A stunning bridal gown was displayed on a mannequin seated on a wheelchair decorated with whimsical green vines.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 30, 2019.
A bridal shop in the U.K. warmed the hearts of passersby and social media users after putting up a heartwarming window display with a very strong message of inclusivity. Artist Beth Wilson was passing by The White Collection wedding dress shop in Portishead, North Somerset, when she noticed an unusual sight in the store's display. Rather than the stunning bridal gown in the window, what caught Wilson's attention was how it was displayed. The mannequin on which the dress was featured, was seated on a wheelchair decorated with whimsical vines. Being a wheelchair user herself, she very much appreciated the store's inclusivity message.
Sharing a picture of the display on Twitter, Wilson wrote, "The new wedding shop in town has a wheelchair using mannequin and it shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window." Her tweet quickly went viral with other social media users applauding the shop's efforts. Several Twitter users shared their own personal experiences of shopping for a wedding dress in a wheelchair, describing how and why The White Collection wedding dress shop's display meant so much.
The new wedding shop in town has a wheelchair using mannequin and it shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window. pic.twitter.com/N5sco2fLJf— Beth Wilson (@doodlebeth) January 9, 2019
"As a recently engaged wheelchair user, this bought tears to my eyes... I’ve put off looking at dresses because of the fear of it not working with my chair/ it not being the whole ‘say yes to the dress’ experience. The inclusivity here is amazing, but also sad I’m so shocked by it," tweeted @Sarah_Rose4. Twitter user @cosmicglowbug wrote, "My best friend is in a wheelchair and just recently got engaged. This is so awesome and is a huge deal! I shared your tweet with her and it made her so happy to see it. She loves the vines on the chair. Thank you for sharing this."
* "I do nice, comfy, flat wedding shoes for comfy brides".— Dorothy Laity (@DGLaity) January 9, 2019
* "I'm sure with the right hair & makeup you'll be able to almost vanish that" ('my mob aid)
* "This is the only dress I have for people like you. You can't expect to have too many choices"
Have to say, that dress looks fabulous with the chair, good to see them showcase how important it is that they make sure dresses look great for every client.— BoukeSB (@bosyber) January 9, 2019
It should just be the norm, but it is exciting, especially as a wedding shop I feel, as I have never seen disability represented either in mainstream media or 'high street' shops in the wedding industry.— Tamsyn @ 💖💀VelvetVolcano💀💖 (@VelvetVolcano) January 9, 2019
Meanwhile, several people shared photos from their own weddings in which they rocked their wheelchairs, breaking the stigma attached to it. "Have to say, when I got married it was the most difficult and emotional element. So much pressure to be that bride. Bought @jimmychoo shoes to highlight wheelchair users love shoes too! Hopefully, I looked ok!" @SarahBFraser tweeted, along with a heartwarming photo of her on her wedding day.
Had to share mine. It was my mom's that she made herself in '77 and then did a few alterations for me. pic.twitter.com/ZvXWEmbdsB— Emily Stoker, RDN, LD (@EmilyStoker5) January 10, 2019
Have to say, when I got married it was the most difficult and emotional element. So much pressure to be that bride. Bought @jimmychoo shoes to highlight wheelchair users love shoes too! Hopefully I looked ok! pic.twitter.com/PQOZSEfgbH— Sarah BF Marl (@SarahBFraser) January 9, 2019
Tokyo! Spotted this fall and I was so excited I texted my bf. pic.twitter.com/tvbIzlyz6q— Abba Wabba (@Abba_Wabbaz) January 10, 2019
My wedding day 28/07/18 😁 pic.twitter.com/F2mSM4uF0J— Aaron J Wood #Greenwood4Leader #GotToBeGreenwood (@TheSmiths1986) January 11, 2019
Responding to all the attention in a lengthy Instagram post, The White Collection explained that they had no idea their display would garner so much attention online. "It has been a very full-on but incredible couple of days here at TWC ❤️ When setting up this window display, we didn’t even think to share on our social media pages or ‘put it out there’ but it seems to have done just that all by itself! We would like to thank everyone for your kind comments about our window- we have been surrounded by so much love and positivity, which is what this industry is all about, right?!💕"
"If this window has done anything, it’s shown us how much of an impact having a wheelchair user in the window has caused, and hopefully as time goes by, things like this will not cause so much of a big response, because there will be a lot more of it around. We didn’t think that our window would get this much attention, but what it really has done is it has opened up a (worldwide!) discussion about inclusivity in this industry, which can only be a good thing!! Thank you so much again for all of your support- Sarah, Laura and the team at TWC," the post caption concluded.