Why this wedding shop is getting praise for its wheelchair window display
As a queer disabled person, it’s not often that I get to see myself or other people like me represented in the wedding industry. Things are always shifting, and even stores like David’s Bridal have included interracial lesbian couples in their television ads. But as overjoyed as I always am to see two brides, two grooms, nonbinary people and bi/queer couples in wedding ads and on vendors’ Instagram profiles, it’s rare to see LGBTQ+ relationships plus mobility aids.
This week, the wedding shop The White Collection Bridal Boutique in Portishead, England, went viral for including a wheelchair in one of their window displays with wedding dresses, according to BBC. The display features a mannequin in a wedding dress sitting in a wheelchair and the wheels and back of the chair are artfully decorated with vines. Artist Beth Wilson, a wheelchair user, tweeted the window display and said it made them feel represented.
“The new wedding shop in town has a wheelchair using mannequin and it shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window,” Beth wrote on Twitter. Beth is autistic and has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome and creates art at DoodleBeth.
I couldn’t agree more with Beth. I often use a cane because I also have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects my balance and coordination. It can make walking and standing painful and difficult. And I’d love to see more representation of queer disabled people getting married and just existing—whether that’s within romantic relationships or not.
I want to see more relationships like the one my fiancée Macey and I have, where one partner might be using a cane in one photo but not the next, and I’d also like to see more in the wedding industry across the spectrum of disability. Marriers using wheelchairs of all kinds, couples with forearm crutches, someone using American Sign Language to say their vows.
This inclusive representation is something we need more of in 2019. Wedding vendors, take a look at what The White Collection did, talk to actual disabled people about what you’re thinking and put your ideas into action. Be the reason that everyone feels like they’re proudly represented in the wedding world, the way we all deserve.
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Alaina Leary Lavoie
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