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For most brides-to-be, finding the perfect wedding dress can be as daunting as it is exciting.
But for 24-year-old Julie McMillian, the task proved to be an even greater challenge. McMillian was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when she was 2 years old and as a result, she's used a wheelchair since she was 11.
McMillian and her fiance, Caleb Thomas, 26, got engaged in July of 2016 and the couple, who live in Dacula, Georgia, about an hour and half away from Atlanta, have been prepping for their upcoming wedding on Sept. 16.
The bride-to-be recently went shopping for her wedding dress at Affordable Bridal, Inc. in nearby Buford with the lifestyle website Revelist. Although McMillian is grateful for the help provided by the accommodating and courteous staff, she faced challenges that many people would never have to think about.
"I had to have a few people help me," McMillian told TODAY. "Whether it's the chair not fitting in the room or the dress getting caught, people in a chair have a lot more things to think about."
At first, McMillian was looking for a trumpet gown with a long bodice, but quickly realized she would have to opt for a more practical choice.
"I tried that on first and couldn't even get it on," McMillian said. "Since I will be sitting down during the whole wedding, the bodice went down way too long."
Lucky for her, the second dress she tried on had a much shorter bodice, and was the one she ended up taking home. Even though McMillian said "yes" to this dress, there are still a lot of wedding logistics she has yet to figure out.
"I'm still contemplating how to go down the aisle," she said. "I never really thought about it before, but I'm trying to figure out how to hold the bouquet, drive (my wheelchair), hold hands and not make it awkward."
McMillian is grateful for her positive experience at the bridal shop, but she hopes that other bridal stores and wedding planners will keep the needs of disabled individuals in mind.
"Aisle runners get caught in wheelchairs and it's something that wedding planners love to use," she said.
Opting out of those aisle runners and ensuring wheelchair accessibility are important for any guest, bride or groom attending the festivities in a wheelchair.
On top of all the wedding-related challenges McMillian has had to work through, she's even encountered folks who are surprised that a disabled individual like herself is getting married.
She wants others to see past the stigma attached to people who aren't able-bodied.
"Anyone can fall in love and get married," McMillian said.