My wonderful reader Fran married her husband at Epcot in January. She kindly agreed to write about her wedding and offer tips and advice to other Disney Brides. I hope you enjoy the Practically Perfect Tips for an Affordable Disney Wedding series.
The Disney Parks have magical, storybook settings that serve as a perfect backdrop to a wedding. You can choose from Mickey and Friends or Princesses all the way to chic and stylish. You now can choose from an expanded variety of Park locations, not just an event at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion with a Resort ballroom reception. But when considering all this, you may wonder if all the magic Disney has to offer really and truly is that affordable? Will you sacrifice everything you dreamed of for the sake of affordability?
My husband and I got married at Epcot in Walt Disney World in January. Our ceremony was in the courtyard of the Germany Pavilion and the reception was a brunch on Italy Isola. We also did an IllumiNations Dessert Party at Italy that night. We wanted the Germany and Italy Pavilions we to speak for themselves. It was going to be less a Disney-themed affair and more a European one. We did have a few subtle Hidden Mickeys sprinkles around, but they were not that obvious to people who were not looking for them.
Although Disney has been a large part of our lives, it was a first visit for most of our wedding guests. It was a lot to ask of our loved ones to come to a destination wedding, but knew it would be a far better experience for all of us than if we stayed locally. Where we live, weddings are well over the national average. So then, what could we do within a reasonable budget? If you looked at our contract, or in Disney terms, our Letter of Agreement, our wedding looked like (and then became) a top notch affair for a fraction of what one can do in our area.
Inspired by our love for Disney and our annual vacations in Central Florida, we encouraged our guests to make their trip about them. We set out to make it like a huge extended family/friends vacation that we happen to be getting married during. We wanted it to be easy for them and cost effective, too. So, we made it part of our mission to be as available as we possibly could for our guests in planning, as well as during the wedding trip itself. It is safe to say that very few people knew where to start. I put all my Disney Parks knowledge to work (and had to think fast in case there were some snags along the way).
We had what is called a Wishes Wedding. It is the easiest option if you have a lot of people who are willing to travel, like we had. Everywhere we could, we personalized our wedding. We took different elements in terms of food, beverage and floral and came up with our look. We trusted Disney’s vision because from the first moment, they were SO beyond easy and fun to work with. Their ideas and touches are unlike anything you can dream up on your own. One thing we loved was the fact they never stacked or hid costs. You give them a budget number and they stick to it, no matter what. Our Wedding Planner was one of the best people I have ever met. It really could not have been a better experience.
Each Wedding Collection that Disney produces has a required minimum to meet. So, let’s say there is a $12,000 minimum for your total wedding. Set that as the budget and fill up everything you can with event day venues, floral, food/beverage, cake until you like what you see (for example: Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, $80 a head, no cake topper and a Bill on Consumption Bar).
There are a lot of little things we learned along the way to achieve our dream wedding. Be sure to come back tomorrow when I share these with everyone.