Your wedding day is likely designed to cater to your preferences and wishes. It's important to make sure your guests feel comfortable and are able to enjoy the day, too. Guests with accommodation needs may feel uncertain whether attendance is even a possibility for them, but you can ease their minds by taking precautions to ensure everyone has what they require.
Ask on the RSVP
Guests may feel anxious about reaching out to inquire about accommodations. To relieve some of this worry, take the initiative to contact them yourself.
RSVPs often include a space for dietary restrictions, because you want to make sure that every guest can enjoy the whole party. It logically follows that, if you are serving food, everyone will want something they can actually eat.
Include a space for accessibility needs on the RSVP as well. While some guests may feel comfortable asserting their requirements without prompting, others may simply decline the invitation because they assume the venue won't work for them. By intentionally asking for requests through the invitation itself, you communicate that their presence is valued. When they respond that they will happily attend, they can also let you know how to make doing so possible.
Survey the Venue
Once you know what your guests need, the next step is working with the venue to make sure it can accommodate them. Most venues will already have a lot of universal design elements in place:
- Ramp access
- Elevators to higher levels
- Wheelchair accessible restrooms
- Grab bars
- Automatic doors
When you tour the location, if you see something that may be an issue for a guest on your big day, ask the coordinator for workable options. A professional venue should be willing and able to provide reasonable accommodations.
While the building itself may be fully accessible, those in charge of setup and serving also should be aware of guests' needs. This should not be a problem, especially if they have a lot of experience with weddings. Remember, they are there to make the day go smoothly for everyone involved, but they can't meet requirements they don't know anything about.
If there are specific paths you want your photographer or waitstaff to avoid so that they don't block the view or the mobility of a guest, they should have that information while they're making their plans. Those who set up chairs and tables should be advised of any extra space they have to account for. If members of the wedding party need to make changes to the standard plan for entrances and exits, let everyone whose work the change could affect know about it in advance.
Take Extra Precautions
No matter how much information you receive from guests, it is likely that there will be unforeseen things that arise. You can resolve some of these issues by taking extra precautions in your planning. For example, the venues for the wedding and reception may be able to accommodate needs, but do guests require special consideration concerning travel between the two? When planning for accommodations, it's crucial to keep the whole day in mind.
Be proactive about possible invisible needs. For example, those who are hard of hearing (or simply sitting further back in the crowd) may benefit from closed captioning on any video that you show. A sign language interpreter is always a good failsafe so that no one misses what the people up front are saying. It's also a good idea to remind guests that heightened sensory factors such as flash photography may be present so that they can make any adjustments before it becomes a surprise issue.
Your special day is meant to bring you fond, lasting memories. When you take accommodation needs into account, it can have the same effect for all your guests.