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If you’re recently engaged and you’ve even briefly considered having a wedding at a Disney Resort, this post is for you!
My husband and I went through the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings process ourselves back in 2009 for our Wishes wedding at Walt Disney World. While there have been some updates including more options and accompanying non-negotiables, for the most part the process is pretty much the same.
Below I’m going to talk about where to start if you’re considering a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding at Walt Disney World, though I’ll also provide some info for other Disney locations. I’ll talk about different options for planning, how to get an idea if you can afford it (psst, there’s a good chance you can!) and resources for getting help from other Disney Brides and Grooms!
First and foremost, hit the Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings website and look around. You can plan anything from a quiet elopement, to a full scale day complete with after party! The pricing on the site is sparse and vague, but gives you an idea of the minimums for each type of celebration (I’ll share a resource for more specific pricing info in a few moments) and all the location possibilities including at sites in Florida, California, Hawaii and on the Disney Cruise Line.
Request the free brochure via the website, or call Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings (DFTW) at 321-939-4610 to request a free brochure. If you call, be aware that you won’t get any more specific pricing information just yet. Once you get the brochure and look it over, you’ll likely have a better idea if you want to talk with someone further. At that point, you can call DFTW again and let them know that you’ve looked everything over and are interested in speaking with a sales consultant to get more information.
Disney weddings are a special kind of event and there are some unique intricacies to planning them. The most helpful resource for couples planning a Walt Disney World Wedding is Carrie Hayward’s Fairytale Weddings Guide (*affiliate link). It’s a guide and planner all rolled into one. Skip the wedding magazines and planners from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and invest in this book instead. I recommend purchasing and reading it cover to cover BEFORE you start any booking processes.
It has everything you need including more specific info and pricing. Here is just a brief list of what you’ll find inside: a complete rundown of the planning process, photos and descriptions of every ceremony and reception site, detailed bar options, cake and frosting flavors, add-on options and prices from carriages to characters and fireworks, budget sheets, tons of tips, and more. There’s even info about how to plan a wedding on Disney property without going through Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, which I’ll touch on below. Trust me, don’t waste your money on generic books and wedding planners. BUY THIS BOOK!
If the DFTW options for a Walt Disney World wedding aren’t quite what you’re looking for, or maybe they’re just a touch out of your budget. Fear not, there are other options!
Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resorts are located on Walt Disney World property behind Disney’s Boardwalk, but these hotels are actually managed by Marriott. These beautiful sister resorts offer a plethora of wedding options from elopement style to full day events including ceremony and reception! You even still have access to booking characters like Mickey and Minnie for your wedding even though your event won’t be through DFTW! Get info about Disney Swan and Dolphin wedding packages online and via Carrie’s book.
Paddlefish in Disney Springs also offers ceremonies and receptions. Get more info about the event packages at Paddlefish via their website.
Sensational Ceremonies offers ceremony packages at the Characters in Flight helium balloon in Disney Springs. Host your I do’s 400 ft. up or on the paddock with the balloon as your backdrop. Check out the Characters in Flight wedding packages here.
NOTE: You can plan a ceremony at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, Paddlefish, Characters in Flight and other locations on and off Disney property and still host a Wishes reception through Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, or a private event through Disney Catered Events. Oftentimes this is necessary for Catholic couples that need to conduct their ceremony in a church. In many cases the ceremony fees at these other locations are much less expensive than DFTW ceremonies, so it could noticeably reduce your overall expenditure while still allowing you to plan a reception elsewhere on property either through DFTW or Disney Catered Events! You can learn more about this in Carrie’s book.
For my amazing friends in the Armed Forces, Shades of Green Resort offers wedding packages for you. Shades of Green is an Armed Forces recreation center on Walt Disney World property. If you’re not a member of the military you still have the option of using this location IF you have a military or government sponsor who will be in attendance at your wedding. Check out the Shades of Green wedding packages via their website.
There are even more non-DFTW options than this, that still get you a wedding on Walt Disney World property and all the uniqueness and fun that comes along with it. Check Carrie’s guidebook to learn about them all!
Maybe you still want a Disney wedding in Florida, but not at the WDW Resort. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is also a Disney wedding option, though it’s not included on the DFTW website. For info about hosting your wedding at Disney’s Vero Beach resort, call (321) 939-4561.
The Disney wedding podcast hosted by Carrie Hayward is a great resource and an opportunity to hear past couples speak candidly about their Disney Wedding experiences. The podcast covers all Disney locations including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and Disney’s Aulani Resort. You’ll hear about all the varying packages like Memories, Escape and Wishes weddings, combo off-site ceremonies and DFTW receptions, dessert parties and other unique private events and pretty much every combination of celebration you could imagine. Visit the Disney Wedding Podcast website to start browsing episodes.
You’re DEFINITELY going to want to join a Facebook group or two…or more. LOL. Like I said earlier, there are some intricacies to Disney events and there is a very magical community of current and past Disney couples ready to share and assist you in your planning process. You’ll be able to ask questions, get ideas and recommendations and, if need be, vent. These groups are an invaluable resource. Here are just a few:
DISbrides has over 1700 members and covers all Disney wedding locations. Psst…guys are welcome here too, as well as LGBTQ couples! This is a very active group of dedicated Disney brides and grooms ready to spam you with photos, information, tips and support. Visit facebook.com/groups/disbrides to request to join. (Note: this is a closed group, so your posts will not be public…feel free to vent to your heart’s content!)
Disney Wedding Inspirations is a public group (no venting here…wink wink) has over 1300 members and includes some vendors and artisans, so you may find some of the details and decor you’re looking for. Search Disney Wedding Inspirations on Facebook or join here.
Last but not least, check out the popular Disney forum site DISboards.com. They’ve got a forum dedicated to Disney Weddings and Honeymoons.
This is by no means an all inclusive list, but it’s where I would start if I was planning another Disney Wedding right now. As you dive into your planning you’ll find other resources, groups, articles, etc that’ll help plan and design your most magical Disney day ever!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your Disney wedding photography!