For a lot of people, finding the perfect wedding venue is the most challenging part of planning a wedding. For us, that was not the case at all. When my now hubby of 9 years asked me to marry him on March 13th, 2008; our wedding venue was decided on within days. We are from Jacksonville Beach, Florida and toyed around with several beautiful venue locations here and then out of the blue my dad says “Well what about Disney!?”, I think I said something along the lines of “OMG SERIOUSLY!?”.
You see I am a self proclaimed Disney kid. Being that my entire life, we only lived a little over 2 hours away from Walt Disney World, I grew up going to see the mouse himself ALL OF THE TIME. My fondest childhood memories are at Walt Disney World and it’s where I truly grew up. I remember watching the parade down main street in Magic Kingdom on my dads shoulders with the smell of the confectionary treats wafting through the air. I remember riding 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, where Seven Dwarfs’s Mine Train currently resides, with my grandparents. I remember Figment and the smell of the Epcot fountains. I rode The Great Movie Ride at least 100 times at then, MGM Studies, which is now Hollywood Studios.
So, when my dad said “What about Disney?”, it was a no brainer. My hands down, absolute favorite place in the entire world would also be where I said “I Do”. March 14th, 2018 marks mine and my hubby’s 9th wedding anniversary and to this day we still feel that our wedding weekend at Walt Disney World with 170 of our closest friends and family was truly the best, most memorable weekend of our lives. It really was THE BEST DAY EVER! So with that being said lets get into all of the other fabulous reasons we chose Walt Disney World as our ultimate location to tie the knot!
My Dad reached out to Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings for an informational brochure and thats where the process began. We were assigned a Disney Wedding Planner/Expert named Celeste that literally was an angel sent from above! She was absolutely incredible throughout the entire process.
She opened our eyes to HUNDREDS of venue possibilities we had at our fingertips for our Disney wedding. We had no idea the numerous locations within the Walt Disney World property that we could utilize for not only our wedding reception, but for our ceremony, rehearsal dinner, bridesmaids luncheon, etc. If you want to have your reception inside a ride at Hollywood Studios, GO FOR IT. If your want your ceremony to be on the outdoor pavilion in Italy at Epcot, GO FOR IT. If you want to host your bridesmaids luncheon in Cinderella’s Castle, GO FOR IT. I could go on and on. There are no limits except your imagination. There is no wedding too big or too small, too low of a budget or too high (shocker), that Disney can’t handle and make possible. We’ve seen weddings of just 10 people on the pavilion at The Boardwalk.
The options for wedding transportation, guest hotels, dining and beverage options, character appearances, and all of the other magical touches Disney is so famous for were endless. Here are the final venue selections we chose:
~ Wedding Ceremony: The Wedding Chapel at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
~ Wedding Reception: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
~ Character Appearances: Mickey Mouse and Goofy
~ Our Transportation: Cinderella’s Horse-Drawn Carriage
~ Rehearsal Dinner: The Living Seas Salon inside Epcot
~ Bridesmaids Luncheon: The Wave inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort (our favorite Disney hotel)
~ Room Block For Guests: The Contemporary (Deluxe), Coronado Springs (Moderate), and Pop Century (Value)
We had custom menues, beverage packages, and decor & florals at each event that was tailored to us and our guests. Any special request we had, Disney met well above our expectations. When I tell you Disney, along with our Wedding Expert Celeste, crossed every “t” and dotted every “i” like 5 times over, it is not an overstatement.
I’m a big proponent for leaving the town you reside in to get married. There’s just something special about it. It’s not the city you drive to and from work in everyday or see the same sights on a daily basis. I remember leaving Jacksonville the Wednesday before our wedding with my mom’s SUV all packed up to head to Orlando and it was exhilarating knowing that when I came home i’d be a married woman. Let me clarify, when I say “leave town” I don’t mean you have to head to Mexico or Jamaica, I just mean somewhere that isn’t so commonplace, somewhere within driving distance thats new and refreshing that you don’t see everyday. We are super fortunate to live 2 hours away from Walt Disney World; making it the perfect distance for our guests to create a fun weekend getaway out of our wedding all while being a really special destination for us. And let’s be honest, we got married in the Happiest Place On Earth, how could it not feel special?
So my advice if you’re planning a wedding, get out of town… even if its only 45 minutes. Just think… every year on your anniversary you can plan a fun, sentimental weekend trip with your hubby to take a walk down wedding day memory lane. It’ll be YOUR spot; a special place you both hold near and dear to your hearts. Obviously Disney will always be my #1 recommended wedding destination, but if you live in North Florida/South Georgia I’ll be writing a post soon on my other favorite wedding destinations and venues within an hour or so drive! Stay Tuned!
