"For her to have a dress custom made so I could feel and touch it meant the world to me. I could feel her. I could feel she looked beautiful.'
When it came to marrying the love of her life, Kelly Ann Ferraro immediately knew she wanted to re-do something from their very first date. She'd met Anthony in 2017 while hanging out with mutual friends at the Jersey shore and although she knew he was blind, she soon learned there was much more to him. "Anthony didn't have a cane or anything and no one was guiding him around," Kelly told CBS News, adding that although her now-husband can see some light outside, he cannot see indoors. "So I was like, 'Why isn't anyone helping you?'"
"Kelly grabbed on to me and was helping me the rest of the day," said Anthony. "I was like, 'This girl's amazing.'" A month later, Anthony — who is a Paralympian, musician, and motivational speaker — invited her out on an official date to the premiere of a documentary about how Anthony wrestled against sighted opponents in high school. Kelly bought a new dress for the date, one made of velvet, so he could "feel how she looked." "She's like, 'Well, he can't see me, so I have to wear something that feels nice.' And no one's ever thought to do that, like ever," Anthony said.
Bride surprises blind groom by wearing a tactile wedding dress: 'My mind was blown' https://t.co/pXy8A642n2— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 26, 2021
"I remember my sister making fun of me because I was like, 'I'm going to wear a velvet dress so he can feel it.' And she was like, 'That is so corny, he's not going to feel your dress just because he's blind,'" Kelly said. "And I was like, 'No, he might! You don't know.' And it ended up being something that was so important to him." The couple got married in Maine earlier this month after about four years of dating and while choosing her wedding gown for the big day, the bride had only one thing in mind: it had to be one with many textures, so Anthony could "see" by feeling.
This bride surprised her groom, who is blind, by wearing a textured wedding dress he could feel. pic.twitter.com/yMthYNymEV— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 26, 2021
"I really want something that's a whole experience for Anthony," Kelly remembered saying. Taking a friend's recommendation, she turned to Loulette Bride in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to create a dress that incorporated embossed flowers, a velvet waistband, and soft fabrics like chiffon and lace. "When I looked up, I started crying," Kelly said of the moment she tried on the custom outfit. "This is the dress I dreamed about." She also got a jacket to stay warm, featuring long velvet tassels on the sleeves. "That was the real kicker," Anthony said. "It was velvet, just like our first date."
"The whole time at the aisle I was whispering to him 'touch my dress, touch my dress,' and it made me so happy to know he could feel and enjoy my dress as much as I did," Kelly told USA TODAY. "I've also said she's my eyes in this world, but for her to have a dress custom made so I could feel and touch it meant the world to me," Anthony shared. "I could feel her. I could feel she looked beautiful." He admitted he was a bit shocked when his bride met him at the altar. "My mind was blown. I started crying. And it was just like – was able to see Kelly. That was the best part, I was able to feel her dress." he said.
"When I was feeling the dress, it was just creating this image of an angel in my brain, it was just beautiful... To put yourself in other people's shoes, I think really helps," Anthony said about individuals like his wife. "But understanding everyone in life is different and going that extra step to just think about that other person and try to put yourself in their experiences."