Friday, July 18, 2014
Accommodating Elderly Wedding Guests
Your wedding is a special day for you and your entire family. When it comes to planning, its important to remember the part of the family that may need a little more attention. Oftentimes when we are looking for the perfect reception venue we are focusing on the party and not if the restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Here are some things to keep in mind that can make sure that grandma and grandpa enjoy the celebration as much as everyone else.
***Not all elderly require any special consideration and this post is not meant to be ageist or demeaning in any way.
The elderly want to enjoy the party as much as everyone else, and with a little extra consideration on your part you can make that possible. Things to consider are uneven terrain and hillsides or even stairs at your ceremony site (like the picture above). If you do not consider mobility when looking for your different wedding sites, then it could end up becoming a huge issue that you have to deal with on your wedding day. Before you do any planning, figure out if there are any elderly guests that you will be inviting and find out what their limitations might be. A good question to ask yourself is "will they be able to walk?" Do they need assistance with a cane or maybe just need an escort? A valet may also be something to keep in mind so your guests, all of them, don't have to make the trek from the parking lot to the front door. This is especially important if the parking lot is gravel. An unconventional venue like a barn, which has been such a huge trend for a while now, might not have wheelchair ramps and will most likely only have gravel or dirty parking areas. Other privately owned and unconventional venues will be similar. Historical sites, such as mansions, museums, and gardens might also have difficulty accommodating your elderly guests.
Lets say that you fall in love with a venue and absolutely have to have it, but they don't have any ramps to accommodate guests with those needs. Well, you can rent ramps from companies or even if you are up to it, build one on your own.
Bathrooms are another issue as a lot of outdoor venues or unconventional venues might not have restrooms on site. You may need to hire port-o-potties or a restroom trailer, which are usually not at all handicap accessible. Speaking of outdoor weddings, especially in the ever popular summer months, it is beyond HOT. While most of your guests can sit through your ceremony for a half hour, your elderly guests may not be able to handle the heat at all. Try to compromise by finding an outdoor space that allows for some type of shade and provide some bottled water or small fans for guests to try to beat the heat. *Bonus-make fans that double as programs for your guests and kill two birds with one stone.
Lastly, many elderly have a regimented medication schedule that they follow daily. You may have to designate a trusted friend or family member to make sure those that take pills are taking them when they are supposed to. Also, some elderly will have a caregiver and you need to be aware of this information so you can accommodate them as well.
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