Adults with Autism

Attending a Wedding

Ensuring a Positive & Memorable Experience

Attending a wedding as an adult with autism can present unique challenges, but with a little preparation and understanding, it can also be a joyful and rewarding experience. Weddings are filled with social interactions, sensory stimuli, and unfamiliar environments, which can sometimes be overwhelming for individuals on the autism spectrum. However, by implementing some helpful strategies and techniques, you can navigate the event with greater ease and enjoyment. In this guide, we will explore a range of practical tips and suggestions to help you make the most of attending a wedding, ensuring a positive and memorable experience for everyone involved.

Wedding Invitation Cards Papers Laying on Table Decorate With Leaves

Familiarize Yourself With the Schedule

Obtain a copy of the wedding itinerary or ask someone for the general timeline of events. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more at ease.

A couple with champagne flutes wearing formal evening wear at a formal event party celebration

Dress Appropriately

Find out the suggested dress code for the wedding. Typically, formal or semi-formal attire is expected, but it's always better to check. If you're not the bride, it's usually not appropriate to wear white! Plan your outfit in advance and make sure you feel comfortable in it.

Nice young people talking at the party

Prepare Talking Points

Weddings often involve conversations with various people. It may be helpful to think of some topics to discuss in case you find yourself in a conversation lull. Common topics include congratulating the couple, asking how they met, or commenting on the venue.

Young black woman with mobile phone

Plan Breaks

Social events can be overwhelming, so it’s essential to take breaks if needed. Locate a quiet space where you can relax and recharge if you start feeling overwhelmed. This could be a designated rest area, an outdoor spot, or even a bathroom stall if necessary.

Many people saying cheers and showing their champagne glasses. Wedding party

Observe & Mimic Social Cues

Pay attention to how others interact and behave in the wedding setting. Observe their body language, tone of voice, and topics of conversation. Try to mimic these cues to blend in and feel more comfortable.

Many people saying cheers and showing their champagne glasses. Wedding party

Practice Good Manners

Politeness and good manners go a long way in social situations. Remember to greet people, say please and thank you, and be mindful of personal space. If you're unsure about any specific etiquette, observe others or ask a trusted friend for guidance.

Two cheerful black girls walking through a city laughing and having a good time. Friendship concept

Find a Familiar Face

If possible, identify someone you know at the wedding, such as a friend or family member. Having a familiar person to interact with can provide a sense of comfort and support throughout the event.

Bride throwing her bouquet

Take Part in Activities

Weddings often include various activities like dancing, photo booths, or games. Engage in the ones you feel comfortable with and enjoy. If you don't feel like participating in certain activities, it's perfectly fine to politely decline. Consider researching wedding customs, like tossing bouquets and first dances.

Happy african man in headphones listening music on street

Manage Sensory Overload

Wedding venues can be bustling with activity and sensory stimuli. If you’re sensitive to noise, bright lights, or crowds, consider using noise-canceling headphones or sunglasses to help manage sensory overload. Find a quiet spot if you need a break from the stimulation.

Bride and groom with guests at wedding reception outside in the backyard.

Remember to Have Fun

Weddings are joyous occasions, so try to relax, enjoy yourself, and celebrate the couple’s special day. Focus on the positive aspects of the event and don’t be too hard on yourself if you encounter any challenges.

Remember, everyone’s needs are unique, so adapt these tips to suit your specific needs and comfort level. It’s okay to take breaks, seek support from trusted individuals, and prioritize your well-being throughout the event.

Bride and groom with guests at wedding reception outside in the backyard.

Guide Disclaimer

The information provided in this social guide is intended to offer guidance and support to autistic adults attending weddings. However, it is important to recognize that each individual’s experiences and needs may vary. This guide should not be considered as a substitute for personalized professional advice or medical assistance.

Attending weddings can be dynamic and unpredictable events, involving various social interactions, sensory stimuli, and emotional challenges. As such, it is crucial to exercise self-awareness and prioritize your own well-being throughout the process. Take breaks when necessary, communicate your needs to trusted individuals, and engage in self-care practices that promote your comfort and enjoyment.