This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
Even if you’re an ordinary girl, working in a 9 to 5 world, you may have been planning a fairytale wedding all your life. You hum the words to the beautiful song from Snow White about your hoped-for romance and nuptials: “Someday my prince will come, Someday I’ll find my love..” And when “the prince of [your] dreams comes to [you]..and “whisper[s] ‘I love you,’ and then steals a kiss or two” you can proclaim your love in an official Disney wedding.
Started in 1991, there have been 30,000 weddings held at Disney properties around the world; since 2013, when 1,500 couples chose a Disney wedding, the number swelled to 4,000 in 2016 as an average of 11 people per day said “I do” at a Disney theme park, hotel, or resort or aboard a Disney cruise. Whether you want to be married with a castle in the background or have a fantasy event attended by Disney princesses, the top five characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy), or all 37 licensed Disney persona, there are plenty of options for you.
What’s Special About A Disney Wedding
Lest you think a Disney-themed wedding is something akin to a Las Vega wedding where an Elvis impersonator performs the ceremony, the characters do not and cannot officiate at the wedding. They cannot even be on site if alcohol is served. Available at several price points, the events are classy affairs that may just have everyone’s favorite mouse, princess, or Toy Story or Star Wars character drop by. What attracts many couples is the fact that Disney offers top-notch wedding planning services and then promises (and usually delivers) world-class service in executing every detail.
Wedding planning at Disney strives to make the wedding couple (or anyone celebrating a vow renewal, anniversary, or other events) feel as special as a guest, whose job it is to come, be served, and feel special, as musically described in the “Be Our Guest” song from The Beauty and the Beast. The planning team works exclusively at Disney properties and can lay out all the possible available at any locale with as much or as little Disney theming as you want. As one bride gushed, “They handle all the boring stuff, like cutlery and heat lamps, and you just pick out the fun stuff like the colors.”
Finding Out About Getting Married at Disney
Disney weddings are expensive, but if you are crazy about Disney or want to have a fairy-tale-like start to your married life, a wedding at one of their venues may be perfect for you. How do you know how to structure the perfect Disney wedding? How can you be sure you are getting the most value for your dollar?
One of the best ways to find out about the planning a fairytale wedding is to listen to the Disney Wedding Podcast that not only presents all the options but even drills down on details such as how to get your marriage license, how to cut costs, and how to maximize your experience. The podcast and its website offer interviews with former clients as well with vendors who lay out the experience you can prepare to have in Florida, California, Hawaii, or on a cruise. The host, print and broadcast journalist Carrie Hayward, was married at Disney World herself in 2008. Not a Disney employee, she offers advice and opinions that are unbiased and impartial – though she loves Disney!
While Disney wedding prices are all-inclusive and include a wedding planner, listening to this podcast as well as other wedding planning podcasts, is an excellent way to know exactly what to expect and heighten your excitement for your magical day.
What Is The Cost Of Magic?
With specific pricing varying by location, most Disney weddings are available at several price points, but the magic comes at a price that may be well worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Couples can choose from all-inclusive packages with optional upgrades available for an extra cost. The minimum Memories package that allows for four guests, runs about $3,500 for an intimate wedding. This price includes an outdoor ceremony at a Disney resort, an onsite wedding coordinator, a bouquet, one hour of photo coverage, and three hours of limousine service. The required two nights at the hotel are extra.
The Escape package allows 18 guests and includes all of the above plus a two-tier wedding cake and sparkling wine and additional photography and limousine time. The cost is $7,000. Adding on additional flowers ($175 for altar arrangements), more musicians ($2,215 each), enhanced photo and video options at locations such as the Magic Kingdom (starting at $2,125), upgrading the limo to Cinderella’s coach ($3,200 for two hours), and Disney themed entertainers (at up to $1,275 each) would add $9,000 to the base price of the venue.
If you not only want a magical setting for your wedding but also a reception with a meal, the base price is $12,000 plus the meal, with prices ranging from $140-$190 per person for the Wishes package. “Enhancements” add to the price: a choice of vehicles for the glass coach pulled by six white ponies (2,950), trumpeters to another your arrival ($1,200), a majordomo ($800), costumed Disney characters (up to $2,150 for three princesses and transformation of your venue into a Cinderella castle with fountains, topiaries, and a floor to ceiling wall of flowers ($13,000) could add nearly $30,000 to the base price.
Specific locales add even more to the bill. For $4,000 you can get married in the Disney Wedding Pavilion in Florida or for $25,000, have Cinderella’s castle in the background. A wedding in the Magic Kingdom castle, which allows the bride to wear her wedding dress inside the park when it is open, has a minimum cost of $75,000, while an evening wedding for up to 300 guests when the park is closed has a base price of $180,000.
In addition, you can upgrade your cake with a white chocolate castle topper, have a multi-tiered princess cake, or even have fake projection cake with Disney scenery for $3,100 (more if you have real cake inside.) After the wedding, you and select guests can enjoy a late-night dessert bar or other culinary delight.
While neither apparel nor jewelry are included in the wedding packages, Disney now offers wedding rings, and in June of 2020, will unveil a line of Disney princess wedding dresses. If you love Mickey Mouse, you can even purchase wedding-appropriate mouse ears for the bride and groom.
Having a wedding on the other Disney properties around the world may add even more cost to the process, especially when travel costs are added in. The Disney Wedding Podcast helps you balance the magical allure of a fantasy wedding with a real-life budget. Your wedding coordinator will then translate your desires into an affordable plan you’ll love.
Disney Weddings and the Coronavirus
As with many other wedding venues around the world, wedding operations at Disney facilities are currently suspended due to the coronavirus. Those whose weddings were scheduled during the pandemic have been offered the opportunity to cancel or reschedule for another time. Many couples who did not want to wait to be legally married have had intimate local weddings and postponed the big celebrations at a Disney venue for healthier times. As with the participants, vendors who work with Disney are on hold until it is deemed safe to resume operations; they are offering discounted services to those who rescheduled rather than canceled and may have plenty of openings and reasonable prices for scheduling an event. While a normal Disney wedding might take 10-16 months to plan, small weddings require minimal led time if the venue is available; so once world-wide health concerns have minimized, celebrating where your favorite characters hang out might be doable even in 2020.
Whether you want a Disney-themed wedding or want to go to one of their theme parks for your honeymoon, a Honeyfund online wedding registry can make it happen.
Bio: Vurbl is launching new technology for audio creators AND their podcast reviews and recommendations can introduce you to some amazing new podcasts. Check out their list of relationship podcasts and coronavirus news. Go to Vurbl.com to sign up for their beta release.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter