Look, there are a lot of places you can get married, and good reasons for each one. If you get married at the court house, you can be at home with your feet propped up on the dog and a pizza in your lap within the hour. If you get married in Las Vegas, you can have your reception photos taken with Chippendales dancers and load up on cheap shrimp cocktails. Both of those options sounded equally appealing to me, a distinctly laid-back, “Do I have to put on pants for this” type of gal. In 2007, however, my husband and I had a Disney World wedding. Telling people this usually brings up a few reactions… people either expect you to have paid through the nose for the cake alone, or they giggle a little at the sudden mental image of you typing the knot in a Minnie Mouse themed dress that shows off your cartoon underpants. There are a lot of misconceptions and assumptions out there about what, exactly, a Disney World wedding entails, so here’s a little bit of first-hand information and experience that may help you make a decision… or open your eyes to another possibility!
A Disney Wedding Is Only As “Cheesy” As You Make It
For some people, the thought of a Disney World wedding immediately conjures images of everyone in matching mouse ears while a cartoon puppet officiates in a goofy voice. For some couples, that’s an “Oooh!”, but if for you it’s an “ugh”, you should know that a Disney wedding is as tasteful and elegant or as explosively silly as you want it. Presumably if you’re getting married at Disney World, you have some attachment to the mouse and the legacy, and you can show that off as much or as little as you like. We went the more low key route… a tiny Hidden Mickey made of pearls on the stem of my bouquet, a themed cake topper, a violinist playing Part of Your World… you get the idea. But while you might not be able to get hitched by Miss Piggy, if you want to get hitched The Little Mermaid style with themed decor, cake, and music, they can and will make that happen for you. Ultimately, it’s your day, and whether that means tasteful, subtle flower arrangements or a reception where everyone does the limbo to Bear Necessities with Mickey and Minnie, Disney has got your back to make your celebration exactly what you want… and that includes a Disney Princess-inspired dress if you’ve got the cash to go there.
There’s Something for Everyone at Walt Disney World
Most of us probably aren’t rolling with enough bank to shut down the park for a day to get married in front of Cinderella’s Castle, which is totally a thing you can do if you make Mr Burns levels of cash and don’t mind the collective ill-will headed your way from all the vacations you interrupted. Disney World actually offers a remarkably wide variety of venues to get married on property, and there’s one for every party size and setting… the Escape Collection, the Wishes Collection, or the Memories Collection. Want a quiet, intimate affair with your besties? Say your vows with the sand between your toes and the sunset on the water at Luau Beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Want to pull out all the stops and shut up that annoying cousin who won’t stop talking about how she got married in Paris, Becky? Go for the sun-drenched, understated opulence of the Italy Plaza in Epcot. Keep in mind that different locations have their own sets of restrictions, not only as far as how many people can attend, but what time of day to boot. While you can expect to spend upwards of several thousand dollars just to get your foot in the door, and more with various add-ons, you can balance the cost by being flexible enough with the date to take into consideration the way prices change throughout the year as tourist seasons fluctuate. Do your research… if you’re willing to put your wedding off until January, a month when traffic is typically low after the craziness of the holidays, you could wind up saving big on hotels and more, especially since Disney offers discounted hotel rates and park tickets for wedding parties! Oh, and for same-sex couples? While gay marriage is not yet legal in Florida, you do still have the option to have commitment ceremonies and vow renewals. The Wedding Pavilion is also nondenominational, so don’t think your faith needs to be a bar in the way.
Disney Can Handle Everything For You
Well, not everything, since you’ll need to find your own officiant and get your marriage license yourself, but most of the headaches and the nail-biting details will be expertly choreographed by your capable and incredibly patient coordinator. Are the flowers going to be there? Is the cake ready? Did someone make sure the groom-to-be is actually wearing his tuxedo and not board shorts? Your coordinator knows, and they’ll take care of it. You’ll get several calls throughout the process as details are finalized and whenever your input is needed on something, but largely you should consider your coordinator perched atop Cinderella’s Castle, wearing a cape, backlit by dramatic lighting. For some people, the idea of putting everything in someone else’s hands is just as nerve-wracking as it is handling it themselves. For me? Hey, I was going through a complex immigration process from Canada to the United States. If I also had to be in charge of the minutiae of making a wedding running smoothly, I might still be doing my best impression of the Screamapillar from the Simpsons.
