For years, bridal experts have championed the destination wedding. Not only do they combine the ceremony and the honeymoon, but remote affair often keeps the bride’s expectations/demands reeled in, the guest count reasonable and the pocketbook intact. We’ve all heard about large resorts offering reasonably priced wedding packages, but is it all too good to be true?
Recently, I headed to the House of the Mouse in order to find out for myself. Last fall, I learned that a bride could get married in Disney World for as little as $2,400. After some quick math, I convinced my fiancé that we could get hitched in the happiest place on earth far cheaper than staying close to home.
So how did it work out and did I get the best value for the money? Were there any hidden costs? Did I come out ahead? Honestly, I think I did and I would recommend it to other brides. They say that the typical wedding in the U.S. is $25,200, but I was able to get married at Disney, in a Disney dress, stay in their nicest hotel, have my photos taken at Cinderella’s castle and enjoy the parks for a week for less than half of that price!
So how does it work and were there any drawbacks? See below for the skinny on the Disney Fairytale Wedding, but rest assured, Disney doesn’t do anything halfway.
If you are the kind of person who does not like to be bogged down with decisions, they have a package to help you out and you will have a wonderful event with little fuss. If you want to go all out Bridezilla and micro-manage everything, there is an option for that as well. If you are looking into a destination wedding, I highly recommend Disney. It lives up to the hype. The customer service is excellent and who wouldn’t want to get married in a storybook setting where every princess lives happily ever after?
The Skinny on the Disney Fairytale Wedding
There are three tiers to the Disney Wedding: The basic, no frills, Memories collection (for a very small wedding), the mid-level Escape collection and of course the Wishes option, otherwise known as, “How much is your trust fund?” Because my parents are deceased and my guests were only four people, I chose the first package, which included a ceremony site, flowers for the bride and bridegroom, a violinist to play three songs, and an hour of Disney’s photography service.
The Pros: Picturesque setting, simple ceremony, on-site coordinator, fewer choices to make, and the ability to lump both the wedding/honeymoon into one event.
The Cons: The package is very limiting and there are few add-on options. If you like to customize, then consider the Escape or Wishes collection, which offer a bit more flexibility.
Hidden Costs: The base price does not include a two-night stay in a Disney resort hotel (though you do not have to choose a pricey hotel…it can be any resort property), reception, cake or park tickets. It also does not include the cost of a minister. Disney has a list of preferred ministers to handle your ceremony, but be sure to check out several as the prices vary from one person to another.
Tips: You cannot pay to have a Disney character show up at your ceremony, but if you are staying on property, there is nothing to stop you from booking a character dinner and wearing your dress to get the photos of you and the Disney gang. While you can book Cinderella’s coach to take you to the ceremony, I recommend the castle photo shoot. It costs a lot, but it is worth it. On a day when every bride wants to look and feel like a princess, why shouldn’t she have a fitting backdrop?