Disney Bride: Brittney, 27, Colorado
Disney Groom: Zack, 28, Colorado
Wedding Date: May 12, 2012
Ceremony Venue: Disneyland Hotel Rose Court Garden
Reception Venue: Disneyland’s Grand California Hotel, Brisa Courtyard
Total budget: $20,000
Guest Count: 38
Why did you choose a Disney wedding? While I had looked at getting married at Walt Disney World as an “if-I-ever-won-the-lotto” fantasy long before I was engaged, we did not initially plan on getting married at Disney. We began planning a Colorado wedding because we live here and some of our family and all of our friends are here, so it seemed to make the most sense. However, I was going to be completing my Masters degree literally days before the wedding date (picked by my fiancé because of weather timing on our honeymoon) and I realized there was no way I would be able to handle all of the last minute details that would inevitably arise. We decided to cut our guest list to just family and plan a destination wedding. We wanted a lush, green garden wedding, so outdoors was necessary for us. Something that is much easier to plan on in California over Colorado in early May!
How did your family/friends react to your Disney wedding? I do not think anyone was surprised or disappointed! My family is originally from So-Cal so they were all thrilled that they wouldn’t have to travel. My husband’s family is filled with Walt Disney World fanatics so they were all excited to visit the other theme park. I think most of them, knowing my love of Disney movies (I have yet to be beaten in any version of Disney Scene it), thought it would be a nice fit for us.
What was your theme? Our theme was Simple Elegance. The décor was easy because we didn’t want to compete with the natural beauty of the sites, so we kept it understated. We also wanted to center the reception around brunch, which we are a little obsessed with!
What was your biggest challenge in planning your Disney wedding? Planning from afar was a little nerve-racking for me, as I am a type-A kinda girl. Originally, it didn’t appear that we would be able to visit the sites until the wedding weekend, but luckily we were able to schedule a trip to see the sites in person and taste the food and make any resultant changes and Disney really worked with us!
Tell us about your ceremony. Did you include any Disney touches? There was not a lot of Disney in our wedding—it was more like having a garden wedding that happened to be at Disneyland. Our Save-the-Date picture had us in our bride and groom mouse ears; the invitations and escort cards were silhouetted Cinderella and Prince Charming; and during our pre-reception we played an hour of instrumental Disney music, but that was about it. The ceremony was fairly traditional, especially in music, but we were able to customize it to our liking and we wrote our own vows.
Describe your reception. Was it completely traditional or did you do anything unique? It was a brunch reception, early in the day so we had all of our guests greeted with a passed mimosa at the pre-reception, which was in a smaller area of the Brisa courtyard. We were aware that, because our guests were mainly older family members, there would not be a lot of dancing (though there was some, yay!) We were concerned that people may get bored quickly, so we provided each guest with a “Wedding Advice” mad-lib to play with at their leisure, and they were so much fun for us to read later! As a surprise my dad and I did a choreographed dance that I think everyone enjoyed watching.
What did you splurge on? Where did you save money? We splurged on the vis-à-vis carriage, which I do not regret at all! It was a surprise for all the guests, and it was so beautiful for pictures! Our second splurge was Magicale for the toasts, which was worth it since so many guests asked about it!
We saved money by having my comedic uncle “DJ” our iPad through the Disney sound system. Since we weren’t expecting a lot of dancing, it was a great area for us to save money and we spent time making the different playlists together.
What was your favorite moment of the day? My favorite moment of the day was seeing Zack waiting for me at the end of the aisle. It was so amazing to finally see him on the day we were going to become husband and wife! A close second favorite was getting the private time alone in the carriage, and having people wave to us like we were a Disney prince and princess. (PS. Zack says his favorite was seeing me pull up in the carriage and hearing all the reactions of our guests. His second favorite was our disaster of a cake cutting.)
What would you change if you had to do it all over again? I would not order chocolate favors for an outdoor reception! It was a huge disaster and the chocolate melted well before the reception was over!
What advice would you give to couples that have just started planning their Disney wedding? Microsoft Excel should be your new best friend. I had several tabs with Disney’s options based on the potential RSVP numbers. It also enabled us to keep our guest lists, RSVP- and thank you card- trackers all in one place. (Ed note – I second this. Excel is a wedding lifesaver!)
Any other details you want to share? We tried to get everyone to go to the park after the wedding, since it was over with plenty of time to use the discounted twilight tickets, but in retrospect, it was too much. I would have liked to just gone into the park and spent some time with Zack at a nice dinner — make sure that you get some alone time with your new husband! The only other thing I would want to mention is that I think doing something special for your guests is especially important at a destination wedding, whether it be a dessert party or a happy hour, because many of them have traveled far to be with you on your special day!
Bride’s Attire and Maid of Honor dress–$1,000
Brides Hair and make-up–$275
White vis-à-vis carriage with “Just Married” sign–$1,700
Food and Beverage–$6,710
(Inc. Bride and Grooms Dressing Rooms with coffee, breakfast–$184)
Disney Floral and Linen–$3,325
Ceremony and reception iPod–$440
Stationery and Other Signage –$850
Wedding planner: Traci Banister
Photography: Katie Keller Photography
Officiant: Rev. Carolyn Alexander
Hair/make-up: Fairytale Hair and Make-up
Stationary: Invitations by Dawn
Other paper goods: Impressions