True love comes in all shapes, and sizes … and sometimes with rainbows and unicorns, too.
Have you ever been to a magical unicorn themed wedding, complete with a unicorn throne and a three-tier wedding cake covered completely with rainbow sprinkles? Neither have we, but at least now we’ve seen one. And it’s everything we thought it could be, and so much more. Because what made these whimsical nuptials even more beautiful was the couple who shared them: bride Polly Gibson and groom Joe Minogue, who both have Down Syndrome.
As many as 400,000 adults are currently living with Down Syndrome in the United States, and a lot has changed for them in the past 30 years. As recently as 1983, the life expectancy for people with Down Syndrome was only 25 years—it has since gone up to 60 years or older. As our society continues to drop the stigma surrounding children and adults who are differently-abled, people with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities are experiencing greater independence, productivity, and assimilation in mainstream society than ever before.
Though the actual statistic is currently unknown, the number of adults with Down Syndrome who develop romantic relationships and get married is growing steadily. Medical advances and better educational environments are providing adults with more opportunities to have careers, contribute in meaningful ways to their communities, and meet potential romantic partners. The intellectual capacity of people with Down Syndrome can range from profoundly delayed to borderline average functionality, and many develop in the same way as other adults, desiring romantic relationships. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, “all people with Down syndrome have sexual feelings and intimacy needs. It is important that expression of these feelings in socially acceptable, age appropriate ways be recognized by families and caregivers.”
|My advice to other couples, especially to young adults with special needs, is to live the dream, believe in yourselves and that anything can be possible.”|
This wedding between Polly and Joe is a testament to the truth that love comes in all shapes, sizes and manifestations—and with the same commitment and joy, whether the bride and groom have Down Syndrome or not. Their union speaks volumes about their families and friends, who no doubt have provided ample amounts of emotional and physical support to the happy couple.
Joe and Polly met when they were both studying at Central Sussex College, where they were “instantly attracted to each other.” Polly’s mother, Janet Gibson told The Huffington Post that the couple shares an “amazing” connection. She says, “they constantly check on each other, help each other, are very kind and thoughtful with each other … Polly is the bossy one, Joe is more down to earth. He adores her. They are totally at ease with each other and they each respect the other.”
The two married in the presence of almost 200 guests at Brewerstreet Farmhouse in Surrey, England, in May of 2016. Joe and Polly both love to sing and dance, so naturally their celebration was filled with upbeat, happy songs, and even singing waiters (talk about a fairy tale affair!) and a family band who entertained guests during the celebration.
Polly hopes their relationship will be an inspiration and encouragement for other young couples with special needs. In her own words, “My advice to other couples, especially to young adults with special needs, is to live the dream, believe in yourselves and that anything can be possible. It would be wonderful if our story could touch the lives of others struggling to cope with any kind of disability or inequality. The greatest thing is to love and be loved in return.”
MORE TO READ: Make friends with someone who has Down Syndrome
The couple’s “going out song” was I’m a Believer. These two have made believers out of us, indeed. Because love fairy tales—complete with winged horse and rainbows—can come true. Congratulations Polly and Joe! May many long years of wedded bliss follow you.
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