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by Michelle Martinez & Christy Matthews
The Big Wedding Planning Podcast

#266 Accessibility and Inclusion at Your Wedding


Kelly Bron Johnson is an Autistic and Hard of Hearing self-advocate, author, and founder of Completely Inclusive, which is a consultancy helping businesses transform their company culture to be inclusive and accessible to ALL. She lives in Montreal, QC, Canada with her husband and two boys. Her passion is to help people, and make all things easier for everyone. 25% of the population of the US and Canada has a disability, that’s 1 in 4. It is something that definitely needs to be talked about. Big Takeaways When planning, and making accommodations for certain guests, you can ask them what would make it easier for them. This is, on course, is easier for people you are close to. Crowd sourcing can help, if you are not as close to the guests with disabilities. Weddings are difficult, but you can do things that are going to help a vast majority of people. It only takes a little extra labor. And you might be surprised that more people than you expected take advantage of the accommodations you make. None of this has to be hush hush. Talk about it. There are so many people around us with disabilities and special needs, and they should never have to automatically feel like a burden because of that. We can make it more normal to just accommodate everyone. What is Pagan Handfasting? Earth worshiping religion that follows the cycles of nature and the moon. Old tradition of Celtic hand fasting - joining together of two households, arms are tied together with ribbon during the ceremony. Promise to stay together a year and a day, considered a trial relationship and any child conceived would be taken care of equally, but if they don’t stay together, they make a choice to untie a ribbon and walk away from each other and the kids will still be taken care of equally by each parent. Every year, you decide as a couple if they want to continue the commitment. Extra Tips: - Include notes on your wedding website, encouraging those with special needs to reach out - A room for guests to pop into when they need to decompress or step away is an awesome option. You have to let the guests know too! - Provide accommodations to everyone when possible. - Provide a bowl of cheap earplugs so any one can grab them. - Ask about food allergies or aversions Links We Referenced kbronjohn.club (https://kbronjohn.club) completementinclusif.org/en_US (https://completementinclusif.org/en_US/) intersectionsonthespectrum.com (https://intersectionsonthespectrum.com) Quotes “The disability community is the largest minority group that you can become a part of at any time in your life. You could have an accident. You could become sick. Anything could happen. And as we age, a lot of us join the disability community. So it’s not just about who you are right now, it’s also planning ahead for the future of what could be and what could happen.” - Kelly “As much as she knows her brother best, her brother knows himself best. You can have a collaborative session, brain storming session. What would work for you, what would you like to do, how would you like to feel included.” - Kelly “Getting diagnosed really helped me to understand. And it helped me to put boundaries. And to accept that, you know what, I’m not going to do everything the way that other people do. And it’s not really useful to try and force myself to do these things. It gave me a way to accept myself and also to say no to certain things and say, 'I’m going to do it my way, and it’s okay.’” - Kelly “It’s not just about wheelchairs, sometimes it’s about including people in different ways.” - Kelly We're able to produce this podcast because of YOUR support. 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by Michelle Martinez & Christy Matthews