Bride Wore Tactile Wedding Dress so Blind Husband Could ‘Feel How She Looked’

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Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro met in 2017 and traveled the world together before getting engaged in May 2020.

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro smile at the top of a mountain.

 

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro on their travels together.


Anthony Ferraro

Anthony, a blind athlete, musician, and motivational speaker who is currently training to compete in judo at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, travels frequently for competitions and gigs. Kelly Anne, who works in tech, was able to accompany him on trips while working remotely. Their love grew as they helped each other experience the world through their own perspectives.

“I started noticing when I traveled with her, life started to change in a big way for me,” Anthony told Insider. “I started seeing the world in a way I’ve never seen it. She would take the extra time to stop and slow down and take in every part of a landscape or a structure or something with me, and she would even close her eyes and try to feel it the way I would. And then, I would explain it to her, how I would see it, with my senses. She would fill in all the visual gaps for me and explain it in perfect detail.”

For their wedding in Maine in October, Kelly Anne wanted a tactile wedding dress that Anthony could appreciate.

Anthony Ferraro places a wedding ring on Kelly Anne's finger at their wedding.

 

Anthony Ferraro places a wedding ring on Kelly Anne’s finger.


David Gannon Photography

“I always like wearing nicer fabrics and stuff because it feels nicer, and that makes me feel I look good,” he said. “If I’m wearing something that doesn’t have a nice texture of fabric, even if you tell me I look great in it, it doesn’t feel good to me.”

Kelly Anne worked with Loulette Bridal, a sustainable bridal boutique in Brooklyn, New York, to create a wedding dress with lots of pleasing textures.

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro at their wedding. The bride wears a white dress and a flower crown and carries a bouquet. The groom wears a white tux and black pants with a purple bowtie.

 

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro at their wedding.


David Gannon Photography

“She has this whole vision for a tactile wedding dress with nice textures like velvet and silk,” Anthony said. “She didn’t know exactly what she wanted, but she knew it had to be tactile and very different in that sense. And she tried on a bunch of dresses there. She said when she put that one on, she just started crying.”

Kelly Anne kept the details of the dress a secret from the groom so that he could be surprised on their wedding day.

“I wasn’t allowed to know anything about it,” he said. “I even went with her to pick it up in Brooklyn, but I wasn’t allowed to go in with her. I had to wait in the car.”

She also wore a custom-made velvet jacket with fringe — a sweet nod to their first date.

Kelly Anne Ferraro, wearing a wedding dress with a white fringe coat, sits in a van.

 

Kelly Anne Ferraro shows off the fringe on her jacket.


Anthony Ferraro

In 2017, Anthony invited Kelly Anne to the premiere of his documentary, “A Shot in the Dark,” as their first date. Even then, she chose a velvet dress for the occasion as a tactile outfit.

For their wedding, Kelly Anne wore a fringed velvet jacket over her wedding dress as a callback to the beginning of their love story.

“I literally couldn’t stop playing with the fringe,” he said. “It was the most amazing feeling, rubbing it back and forth, and rubbing her back with the velvet. It’s so nostalgic and so beautiful. Those textures made me able to visualize Kelly perfectly in my head.”

“I just started tearing up because I see with my hands — with all my other senses, but especially my touch,” Anthony said. “It blew me away.”

An officiant marries Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro at their wedding.

 

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro say “I do.”


David Gannon Photography

“The second she got to me, it was incredible,” he said. “She had a velvet strip around it and all this silk, and this beautiful fringe, and lace — all these materials. And it wasn’t weird textures. It was beautiful, tactile, pleasing, sensory.”

The couple also incorporated other touches to ensure accessibility, like decorating the tent poles with bubble wrap and flowers so that Anthony wouldn’t hit his head.

Tent poles wrapped with bubble wrap, with burlap and flowers decorating it.

 

The tent poles were wrapped in bubble wrap to prevent Anthony from hitting his head.


Anthony Ferraro

Anthony whacked his head on what he jokingly called the tent’s “death poles” twice while setting up the tables and chairs the day before the wedding. Kelly Anne wanted to make sure he could walk around safely on the big day.

“The day of the rehearsal, we go there and she’s like, ‘I have a surprise for you.’ They all went out of their way and wrapped the poles in bubble wrap, and then wrapped them with burlap and put flowers around them to make it look all pretty,” he said. “Everyone thought it was a decoration the day of the wedding, but it was really just to help me not hit my head.”

The couple also gave out eye masks to encourage guests to enjoy the wedding with their other senses.

Anthony shared a video about his wedding on TikTok, which garnered over half a million views.

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro walk down the aisle at their wedding recessional.

 

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro, newly married.


David Gannon Photography

As he continues his Paralympic training, music, and speeches, Anthony hopes to continue motivating people to live their best lives.

“Kelly and I, we dream big,” he said. “People will think we’re crazy for wanting to do certain things, but if you have a vision, and it’s a positive vision, and you’re doing something for good, it can be done. And you will run into obstacles, but you just have to break through them and keep pushing forward. There’s great things on the other side.”

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