A Disney wedding is unlike anything you’d find at your local reception hall.
You can get married in front of Cinderella Castle, sure, but Disney Fairy Tale Weddings aren’t just for wannabe princesses. With the help of Disney, you can live a magical Sleeping Beauty moment, enjoy a Star Wars-themed getaway, or simply host a scenic beachside event. Having a destination wedding through Disney may seem unconventional, but your big day may be even more special with the inevitable touch of nostalgia the brand conjures.
Disney prides itself on being both flexible and thorough, creating celebrations and ceremonies for literally everyone: large parties, small groups, same sex-couples, and high school sweethearts on cruise ships, at resorts, and even inside the beloved parks. But the options can make planning as overwhelming as learning how FastPasses work.
Here’s how to make your Disney dream wedding—be it arriving to your ceremony by way of a glimmering carriage or hitting Space Mountain after exchanging vows—a reality.
Decide where the magic moment will happen.
Couples can wed at locations across Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii, either aboard (or ashore of) a Disney Cruise, and in foreign countries by way of Epcot. Couples can choose from tropical gardens to intimate beaches, but many still opt for the Wedding Pavilion, which looks torn straight from a book of fairy tales. For true royal dream fulfillment, couples can even get married inside Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, too, but money is often a deterrent (pricing for ceremonies on the lawn outside Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle starts at $75,000).
Get down to brass tacks sooner than later.
Knowing your budget for any wedding can help determine who can be invited, but it’s particularly true for Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, which offer three tiers of celebrations with restrictions based on party size. Determine early on if friends and family will be able to travel, and let them know your timeframe is flexible, as Disney won’t confirm event dates until about 12 months prior—possibly less. If you haven’t already, give Disney’s wedding experts a call (321-939-4610) so they know you’re on board, and start thinking about options for hotel room blocks.
Be a bookworm.
Disney’s efficiency with wedding planning makes their timeline significantly shorter than a traditional venue, which in turn, can leave future brides and grooms squirming. Pick up a copy of Passporter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoons by Carrie Hayward—the reigning, unofficial authority on all things marital—and dive into the archives of her explanatory Disney Wedding Podcast. See how other couples pulled their big day together on Disney Weddings’ Ever After Blog too, which has photos and details from real-life functions. In researching, you’ll discover the many idiosyncrasies involved in Walt Disney World celebrations (early morning weddings are normal, as are weekday ceremonies) and be extremely prepared once you’re assigned a complimentary wedding planner.
Immerse yourself in the community.
Even if you’re not the Say Yes To The Dress-viewing type, it helps to tap into the community of fellow Disney couples sharing tips, advice, and often rapidly answering the small questions likely to pop up during the process. DisBoards.com offers an active forum with news and advice, but DisBrides on Disney Brides Diary Facebook Group tends to be more active and in-depth. Grooms are welcome to join DisGrooms as well.
Start choosing magical enhancements.
Disney Weddings are the ultimate “guacamole is extra” on the burrito of hosting a wedding. They can provide nearly anything you can dream of, like a visit from famed characters, a grand entrance in Cinderella’s Carriage, sunrise park photo shoots or a group ride on a favorite attraction: for an additional fee. Dream big, choose what's most important to you, and try not to get too attached. Prices add up quickly! One cost many couples are happy to swallow is the one for Epcot’s “dessert parties,” which allow guests to enjoy sweets and entertainment from a semi-private area inside the park.
Memorize the details.
Double and triple-check what photography, floral, videography, and catering arrangements are included in your wedding package (and note what you still need to coordinate). Future newlyweds may be required to use Disney’s own vendors, though bundles provide more flexibility. Become extremely familiar with your Banquet Event Order—or BEO—which outlines every detail included with the wedding. As Carrie Hayward emphasizes, if a single ribbon or bouquet is not on that document, it won’t happen.
Get prepped to party.
Once every box on your wedding checklist has been marked, it’s time to consider adding extra flourishes to the wedding. Etsy is packed with Disney vendors who will customize invitations, artwork, shoes, clothing, Mickey ears, and even cake toppers to fit your precise (possibly themed) occasion. If you’re tying the knot at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, make time to celebrate with your guests at the parks before or after the day of the nuptials. Chances are, they've been eyeing the new Frozen Ever After expansion, too.