Weddings are highly stressful events at times, no matter how calm the future bride, groom or spouse actually is! There are so many tiny details from how you’d like your hair arranged to what transportation is arranged to get you to and from each particular part of the wedding.
One thing that was really important to me in particular as a bride who uses crutches and a wheelchair is to make sure that these wonderful mobility aids reflected the beauty of the event that I was attending. I hope you understand by now that I truly love my wheelchair; without it I couldn’t move around and would live a very static life filled with pain. My wheelchair is my freedom as I roll from place to place, allowing me as a bride to speak to my guests and dance with my husband after we had “tied the knot” officially. My crutches tell a similar story for me as I can’t walk very far even with crutches but the support of these allows me to stand unaided for stunning photos and also allowed me to walk the last few paces down the aisle to my husband who was waiting at the end. (I LOVE saying the word “husband” and don’t think that will ever get old!)
Due to the massive importance of my wheelchair and crutches, these pieces of equipment deserved decoration and needed to suit the aesthetic that I was trying to convey on the wedding day. My crutches are normally a metallic bright pink which is not quite a colour that suited the colour scheme of our May wedding personally!
I decided foremost that the spokes of the wheelchair would look sleek and chic if they were covered in plastic piping. You can buy bicycle spoke covers easily off of online sites or choose to buy slightly more expensive ones that are specifically marketed for wheelchair users. Personally, I chose the simple bicycle plastic spoke covers and Richard and I covered the spoked of my wheels. These are not dissimilar to very thick straws with a slit down one side so they are used for aesthetic reasons over your spokes. This made a clean backdrop for the next decorations and also is a wonderful piece of adaptation that I have actually kept on my chair since the wedding.
For the actual wedding day, I decided I would make floral wreaths for the wheels of my manual wheelchair with greenery and artificial florals that fitted our colour scheme and also matched all of the centrepieces and bouquets which I was proud to have made myself! We found it fairly easy actually to just add tie wraps around the wreaths which were hidden by the faux greenery; these wrapped around the backs of my spokes and secured the wreaths onto my wheels tightly. I thought this gave my wheelchair a really lovely splash of colour whilst softening the effect to give a very bridal aesthetic. It also helped as I couldn’t always hold my actual bouquet as a wheelchair user whilst self-propelling so the wheel greenery ensured that I always had a pop of our colour scheme on me to add that extra sparkle to the day!
My crutches definitely needed considerable work as they started off as being a metallic hot pink which would have definitely clashed with the wine red that Richard and I chose together as our predominant colour within our colour scheme. Rather than permanently spraying them, I bought some beautiful ivory ribbon online and wrapped this around the coloured segments, hot glue gunning the ends neatly to the top and bottom of the segment. This gave a sheen to the top half of the crutches whilst still allowing them to be collapsible and adjustable (we were travelling in a vintage car with a limited boot space after all!) so I didn’t want to impact on the actual functional qualities of the crutch. Again, I would struggle to hold my actual bridal bouquet often whilst using the crutch for support as I would be wrapping my palm around the handle of the crutch rather than having it free to grip a bouquet handle. Therefore, I decided to add a floral decoration to each of my crutches with similar greenery and florals to those used throughout our wedding decor. I ensured that I left enough space for my fingers to wrap around the handle before the florals began but I really wanted to emphasise the feminine beauty that I see behind my crutches; they helped me mobilise on the best day of my life so far. My crutches support me and help me traverse areas in which my wheelchair may limit me slightly and I see beauty in each of my pieces of mobility equipment.
Of course, we couldn’t possibly have fun wedding decorations without something that perfectly suits the party and fun that we had later on in the Reception! I’ve seen these wonderful light-up castor wheelchair wheels online that flash in multi-coloured waves as you move and, as the true glitter ball that I am, I was certainly yearning over them! However, spending over £45 per wheel seemed ridiculous in advance of our wedding as it seemed like an extra expenditure that I really didn’t need to have. I did find though a little way around this and saw some really amazing rechargeable light-up bicycle spoke lights which circled the centre of the spokes of my wheels and flashed in multicoloured vibrancy when manually turned on. These didn’t quite fit the inner circle of my manual wheels so I did a slight “botch job” of hot glue gunning them to the metal to ensure they didn’t move throughout the evening partying. These have easily been removed though with no damage to the chair!
Honestly, there is no obligation to personalise or decorate your mobility aids at all but I definitely think it injected a little of my personality and our colour scheme into everything as I mobilised. I love to make a statement with my wheelchair and you will often find me with seasonal decorations such as turning my “ride” into a sleigh at Christmas or even just decorating my wheels with tinsel and fairy lights. My wheelchair or crutches were on almost every single one of my wedding photos so it was very important to me that they aesthetically tied in with the themes of our wedding but also that they represented the absolute beauty of disabled people and how freeing these pieces of equipment are.
We’re married now but I will be continuing my blog with a dual theme of accessible travel and inclusive weddings and I have some really fun partnerships and projects coming up. Thank you all for bearing with me during my periods of particularly ill health and I appreciate each and every follower!
Top image by Hayley Gell at www.HayleyGellPhotography.com or @HayleyGellPhotography on Instagram