Congratulations on your engagement! There’s a lot to look forward to when planning a wedding, but if you use a wheelchair, putting your look together may seem a bit more difficult. In this article, Jack Jahan from Ramsdens Jewellery shares his styling tips to help wheelchair users plan their bridal outfits with ease.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed when planning your wedding, don’t worry — you’re not alone. A recent wedding survey revealed that over half of brides (51%) find the whole process stressful, a statistic that is undoubtedly higher for brides with disabilities (Independent). And, one of the most daunting prospects for any bride is finding the perfect wedding day look to say “I do” in.
For brides who use a wheelchair, it can be even more difficult to find an outfit that is both flattering and comfortable. Plus, the physical effort required to try on dresses can make the experience draining rather than exciting. And, considering that the survey found that brides will try on four different wedding dresses on average before settling on one, that’s a lot of time to spend in the fitting room.
Fortunately, the right amount of planning and preparation may drastically reduce the amount of time and effort you have to put in before you find your dream wedding attire. To help, I’ve put together some styling tips for finding the right outfit for your needs, so you can start to plan your shopping trip with confidence.
Jewellery and accessories
A fantastic option available to all brides is to choose a simple dress, then go all out with your accessories instead. Many people find this a more comfortable option. From wearing statement earrings to layering necklaces, you can pile on as much bling as you like, or select a few high-quality pieces to create the look you’re going for — after all, it is your wedding day!
No matter your style, fine diamond jewellery is the perfect way to add sparkle and luxury to your look. Not only will they complement whichever outfit you choose, but you can cherish the pieces you wear forever and re-wear them as often as you like. Popular jewellery combinations for weddings include diamonds and pearls, because they’re so versatile and can be worn with most wedding outfits.
If you’re going to wear a lot of jewellery, it’s recommended that you wear your hair in an up-do so you can show it off. You can even talk to your stylist about incorporating more sparkle into your hairstyle to suit, or try adding some accompanying shimmer through your bridal make-up.
Sometimes, brides with disabilities can worry that people will only see their wheelchair when they head down the aisle. So, you may be tempted to cover it up to keep the attention on you. However, no bride should feel like they have anything to hide on their wedding day, so consider making your chair part of your look by co-ordinating it with your outfit. For example, if you’re opting for a summery flower crown, why not dress your chair with matching garlands?
Hemline, neckline, and sleeves
Having your wedding dress fitted to your body is a must for any bride, including those who use a wheelchair. If you’re wearing a gown, your hemline needs to hit just the right length to be safe as well as stylish. Too much material could get caught and snag, or jam your wheels depending on the chair you use. If you prefer a short or tea dress, your bridal tailor will be able to adjust the skirt so that it is the most appropriate length for you. It’s a good idea to discuss tailoring options and inform the bridal shop of your specific needs when you book your appointment.
Remember that certain necklines and sleeve lengths will work better with your wedding jewellery. For example, if you plan to wear a few necklaces or a pendant, it’s best to avoid high, detailed, or illusion necklines. Similarly, long sleeves including lace can clash with your bracelets, so an angel, flutter, or short sleeve is recommended if you don’t want to wear strapless gown. When it comes to earrings, a pair of diamond studs will work perfectly with any dress. But, if your gown is on the simpler side, why not go for a pair of statement drop earrings?
Choosing a fit and style
Wedding dresses today look a lot different than they did a decade ago. While the ballgown and princess look was considered the peak wedding dress style, today we tend to favour more trumpet, A-line, and empire looks. This is great news for wheelchair user brides who want to follow the latest fashions, as too much material can become cumbersome. Instead of struggling with lots of layered skirts, you can opt for something light and comfortable like a silky slip dress, or a bohemian chiffon gown. You could also consider cool separates, such as a matching top and skirt or trouser.
More importantly though, there’s a greater emphasis on the individual, which means there’s a much broader scope and range of trending dresses to choose from. There are more options for detailing today than just lace and beadwork, and many more colours available too — we’re spoilt for choice! All this means that each bride has much more autonomy over their look than ever before, so it’s far easier to find a dress that suits you and is comfortable to wear — without sacrificing style.
Perfecting your wedding look isn’t easy for any bride, but for those who use a wheelchair, it can be even more of a challenge. These styling tips should help you plan your outfit with ease and confidence, leaving you more time to spend looking forward to your special day.