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Wedding guests wear blindfolds at the wedding of a woman who lost her vision at 27

Australian bride Stephanie Agnew, 32, married the love of her life, Robbie Campbell, in a ceremony that looked similar to hundreds of others across the country on Sunday – until you took a look at the assembled guests.

Instead of watching the ceremony in Maleny, Queensland, unfold, the 54 guests were asked to wear blindfolds so they could experience each moment just like the bride – without sight.

Ms Agnew and her mother both have Cone-Rod Dystrophy – the condition leaving Ms Agnew only able to see some light and dark shapes and her mother completely blind.

‘The staff were amazing and spent a lot of time with Steph describing the visual features of the whole venue. They were instrumental during the day by helping her feel the tactile elements that were a part of the ceremony and reception,’ Mr Campbell told FEMAIL.

  

Australian bride Stephanie Agnew, 32, married the love of her life, Robbie Campbell, in a ceremony that looked similar to hundreds of others across the country on Sunday – until you took a look at the assembled guests

Instead of watching the ceremony in Maleny, Queensland, unfold, the 54 guests were asked to wear blindfolds so they could experience each moment just like the bride - without sight

Instead of watching the ceremony in Maleny, Queensland, unfold, the 54 guests were asked to wear blindfolds so they could experience each moment just like the bride – without sight

‘We chose the venue as it was on the same road as Steph’s great aunt’s house. It had the same amazing view over the Glasshouse Mountains that she remembers seeing as a child when she had sight. She was able to picture the view on the day.’

Each part of the ceremony was carefully thought out, with Ms Agnew’s bouquet made up of fragrant flowers that staff took the time to describe to her thoroughly.

They also had an owl from Raptor Vision fly down the aisle, land on Ms Agnew’s arm and deliver the rings and all guests wore blindfolds during the vows.

‘The blindfolds were received well by the guests as they were experiencing that moment in the same way Steph and her mum, who is also blind, were experiencing it,’ Mr Campbell said. 

'I couldn't control my emotions as she walked down the aisle - she looked like a true princess bride in the dress,' Mr Campbell said of his bride 

‘I couldn’t control my emotions as she walked down the aisle – she looked like a true princess bride in the dress,’ Mr Campbell said of his bride 

Ms Agnew and her mother (pictured) both have Cone-Rod Dystrophy - the condition leaving Ms Agnew only able to see some light and dark shapes and her mother completely blind

'The blindfolds were received well by the guests as they were experiencing that moment in the same way Steph and her mum, who is also blind, were experiencing it,' Mr Campbell said

Ms Agnew and her mother (left) both have Cone-Rod Dystrophy – the condition leaving Ms Agnew only able to see some light and dark shapes and her mother completely blind

The couple’s photographer, James Day, added to the tactile element by giving Steph different pieces of fabric infused with different essential oils so that she could be reminded of different parts of the day in the future. 

‘It is a moment I will never forget,’ Mr Day said of the wedding. 

Ms Agnew said she felt absolutely beautiful and the moment she walked down the aisle in her breathtaking dress, Mr Campbell couldn’t hold back his emotions.

‘I couldn’t control my emotions as she walked down the aisle – she looked like a true princess bride in the dress,’ Mr Campbell said.  

The celebrant, Jarrad Bayliss, also made sure the ceremony was special and memorable with his unique and personal touches. He knew how important the day was and went above and beyond to ensure the ceremony was more than just ‘visual’. 

The couple's photographer, James Day , added to the tactile element by giving Steph different pieces of fabric infused with different essential oils so that she could be reminded of different parts of the day in the future

The couple’s photographer, James Day , added to the tactile element by giving Steph different pieces of fabric infused with different essential oils so that she could be reminded of different parts of the day in the future

Ms Agnew met Mr Campbell in October, 2016, after living next door to him for 18 months

Ms Agnew met Mr Campbell in October, 2016, after living next door to him for 18 months

'I've never seen him. I know his build - he is six foot four and I am five foot four so he is a lot taller than me - and I know he has broad shoulders but other than that I have to rely on descriptions,' Ms Agnew said 

‘I’ve never seen him. I know his build – he is six foot four and I am five foot four so he is a lot taller than me – and I know he has broad shoulders but other than that I have to rely on descriptions,’ Ms Agnew said 

What is Cone-Rod Dystrophy? 

The condition characteristically leads to early impairment of vision. 

An initial loss of color vision and of visual acuity (due to loss of cone function) is followed by nyctalopia (night blindness) and loss of peripheral visual fields (due to loss of rod function).

There are, currently, no proven or effective cures for cone-rod dystrophies. 

‘All of our vendors put in special efforts to make sure that Steph could appreciate all of the sensory elements that made the day especially the videographer, Lemon Tree Film House, who is putting together a film with extra audio descriptions from the day so Steph can experience it audibly instead of visually,’ Mr Campbell said. 

Ms Agnew met Mr Campbell in October, 2016, after living next door to him for 18 months.

‘We had been living 1.5 metres apart but because I was in real estate and he was a policeman we never really crossed paths,’ Ms Agnew told FEMAIL.

