Disney Bride: Bethanee Bemis-D’Alessio, 25, from Maryland
Disney Groom: Benjamin D’Alessio, 26, from Maryland
Reception venue(s): Hunt Valley Golf Club, Phoenix, Maryland
Total budget: Approx. $25,000
Guest count: 120
Why did you choose a Disney wedding? The feeling you get when you’re at Walt Disney World, that all is right with the world and you can relax, enjoy yourself and let your imagination run wild, that was the feeling I wanted for my wedding. I wanted people to enjoy themselves, and since I enjoy myself most at Walt Disney World, I thought I’d bring a little Disney World to them.
How did your family/friends react to your Disney wedding? Most people went with the “Well, it’s your wedding…” line. Everyone who knows me knows my love of Disney, so they weren’t surprised, but I doubt they would have chosen it for themselves. It seemed like people didn’t know what to expect.
What was your theme? Vintage Walt Disney World (1970s)
What was your biggest challenge in planning your Disney wedding? Trying not to let it get too cartoonish and keeping it strictly Walt Disney World. While I love the movies and recent updates to the park, I felt the theme wouldn’t be recognizable if I mixed eras or movies plus the park.
Tell us about your ceremony. Did you include any Disney touches? I kept Disney out of the ceremony to keep it simple and serious. Though the pastor, knowing my love of Disney, did make a mention of marriage not always being a “Disney fairy tale” or a day in the parks! The only other Disney moment was when our ring bearers went in. They carried banners that read “Here comes the bride!” in Disney script.
My mom and dad also got into the act with a Mickey necklace and Mickey tie, purchased during a trip to Walt Disney World.
What was your favorite moment of the day? I loved slow dancing at the reception with almost all of our guests on the dance floor. It felt like such a celebration of relationships – mine with my husband, our guests with us, and our guests with each other.
What would you change if you had to do it all over again? The one snag in the day was that the bus we had booked to take guests from the church to the reception and then to return to the church to take the bridal party to the reception got lost. As a result we were about 15 minutes late to our reception. It wasn’t a big deal in the end, but I would have asked that they do a dry run or at least confirm the directions with me beforehand if I did it again.
What advice would you give to couples that have just started planning their Disney wedding? Ask yourselves, “What is it that makes Disney special for you?” For me it was the feeling of being in the park, and that was what I tried to bring to my wedding. If you enjoy sitting at home watching the movies, bring that aspect to your wedding. If it’s about the joy you get from the characters, make the characters your main detail. It isn’t about cramming as much Disney swag as possible into the day, but pulling what makes Disney special for YOU out for your guests to experience.
Food/Drink: Included in venue fee
Other Decor (chairs/linens): Mostly DIY/probably around $1000
Ceremony Music: $100
Reception Music: $1800
Favors: $50 (DIY)
Bride’s attire: $1100
Groom’s and Groomsmen attire: $1000
Wedding coordinator: Katie Stevens at the venue, the Hunt Valley Golf Club
Photography: Erik Annis at Kitestring Studio
DJ: DJ Jordan Solender
Hair/Makeup: Gina Stromberg
Bride’s Gown: Snow White by Alfred Angelo