Real Disney Weddings – Jessica and John

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Hello! And happy April, my dear friends!  I hope you all survived any April Fools shenanigans that may have crossed your path.  For me, April Fools Day was also my bridal shower day, so everyone was smart enough not to mess with me.  

I am kind of loving April this year, because not only are we closer to our own wedding day (eep!) but it is clearly WEDDING SEASON based on all the pretty Disney wedding pictures that are popping up on my Facebook feed.

Today’s wedding was submitted by Jessica, who had an Escape wedding in Walt Disney World a couple years ago (seriously, I love my WDW submissions but where are my Disneyland/DCL couples at?).  Jessica and John were kind enough to share some wedding details and budget tips for their big day with you all, so I hope you enjoy!  Keep in mind that their wedding was a couple years ago and prices of services as well as rules may have changed between now and whenever you may be reading this.

(All photographs by Randy Chapman)


Disney Bride: Jessica Wilton, 25, Boston, MA
Disney Groom: John Wilton, 30, Boston, MA

Wedding date: June 9, 2010
Ceremony venue: Sea Breeze Point
Reception venue: Kona Cafe (Reception was not planned through DFTW)
Total budget: $6,825
Guest count: 11 guests (13 total)

Why did you choose a Disney wedding? I had always dreamed of getting married in Disney. Ever since they built the Wedding Pavilion and I knew it was possible to get married there … I knew someday I would. I went to Walt Disney World every few years with my parents growing up and it was always such a happy place and I couldn’t wait to share that experience with John.

How did your family/friends react to your Disney wedding? My family was very accepting. They were always expecting me to get married there. John’s family on the other hand was oppossed to it. But he knew it was my dream so he did not let the nay sayers change his mind. After his family realized we were not going to change our plans they became more supportive.

What was your theme? We went with a brown and pink theme.

What was your biggest challenge in planning your Disney wedding? The biggest challenge was not being physically there to plan. I had to trust that people over the phone were seeing my vision and they would get it perfect. I stressed about my planner not always returning my emails in a timely fashion and about phone calls going unanswered, but on the day of my wedding, everything was perfect.  They captured my vision and created it the way I would have!

Tell us about your ceremony.  Did you include any Disney touches? Our ceremony took place at Sea Breeze Point at 10:00am. It was Officiated by Rev. Tim Herring. My grandparents were not able to travel to the ceremony so Rev. Tim dialed them on his cell phone so they could hear the ceremony, which was very sweet and I know my grandparents appreciated it. We had the violinist that came standard with an Escape package and although I did not hear the music all my guests commented on how beautiful it sounded. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon, which I had always dreamed of … still to this day, if I hear that song, I get goosebumps. Rev Tim performed the traditional ceremony which took about 10 minutes. Again that is all a blur because I was just waiting to hear him announce us as husband and wife. When the moment came for us to kiss and seal our vows, I was elated! After the ceremony we did some of the traditional pictures and then the limo chartered over all our guests to the reception while John and I walked around the Boardwalk and got pictures with our photographer Randy Chapman.

Describe your reception.  Was it completely traditional or did you do anything unique? We did not have a traditional private reception. Instead we had a lunch reservation at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian. I chose Kona Cafe because I wanted to have pictures taken at the Polynesian and I loved the food at Kona. The staff at Kona Cafe was so accommodating and helpful. They sat us at a large long table and let us stay and enjoy ourselves as long as we wanted. I never felt rushed or unwanted. I had our cake (included with the Escape package) transported here to enjoy after our meal.

What did you splurge on?  We splurged on photography. And while Randy Chapman has very reasonable prices he was our biggest splurge of the day.

What was your favorite moment of the day? My favorite moment of the day was after we had finished at the Boardwalk getting pictures taken and John and I were finally alone in our limo being charted to the Polynesian. It was the first time we had be “alone” since becoming husband and wife. It was just a special moment and a moment that sticks out in my head still 2 years later.

What would you change if you had to do it all over again?  Honestly, my day was perfect. If I had to chose something to do differently, it would have been my choice of Officiants. Not that Rev. Tim did anything wrong, he just did not go above and beyond like all my other vendors.  He performed our ceremony and married us … but his style seemed not to mesh well with our vibe for the wedding.

What advice would you give to couples that have just started planning their Disney wedding?  Enjoy every minute of it!!! It was by far one of the most fun experiences. Do a lot of crafty projects and make your wedding personal. So many people get married at Disney every year but if you add personal aspects your wedding will be like no other. Also, splurge on photography. You are in one of the most beautiful settings for a wedding so spend the extra money to get amazing pictures. They will be all you have to look back at years later.

Any other details you want to share?  Make your guests feel welcomed and make sure you thank them tons for traveling all that way for your wedding. I gave each family a Welcome Bag with tons of goodies and also a Welcome folder that included all the wedding documents. We also decided that at our “Welcome dinner at Ohana we would give each guest a gift for coming to the wedding. We were able to do this because we only had 11 guests, but if you have more than that you can find different little ways to make sure to say thank you. I did a ton of personal touches to make our day more special. Like I said above, you know that thousands of people are getting married in Disney and you don’t just want the cookie cutter wedding, so add some touches that are special to you and hubby-to-be that make your wedding different from anyone else. Also, don’t stress the day of the wedding. I was unusually calm the day of my wedding and am thankful for that. Surround yourself with vendors whom other brides have vouched  for. Randy Chapman and Beaute Speciale (Laine) really eased any nerves I had on the morning of my wedding.

Budget breakdown

Venue: $5000 (total cost of Escape package)
Food/Drink: Kona Cafe- $250 for 13 people
Floral: included
Officiant: $200
Ceremony Music: included
Favors: Welcome Bags/Gifts- $200
Photography: $450 for 4 hours with CD of all images
Videography: $0 – We had a family member video our entire wedding
Bride’s attire: $400
Hair/Makeup: Beaute Speciale. They had a promotion at the time of my wedding. If you booked hair, makeup was free. So for hair and makeup it was $65.
Groom’s attire: $150
Gown Steaming: We used Carolyn Allens. I had shipped my dress down to Orlando so that I would not have to carry it on the plane. The total cost for dress/veil steaming, suit steaming and sending them to the hotel early was $110.

Wedding coordinator: Tanis Armstrong
Photography: Randy Chapman
Officiant: Rev. Tim Herring
Hair/Makeup: Beaute Speciate- Laine
Stationary: I made all my own –

Welcome Bag goodies (photo from the couple’s collection)

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.