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Deaf wedding guest cries ‘tears of joy’ thanks to bride and groom’s kind gesture

A bride who ensured that a deaf wedding guest would be able to follow along with the speeches moved her long-time friend to tears with the thoughtful gesture

Sian and Nick arranged the gesture as a surprise for Laura

A bride moved her friend of 12-years to tears when she surprised her with a beautiful gesture to ensure she didn’t miss out on a thing on the wedding day.

Sian Tigwell married her husband, Nick, and while creating the plans for the big day, she wanted her former university friend Laura Driver, who is deaf, to have the same experience as all the other guests.

The speeches are often a vital part of a wedding and Sian arranged for the wedding venue to install speech-to-text screens for Laura to read along in real time.

Laura, who works as a communications and marketing officer for a national regulator in the deaf sector, was left in tears by the gesture as she had no idea the big screens she had seen when entering the venue had been set up especially for her.



The bride and groom ensured the screens could be easily seen from Laura’s seat and reminded the people giving speeches to not stand in front of them
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Image:

Kennedy News/Natasha Hurley Photography)




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“I didn’t know the bride and groom had arranged for speech-to-text screens until right before the speeches, they kept it a surprise,” she said.

“This was the first time I had access to the speeches at a wedding – the screen had automatic captions which aren’t the best but I managed to get the gist of it.

“It was really thoughtful and a big gesture to me. I was in tears and my crying made the bride cry as well – it was quite emotional.

“It made me feel like I mattered and it was nice to know that I was just as important as any other wedding guest.”

The marketing officer, who was born severely deaf, saw her hearing loss deteriorate further over the years.



Laura said: “In everyday life I’ll often ask people to repeat things if I miss it but it’s not really the time or place at a wedding.”
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Image:

Kennedy News and Media)






Bride Sian with her friend Laura on the wedding day
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Image:

Kennedy News and Media)




She was fitted with a cochlear implant at 25 but still relies on lip reading and sign language where possible to communicate with others.

Consequently, Laura has more often than not felt left out at events or parties where she was not able to keep up with groups of people talking at the same time.

Laura revealed: “There were a lot of jokes as there often are in wedding speeches.

“When you’re deaf and people are laughing at jokes that you can’t hear you feel left out, so it was really special to be able to laugh along this time as well.”

The screens turned out to be a brilliant addition to the couple’s venue, which was located in Greenwich, London, as the few glitches during the speeches only added to the entertainment.








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Laura said: “Inaccuracies in the automatic captions brought some funny moments for all the guests.

“The screens transcribed Sian’s name as ‘Sean’ or ‘Shawn’ and the best man’s statement ‘I’m standing here today as best man’ came out as ‘I’m standing here as an express tan’, which gave us all a laugh.

“But overall I was able to follow the wedding speeches for the first time and couldn’t thank the bride and groom enough for including me.”

Sian, who met Laura while they were both studying English at the University of York, revealed that they had attended many events together in which speeches were given.

She explained that whenever certain events did not feature captions with speeches, her friend always made an effort to blend in and laugh when she saw other people do, but that she could not hear what was being said.



Laura said the small gesture meant a lot to her as a guest
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Image:

Kennedy News and Media)






Laura is now urging others to think about what they can do to make big events like weddings more inclusive
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Image:

Kennedy News and Media)




Sian said: “When planning my wedding I thought big venues have resources to help people so there will be something they can do, we just need to ask.

“Laura is such a lovely person, she never makes an issue and just accepts that that’s the way it is but she deserves to be included every time.

“It was nice to be able to include her and she was quite moved – she had a bigger reaction than I was expecting just because she’s not used to that being done for her.

“It was so lovely to see her so touched that I ended up in tears as well.”







The bride had planned ahead and got in touch with her venue to ensure her friend could enjoy the speeches given by her groom, his best man and her dad, along with all the other guests.

The ‘one minute’ conversation Sian had with her wedding venue to make that simple request made all the difference to Laura’s day at the wedding.

Laura is now urging others to think about what they can do to make big events like weddings more inclusive.

She said: “Accessibility is quite often an afterthought but it needs to be everywhere.

“It often only takes a simple question to venues to make people feel included.”











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