No matter how much thought, time, and planning go into them, most wedding days come with a healthy dose of stress for everyone involved.
When Ramona “Mona” Jones was planning their wedding, she knew a standard ceremony and reception would never suit their needs. Mona is a person with autism and her partner Aaron has ADHD, so they’re used to finding small ways to accommodate their needs. A loud, crowded wedding that dragged on for hours would simply not do!
Instead, they custom-built their big day to suit their needs. Mona shared a TikTok video explaining some of the steps they took to ensure a smooth, quiet day of celebration with only their closest family members. The ideas are so simple yet effective that we wonder why more people don’t get married this way!
First, they decided to plan the entire day themselves to avoid feeling like they’d lost control of the event. Next, they visited the site of the wedding and reception more than five times to get so familiar with the venue that it felt like a home away from home. Finally, they pared down their guest list to just 16 family members. Their friends were upset at first, but once they heard Mona’s reasoning they understood.
“I think that people really have strong ideas about what a wedding should be, and because I didn’t go in line with those rules, people were a bit confused at the beginning,” Mona said.
The couple reserved an extra room at their venue, an estate, where they could escape if things got to be too much. They didn’t end up needing it, but just knowing it was there relieved a lot of stress.
On the big day, they got ready at home and left plenty of room in the schedule for time-outs. The bride and groom even took a quiet walk together immediately after the ceremony to regroup before the meal.
Mona wore earplugs all day long to reduce some of the noise of the gathering, and the meal was a buffet to give them as many options as possible in case food was an issue. During the meal, the couple sat at the end of the table to avoid having to make too much eye contact. After they ate, guests played lawn games like ring toss and Jenga to encourage “parallel play.”
“I find socializing harder, and completing an action together makes it less stressful,” Mona said. “You could play and focus and talk while you’re with someone, which I found very helpful.”
The entire event was just a few hours long and was over by 4 p.m. The bride and groom celebrated further by slipping into comfortable clothes and having a candlelit takeout dinner in the library.
Mona’s video about her sensory-friendly wedding went seriously viral on TikTok. Many people with autism were thrilled to get ideas to make their own special occasions more comfortable, while others were just glad to see neurodiversity represented. Mona was blown away by the response and is grateful to be able to help others. Her biggest takeaway is to put a lot of thought into what you really want when planning a wedding. Don’t be swayed by tradition or “what’s normal.”
“I think every wedding I’ve been to, I’ve either had a meltdown or something has always gone wrong,” Mona said. “One of the most important things that we did was at the beginning, we sat down and discussed the weddings that we’d been to, what I found hard, and how we could avoid that in our own wedding. We took it very seriously to make sure that it was a nice day, and it wasn’t something that I was terrified of.”
This wedding looks absolutely stunning! We love the idea of ending the day eating takeout in comfy clothes with our new spouse. We think Mona got it right, don’t you?
Watch their hugely popular TikTok video to see all of Mona’s sensory-friendly hacks, and don’t forget to share this story to inspire other couples.
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