Going to the Chapel…wait, how are we going to get there?

It’s only the momentous occasion most little girls look forward to all their young lives. Tomboy or girly girl we all dream about the day when we will don a beautiful white dress and walk down the aisle to say “I do” to the love of our life. As grown women, many of us have vivid memories of putting on elaborate pretend weddings with our little girlfriends during a slumber party or play date. We would rummage through our mother’s closet, draping our prepubescent bodies in her old, outdated dresses, caking our soft baby skin with overwhelming amounts of her makeup. Somehow, a fight always erupted over who was going to be the bride and who got stuck being the bridesmaids. This imaginative play usually involved the only neighborhood boy being forced against his will to serve as groom. Ahhh, those were the days! Am I right ladies?

The wedding day is a rite of passage for most young women; it is the moment when our long awaited fairytale comes true. Growing up we fantasize about every detail, what our dress will look like, the flowers and décor, and most importantly we envision our prince charming standing at the end of that aisle gazing adoringly into our eyes. We are so caught up in our romantic bridal fantasy, we neglect to recognize one of the most vital wedding roles; the all important bridesmaid. It is safe to say that many of us will don an infamous bridesmaids dress at some point in our lives. In fact, a good majority of us will become experts in bridesmaid etiquette before we ourselves become brides to be.

Well, that time has arrived in my young life. Yes, I have come to the age where my friends are bidding farewell to their single lives and taking the plunge into that little sacrament called marriage.

Lately, my facebook feed has become a constant stream of engagement announcements and flashy diamond ring photos. I have attended the weddings of a few friends and family members over the past few years, but haven’t been in a wedding since I served as the coveted flower girl in my cousin’s 1992 wedding. This past July, I got the ecstatic call from my best friend telling me she had just gotten engaged. Now this isn’t just an ordinary friend, this girl is practically my other half. We have been friends since we were in diapers and can practically finish each other’s sentences. Through the many highs and many lows of our young lives, we have been each other’s rock. She was an incredible source of strength when I suffered my spinal cord injury at the age of 12, and she has remained one of my biggest cheerleaders. It was inevitable from a very early age that we would be in each other’s weddings, but when she formally asked me to serve as a bridesmaid, I became overwhelmed with emotion and a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation. Never have I felt so unbelievably honored.

The big day is June 16, 2012 and the planning has been going along swimmingly. Everything is pretty much in place except for one MAJOR problem. You know how there is a general karmic rule that something has to go wrong. Apparently there is a universal consensus among the public that people in wheelchairs do not A.) Get married B.) Attend weddings or C.) Attend any formal function that involves the use of limousines. Yes, that’s right folks; I have found yet another plight for the wheelchair community (like we don’t already have enough to deal with). It’s another area where ignorance is rearing its ugly head. Finding a wheelchair accessible limousine or party bus company is like trying to locate a needle in a haystack; virtually impossible. I need to find that needle really soon or I will be forced to drive my own van to my best friend’s wedding. This saddens me to even think about. After searching high and low through what seems like thousands of limo, party bus and trolley companies we have found just ONE prospect. A 50 passenger King Ward bus seems to be our only option. That’s right, a big ole bus! A 50 passenger bus for a bridal party of 16, how practical is that? We might as well invite the entire guest list of the wedding to join us. And you know how a king ward bus just screams elegance and romance! (insert sarcasm). I can just see us now pulling up to the church in this massive bus, onlookers would probably wonder if there is a musical group or band on tour.

So after running out of virtually all of our options, I had one last glimmer of hope. I thought of YOU! I told my friend that the ilivewithadisability.com community is full of ideas and insight. So, I’m writing this blog to ask for your help! Can you help me with a solution to this predicament? What are your ideas? I want to hear from you!

7 thoughts on “Going to the Chapel…wait, how are we going to get there?”

  1. Maureen,
    First Question…Where do you live? I understand your frustration… no one should have to feel like the odd person out on what is meant to be an inclusive occasion. Have you tried the online listings @ the boulevard.com? When you Googled “accessible travel options for your city, what came up? Sorry if this sounds like the 3rd degree, trying to help 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for your reply. I am from western massachusetts and after not finding anything locally, I have searched for trolley and party bus companies in all of Mass and Ct. I found 2 trolley companies that provide lifts on their trolleys but one company is all booked up and the other hasn’t responded to me. Its just ridiculus that this is another area where those in wheelchairs are overlooked.

  3. Maureen,

    You’re right. This is just another area (in the long list of many), where most people don’t think. I have an idea, but I’m not sure it would work… I am making some assumptions here (please forgive me) As I see it, the problem is not getting You into the limo, so much as your chair. I’m afraid I need to ask more questions first…sorry.
    What type of limo are they considering using? The basic stretch, or a Suburban , or which?

    looking forward to your reply,
    Nessie 🙂

  4. We are looking to rent at party bus or tolley. While I do have the ability to transfer into a limo, its just going to provide more stress for me because then I have to worry about fixing my dress and situating myself in my chair. If it were just a casual outing where I wasn’t in full formal attire, I would have no problem transferring in and out of a vehicle. I don’t think my friend wants that added stress either.
    We just want a simple party bus or trolley. In fact, it should be easy to make any party bus accessible and I am in complete shock that I have not found one party bus that is accessible. We did hear back from one wedding trolley company and they may have and accessible trolley for us…our fingers our crossed very tightly at the moment!

    Thanks so much for your input and advice! Please do not apologize for asking questions, I appreciate you even taking the time to read my blog and responses!

  5. Hi Maureen,
    I had another thought… Would the trolley company let you come to their lot beforehand to see if their accessible transport will work for you? At least then It wouldn’t be such a crapshoot, maybe.
    When my husband (also with CP) and I married, we did not have this issue, in that all of our guests with disabilities could manage their own transport. Although, I can see where it would be easy to feel left out if Wes had had a Stag night. We were fortunate.
    My thought was to rig a type of ramp if necessary, but I see that may not be useful. I’ll keep thinking 🙂
    Nessie

  6. I am happy to say the issue has been resolved! We are going with a big bus because it is the cheapest(a very good deal). Since she has such a big wedding party, we will have room to spread out and be comfy!! I guess everything works out in the end!! THANK YOU GUYS FOR YOUR HELP AND ADVICE!!! It means a lot!!

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