Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser
BoredPanda Add Post

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

Neurodivergent Couple Throws A Sensory-Friendly Wedding So Cute And Relaxed, It Made People Wonder If That Shouldn’t Be The Norm
179points
4.4K
Relationships, Social Issues7 months ago

Neurodivergent Couple Throws A Sensory-Friendly Wedding So Cute And Relaxed, It Made People Wonder If That Shouldn’t Be The Norm Interview With Author

Getting married can be stressful. Not only do you have to make sure there’s enough food for everyone (all allergies considered) or that the seating plan is bulletproof, but there’s also your nerves you have to soothe before you say the big “I do!” No wonder, then, that marriage is considered one of the top 10 most stressful life events, squeezed between major health issues and getting fired from work.

Still, try to imagine what this special day must be like for someone with sensory disabilities (for example, sensitive vision/hearing, ADHD or autism spectrum disorder) and the traditional wedding day suddenly turns into a minefield full of potential triggers.

Facing this psychological conundrum herself, TikTok user Ramona “Mona” Jones (@monalogue), who’s been diagnosed with autism a year ago, shared how she and her husband Aaron, who has ADHD, prepared a sensory-friendly wedding that will not only be remembered by the newlyweds and their loved ones; but also by almost 3 million people on TikTok who made Mona’s wedding go viral.

A video of Ramona and Aaron Joneses, a neurodivergent couple with diagnosed autism and ADHD, went viral after they shared their ‘sensory-friendly’ wedding on TikTok

Image credits: monalogue

To learn how this neurodivergent couple managed to pull off one of the year’s most memorable and intricate weddings, we reached out to Ramona Jones, the author of the viral video and ‘cottagecore‘ content creator. One of the things that inspired Mona and Aaron to take on this Brobdingnagian project— as if perfecting a traditional wedding isn’t challenging enough —was the lack of fitting experts ready to help.

“There weren’t many wedding planners that offered sensory-friendly preparation services,” Jones told Bored Panda. “Plus, I was kind of frightened to use one because I was afraid I’m going have to explain too many things to them and if they don’t understand or get it all wrong — it could be detrimental.”

Before moving on to the main story, we wanted to find out how Mona and Aaron met each other. She revealed that their story began when they were only 15 — only two years short of being together for half of their lives. “I barely spoke when I was fifteen. But Aaron was really shy as well,” Jones recalled.

If not for their mutual friend, the matchmaker responsible for arranging their first meet-up and helping to cope with an upsurge of brand new emotions, their love story might have been different. “Like most people diagnosed with autism, I’m not very good at understanding how other people feel. So having this friend to text me and be like, ‘He really likes you. Don’t give up on him!’ and then text Aaron saying, ‘She likes you back,’ was super helpful,” Jones explained.

And the rest, as they say, is history. “We clicked instantly because we were both these awkward outcast kids. And when you find someone like you — it’s just natural, lovely and quite special.”

Because of their conditions, the couple had to find the right setting and take unusual precautions

Image credits: monalogue

Image credits: monalogue

Image credits: monalogue

Like getting familiar with the venue beforehand and cutting out anything that might cause unnecessary sensory overload

Image credits: monalogue

Image credits: monalogue

Image credits: monalogue

Image credits: monalogue

Understanding how much you can handle and where to position yourself to avoid a psychological meltdown was an important part of the preparation

Image credits: monalogue

Guests found it odd at first but then grew to like their picnic-like celebration, the couple revealed

Image credits: monalogue

Image credits: monalogue

 

@monalogue How we had a sensory friendly wedding ❤️ #wedding #actuallyautistic #actuallyautistictiktoks #neurodivergent #couples #autism #adhd ♬ Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez

The author of the viral TikTok then explained a few things that weren’t included in the video

Mona claims that she came up with the idea to share their wedding on TikTok, which as of today has more than 16 million views — a small portion compared to 75 million people in the world who have been diagnosed with autism — because she wanted to find out if there are other people like herself who had the same experience. “At the time, I thought, ‘If I will make a few new friends that have felt the same, then that would be nice,” Jones told us.

Little did she know, their wedding video would be watched by millions across the world — many of them being able to relate to the challenges presented by the overload of neurological activity traditional marriage ceremonies demand. “I was really scared at first — I didn’t expect it to completely go nuts like it did!” Mona revealed. She admits having to take a break from TikTok after seeing the popularity her video gained. “A lot of people made me feel better with their comments by saying really kind and encouraging things. But I didn’t know how to process all of it. So I took a small break and checked it again a week or so later.”

Speaking about the actual preparation for the sensory-friendly celebration, Mona says her previous experiences at friends’ weddings acted as sort of a blueprint that helped her to navigate this challenge. And one of the things Mona instantly knew she had to find a solution for was noise. “The music is so loud at weddings. Honestly, I don’t understand why people find it okay,” she said. In order to avoid the sensory overload caused by the hustle and bustle of loud sounds bombarding from every direction — “guests chatting in the background, them using cutlery or clinking glasses” — Aaron and Mona decided to employ ear-plugs which they wore until the end of their wedding day.

