Tips For Planning A Sensory-Friendly Wedding by Clay Reese

(image: Unsplash, Jakob Owens)

Your wedding day is meant to be a truly special time, a day to celebrate your love with friends and family. Once you’re engaged, you’ll likely find many people want to know what you’re doing for the wedding – with some people expecting a big, showy day, with everyone in your extended family getting an invite. 

Weddings are exciting, but they can also be overwhelming, especially if you don’t love large social gatherings or find the fuss and fanfare that traditionally comes with the day a little anxiety-inducing. However, the most important thing about your wedding day is that it is right for you and your partner, not what everyone else expects from you. Here, we show you how you can still have a dream wedding day, but keep things calm and sensory-friendly. 

Get comfortable with your venue

Often, couples have one chance to view their venue before booking, and then they might only get one visit in before the big day. This is especially true if it’s a popular venue, or you want to get married in peak season. Unfortunately, this can leave you feeling a little unsettled on the day of your wedding, since you aren’t familiar with the space and don’t have your own familiar things around you. 

If this is something you’re concerned about, you may want to opt for a less popular venue, or one that you’re already familiar with, such as a local church, hall or even a family home. This will allow you to make several visits before the big day, so that you feel comfortable with your surroundings and can relax and enjoy the moment.

Keep things small- if that’s what you want

Big weddings can come with a lot of noise, talking and a huge amount of people to organise. Keeping things small and only inviting your closest friends will mean that you don’t have as much sensory input to deal with, but it also means they’re likely to respect your needs. If you have any specific requirements, consider communicating this with your guests beforehand, so you can arrive assured that no one is going to cross your boundaries.

Making the decision about your guest list as soon as possible will allow you to speak to people well in advance of the big day, and handle those conversations in the best setting for you, whether that’s written, over the phone or in person.

Consider your outfit

Weddings usually mean wearing a special dress or suit, but sometimes those with sensory issues can find the feel of certain fabrics or seams can cause problems. If this is the case for you, then make sure to find a dressmaker, tailor or clothing brand that you feel comfortable with, so that you’re not distracted by your outfit on the day. 

Wear ear plugs

Even with a small number of guests and a quiet venue, there can still be a lot of stimulation if you’re sensitive to noise. Wearing discreet ear plugs can allow you to soften the impact of this noise and enjoy your day without getting overwhelmed. There are plenty of subtle options available, but if you’re worried about them being obvious in your wedding photos, you could take them out for the solo and couple shots, since it’s just likely to be you and your photographer at this time.

(image: Sooz at Unsplash)

Plan for breaks

When planning your day, work with your venue so that you don’t feel rushed or under pressure at any time. Incorporate plenty of breaks into the schedule, and make sure you leave some time for just you and your partner to soak up the joy after the ceremony. You could go for a walk, or sit quietly in a separate room – whatever you need, speak to your venue to make sure you can get that special time. Not only will this help you deal with any sensory overwhelm, but it’s also just a really lovely way to celebrate together and take your first moments as a married couple.

A calmer day

By carefully planning your day to meet your needs, you can relax and enjoy the wedding planning process. Invite your closest friends and family, raise a glass, and celebrate your love together in a way that is perfect for you.

Clay Reese is a blogger and digital media expert.