Sandra is planning an Escape wedding at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel at the Wedding Garden and Brisa Courtyard.
Those of you who have dreamed of having a Disneyland wedding may have had a sigh of relief when seeing the cost of the basic wedding package, the Escape package, through Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings. The package is easy and attainable for couples who really want to make their dream wedding come true. Knowing the basics – such as ceremony and reception venues, food and cake, officiant, and tax and gratuity – are included in that all-inclusive fee makes planning and budgeting easy. However, it’s good to be aware there are some outside expenses that are NOT including in that price, which you will need to add to your overall wedding budget. Here is my list of 14 additional expenses you should keep in mind when planning for your Disneyland Escape wedding.
14 Unexpected Expenses with Disneyland Escape Weddings
Your wedding attire, which includes dresses, tuxes, shoes, garters, undergarments, and hair and make-up, are all extra expenses. You will also have to keep in mind to budget for any necessary alterations. Traditionally bridesmaids are responsible for paying for their own dresses, which include their own hair and make up expenses, and groomsmen are responsible for renting their own tuxes and returning them by the return date. Make sure everyone in your wedding party understands this, unless you are planning to foot the bill!
Photography and Videography
Another expense to consider is photography and videography. These are not included in either wedding package at Disneyland, and depending who you choose as your vendor it can cost a pretty penny. Nowadays, there are so many photographers and great photography and videography packages that you can find one at a reasonable rate. Keep in mind, you may have to provide your photographer and videographer a vendor meal, too.
Your wedding license is by far the most important expense you will need to add into your budget. The Escape package does provide you an officiant, which is great and one less thing to worry about, but that does not include your fees for obtaining your marriage license. There are several ways to obtain this. You can obtain it yourself or have your officiant do it for you. Either way, it’s important! Look at your options and see which best suits you and your budget.
Invitations and Additional Stationery
Your save-the-dates and wedding invitations are also an additional out-of-pocket cost. Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings has a recommended vendor for stationery, or you could DIY your invites, but either way it’s still a expense you will have to add into your budget sheet. Also figure out if you will have any additional paper products, such as programs or menus. You will also need to purchase Thank You cards for after the wedding. And don’t forget the cost of postage, too!
The Escape package includes an iPod patch for your ceremony music. However, I wasn’t aware until planning time that there is an additional expense for an iPod patch for the reception. If you are having your reception in a ballroom, they may be able to pipe in the Disney “elevator” music that plays lightly in the lobbies. This generally provides good atmosphere for lunch and mingling, but most couples want to control their playlist and even play music for dancing. If so, you will need that iPod patch. If you are having a outdoor reception, like in Brisa Courtyard, you will have to pay for speakers to be set out as well. You may also choose to have a live musician or a DJ at your reception. Either way, it’s an additional expense.
When you book the Escape package, the couple’s personal floral (bouquets and/or boutonnieres) will be provided as part of the package. Additional bouquets and boutonnieres (for bridesmaids/groomsmen/parents, etc.) are available for an additional fee. If you want floral centerpieces, that is an additional expense, too. I know some couples who have used outside vendors for their additional floral arrangements, or you can DIY them, like I have decided to do.
Decor can end up being the most expensive part of the wedding. Keep in mind that there are no decor elements included in the base price of the Escape package. Luckily all of the Escape ceremony venues are naturally beautiful, but if you do want to include anything such as draping on the gazebo or an aisle runner, this will cost extra. And if you do decide to bring in DIY decor, you may be charged a clean-up fee if you choose to not remove your DIY decor when the event is over.
Favors aren’t a necessity so don’t feel like you need to have them. But I know a lot of couples like to give their guests a little gift at the reception, such as a Mickey candy apple or a personalized button.
Champagne for a toast is included with the Escape package (if you choose to have it – they also offer non-alcoholic sparkling cider). But if you want a full hosted bar for the length of your reception, that is going to cost extra. If you need a budget-friendly option, consider just serving beer and wine.
Small Ceremony Extras
These are the little things like a guest book, unity candle or sand ceremony, card box, bubbles, etc. There are also some reception extras you may want, like a cake topper, personalized champagne flutes, or props/signs for photos.
If you have bridesmaids and/or groomsmen, it’s customary to get them gifts for the wedding day. Some couples also like to give gifts to their flower girls and ring bearers, and also their parents. Gifts should always be considered optional, but it’s a nice gesture for the people who supported you during your wedding planning.
One great aspect of the Escape package is that the price includes tax and gratuity, which means you don’t have to provide a separate tip for any Disney Cast Members who assist with your event. However, you should still plan on tipping any outside vendors you hire, such as your photographer, hair and makeup artist(s), or DJ. Also, some couples like to give their DFTW planner a gift; of course this is entirely up to you.
The Escape package does not include a formal rehearsal, but most couples still get everyone together the day before the wedding to go over everything! If you plan on having a traditional rehearsal dinner, or a welcome dinner which is common with destination weddings, be sure to factor this into your budget.
Hotel and Park Tickets
Staying at the Disneyland Resort hotels and going into the parks is not a necessity for having a Disneyland wedding, but there are some incentives for choosing to stay on property. The hotel and park tickets are not included in the Escape package price but you can get a discount for booking a room at the hotel and purchasing your park tickets through the special group rate link Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings will provide for you.
Advice: When it comes to estimating expenses for rooms and park tickets it is always best to over budget.
I hope listing these additional expenses will help you set a more accurate budget and make your wedding day go smoothly. Happy Planning!
Image source: White Rabbit Photo Boutique from Samantha and Randy’s Disneyland Escape Wedding