The Season for Weddings and Graduations Is Here, but Will You Have Fun?

A crowd of guests at an outdoor wedding.
A crowd of guests at an outdoor wedding.

Are you one of the planners for your grandson’s bar mitzvah? Or are you a friend of the bride’s sister, and don’t know anyone else going to the wedding?

Are you an old hand at the phoning around and planning you need to do before you go to a big occasion? Or are you new to loss of sight, or new to large events with little or no sight?

What to think about before you decide to accept the invitation

    1. It’s hard to find your friends once you have arrived at the event, so you need to call all of them beforehand and plan where you’ll meet and when.
    2. The more crowded the event, the more some guests get excited and forget to give older and less able guests priority.
    3. At big noisy occasions people who see well wave, nod, beckon and point to communicate with friends who aren’t nearby, and you may not know what’s being decided.
    4. If there is a ceremony that is interesting and fun to see, you might enjoy having someone act as a “describer”: “She’s wearing ivory silk. She looks lovely but kind of nervous.” “Connor’s coming up onto the platform now. He’ll be next to shake hands with the Dean. He looks great!” Or if you still have some sight you may be able to arrange for a close-up video of the ceremony so you can watch it on your iPad at your seat.
    5. A crowded room where everyone is standing up and moving from group to group is tough to handle on your own. You may want to stay with one group of friends, or consider asking someone to be a commentator and people-finder for you part of the time.
    6. The longer the guest list, the shorter the time you may want to stay.
    7. If you do want to stay you may appreciate several assistants: a driver, a describer for the ceremony, a dinner partner and maybe a bar and bathroom escort. That way you don’t have to ask too much from just one person.
    8. If you don’t have a few family members or friends who will assist you, it could be the deal-breaker. You can watch that video at home later, or listen to the speeches or a description of the ceremony.

Once you have decided to accept the invitation

  1. Plan ahead so that your outfit and grooming make you feel and look awesome.
  2. Consider whether you are carrying your white cane. If you do, you might dress it up with a bow tie or a bunch of ribbons. It gives other guests a way to mention your cane with a compliment.
  3. Be ready with a short phrase about your vision: “I’ve been having some eye problems,” “I don’t see much these days,” or “I don’t have any sight now.”
  4. You might want to practice cutting off intrusive questions about your vision loss. “That’s not a good topic for today.” “It’s not something I like to talk about much.” For more details about these last two point check the blog post archive for  How to Talk About Your Vision Loss and When.

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