When you’re planning a wedding, the number of things you need to consider can at first appear endless. One of the first big decisions you’ll need to make will be the venue for your ceremony, as well as where you’re holding the reception.
With a vast range of spaces now available, from beaches to barns, and even theatres, it can be easy to get caught up in the romance of the idea and push away thoughts of practicalities.
However, part of the secret to you and your guests having a great day is to think about how logistics will work at your chosen venue. With one in seven people in Ireland stating that they have a disability, it’s definitely worth considering if there is anything you can do in order to make the day enjoyable for everyone. This is also helpful for those who may not consider themselves disabled, but have mobility issues or hearing loss.
1. What is the access to the venue like?
Consider how your guests will get into the venues you’ve chosen. Can those who need to park close to the entrance? Are there any tight corridors that might make it difficult for someone in a wheelchair, and are the doorways wide enough for them to get through? If there are stairs, is there a solid handrail? Could a ramp be hired and fitted?
2. The ceremony and reception
Hearing loss is something that is harder to notice, but could affect someone’s enjoyment of your day. Consider making sure those who have hearing difficulties can sit closer to the front, or ask if the venue has an induction loop for those with hearing aids.
Additionally, if you have guests in wheelchairs, ideally make sure that they can move around the room as freely as everyone else – or else ensure they aren’t left alone in a corner. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, make sure that paths are solid, or ask the venue if a temporary path can be laid. Not only does this help those with mobility issues, it saves everyone getting muddy feet if it rains beforehand.
3. Bathrooms and bedrooms
Are there accessible bathrooms? If your guests are staying at the venue, are there accessible bedrooms? Ideally, these spaces would be easy for guests to access, without the need to get a member of staff to unlock doors every time, or having to go around the back of a building to a hidden lift.
4. General facilities
If you have guests who may need to take medication, or simply have a quiet space, check out if this is possible. This is also a good thing to consider if you have parents with young children or breastfeeding mothers, especially if they’re not staying at the venue.
If guests are staying and you’re expecting them at breakfast the next day, check if the route to the dining area is accessible. If it’s a buffet, ensure they can get to the food easily, or consider a table service option.
5. How do you communicate this information?
Getting the answer to these questions when you tour the venue can make it easier for guests to plan their attendance. Consider sending out this information, perhaps with your invitations or via email, so that no one has to search for pictures or worry about how it might affect them being with you on your big day. By doing this, you’re sending a message to your guests that you want them there, to enjoy your special day with you as comfortably as possible.
Jervise Penton is a content producer and researcher from Plymouth. Apart from his projects, he also attends different conferences and events on business marketing, sustainability, ethical standards, and employment.