Today we have a guest post from Hope, who got married to her lovely husband Mike in August 2010 at the Disneyland Hotel. Hope comes bearing some really great budget advice for all you Disneyland Brides out there (myself included!), so prepare to take some notes and learn from someone who has “been there, done that.”
Top 10 Budget Tips for Disneyland Weddings
1) Use what you already have to decorate! We used my snow globe collection as centerpieces for our tables and some Disney collectibles for cake table decor.
2) Skimp on the ceremony decor! As our imaginations soared and our savings dwindled, we decided to cut back on ideas for literal interpretations of “Sleeping Beauty” and kept things simple. We chose to incorporate a “Briar Rose” look for the ceremony and stayed true to the greenery and browns of the woods by leaving the Rose Court Garden virtually undisturbed. (Just some petals lining the aisle.) Since we were spending most of the time at the reception, we chose to splurge on colored linens for the tables. We chose the colors Fuchsia and Purple for the reception décor and for touches here and there. Purple because it’s regal and it is Maleficent’s main color and Fuchsia because of the uplighting of the castle at Disneyland and because it represented Aurora. We felt those colors were as rich and bold as the palette Eyvind Earle used in the backgrounds of the film. Plus, they’re my two favorite colors! We thought it all looked nice and it didn’t cost us a fortune.
3) DIY where you can or ask creative friends for help! Our artistic friends created, printed and sent out our invitations for us and created our table names and escort cards as a wedding gift and I made a simple newsletter program for the ceremony and printed them at home for cheap.
4) Skip the fancy bridal store accessories! Yes they’re gorgeous, but you’re seriously only wearing them once (unless you plan to clean your house in your tiara). I purchased my necklace and hair flowers on Etsy for a fraction of the cost of a veil and tiara at a regular bridal store.
5) Hit up the Outlets for your attire! Mike scored a great deal on his suit by purchasing it at a Suit Outlet and we both purchased our shoes from discount shoe stores.
6) Custom isn’t always more expensive! My “Fairies” had their dresses made by a seamstress for under $100 each which is way less than what traditional bridesmaid gowns cost at regular bridal shops. Plus, they were made of breezy cotton which means that they can wear them again! (Seriously, one of them already wore their dress out to a brunch meeting!) If you can’t find a seamstress then consider buying “off the rack” at a discount department store. Just give your gals a color family to stay within and let them find their own dresses. It will save you the trouble of having to pick the dresses yourself and I’m sure they’ll appreciate investing in a gown that they ACTUALLY want to wear.
7) Hire outside vendors! Don’t assume that you have to go through Disney for everything and don’t get caught up with the idea that because vendors are on a “preferred list” that they’re the only ones capable of making your wedding dreams come true. All of our vendors were reasonably priced and way less than those on Disneyland’s preferred vendor list. We hired outside entertainment (a harpist for the ceremony and a DJ for the reception) and everything worked out wonderfully. In fact, we were able to add extras to our event and to some of their packages (like uplighting for instance) because we saved so much money over Disneyland’s recommended vendors. This isn’t meant to imply that the vendors on the preferred list aren’t worth the extra money, but if you’re on a tight budget, going “off the list” and looking outside of Disney could possibly save you a lot of money.
8) Keep the guest list small! We had less than 40 guests and still managed to have a wonderful time together. Don’t think that you have to invite everyone you’ve ever known. Most people should understand that it’s impossible to have everyone you want there and shouldn’t get offended if they didn’t get invited. Weddings are very expensive and if you are on a tight budget, trimming the guest list to “essentials” is definitely the way to go. Plus, when you look back on your wedding pictures, you can honestly say that all those guests were seriously the coolest people in your life at the time.
9) Look into rewards programs to make extra money or save money! I did surveys online and managed to collect a pretty nice Disney gift card for my efforts that helped us pay for things. We also cashed in some of our Disney Movie Rewards and got our Thank You Cards and Photo Guest Book for free! If you have a Disney Visa, use it to pay for any wedding expenses. We converted the reward points into more Disney gift cards which also helped us pay for our day.
10) Don’t get caught up in the hype! It’s very easy to fall for trends and book the latest “it” thing, but don’t lose sight of why you’re really celebrating. At the end of the day, you’re joining your life together with your one true love. We had our fair share of “extras” but we booked them because we thought they would be cool and not necessarily because we were hoping to impress our guests with them. When it’s all over, no one cares about or remembers what your reception looked like or remembers everything you offered. All they’ll remember is that you looked happy and that they had a great time, so don’t try to over “wow” your guests and break the bank in the process. You still have to have money for your “happily ever after,” right?
Thanks for sharing your budget wisdom with us, Hope! To see more of this awesome couple’s awesome wedding, click here for their ceremony and reception pictures, here for their Disneyland castle photo shoot, and here for their engagement pictures. (Whew!)
This article was originally published in February 2012 and has been updated.