How to create an inclusive environment for all of your guests
There’s A LOT to think about when planning a wedding—the venue, the food, the flowers, the music… It’s a long list, but one thing that doesn’t always make the cut is accessibility. Accessible wedding planning is an important aspect to consider in order to make sure all of your guests are able to fully participate and enjoy your event.
The event planning professionals at Zingerman’s Greyline are sharing their top 4 accessible wedding planning tips to consider as you plan your special day. As Terra Brock, Event Manager says, “Eliminating obstacles for your guests is a great way to be a gracious host.”
Use Accessible Invitations
Planning an accessible wedding starts with your invitations. The use of small type, certain colors, and script fonts can make invitations hard to read for guests with sight impairments. To avoid this, use a large Sans Serif font, and consider incorporating braille as well. The American Council of the Blind offers guidelines for large print documents used by the low vision community that might be helpful to consider. Including the use of a wedding website can be another way of conveying important information in a larger format. The Offbeat Bride also shares lots of other tips for creating accessible wedding invitations, including ideas like using video invitations.
You can also set an open and inclusive tone by directly asking your guest in the invitation what special accommodations they might need or dietary restrictions they have. Being direct helps you plan an accessible wedding and gives your guests the comfort of knowing their needs are being anticipated and accommodated. This is especially helpful for both you and your guests, considering that not all disabilities are visible or immediately apparent.
Look for a Physically Accessible Venue
When looking for a venue for an accessible wedding, pay attention to the entrance—are there steps? If so, does the venue have a ramp or another entrance? What is the other entrance like? Consider where guests will stay—is there a nearby accessible hotel? Pay attention to how guests will arrive at the venue too, taking note of drop-off and parking areas. Consider the event space itself—is there room for everyone to comfortably maneuver? Are the bathrooms accessible? Don’t forget to ask about food service options as well; for example, self-service tapas on high-top tables likely wouldn’t be accessible for all.
The Greyline shines in all of these areas as a wheelchair-accessible, single-level venue. We have an open floor plan that can be customized to your needs, there are no stairs to navigate, and there is plenty of room for guests to comfortably move around. We have a convenient front drop-off area and parking is available nearby, with a surface lot across the street from the space and a multi-story garage just down the block. In terms of accommodations, guests won’t need to go far after the event. “Zingerman’s Greyline is attached to—though not directly affiliated with—Marriott Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown and it’s oh-so-convenient to just walk down the hall to a cozy room after an event at the Greyline,” said Terra.
Offer Inclusive Seating
Consider guests’ needs when planning the layout for your event and considering seating assignments. Guests with mobility impairments might appreciate perimeter seating for easy access. Consider the size of your pathways and plan to keep them clear—everyone benefits from leaving enough space between tables and chairs! If necessary, let the venue know ahead of time if a seat should be removed for a guest using a wheelchair. Guests with hearing impairments might benefit from sitting near a speaker or having a clear line of sight of people who will be talking. Guests with visual impairments might like to sit near the front. (Having a clear line of sight applies during a meal, too, so consider using low centerpieces, or forgo them entirely!) This also goes back to the importance of asking your guests about their needs; there’s no need to guess what would be best if you ask them in advance where they’d be most comfortable.
We’re ready to work with you to accommodate these needs. We can optimize the room layout to accommodate your guests’ needs. Greyline has in-house audio systems and wifi and we also offer projector and screen renting options.
Accommodate Dietary Restrictions
Good food is a big part of what gets people in a celebratory mood and helps to make any event memorable. So, of course, you’ll want to make sure all of your guests will be able to enjoy it! Work with your venue ahead of time to ensure there are options to meet your guests’ needs.
Greyline exclusively works with Zingerman’s Catering and is committed to serving the most flavorful food we can find as well as providing the best possible service to our guests.
Part of our commitment to great service means ensuring guests can enjoy a safe and delicious meal—we really can accommodate any food allergy or dietary restriction. We have a lot of experience accommodating special food requests and culinary restrictions and are happy to help plan a menu that can be enjoyed by all your guests.
These tips are just a few of the many factors to consider when planning a wedding that’s accessible for all of your guests. Consider working with a wedding coordinator to help you anticipate and work through anything that comes up during your accessible wedding planning process.
We look forward to working with you to host your accessible wedding. Set up a time to see our space for yourself.