedding photos and look forward to seeing it profiled and think that your shell looks so neat! I totally agree with your hubby, I love your face in glasses too. Reply WOW, you rock, sword fighting and parkour and lindyhop. I can't do parkour and I'm sighted. The cane looks fab too and screw people who say x isn't bridal. If you're getting married and wearing or carrying or using it it's going to be bridal. Actually, it's not bridal, it's part of you and why should it be changed? Sorry, I can't get over the canes and wheelchairs aren't bridal comments. Some people are just so small minded. What do they expect people to do who use aids? leave them behind and fall over? I did not use one of our venue choices because although they could provide ramps for our wheelchair using guests they had obviously just added a brand new spa/gym area and hadn't bothered to include an accessible toilet. The venue we used had a lift, flat access and an accessible toilet! Reply as a wedding photographer who has spent the last two years with limited to zero sight in one eye (it depends on the day really), and a whole lot of nearsightedness in the other, this post touched my heart SO!!!!!!! GOOD FOR YOU (and your fiancee!) for not listening to everyone's stupidity!! i would be honored to be your vendor, non-brideyness and all! in fact, i consider it a plus congrats!!!!! Reply Please excuse me while I drool over your dress and shoes. Reply You look absolutely stunning! I just found out that I am now legally blind and I hope that some day I might be as lucky and look as stylish as you do on your wedding day. Very best wishes to you and your special man. Reply Pfffft, "not bridal". Who wrote the handbook on what IS bridal? Oh, that's right, there isn't one! Being 'bridal' is being yourself on YOUR wedding day. Brides should not feel pressured to conform to social norms, just because everybody else does it. Thankfully, more offbeat and 'rocknroll' indie weddings are cutting swathe in the wedding industry – and not a moment too soon! They are my preferred type of wedding to shoot – people who aren't afraid to stamp their individuality, and not give two hoots what anyone else thinks. That is what I will be doing on my future wedding day – and I am glad you did it on yours. You look like a doll, totally beautiful, gorgeous dress, stunning detailing….. and thwackity stick glamour! Reply All I can add is that she looks absolutely resplendent. Reply You look stunnig, absolutly georgous. The dress and the cane suit you perfectly. Its inspiring. Reply Wow! I have a lot of blindness in my family and there is a possiblity one day I could get the form of blindness that taunts our family. I just hope that if that day comes I deal with it in a dignified and awesome way you do. Businesses who discriminate in the way you have experienced do not deserve your business or anyone's. Life is about being you, regardless of disability. I hate the idea of having a standard one size fits all wedding. My wife and I just did what we wanted because at the end of the day it is only for you, it is only you that will look back on that day. It should be what you wanted it to be and it sounds like it was. You look stunning on the photo by the way I'm glad you did it your way. Much love Chris Reply You're awesome. You're wedding and don't change who you are for it. Awesome cane too. And your hubby sounds pretty cool with that joke too. I'm really nearsighted and no desire to wear contacts. I agree. My glasses are part of my face. totally get that. Reply You go girl! It's called "your special day" for a reason, not anybody else's special day (except your fiancé too). You took control of it, and you looked fierce! Congratulations Reply Just wanted to say, "YOU ROCK!" Bridal is what ever YOU as the bride wants it to be, not what everyone else tries to tell you it is. For the first time ever, I had cupcakes at a wedding instead of a wedding cake. I thought it was a cool idea so now that that same friend is expecting, we are having cupcakes for her baby shower. Reply Ok. Everything about you is awesome. From your amazing personality to your unique one of a kind, true beautiful self. So, let's talk about those SHOES! Seriously you are ROCKING it. Your wedding style is in my top 5 all time favorite wedding looks. Thanks for sharing! Reply The first thing I see is not the cane nor the glasses but that fab dress – I love the way the skirt falls / hangs – the whole look is amazing! – strong and individual – I love the fact that you've swapped the white cane for gold – but can you ever go back now though? – I don't think I could! I still can't believe that in 2014 people can still be so stuck in their ways, old fashioned and incredibly opinionated and insensitive – to ANY bride let alone someone who has a disability (that well lets face it – erm you can't really do anything about!!) that they've deemed doesn't quite work according to their norm! – how ruuuude! It's your day why should anyone have a say on even what colour your dress is let alone accessories which you actually kinda require!! you totally rock this look and I love this article – even if it has made me a little angry about how ignorant and insensitive people can be – but it sounds like you've bagged yourself a fab chap who gets you with a supportive nature and sense of humour – and great you avoided the idiotic vendors too! I wish you both all the best! x Reply You go girl! I'm legally blind and live in Perth, Western Australia. I've got a Guide Dog (Angus) but also use a white cane in places where I don't want to take Angus. I love that you have gotten an awesome cane made for your wedding and are going with vendors that aren't weird about you having a disability. We took Angus with us to meet our wedding coordinator and the resort couldn't have been more accepting. All the best with your wedding you rock! Reply You are a stunning bride. I absolutely LOVE that dress! I love this post even more. Congratulations on your wedding! Reply I would be very interested in any ideas you would suggest for a blind groom. He has only been blind for the past four years, but it is nearly total. I understand that he doesn't have to walk the isle, but there are so many things that I think I could do to help him get a full experience. For example, I am considering a textured/beaded gown, so that he can "see" what I am wearing. Please let me know any hints or tips you have. And I would like to say that I am very glad to hear that you do not allow anyone to talk down at or look down on you because of your disability. 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