How to Throw a Sensory Friendly Wedding

Bride wearing lace dress and groom in charcoal blue tuxedo walk through floral arbor
Photo Courtesy of Ed Peers Photography

So, what does a sensory friendly wedding mean? Sensory-friendly is a term referring to any of the senses, and adjusting your experience to be calmer and more pleasant. You’re essentially making the sensory experience, less. People with sensory sensitivity affecting their day to day lives, like people with autism, anxiety, dementia, ADHD, or PTSD, are often overwhelmed when it comes to events like weddings. Even if you don’t know anybody who has any of these conditions, don’t think that your wedding guests won’t benefit from some of these changes! Many people who do get sensory overload, most likely keep it to themselves, or only share it with their closest loved ones. So, take a look at these ideas, and try thinking of what ones will work for your wedding day!


Have a space where guests can take a break

Wedding reception seating area, outdoors with couches and string lights hung in the trees.
Photo Courtesy to Aaron Delesie

Set up an area where guests can lounge away from the chaos. Preferably in an area with a bit of distance from the dance floor and dinner tables. Make sure the area has low lighting and is as noise free as possible, so people can sit and recharge! Everyone needs a break every once in a while, so even your guests who don’t have sensory sensitivity, will enjoy this space!


Talk to your vendors about navigating sensory needs

wedding photographer taking photo of the bride and groom in the forest
Photo Courtesy of Giving Tree Photography

Wedding vendors have the knowledge of hundreds of weddings! Ask for their expertise, and see if they have any tips on making your wedding more low sensory. For example, your photographer might suggest using natural lighting instead of flash, or your DJ/band might refrain from playing a certain type of music, or making too many announcements over the microphone. Your vendors will most likely have solutions for the higher-sensory parts of your wedding, and will help you navigate through your decisions!


Be considerate about your lighting

wedding dance floor outside with hanging fairy lights over the floor

Avoid using any harsh spotlights, strobe lights, or LED’s. This type of lighting can be dangerous for people with epilepsy and PTSD, so if you do want to incorporate strobe lights, make sure to let guests know when it’s happening, and that it is optional to stay for that part. This is where having a space where guests can take a break is huge, so they can still be a part of the wedding day, but have a safe space for them to go if some aspects of the wedding will overwhelm them.


Have a low/no scent policy

Perfume on metal tray

Perfume and cologne can be overwhelming, especially when everyone around you is wearing it! Many people have sensitivities to these scents, or are even allergic, so make sure to let guests know ASAP that this event will have a low-no scent policy. Just to make ourselves clear, this does not mean don’t wear deodorant! Please, do. For the sake of everyone around you!


Quick tips for couples who deal with sensory overload

Check out the TikTok below to see how this couple threw a sensory-friendly wedding!


How we had a sensory friendly wedding ❤️ #wedding #actuallyautistic #actuallyautistictiktoks #neurodivergent #couples #autism #adhd

♬ Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez

There are so many things to think about for your wedding, but make sure to factor in the comfortability of you and all of your guests! This may seem over the top, especially if you don’t know anyone specifically with sensory sensitivity, but not all people will make it known! To even incorporate something like a quiet seating area away from the dance floor, can be a huge relief to someone and you might not even know it! If not for your guests, implement some of these ideas for yourself or your partner. Your wedding day, as fun and magical as it will be, may still have some anxiety-inducing moments. So, prepare for these moments and think about what you can do ahead of time to make your wedding reception and ceremony are as comfortable as possible!

Happy Wedding Planning!


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