‘We met that October at a drinks function our building was hosting and we didn’t really get off on the right foot – he was almost too much – but then he wooed me and a month later we went on a date and it was fantastic.

‘I’ve never seen him. I know his build – he is six foot four and I am five foot four so he is a lot taller than me – and I know he has broad shoulders but other than that I have to rely on descriptions.’ 

Ms Agnew said she felt absolutely beautiful and the moment she walked down the aisle in her breathtaking dress, Mr Campbell couldn't hold back his emotions 

Ms Agnew said she felt absolutely beautiful and the moment she walked down the aisle in her breathtaking dress, Mr Campbell couldn’t hold back his emotions 

The celebrant, Jarrad Bayliss, also made sure the ceremony was special and memorable with his unique and personal touches. He knew how important the day was and went above and beyond to ensure the ceremony was more than just 'visual'

The celebrant, Jarrad Bayliss, also made sure the ceremony was special and memorable with his unique and personal touches. He knew how important the day was and went above and beyond to ensure the ceremony was more than just ‘visual’

Just over a year later on Christmas Day, 2017, Mr Campbell proposed. 

‘We had spoken about marriage and I said if he ever proposed I would want my family there or involved somehow,’ Ms Agnew said. 

‘We were all there and I felt the box and he had given me an Apple TV but apparently my face dropped because it wasn’t a ring box but then he surprised me and got down on one knee and did a little speech. 

‘I was so thrilled and it was just a beautiful, surprising moment.’  

Photographer James Day, a long-term friend of Ms Agnew, joined the couple on their romantic journey on day one and was asked to capture the moment she selected her dream wedding dress back in April.  

Ms Agnew asked him to capture every moment of the wedding process in the hope that one day she may be able to relive these moments if medicine progresses and they are able to restore her eye sight.

Each part of the ceremony was carefully thought out, with Ms Agnew's bouquet made up of fragrant flowers that staff took the time to describe to her thoroughly

Each part of the ceremony was carefully thought out, with Ms Agnew’s bouquet made up of fragrant flowers that staff took the time to describe to her thoroughly

'My mum was diagnosed with Cone-Rod Dystrophy when I was 18. At first they thought she had a brain tumour but it was this retinal dystrophy that leads to blindness,' Ms Agnew said 

‘My mum was diagnosed with Cone-Rod Dystrophy when I was 18. At first they thought she had a brain tumour but it was this retinal dystrophy that leads to blindness,’ Ms Agnew said 

Ms Agnew, who stayed in real estate for 11 years despite her condition, said she has 'completely accepted' her vision loss and has been thankful to have her mum by her side as a role model

'If they don't find a cure I'll be okay. I'd love them to, I really would, but I'll be okay,' she said

Ms Agnew, who stayed in real estate for 11 years despite her condition, said she has ‘completely accepted’ her vision loss and has been thankful to have her mum by her side as a role model

‘My mum was diagnosed with Cone-Rod Dystrophy when I was 18. At first they thought she had a brain tumour but it was this retinal dystrophy that leads to blindness,’ Ms Agnew told FEMAIL at the time.

‘They thought it was a new gene mutation as we had no family history but I was diagnosed a year later when I was 19 and now three out of four of us [my siblings and I] have been diagnosed. 

‘I gave in my licence when I was 23 which was really hard as I was a property manager and my sight then stabilised as it was for a while before deteriorating very quickly between the ages of 27 and 30. I’m now left with light and dark perception and can see some shapes and shadows.’ 

Ms Agnew, who stayed in real estate for 11 years despite her condition, said she has ‘completely accepted’ her vision loss and has been thankful to have her mum by her side as a role model. 

‘If they don’t find a cure I’ll be okay. I’d love them to, I really would, but I’ll be okay,’ she said. 

Photographer James Day, a long-term friend of Ms Agnew, joined the couple on their romantic journey on day one and was asked to capture the moment she selected her dream wedding dress back in April (pictured)

Photographer James Day, a long-term friend of Ms Agnew, joined the couple on their romantic journey on day one and was asked to capture the moment she selected her dream wedding dress back in April (pictured)

Ms Agnew hopes that by sharing her experience she can inspire and help others who are losing or who have lost their sight 

Ms Agnew hopes that by sharing her experience she can inspire and help others who are losing or who have lost their sight 

'Everyone has hurdles so it's important to dig deep within yourself and understand that life can be hard but there are always ways to deal with things,' Ms Agnew said  

‘Everyone has hurdles so it’s important to dig deep within yourself and understand that life can be hard but there are always ways to deal with things,’ Ms Agnew said  

Ms Agnew hopes that by sharing her experience she can inspire and help others who are losing or who have lost their sight. 

‘When people tell you that you can’t do something you can’t let that affect you,’ she said. ‘It has pushed me to want to succeed even more.’

‘I was really unsure about the whole bridal process to the point where I wanted to just go to the registry because I didn’t think I could deal with it. But it’s been such an enjoyable process.

‘Everyone has hurdles so it’s important to dig deep within yourself and understand that life can be hard but there are always ways to deal with things.’  

James Day shares his work on his website and Facebook page.        

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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