Weddings (and other such events) — 5 Minutes for Special Needs


Tomorrow my brother is getting married.

In a quiet, small gathering.

On a boat.

At Disney World.


Now, while most people think this sounds romantic and lovely, I am a nervous wreck. My brother loves my son no matter what; however, if he decides to melt down or scream or narrate the entire event, I fear he’ll never speak to me again!

So, to make myself feel better, I tried to think of all the ‘What If’ moments that could happen, so that when something minor happens, I won’t freak out. It doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me, but that is OK.

* I could accidentally take out my mother in her beautiful gown while trying to navigate the wheelchair down the aisle.

* Jack could barf on the table when he sees all the food (he’s been known to do that at home).

* He could growl at everyone–because that’s awesome. It is his current favorite thing to do…we go out, he growls at anyone who walks by. Totally appropriate, right?

* I could get stuck in the elevator.

* (I could go on)…


I often wonder if “normal” families worry about things like this. Do they worry that someone will be sick there and that their kid will get ill? Do they worry that their child may scream and ruin a perfectly lovely day? Do they wonder how others will look at them?

And why, for crying out loud, do I care so much?

Is it because I want to make my mom proud? Or because I want my brother to have the perfect day? Or because I want my Almost Sister-in-Law to not hate me?

Keep us in your thoughts for tomorrow…5 PM Eastern.. ha!

Email Author    |    Website About Heather P

Heather is a mom of two, wife, and nurse educator doing what she can to save the day! She lives in Orlando where she is routinely spotted driving while singing ABBA--all on a mission to advocate and educate!

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1 Heidi M March 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Take a deep breath and relax! Two things… One, weddings are the joining of two families — including all family members in the wedding event should be of vital importance. Two, what better place than Disney for a person with a disability, medical condition or allergy? I’ve not been anywhere more friendly than there!

2 Janet March 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I am always concerned about melt downs, hitting, and the such. At my dad’s funeral we lasted about 10 minutes before leaving the sanctuary. At my nephew’s wedding we would have done better if it had started on time. In both of these situations I have met some amazing people.

With age, things are getting better. I try to always have food so he can stay busy eating. And now we take the iPad and he will play with the sound turned down.

Remember though, there is no such thing as a “perfect” wedding. They are each wonderfully rememberable in their own way.

3 Heather P March 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm

at one point, my brother’s best friend’s wife brought her iPad to Jack to play with. I was never so thankful!

It’s over. They’re married…now for the Happily Ever After! 🙂

4 Jo March 17, 2012 at 3:50 am

Sending you lots of good luck vibes. I hope it goes well and I appreciate your worries.
Will be thinking of you.

5 Heather P March 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Thanks Jo. It was gorgeous even IF Jack screamed through the whole thing because the wind blew. You know, logical stuff… 🙂

6 Mary E Smith March 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

I totally know what you mean and I will be praying for you.My youngest growled at everyone for years but he very seldom does it now.As a mom with two kids on the autism spectrum,I always dread gatherings because they neither one do good around more than three or four people at a time. It will get better as he gets older.

7 Heather P March 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I hope so…because it seems like it keeps getting WORSE…Ugh. I just want to hibernate most of the time! Hugs, girlfriend.

8 Angela Melum March 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I can COMPLETELY understand. My son would/could do the first three things on your list. And anyone who has seen him do the 2nd one knows I’m serious. Prayers things go smoothly.

9 Heather P March 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm

It was ROUGH. But it’s over. SO there’s that… HA!

10 kadiera March 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm

My kid threw up at my brother’s wedding at a swanky golf club. But then, vomiting was a multiple times a day occurrence then…

…that said, they insisted on bringing the security guard (their version of a first responder) to ensure that A didn’t have a concussion (he’d fallen earlier in the evening). The guy brought purple medical gloves, which A was terrified of (too much history). We kept telling them that he was fine, it was a regular occurrence, but they kept saying, “kids don’t just throw up” – well, maybe yours don’t but mine has a trach and barely eats, so, yeah, he does.

Finally, my dad and my uncle stepped in – my dad to tell the security guard to take the gloves off before he made A puke again, and my uncle (a PA) to tell the guy he was a medical professional, and he’d take over.

Ruined the photos – A had on a fabulous tux, and our backup was sweat pants and a t-shirt. But we were in the photos anyway, and everyone was glad to see us.

11 Heather P March 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Oh gosh…

it was windy. Jack screamed through the ceremony. But that’s OK. I guess. My brother said he didn’t care! HA!

We shall see how the video is… 😉 xo

12 kadiera March 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Hey, FWIW, it wasn’t all bad – A ate carrots that night at the reception. Fancy teeny shreds of carrot. It was our first fruit or vegetable that he ate, ever…

…and he just kept eating and eating them, everyone at the table handed over their little pile from the table, and my dad asked for more for him 🙂

13 Kathy March 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

I enjoyed reading your story and the comments. Our son, in addition to being physically and mentally handicapped, has seizures.

Has anyone had a son or daughter with physical, mental disabilities, and seizures attend a wedding &/or be in one?

Did everything go ok?

Our daughters will be getting married this summer. Their grown mentally handicapped brother will be in the wedding and I am concerned about him having a seizure.

If he does, I will have to leave the church and miss the wedding.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation?

14 Heather P March 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Hey Kathy…
are you on Twitter at all? Find me @MommaHopeful and I can hook you up with some moms who are in the same boat as you… I know they can help.

15 Kathy April 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Thank you for your message of March 22.

Just wondering, can I post my e-mail address on 5 Minutes for Special Needs?

Also, if I joint Twitter, will my e-mail address be shown?

Thank you again.

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