Nation & World

These wedding guests wore eye masks to experience the ceremony the bride’s way — blind

Guests at an Australian bride’s wedding were asked to wear masks over their eyes so they could experience the ceremony the way she did. The bride, Stephanie Agnew, is blind.
Guests at an Australian bride’s wedding were asked to wear masks over their eyes so they could experience the ceremony the way she did. The bride, Stephanie Agnew, is blind. Video screengrab/Lemon Tree Film House

Stephanie Agnew walked down the aisle a few days ago in a cloud of tulle, carrying a bouquet of pastel-colored flowers, her gaze directed toward her groom, Robbie Campbell, who wept when he saw her.

Her 54 guests didn’t see any of that because they wore blindfolds.

The bride could not see anything, either.

The 32-year-old Australian woman lost most of her sight when she was 27, according to Yahoo Lifestyle, and for her special day she asked her guests to wear masks over their eyes to experience the moment as she did.

“When we lose one of our senses, the others become heightened, which allow us to experience something as beautiful as these vows in a totally unique way,” officiant Jarrad Bayliss can be heard telling guests in the wedding video posted on Facebook. “Today, we get to experience that in Steph’s way.”

Robbie Campbell and Stephanie Agnew Video screengrab/Lemon Tree Film House

The blindfolds were a surprise for the guests, the couple’s friend and photographer, James Day, told Yahoo.

“The idea of the blindfolds during the vows was born when Shaun and TJ (the videographers), Steph and Rob, and myself were all hanging out and we were talking about how we could bring the guests into the tactile experience that Steph would have,” he said.

“The guests all seemed to really get behind the idea. And as the photographer, looking out to a sea of faces all just listening to the celebrant’s words, the vows and the birds chirping in the background, it was quite incredible.”

The two married on Sunday in Maleny, Queensland, Australia, according to the UK tabloid The Sun. The venue “was on the same road as Steph’s great aunt’s house because it had the same amazing view over the Glasshouse Mountains that she remembers seeing as a child when she had sight,” Campbell told The Sun.

“She was able to picture the view on the day.”

Agnew has an inherited eye disorder called cone-rod retinal dystrophy that robbed her of seeing anything except dark and light, shapes and shadows, Yahoo reported.

Campbell told The Sun that the staff described the venue to Agnew and helped her “feel the tactile elements that were a part of the ceremony and reception.

“Steph’s bouquet was made up of fragrant flowers and the staff took the time to describe it to her thoroughly. We also had an owl from Raptor Vision fly down the aisle, land on Steph’s arm and deliver the rings.”

Adrenaline junkie brides April Choi, 32, and Bethany Byrnes, 28, enlisted guests from their wedding parties to light their gowns on fire after walking down the aisle.

The videographers are adding narration to the wedding video so the bride “can experience it audibly instead of visually,” Campbell told Yahoo.

On his Facebook page, Day posted a photo of the couple holding hands during the ceremony and described it in detail.

“The attached image shows a wide-angle shot positioned about 50 cm away from Steph & Rob’s hands,” he wrote. “Their hands are just above the centre of the photograph. Rob is wearing a grey suit and you can see his hands, weather-worn and hardworking from his time serving Australia in the army and police force.

“Clasped between them are Steph’s hands: delicate yet strong from her work as a massage therapist, reaching towards her husband.”

He noted how, “sitting front and center” in the photo was a guest, a woman, who was not wearing a blindfold.

It was the bride’s mother.

She is also blind.