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“It was the most amazing experience,” he told In The Know. “There’s silk, a velvet strip around the back and cotton, woven-in flowers. Every texture was an experience, and put this painting of Kelly in my head.”
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Later, Kelly put on a velvet jacket with tassels, which presented a whole new tactile experience for Anthony that also reminded him of their first date in 2018.
After meeting through mutual friends — Anthony’s best friend is now married to Kelly’s sister — Anthony asked Kelly if she wanted to come to the New York premiere of his documentary, A Shot in the Dark. The film, which follows Anthony’s journey to try and win a New Jersey state wrestling championship in high school, was produced by his friend, Chris Suchorsky, and Anthony’s late brother, Oliver.
At the time, Kelly didn’t know what to expect. The first time she met Anthony, she explained that he wasn’t wearing sunglasses or using a cane and didn’t look like the “Hollywood depiction” of a blind person. He bumped into a pole while they were together, and Kelly instinctively took his arm for the rest of the day.
“She knew what to do without me asking,” Anthony said. “No one has ever been so on point without me giving them any information. She really puts herself in my shoes.”
For that first date, Kelly wore a velvet dress, thinking it would feel nice for Anthony. He loved it.
What he also loved was the fact that Kelly had “Love” tattooed in Braille on her wrist — a tattoo she’d gotten with her sister when they were in their early 20s, and a play on the idea of “love is blind.” Kelly has since learned how to write in Braille and wrote Anthony a letter in Braille for their wedding day.
Before meeting Kelly, Anthony frequently traveled alone and shared that he felt like he missed out on a lot since he could not experience certain sights. Kelly has since become his eyes — describing landscapes and scenery and vividly walking Anthony through his surroundings.
“We experienced everything through touch and smell,” he said. “It opened up a whole new world.”
It also opened up a new world for Kelly. Together, she and Anthony have gone to Dating in the Dark events, where couples sit in a pitch-black room and are served by blind employees. Kelly has also started picking up on little details during their travels that she said she would have previously passed by or missed.
Anthony and Kelly communicate with each other through touch — a tap on the elbow or three squeezes while holding hands.
“Life is going to be different,” she said to herself when she and Anthony started getting more serious. “Whether you like it or not, you have to prepare yourself for that.”
Kelly waited until a few months before the wedding to try on dresses. She connected with a Brooklyn-based designer, Loulette Bride, which focuses on creating custom, eco-friendly dresses. When Kelly tried on her fifth dress, she started to cry.
“It had everything I wanted,” she said. “All tactile.”
To make their big day even more special, Kelly kept secret from Anthony what she was planning in terms of her dress.
“I would be fine with just a normal wedding,” he said. “I didn’t think about my blindness at all; that’s how I always pictured my wedding. I just hoped there was good food. But Kelly literally went above and beyond.”
Anthony posted a TikTok about the experience weeks after the wedding, saying in the video: “I married my best friend in the whole world.”
Commenters were moved by the video, particularly by Kelly’s extra surprise.
“Her wearing a dress you can feel! That’s beautiful,” one person wrote. “Congratulations!”
“The tactile dress!” another said. “Such a sweet thing to do!”
“I thought I wasn’t [going to] cry today,” someone commented. “This was so beautiful.”
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If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s interview with disability activist Aubrie Lee.
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