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Guest Post – Katelyn and Geoff’s Escape Wedding

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Welcome to a new feature I am starting on Budget Fairy Tale.  I will be featuring guest posts from future Disneyland Wedding couples, where they talk about their decision to have a Disneyland Resort wedding.  I think it will be very interesting to hear how other couples made the decision to wed at Disneyland, and hear about different wedding locations and packages.  Plus I imagine it might get kind of boring to hear about my wedding 24/7.

Our first guest post comes from Disneyland bride Katelyn.  Katelyn and her fiance Geoff are planning an Escape wedding for December 2011 (coming up quick!).  Take it away, Katelyn!

Let me start off by saying that I never in a million years thought I would be a Disney Bride.  I grew up in Southern California and have always loved Disneyland, but I always figured it would be way too expensive to ever get married there!

Geoff and Katelyn post-engagement, showing off her bling.

When my fiance and I got engaged in July of 2011, we both originally thought we would have a long engagement and get married in Washington (where we live).  I looked at yacht clubs and hotels around here, and all of their weddings STARTED at $12,000.  So, I started looking at other options, like renting a public park area and doing it all myself… but these options were just as bad.  Between venue rentals, equipment rentals, food, decorations, linen, lighting … not only would it all add up, but it would be a logistical nightmare and I would probably drive everyone I know away from me in a Bridezilla frenzy.

Finally,  I ended up on the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings website and found the Disneyland Escape Wedding.  24 Guests, all of the basics included, and it was $5,000.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I called my mom in California and showed her the research I had done, and she thought it was a great idea!  (My mom sat on Walt’s lap on the opening day of Disneyland when she was 6 years old, so like me she’s a lifelong Disney lover. [Editor’s note – Awwwwwww!])

I know the 6 month booking limit for Escape Weddings scares some people off, but I took that as challenge to just go for it! My fiance and I went to Disneyland last December when we were in California for my grandfather’s funeral, and we had such a magical and meaningful time enjoying all the festivity of Disney during an otherwise somber trip and wanted to share that same Winter Magic with our friends and family.   I called DFTW to see about early December availability (5 months from our engagement!)  Within a month, we had booked our date, signed our contract, and paid our deposit.  

Holy smokes, look at the INTENSITY in Katelyn’s eyes!  No wonder she’s kicking butt! (Sorry Geoff)

A lot of elements of the Escape package are predetermined or very limited in options.  They have several choices for Ceremony locations (a Gazebo, a Garden, or a Courtyard) and a few options for receptions (ballrooms at the Grand Californian or Disneyland Hotel, or outdoors in courtyards or gardens).  There are definitely not as many options as a Wishes package, but what they do offer showcases a nice variety of options.

Ceremony site – Grand Californian Wedding Garden
Reception site – the gorgeous Wisteria Room at Grand Californian Hotel

We were given the option of two preset menus for our plated lunch reception, but we were happy to discover you can mix and match elements from each to create the perfect menu.  Disney’s floral upgrade options were out of my budget, but the cost does include set-up, so it’s kind of a toss up between convenience and budget there.

I decided to do my own centerpieces and go to Disneyland on my own to get our favors (we are doing personalized mouse ears for everyone) so even with some additions to the basic Escape package (like a sound system for the reception and champagne at the lunch reception) we have still been able to plan a Disneyland wedding for under $6,000.  Of course, with photography and our “Disneymoon” (Disney Honeymoon), we’re closer to $10,000…. but that’s lower than the minimum expenditure for most weddings, so I certainly don’t feel like we’re breaking the bank to have our dream wedding.

Thank you for sharing your planning experience with us, Katelyn, and best of luck to you and Geoff on your big day!

Want to do a guest post on Budget Fairy Tale?  Contact us via the “Submissions” link above!

About Mindy

Mindy Marzec is a life-long Disney fan who grew up in Los Angeles. She started This Fairy Tale Life to share Disneyland travel tips for adults. When not at Disneyland, you can find Mindy at home snuggling with her cats and re-watching Thor: Ragnarok for the billionth time.