When Kelly Anne Ferraro started shopping for wedding dresses, she knew she wanted a design that incorporated plenty of small details and different textures so her husband-to-be, who is blind, could feel how she looked.
On Oct. 2, at an outdoor wedding in Maine, Kelly wore an ethereal white dress and told her groom, Anthony Ferraro, "I'm coming! I'm coming!" as his best man and brother described how she looked as she made her way down the aisle.
Ferraro, who is a Paralympian in judo, musician and motivational speaker, said he was overwhelmed the moment Kelly reached him at the altar.
"Once she gets to me, she puts (my) hands on (her) dress. My mind was blown and I started crying," he told TMRW. "Tactile stuff is really big to me. It creates an image of what you look like in my head. Kelly looked like an angel."
Kelly said she tried on a few gowns at Loulette Bride in Brooklyn, New York, before she found one that had everything she wanted. Her husband remembers every little detail.
"It had a velvet strip around it and these lace things. Embroidered flowers from a soft cotton. Her back even had a texture. To top it all off, she surprised me with this amazing custom jacket she put on later and had this crazy fringe hanging off her arms," he said. "It reminded me of our first date."
The couple met on a New Jersey beach in 2017 where they were joined by Kelly's sister, who was dating and is now married to Anthony's best friend. Kelly had just gotten back from a trip to Thailand and Anthony had returned from judo training in Tokyo.
"I had heard a lot about Anthony through my sister when they mentioned their blind friend. I met him and didn't really know how blind he was and thought, 'This guy doesn't look blind, whatever blind looks like,'" she said. "There’s this stereotype that is in your mind. He looked like everyone else and was walking around."
While Anthony has techniques for moving around, including walking near people and finding shadows during the daytime, he said he often didn't use his cane in his hometown because he would "try not to be blind." But Kelly made him feel instantly comfortable.
"I was like who is this? I felt a connection. She spoke her mind, too, and was very direct," he said.
Romance didn't blossom until January 2018 when Anthony got Kelly's number from her sister and called to ask her to be his date on the red carpet for the premiere of "A Shot in the Dark," a documentary about his experience as a blind athlete. Kelly agreed to the date and said she purposefully chose a velvet dress because she wanted something Anthony could feel to create another memory of the night.
The extra effort impressed him.
"I never told her anything. She went above and beyond and thought it through. No one has ever done that for me," he said.
Since then, Kelly has learned more ways she can help create tactile experiences for her husband and make their living spaces accessible.
Sharp objects in their apartment are covered with pillows and bubble wrap. Their wedding reception, which was held in a tent, included bubble wrapped poles that were decorated with flowers, ensuring Anthony could freely move about the reception and celebrate without having to worry about running into them.
The couple said they now have wonderful memories from their perfect wedding day. Anthony recalled listening to the video of his wife putting on her dress.
"When she put it on, she started ugly crying, so I started crying listening to the video," he said. "It was the perfect dress."