Nine ways to have a neurodivergent friendly wedding

Like myself, many of clients are neurodivergent. So how do you make a neurodivergent wedding friendly for those of us with spicy brains? Here's nine ways I've seen it done.

1. Have a quiet room

It's always a great idea to create a quiet space that you are guests can escape to if it all gets too much. Venues like @Pangdean Barn in Brighton or @Clapton Country Club in North London have extra rooms that are great for turning into a little safe haven. Make it clear to your guests before the day that they are welcome to disappear to this space should they need to, and don't be afraid to take time to slip away yourselves if needs be.

2. Pop Silent fidget toys on tables or chairs

It can be tricky for neurodivergent people to sit through long ceremonies or speeches, so popping a few silent fidget toys around can be a great help! I love these handmade eco-friendly toys from a small business in the UK.

3. Ask guests what their sensory needs are on your invites

Have a space on your wedding invitations, website or RSVPs for guests to let you know of any sensory or accessibility needs they have, so that you can accommodate. It's important to let people know that these will be kept discreet but can be a great help in making your wedding neurodivergent friendly

4. Ditch the dress code

Certain types of clothing, materials, fabrics and shoes can be super overstimulating for neurodivergent people and phrases like 'smart-casual' can feel tricky to navigate. Instead let guests know they are free to wear whatever they feel comfortable in.

5. Do as much as you can outside to reduce noise

Perhaps a little trickier in the UK that abroad, but outside speeches, buffets, dance floors and ceremonies can be a lot more accessible to neurodivergent people. If your venue or weather means that you need to be inside for these moments it can be a great idea to provide things like loops or let guests know they are able to bring noise-cancelling headphones if it's helpful to them.

6. Take breaks and let guests know that they can too

It's absolutely ok to have a flexible timeline with plenty of big gaps on your wedding day. Many of my clients have chosen to go for a walk post-ceremony, take half an hour to themselves before speeches and even head back to their room post dinner for a lie down. You are the only ones who dictate the schedule of your day, so if the idea of 'group nap time' sounds great to you - go for it!

7. Swap a dance floor for games

If loud music and flashing lights aren't your jam there are plenty of other ways to entertain yourself and your guests on your wedding day. Heaps of my clients have opted for games over bands and it's always gone down a treat! Table top games in a bar, lawn games and group activities for outside, a pub quiz post-dinner or hiring an outside company like Gaming4Weddings are all excellent evening entertainment ideas that minimise big lights and sound. Loz & Keiran opted for a 'first game', as well as a first dance. Read here about their wedding here.

8. Avoid fluorescent lighting

Fluorescents have a trifecta of brightness, invisible flicker and high concentration of blue light that makes them so damaging. And these issues are often made worse for those with known ADHD-related sensory processing disorders or hypersensitivity (read more).

If possible, avoid using these kinds of lights and opt for softer, warmer ones instead like fairy lights (which also look amazing in photos!)

9. Normalise leaving early

Weddings can be long days for neurodivergent people and sometimes the idea of socialising until 11pm or midnight can be overwhelming. Let guests know that they are so welcome to leave early and that it won't be taken personally. And if you are finding the idea of a twelve hour day all too much, know that you can end your wedding whenever you like! I've had clients who ended the day at 6pm or earlier and opted to spend the evening by themselves with a takeaway at home with their pets (which is my personal idea of bliss).

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