The main objective of their extensive, all-bases-covered preparation was to be present at the moment of their wedding vows. Something that Mona found extremely difficult. “I don’t like eye contact and I definitely don’t like kissing in front of other people. So the whole time I kind of felt sick,” Jones revealed, adding that the ceremony felt “really alien” to her. And although not having a meltdown as soon they were done with their wedding vows was a major victory for Mona; what mattered the most to her was being present and seeing her partner enjoy himself. “I think Aaron really enjoyed it and that was really important to me.”

Mona’s wedding video was met with awe-inspiring support by thousands of people with various sensory disabilities

As the wave of sympathetic responses Mona’s video received showed, there are thousands upon thousands of people with diagnosed autism who feel overwhelmed just thinking of the traditional marriage ceremony. “I was very aware that I was likely to end up staring through my eyes at my own wedding, separated from it by the layers and layers of glass,” Joanna Grace, an autistic woman diagnosed in adulthood, wrote in the retelling of her marriage experience.

Just like Mona, Grace, a Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist, as well as the author of ‘The Subtle Spectrum’, was very aware of the fact that one of the happiest days in her life might be equally uncomfortable. “If you were a typical person, you would probably be looking at the wedding reception and think, ‘What’s it going to look like in my photos?’ Grace told Bored Panda. “Well, people like myself need to know all the other bits, too. I need to know where I’m going to park my car. Or how does the door I will walk in through look like — all the bits that aren’t glamorous and fun. But having that whole journey in my head from top to bottom really helped me out.”

One of the things both Mona and Joanna advised for others who’re diagnosed with autism and think about getting married is being upfront with others. “If you are an autistic person who’s on the sensitive side, I found it helpful to let people know what I can and can’t handle. The last wedding I went to, for example, I explained to my bride-friend that I really struggle with wedding ceremonies,” Jones explained. “I told her, ‘There’s a chance I’ll only be able to do the ceremony and it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. I’m trying my best and that’s all I can handle.'” Although Mona did escape right after her friend said “I do”, the bride, Mona says, was grateful for her honest explanation ahead of the sudden disappearance.

Mona hopes that her video will bring more attention to sensory-friendly celebrations and the ways weddings could be accustomed for people with other neurological conditions. “I think there’s a need for much more inclusivity in weddings for all sorts of disabilities, not just autism. It would be such an amazing thing.”

Share on Facebook
You May Like
Popular on Bored Panda
Start the discussion
MiriPanda
Community Member
7 months ago

Neither autistic nor ADHD, but I'm taking notes :)

Iris
Community Member
7 months ago

Same, i'd enjoy a wedding like this a lot! except for the buffet style food maybe

Load More Replies...
Donkey boi
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

My wife has social anxiety disorder. When she and I got married, she wore her favourite jeans and a comfortable T-shirt (I wore jeans, a shirt and shoes so she didn't feel uncomfortable). We went to the local registry office, signed the certificate (I pulled 2 witness from the street outside), went home and walked the dogs. I went to our favourite restaurant who, despite not doing takeaway, agreed to make a 3 course dinner to take away. We had a party the following day (with me cooking a barbecue) so family and friends could celebrate with us. My wife was there to greet a few of my family members that she's used to then disappeared until it was time to say goodbye, don't worry I took her a plate of food and a coke.

Pia kjærgaard
Community Member
7 months ago

🙏🏻♥️♥️♥️

Load More Replies...
Diemond Star
Community Member
7 months ago

Sounds like a beautiful and peaceful wedding. I wish y'all the best life together.

Load More Comments
MiriPanda
Community Member
7 months ago

Neither autistic nor ADHD, but I'm taking notes :)

Iris
Community Member
7 months ago

Same, i'd enjoy a wedding like this a lot! except for the buffet style food maybe

Load More Replies...
Donkey boi
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

My wife has social anxiety disorder. When she and I got married, she wore her favourite jeans and a comfortable T-shirt (I wore jeans, a shirt and shoes so she didn't feel uncomfortable). We went to the local registry office, signed the certificate (I pulled 2 witness from the street outside), went home and walked the dogs. I went to our favourite restaurant who, despite not doing takeaway, agreed to make a 3 course dinner to take away. We had a party the following day (with me cooking a barbecue) so family and friends could celebrate with us. My wife was there to greet a few of my family members that she's used to then disappeared until it was time to say goodbye, don't worry I took her a plate of food and a coke.

Pia kjærgaard
Community Member
7 months ago

🙏🏻♥️♥️♥️

Load More Replies...
Diemond Star
Community Member
7 months ago

Sounds like a beautiful and peaceful wedding. I wish y'all the best life together.

Load More Comments
Popular on Bored Panda
Popular on Bored Panda
User Submissions
Also on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda