Disney Bride Lauren is planning a Walt Disney World “Mini Wishes” wedding at the Wedding Pavilion and The Attic for December 2016.
Before I got engaged, I had always dreamed of having a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding. I knew it most likely would never be in my budget but that didn’t stop me from reading blogs, stalking wedding planning journals on the Disboards, or creating a secret Pinterest board of Disney wedding inspiration. When my fiancé and I first started talking about getting married, we discussed having a Disney wedding but almost immediately shut it down due to our large families.
When we got engaged in January 2015, we immediately started to brainstorm the type of wedding we wanted to have and the budget we could work with. Since we’re both very close with our families (immediate and extended), we automatically took Disney off the table since we decided on a $10,000-$12,000 budget. No matter what time of day, week, or year we chose, we would be having at least a 75-person guest list, and we simply couldn’t stick to our budget if we went with a Disney wedding.
We started to research other unique wedding locations in the Orlando area and even visited a few. When we went to a site visit at the Orlando Science Center, we both fell in love with the unique and quirky vibe of the venue. Not only could we have a beautiful outdoor ceremony on the lake, but we could have a fun and super unique reception in the Dinosaur Room, surrounded by dino exhibits. We received the pricing and when we saw it was within our budget, we were pretty much sold. We went home that night to discuss it with my parents and the next day we got our deposit together and signed a contract with the Orlando Science Center for our wedding.
While I was happy and relieved we signed a contract and had a venue secured, I didn’t get that thrilling feeling that I thought I would get. A few weeks later, we started looking through their preferred vendors to try and create a more realistic budget for our wedding. We knew with a big guest list, catering was going to be our biggest cost so we wanted to start there. We started emailing all of the Science Center’s preferred catering venues to get quotes on our guest count and most were either out of our budget or didn’t have the best reviews. We finally found one company with good reviews that was willing to work within our budget so we set up a meeting with them and we were invited to one of their group tastings. We attended two of these tastings and thought the food was okay but nothing memorable. Initially, we were okay with that and we put gave them a deposit to secure our date.
Once we had the venue and catering lined up, I started looking into attending local bridal expos to help us find the rest of our vendors for the wedding. After attending my first bridal expo with my fiancé and my mom, I started to feel really overwhelmed. I knew there were many aspects that went into planning a wedding but being at that showcase and talking to DJs, florists, photo booths, cake companies, etc. sent me into a total mental breakdown. That’s when the arguing between George and I started. We couldn’t agree on anything from music to wedding colors to attire, and I just got tired of it and wanted to avoid wedding planning at all costs. After one of those arguments, we agreed to take a little break from planning. We had a vacation to Disneyland coming up so we focused on planning for that, and decided when we got back and our heads were clear, then we would start really cracking down on planning the wedding.
In the few months between that final argument and the Disneyland trip, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings in Florida announced their “Mini Wishes” package and I swear my heart momentarily stopped beating. I immediately started doing calculations in my head. It would still be expensive, and we would have a weekday wedding, but it would be so much cheaper than a regular Wishes wedding so I kept it in the back of my mind. I was too nervous to bring it up to George until I had really gave it some thought.
In October, we went on our trip to Disneyland and had such an amazing time. We even had our engagement pictures taken while we were there. When we got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Disney wedding I’ve always dreamed of. I knew we already had our wedding venue booked but I just couldn’t let go of the idea of having a Disney wedding and one morning I had a complete breakdown to George. I told him I couldn’t get excited about our wedding because it wasn’t the wedding I had always dreamed of. Between having no emotional connection to the Science Center and the stress of keeping track of all the different wedding vendors, I just wasn’t happy. Not only that, but after getting quotes from different companies for photography, floral, music, and catering, our projected budget was getting bigger than we wanted. We were both stressed and unhappy and I finally convinced George we should set up a meeting with DFTW.
Since we were within the 16-month mark and getting close to the 12-month mark, we were able to set up a site visit with Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings. We met with a sales consultant at Franck’s a few weeks later and we talked pricing, packages, and venues. Our consultant took us to see the 3 places we requested (Seabreeze Point and the Wedding Pavilion for ceremony and Ariel’s for reception). I always wanted an outdoor wedding and could never see myself getting married in the Wedding Pavilion, but when we walked in there, it took my breathe away. It was such a beautiful venue and one that my fiancé really loved. Seabreeze Point was my top choice, but after visiting the venue we both agreed it was a little too loud and public for our tastes. We weren’t crazy about the reception venue we saw either, but knew we had other options we could go look at on our own another day (a perk of living local to Orlando!).
When we got home that afternoon, George was really starting to get on board with having a Disney wedding. While he still loved the Science Center, he didn’t love that the process and stress that went into planning it, which was causing so much tension in our relationship. We both loved that with a Disney wedding, the planning process would be completely done through Disney, which would reduce the stress of keeping track of 15 different vendors. The only negative aspect of the Disney wedding for us was our guest list because we simply couldn’t afford the per-person cost of a 75-person wedding.
We gave ourselves two weeks to come up with the pros and cons of the Science Center versus a Disney wedding. While it was really important for me to invite all of our family and friends, to be honest the thought of having a large wedding kind of terrified me from the beginning. I’m a pretty shy person and hate being the center of attention, but I’m also very close with my aunts, uncles, and cousins and felt sad at the thought of not having them there on my wedding day. In the end, I still couldn’t picture having my wedding at the Science Center and knew a Disney wedding had been my dream all along, so after careful consideration that’s what we chose! Thankfully, all of my previous deposits were fully refundable.
Now that we were on board with having a Disney wedding, we still had to make some very important decisions to stay within our $10,000-$12,000 budget. While it was an extremely hard decision to make, we had to keep our guest list to a minimum and to avoid any (more) family drama, we decided to only invite parents, grandparents, siblings, and very close, mutual friends of ours. While it took quite a bit of convincing, especially with my parents, eventually every one accepted our decision to hold a small wedding and all of the drama seems to be under the bridge … at least for the time being.
Now that we have officially signed our agreement with Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and we are in the planning process with them, I can 100% say that we made the right decision. Not only do we get to have the Disney wedding of our dreams, but the planning process has been so easy and stress-free compared to our previous experience. While we had to make sacrifices to stay within our budget, it has been more than worth it just knowing that I get to say I AM OFFICIALLY A DISNEY BRIDE!