Love and Sex

Love Looks Like This: I’m Wedding Planning With a Disability

It is dedicated to assisting ALL couples not only with their wedding planning process but also with the ups and downs of their relationships. There is no relationship that looks the same; every love story is lovely, has its own unique past, and faces its own struggles. For our newest feature, “Love Looks Like This,” we’re encouraging couples to share their love stories in order to celebrate that uniqueness. Samantha Mannis recounts her love tale below.

We had been dating for more over five years when I decided I wanted to marry right away. I told [my boyfriend] I wanted a reminder he would be there for me on my bloated little sausage finger since my medical condition was getting worse and I needed it. A few months later, he surprised me on the beach with the vintage, ’80s Cartier pink sapphire ring I had been coveting.

To be really honest, my experience with love—and the world in general—hasn’t exactly inspired me to be who I am with all of my flaws. As I began dating, I encountered a lot of skepticism, anger, ableism, and rejection because of the thought that I, a woman with chronic health issues and a disability, would play the romantic lead.

Yes, that is accurate. I have a disability and other undiagnosed medical concerns, and I’m also preparing for a wedding. That simultaneously brings about great joy, privilege, and dread. It’s not all tulle and motivational sayings, I’ll be the first to confess that. I continuously struggle with the possibility that if my health conditions worsen, I would not be able to afford the treatment that I need. In the United States, there is still marriage inequality for people with disabilities. Trying to plan one of the best days of your life might make it challenging to keep it in the back of your mind.

In the past, we had discussed undertaking a modest project in Sicily (We both have Sicilian heritage). However, following a protracted and isolating pandemic, that ambition began to shift. He had a sizable family and an even sizable circle of friends, and he wanted to enjoy this event with them both. I didn’t want to be concerned about traveling far from my home base and doctor’s office for a destination wedding that required a lengthy journey (at least not for a higher stress event like a wedding, one that I was planning myself).

There, it could never happen, right? Vegas? The location where we occasionally travel to unwind, enjoy performances by our favorite artists and comedians, dine at beloved restaurants, and participate in poker tournaments with friends. How on earth could we hold such a significant life event as a wedding in our beloved Vegas?

Everything You Should Know About Getting Married in Las Vegas

We plan this wedding together, with shared responsibilities, combining our abilities, and pouring a lot of ourselves and our passions into the process, just like we do a lot of other things in our life. No, there won’t be any piano acrobats or quick-change acts, but Elvis is still up for debate.

Six Pointers for Organizing Your Wedding as a Duo
Samantha Mannis, a writer, putting on a bridal gown.

Numerous issues arise during the planning process, including whether the hotel we stay at is accessible to me (someone with variable physical disability) and whether there is money in the budget for designer shoes to match the dress I chose, which can be specially altered if I gain or lose weight while planning. We want lots of pop punk, oldies, eighties, and an overall mix of great jams. My non-disabled friends who had recently planned weddings confirmed that they had similar conversations with their fiancés when I told them about this.

I feel fortunate to be able to take a chance while advancing for myself, disability portrayal in media, and marriage equality for the disability community, even though there may be some future worry surrounding my happy moment.That’s what love looks like to me. Without a question.

You May Also Like:

How to Answer Just About Every Sex Question Your Child Could Ever Ask, According to Experts