I touched on this in the beginning of my post, but there’s no doubt the nostalgia Disney evokes for a lot of folks is undeniable. I mean, I basically tear up whenever I hear “When You Wish Upon A Star” because my life flashes before my eyes and it brings back a rush of memories and emotions I’ve experienced throughout the years at Walt Disney World. I mentioned earlier riding 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea with my grandparents and I should’ve also included basically every other ride at Magic Kingdom too because we rode them all. What I didn’t mention is that my grandmother has since passed away from Pulmonary Fibrosis when I was in college and my grandfather currently suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, so my connection, as well as, the plethora of fond memories I have with them; Disney created. So for me Disney isn’t just a theme park, it isn’t just about riding rides or taking pictures with characters; it’s where I grew up, its where my most prized memories ly, it’s where I married the man of my dreams, and now where we are grooming our 7 and 3 year old to follow in their mama’s footsteps to become the next generation of Disney kids. It goes without saying we are devout annual passholders, along with my parents, so we go to Walt Disney World on average about every other month if not more- we actually leave in two days for a 9 day Disney trip to celebrate our anniversary and our daughters 4th birthday. You see, we are following in the path of my childhood so that when we are long gone someday, my kids will remember how they grew up in Disney with their parents and grandparents and our memory will live on. That my friends, you can not put a price tag on and my hopes are that my kids do the same with their kids and grandkids.
So when it came to choosing Disney for our wedding I thought how incredible it was going to be for our friends and family to create their own Disney memories to last a lifetime just because they attended our wedding. Once again, you can’t put a price tag on that type of wedding memento. To this day, most of our friends and family still say its their favorite wedding they’ve been to and proceed to tell us a personal story they experienced that weekend and it truly makes my heart swell knowing we played a part in creating those memories for our friends and family. Disney has the ability to create priceless memories whether you go once or one hundred times.
2. Guest Experience
In my opinion, this is a high priority that should be heavily considered by the bride and groom. Although, for the wedding party, there is little if any down time, your guests on the other hand have a ton. There has got to be easily accessible and entertaining activities for your guests to enjoy while you’re tied up with wedding stuff. Remember, more than likely your guests use your wedding as a mini weekend vacation so it should be just that; Fun, low-stress, relaxing, and enjoyable.
I think you know where I’m going here… what place is more magical, more fun, with more things to do than Walt Disney World!? The options are endless and right at your guests’ fingertips. There is something appealing for literally every age and interest at Disney. Perhaps the ladies would like to have a relaxing spa day at the Grand Floridian while the fellas indulge in a round of golf at Disney’s Palm Golf Course. Maybe guests are looking for a little fun in the sun at Typhoon Lagoon or want to experience the cultures (or alcohol) of the World at Epcot’s World Showcase. The options are endless and there is no other place on earth that can provide your guests with a truly unique and magical experience other than Walt Disney World. Oh and the icing on top… all of our guests got discounts on their hotel rooms and theme park tickets!
Convenience is the absolute #1 reason we chose Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings at Walt Disney World for our wedding hands down. We literally met our fabulous wedding planner Celeste at Franck’s Bridal Studio on Grand Floridian’s property for a single 3-hour planning session and that’s it, our wedding was planned. I am not kidding. We did the cake tasting and toured 3 potential properties for the reception, which were The Contemporary, The Boardwalk, and The Grand Floridian. The Grand Floridian was our final choice. We finalized flowers, lighting, decor, limos for the wedding party, Cinderella’s Carriage for Kyle and I, room blocks for our guests, and the most important part… which Disney characters would be in attendance at our reception. You’ll just have to head over to our YouTube Channel and watch our Magical Disney Wedding video to find out who the special guest characters were! Celeste/Disney even created and sent out all of the save the dates for us! Aside from a few e-mails back and forth finalizing menus, beverage packages, head count, the DJ, and videographer, that was the extent of our planning process. Oh and did I mention, as part of our wedding package Kyle and I got a ton of free goodies, a free night’s stay at The Grand Floridian, and the grand prize of them all… ANNUAL PASSES FOR A YEAR!
Now I have been in my fair share of weddings and if you have experience in this area like I do, then you know by the time the wedding roles around the bride has been prescribed a hefty dose of Xanax and her stress level is through the roof. All of the intricacies of planning a wedding are mind-boggling and incredibly overwhelming. Trying to plan for every little detail down to the color of the table napkins is enough for even the strongest woman to lose it just a little bit. So spare yourself, wedding planning should not be a nightmare. If you’ve even remotely thought of having a wedding, then freaking do it. It’ll be the best decision you will ever make and everyone around you will be thrilled not having to deal with a bridezilla.
No matter what your budget is, no matter how small or how grand you want your wedding to be, whether you have 10 people or 200 hundred people, Disney is the ultimate wedding destination waiting to accede your expectations. If you can dream it, Disney can do it! A special thank you to my parents for the most incredible wedding I could have ever dreamed of!
I hope this post was helpful and provided some insight on the many magical wonders of a Disney wedding! Thanks for stopping by!
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