The Planners Go Above and Beyond
It rained on my wedding day, but contrary to what Alanis has been warbling about for almost twenty years now (… whoa… hang on… got a little dizzy from realizing I’m actually… getting… old?), that wasn’t a bad thing. While my husband and I were off jabbing rings at each other’s fingers, the Disney wedding staff was racing around, frantically relocating our reception. With our blessing, of course. Later, when the staff realized my husband’s favorite beer wasn’t available for the reception, the manager vanished, only to return a while later brandishing a six pack like some wonderful party-focused Robin Hood. Disney World cares about you and making sure your event goes off like a dream even after you’ve signed the checks, so you won’t be left feeling like you’re just another drop in the bucket to them. While there are often several weddings happening at each location every day, the team will go out of its way to ensure that wedding parties (especially brides) don’t encounter or overlap one another, so you’ll never be left feeling like it isn’t “your” day. (Though don’t be surprised to walk past the place where you had your once-in-a-lifetime ceremony just hours ago and see it completely transformed with someone else’s once-in-a-lifetime ceremony in full swing.)
The Reception is One Sweet Party
While of course this will vary depending on what you’re willing to spend and the packages you choose, Disney can and will make the day even better by capping it with the very best sort of post-celebration party… one you don’t have to organize or clean up after. Music, dancing, the option for bars and buffets or a multi-course meal, all of it can be highly customizable based on what you want to do. Have it inside one of the beautiful, air-conditioned hotels, or in a private area in one of the parks proper… where you can even watch the fireworks at the end of the night! Got kids or kids-at-heart? For an additional fee you can have some of your favorite characters present. Music what moves you? Disney can offer anything from a DJ to get your oontz oontz oontz club vibe on to a string quartet if you’re the sort of person who prefers to enjoy their shindigs with pinkies extended. (In which case calling it a “shindig” probably made you give a delicate shudder.) The staff for our reception was, without fail, professional, friendly, and on-point with every detail, and the spread for the buffet we chose was respectable indeed, though admittedly for our price point nothing jaw-dropping or particularly “Disney distinctive”. If you’ve got adults who want to imbibe, you can choose to let them pay per drink themselves, pay a set amount yourself for your guests to enjoy, or go the package route and let the spice flow for a flat fee per guest for a set amount of time. If you do go either of the latter two routes, make sure you’re taking into consideration how much your party actually will tossing back so you don’t end up forking over a ton of extra dough for something only a few people will use.
Honeymoon at Disney. HONEYMOON. AT. DISNEY.
Though obviously a honeymoon isn’t included in your Disney World Wedding package, the discounts offered if you’re getting hitched there will often make it worth it. Hey, isn’t it a big thumbs up to know any guests you have will be able to entertain themselves, too? The ability to go from your wedding straight to the vacation in just a few steps can’t really be underrated after a long day on your feet dragging around an extra ten-plus pounds of fabric. Because Disney World has a reputation as a family park, it isn’t necessarily the first place a lot of people might think of when pondering the phrase “romantic getaway”. While it’s true that a Disney World honeymoon will have the most appeal if you’re a fan of the various attractions, you don’t need to spend all your time twirling around on the Tea Cups. The Polynesian Resort not only has a long, beautiful sandy beach, it’s big enough that you can isolate yourself from the noise of other families and vacationers to lounge in a hammock or in the sand with a cocktail from the tiki bar. Go big for an intimate evening with Victoria & Albert’s five star dining (worth every penny) or enjoy a cocktail and an appetizer in the lounge at the California Grill before you watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom on top of the roof… close enough to feel!
While a Disney World wedding comes with a hefty price tag the bigger you make it, it also comes with an incredible degree of customisation to meet any taste and preference, and an equally impressive amount of talent and manpower behind it to pull it all off. Visit the official Florida Weddings Disney World website for more information, or jump straight to the online wedding maker to see more of the options available to you before you contact anyone. Whether you want to be the princess with the glass slippers, the poised and elegant couple, or the people saying their vows in beachwear before diving into the pool, a Disney World wedding might be a better idea than you first thought!