In the United States, one in four people has a disability, which likely increases when we include injuries and invisible disabilities. Those like type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, or neurodivergence. It is not unreasonable, therefore, that many people need accommodations, including your partner. This post will discuss suggestions and considerations when planning a proposal to a differently abled partner. Please note if you need your own accommodations, take those into consideration as well when planning your proposal. We will discuss various tips to consider making your wedding proposal realistic, accessible, and personalized to your partner.
Equally important, we have another post about preparing your perfect proposal that is worth checking out. Really, this should not be very different from any other proposal except for accommodations. So maybe a rollercoaster proposal won’t work here, or maybe it will! Check out our post for some additional ideas. Additionally, we have a post about alternative commitment pieces, so if a ring is out, we’ll show you some other options.
For all the internet has to offer, you may be hard-pressed to find any resources about this kind of proposal. This is especially surprising considering the statistics. It is not unusual to ask for food allergies from guests, which is just another kind of accommodation. So, here we will focus on a much-needed gap in wedding planning: the accommodating proposal. Let’s look at the venue, positioning, words, and accommodations.
One of the more important parts to consider for planning is the proper venue for your partner’s needs. If they use any walking aids, make sure the venue is accessible and there is a place to sit. A nice candlelit dinner may be the ticket. It’s classy, timeless, and accommodating. If your partner has an issue with loud noises, then skip the fireworks and laser tag for now. Maybe you and your partner have a favorite spot to go, one where you met or had your first date. If they went well, consider playing up the sentimentality and nostalgia factors. You can live on the wild side and try a new activity your partner has been hinting at. Or, if you can work it out, a romantic scavenger hunt that culminates with a proposal.
Whatever venue you choose, make sure to call ahead to confirm that they indeed have the required accommodations, if not your secret plan as well. It would be greatly disappointing to do all the planning and find out they are missing essential features. Here is where you can focus a good chunk of time and research if you don’t already have the perfect place in mind. Make a list of things to include and things to avoid when researching venues. Make sure to call to confirm the website is updated. If you are an adventurous couple, you may want to do an activity together. Remind your partner of your bond and all the future adventures you will take together. Linda Chester, founder of the Health Hour, says, “If you or your partner are visually impaired, consider going to a sensory garden for adventure of touch, smells, and sounds for a truly unique experience that leads into your proposal. Having a unique and special proposal only takes some creativity and planning!” Or maybe a weekend trip to nowhere with all of their favorite snacks. And that one shoppe that has the fudge to die for. Here is where it takes knowing your partner’s needs to prepare for them. You know your partner’s needs best and we are confident you can find the spot that will make this moment magical. Now that we have a venue, let’s also take a closer look at positioning.
It might go without saying but we will say it, anyway, make sure when you are ready to propose that you have access to your partner. It might seem romantic to reach over the table and pop that box open but not if it means your sleeve catches on fire. We recommend still getting on one knee if it is reasonable for that classic feel. If it is not a desired position, or doesn’t match your proposal vision, then feel free to choose what works. Just remember your partner’s abilities and how best to pick a suitable position for the big question. This is especially important if they use their hands for mobility so you may put the ring on or a commitment piece when they say YES! A simple reminder to consider, though it seems straight forward. A final consideration in this area is that if your partner cannot wear a ring, or does not want to, we also have posts on alternatives to rings that is a great read for anyone going alternative. Another big consideration is the words you choose, so that’s up next.
Again, we have covered much of this in another post but let’s apply it here. The words are worth planning so you can say how you feel and make your partner feel special. A little practice is wise so that you don’t stumble during the main event. You do not need to call attention to your partner’s disability unless it is one of your personal inside jokes. This moment is more about sentimentality, sharing why you choose this person forever and getting them excited to marry you.
Now, if your partner is hard of hearing or D/deaf, this may be a possible accommodation. If you haven’t learned American Sign Language yet, or are in the process, it may be worth hiring an interpreter or asking a friend to assist. Better yet, ask them to help you sign it yourself as the beginning of your lessons. If your partner has a support animal feel free to include them in the proposal even if only by name. These little details will make your partner feel seen and loved for exactly who they are. And with any additional planning and making this experience personalized for your partner, you may want to keep your words simple and break out the Shakespeare another night, Romeo. It is likely your partner and you have already discussed an engagement (and if not, you might want to). It is also likely that they know how much you love and care for them and will be ecstatic to answer. Keep it genuine, keep it personal, and keep it simple.
We do know there are certain times that mentioning a disability in the proposal is appropriate. Only you can decide that though. Maybe your partner has a progressive illness that will leave them blind or with limited mobility. You may want to say you will be with them no matter what happens to take care of them and love them. You know your partner and you know what is respectful within your dynamic. Just speak from your heart. Lastly, we will examine some accommodations that may be on the list and some you haven’t thought about.
It is worth noting again that you may want to consider the kinds of accommodations you may need. Whether it is a support animal, an interpreter, any equipment, or general requirements of the venue, double check everything is in good working order and available. Have back ups if needed and make sure everything is charged. Bring a bag just in case with essentials like medicines. Coordinate with the people who are helping and be clear about what you need. Again, this is not different from a typical proposal except for the extra flair. But you do want your comfort as possible for several reasons. You want them to be able to focus on you, you want to show them you understand what they need, and you want them to feel the love you have for them. So, now you have the basics to start planning your proposal to your disabled partner.
Congratulations on taking this huge life step, and for finding your person. We are glad to assist in this incredible process and help you along in your journey. Remember to check out our other related articles for some additional tips and ideas for a proposal and separately, alternative commitment pieces.
Here, we have discussed considerations about a venue that is accessible and friendly to your needs. We have explored making yourself accessible to propose. We have covered what to say, and finally. Considerations about accommodations. Of course, we may not have covered your exact needs but hopefully we have given some helpful suggestions to get you started on a proposal to your disabled partner. With so many kinds of disabilities there are not enough resources to cater to this population. So, this is a start.
We are confident that you will make the choices that your partner would appreciate. Choices that show how much you care and pay attention and want them to be happy. That they will be overjoyed the love of their life is proposing. The hard part is over. Now, it’s just time to show them how much you love them. Best of luck on your journey!