Post # 1
While my whole wedding planning process hasn’t been an easy one, the part that I’ve been putting off the most is dealing with the practicalities of my father being disabled. My father has Parkinson’s disease and on most days needs a wheelchair to get around. Even on his best days he isn’t steady enough to walk down an aisle. Adding to the issue is the fact that he isn’t comfortable or in any way at peace with his condition. He was really angry that I wouldn’t elope so that he wouldn’t have to deal with it.
Anyway, I have two things that I need to figure out. First, the walk down the aisle. I think that the aisle is too narrow for him in his wheelchair and me next to him. Also, I have a train on my dress and my father will inevitably run it over and rip my dress. Of this I have no doubt, given past experience – he will then just get pissed because of the “GD Wheelchair!” I wanted my godfather to walk me to the front of the church, where he could hand me off to my father. My sister says that is stupid and that I should just walk alone. I’ve given up a lot in my wedding dreams, but being escorted down the aisle isn’t going to be one of them if I can help it. I know it sounds awful, but I don’t want my walk down the aisle on my wedding day to be a fiasco.
The second issue is the father/daughter dance. My father obviously cannot dance with me. It would be easy to dispense with, but I hate to deprive the fiance of his dance with his mother. Any ideas on how to handle this one?
Post # 3
I don’t have any ideas, but my friend’s husband has two parents who are blind and walk with canes. Theeir daughter did a lot of guiding for them and they did dance. Everybody thought it was sweet, even though it was obvious they both had a big disability.
Parkinsons is very frustrating; have you asked your father what he’d be most comfortable with? I know reminding him that nobody minds if he is disabled and takes longer or anything like that doesn’t always help.
Can you walk down the aisle alone maybe and have your father officially “hand you off” to your new husband or something like that?
Can he maybe rent a motorized slim-style wheelchair so he can walk you down the aisle? And maybe boogie in his chair to a dance with you? I’m guessing his attitude is really the frustrating part though.
Post # 4
I think your idea with your godfather is a good one. That gives you a chance to be escorted and to honor your father. I’m going to think about the dance, but I don’t see any reason why your Fi can’t dance with his mom.
Post # 5
- Wedding: June 2010 - The Mountain Terrace, Woodside, CA
This is really tough. I’m in a similar situation in that my dad is a stroke sufferer, and mainly gets around in his wheelchair in public, but can walk very, very slowly with a cane and leg brace. My dad has been insisting that he doesn’t want to walk me down the aisle, because he doesn’t want people looking at him. However, my mom thinks he will regret it if he doesn’t do it, so what we’ve decided to do is that I’ll walk out and across the meadow by myself, and my father will be waiting at the back of the aisle (likely sitting down because he can’t stand for long), and from there he will walk me down the aisle. We’re configuring it so that the aisle is only 7 chairs long, so it won’t be very far for him to travel, but I’ll still get the experience of him giving me away.
In your situation, with your dad in the wheelchair, could you maybe do something similar? I’m not sure how your ceremony will be set up, but maybe you could walk out by yourself, and then meet your dad part way? That way he’s not the focus of attention (since it sounds like he doesn’t want to be, just like my dad), but you would still get the experience? If the aisle isn’t wide enough for you to go side by side, maybe you can have one hand on his wheelchair, with him slightly in front of you, which would also protect the train of your dress? From a straight on photograph, I think that would still look great.
I hope this all works out for you!
Post # 6
I think your thought of your godfather escorting you down the aisle and then handing you off to your dad to take you the last couple feet is the best idea. Future Mother-In-Law suffers from Parkinsons as well, although she’s lucky enough to not have to use a wheelchair all the time her mobility is severely limited. She requested that if we had a big church wedding that she is either escorted or wheeled down the aisle by FH’s Brother-In-Law.
Or is there a way for you to have the aisle widened? Or are they fixed pews? That way you could have your sister (for example) wheel your dad down the aisle whilst you walk next to him.
Big hugs. I hope you find a solution that makes you and your dad happy.
Post # 7
Is there any way that instead of having your god father walk you down the aisle your mother can walk you down the aisle? This I think will symbolize the three of you as a strong unit.
My sister went through this type of situation because her Mother-In-Law is blind and confined to a wheelchair. She forego the father/daughter dance because she knew her husband would not be able to dance with his mother.
Maybe you can talk to your dad and let him know that he can dance in his wheelchair. Show him this:
Good Luck to you.
Post # 8
Ok, how about this, your godfather pushes your father down the aisle, with you holding on to your godfather’s arm as he is pushing your father, this way, the wheelchair is in front of you, and you are walking with your godfather side by side? As for the dance…instead of having your own father/daughter dance, dedicate a song and invite all of the fathers to ask their daughters to dance on behalf of your father?? this way, while that is going on, you can spend a little time with your father alone to thank him, which is the whole purpose of the dance.
Post # 9
I have a very similar situation. My father is dissabled and he has having a really hard time coming to grips with his role in the wedding.
Someone made a recomendation to me about him “giving” me away. I am planning to walk down the isle by myself and stop at him. I am going to hug him and give him my hand. He is going to take my hand and give it to my future groom.
For the father dautghter dance, we haven’t figured it out. Right now- there will only be the newlywed dance and no parental- children dances. If you have any good recomendations or have read any additional recommendations I would love to hear them!!
Thanks, good luck. I know this is so hard and something NO one seems to have good tips for. Maybe we should e-mail Martha Stewart!
Post # 10
@gailm: Someone made a recomendation to me about him “giving” me away. I am planning to walk down the isle by myself and stop at him. I am going to hug him and give him my hand. He is going to take my hand and give it to my future groom.
I love this idea!