A Wedding and a Wheelchair: Ashleigh’s Journey


A Wedding and a Wheelchair: Ashleigh’s Journey

DATE 25 June 2019

Ashleigh was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that limits her movement and coordination.

Facing difficulties with her wedding preparations, Ashleigh sent us an email, which really moved us and therefore we felt obliged to share her story with the wedding community.

Until recently, Ashleigh could walk with assisted walking aids, but due to other health related problems, she is now almost permanently in a wheelchair.

Thankfully Ashleigh’s case of cerebral palsy is moderate and therefore mostly affects her legs.
Ashleigh said: “My proposal was beautiful – it was in mine and my partner’s favourite park. For a moment I thought he was fastening his shoelace, until he took the ring out of his pocket. We went out for a lovely meal after to celebrate our engagement.”

Taking place in the stunning countryside, at South Causey Inn, this independent luxury hotel is situated in the heart of the beautiful Beamish Valley near County Durham.

Offering a wedding that Ashleigh and her partner have only ever dreamt of, there is no surprise they are both ready to fall in love all over again on their wedding day.

“We loved this venue from the moment we saw it. It has stunning surroundings but, most importantly, the staff were excellent and very understanding of my condition. They reassured us about the access and were the most welcoming venue we had visited,” Ashleigh said.

Ashleigh and her partner attended a local wedding show but sadly were not impressed by many of the exhibitors. She felt like the majority of people she met; found that being a disabled bride was an alien concept. “People kept asking us ‘who is the bride?’ when there was only myself and my fiancé there.”

With difficulty finding the dress of her dreams, due to her access needs, it was at this show however, where she met British Designer brand, House of Mooshki, who understood immediately all of Ashleigh’s needs and wants around finding the perfect dress, turning her dress shopping experience into a bride’s dream.

Ashleigh said: “They were friendly, welcoming and very interested in making a dress for me. We spoke about what I wanted and they explained how they would design the dress around my needs. House of Mooshki seemed genuinely excited about making my dress, as well as coming up with great solutions to the problems my chair causes. It was as if I was designing my wedding dress with my best friends, even though they had only just met me.

I hope they can lead the way for other designers with an open mind and an active interest in adapting to all kinds of disabilities and needs.”

Although Ashleigh has cerebral palsy she stills enjoys fashion and beauty and, like any other bride, she wanted to look and feel amazing on her big day.

Also helping towards making Ashleigh’s experience a joyful one, were Rings by Design. Ashleigh said: “They came out to see us at our house to design both of our rings, making it much easier than trying to get into the shops. The rings they have designed are beautiful and even designed to match perfectly with my engagement ring - which is an unusual shape and colour.”

Through sharing her story, Ashleigh is hoping to inspire future brides with disabilities and said: “I would love to see disabled brides and grooms be treated equally and represented at wedding fairs.

Not long before we started looking for a dress, I had heard of disabled manikins in shop windows. While this is great progress it still shows that many in the wedding trade are behind the times. The image of the ‘perfect wedding’, very much focuses on one kind of bride and from my experiences there is very little interest in adapting to fit the diverse person.

Please don’t be fearful of the chair - we are humans who want to enjoy our wedding day, just like everyone else. Most of the time, just by simply talking to us you will realise that, through our own personal experiences, we may already have a solution to our own problems.

Many were scared to talk to me to discuss my needs. Most of the time I can laugh away any comments but it’s much harder when you are trying to plan the biggest day of your life.”

With the same dreams, as any other bride, we wanted to help Ashleigh make a difference to ensure a disabled bride’s experience is just as perfect as any other.

Look out for Ashleigh’s Real Wedding featuring in the upcoming issue of Belle Bridal.
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