A Fairy Tale Focus ~ Sally & Scott

Disneymooner Sally, and her fiance Scott, will be having a Wishes wedding on January 7th, 2013 at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at the Walt Disney World Resort. They will be having their reception at one of the Boardwalk ballrooms.

Disneymooners: Can you tell our new members a little about the both of you?

Sally: Scott and I met and began dating while working at our former employer.  Scott manages a team responsible for the email and collaboration system at a large University, and I’m a Sr. IT Associate at a financial services company.  We’ve been together just over 8 years, and have been engaged for a little over a year now.

Disneymooners: When did you first decide you wanted to have a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding and why?

Sally: Disney was our first vacation together, and has become a place we go back to every year.   We decided Disney would be where we marry after Scott proposed at Disney.  I thought it was a trip to celebrate my birthday and see the Holiday decorations, but Scott surprised me with a romantic proposal on our first night during dinner at Victoria & Albert’s.  I also have to add that the most special part of the engagement was when Scott told me he had asked my father for permission to marry me.  My father was ill and unfortunately he passed away a month after Scott asked him.  While I never got to share the exciting news with him personally, knowing that my Dad knew was very special to me.

Disneymooners:Did you have any concerns about having a destination wedding? If so, what were they and how did you work them out?

Sally: No concerns whatsoever.  I knew that a majority of our guests had never been to Disney, so they will use the wedding as a good reason to finally plan a vacation for our event.

Disneymooners:Any special reason why you chose these locations?

Sally: Whenever we rode the monorail, I would always look at the Pavillion and imagined how special it would be to get married there.  While we were at Disney during our engagement vacation, I was lucky to get an appointment to meet with a consultant and see the inside of the Wedding Pavillion.  I knew as soon as I walked in, that was it.  For the reception, we originally planned to have it at the Napa Room at California Grille, but it is going under refurbishment on January 1st,, 2013, so we chose the Boardwalk because we love the location and atmosphere.

Disneymooners: Many brides pick a Top 3. These are components that are a non-negotiable. Chiavari chairs, lots of floral, lobster, etc. Tell us about your Top 3!

1. Dessert Party 2. Photography 3. Wedding Pavillion

Disneymooners: Do you have any extra magical touches planned? Such as a dessert party or characters?

Sally: We are planning a dessert party at Italy Isola West as the welcome party the night before the wedding.  One of the advantages of being a member on the Disneymooner site is all of the good information posted by past brides – specifically Glad I Did, Wish I Had.  A consistent message I read was “glad I had a dessert party” and “it is so unique to Disney”.   I may never get another opportunity to have all of my extended family together again, so this is going to happen!

We’re also going to have an “Around the World” pub crawl at EPCOT complete with passports.  Each guest will have their passport stamped as we visit each country and sample the beverage of choice!

Disneymooners: What would you say has been your biggest challenge?

Sally: It hasn’t been too much of a challenge, but planning the wedding from a distance.  I know that will pass when I get to Florida in June and meet with my planner, plus there is plenty of information available on Disneymooner’s and the internet.

Disneymooners: Budgets are very important to all of us. Do you have a favorite budget tip that you’ve used and can you tell how it’s helped you?

Sally: Yes, I have 2 tips.  The first, if you are creative enough or have a vision and can DIY some things, do it.  I DIY’d my Save the Date’s and saved approximately $250!  My second tip would be to get the Passporter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoon book.  It has all of the budget worksheets you need, and if you buy the ebook version, you can enter and track your expenditures in the program and how much you will owe, including what is service charged, taxed or both.

Disneymooners: Have you found it to be easy to plan a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding on your planned budget?

Sally: Yes, I compared the Disney minimums to other local and destination venues and Disney’s costs were coming out on par or better.  But, no other venue can offer all of the amenities that come built-in with a Disney wedding, so I feel it is very worth it.

Disneymooners: Do you have any fun splurges planned for your trip that you’re excited about?

Sally: Well besides the “around the world” afternoon at EPCOT, the guys are going to have a golf outing and I would love to have a bridal tea, but that has not been planned yet.  I’m going to work with my planner on coming up with a girls event.

Disneymooners: You have a Planning Journal in progress on our forums, have you found that to be helpful in your journey?

Sally: Yes, it’s been great to have a support system to give you words of encouragement, bounce off an idea and get feedback, or ooh and ahh over a choice you’ve made.   It’s clear that people come to Disneymooner to get ideas and inspirations for their wedding, but then stay on long after their wedding is over because they’ve made connections with other members.

Disneymooners: What are you most looking forward to on the big day?

Sally: Besides the obvious of finally making our relationship official?!  I’m looking forward to waking up that morning knowing that it is finally my wedding day and having that quiet time before the chaos of getting ready begins.  And selfishly, I’m also looking forward to all of the fuss with hair and makeup, and then putting on my gown and feeling like it’s my Cinderella moment!

Disneymooners: Do you have anything else you’d like to share with our new members?

Sally: I’ve learned some great tips and ideas that have helped me in my planning by joining Disneymooners.  Being long distance, I’ve also used Google to get other brides feedback on various vendors – I’ve found great feedback at weddingwire .com.  Lastly, good luck with your plans and I hope your wedding turns out to be everything you wish for!

Sally, on behalf of all of us, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences so far. We are so happy you have joined Disneymooners and we are so excited to follow your planning. Wishing you a wonderful planning journey and a beautiful wedding next year! All the best ~ Disneymooners.


Featured Venue Fridays: White Hall Patio at the Grand Floridian Resort

This weeks Featured Venue post was written by Disneymooner Gina. Gina used White Hall Patio for her 2009 wedding reception. To read her recaps join the Disneymooner forums.

The White Hall Patio located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is a great choice for the bride and groom who want to celebrate outdoors.  The patio area is attached to the Whitehall Room which can be used for cocktail hour or as backup in case of rain.  You can comfortably host about 50 guests in the area and still have room for dancing. This area is also a popular location for pre-wedding events.

The patio is the perfect blank canvas to create the wedding decor of your dreams.  On one side you have gorgeous french doors leading to the Whitehall Room/Grand Floridian conference area and a small covered area to set up your cake, buffet if you have one, and DJ.

On the other is a short brick wall which can be decorated with flowers, candles or whatever you dream up.  In the distance is Cinderella’s Castle, reminding you that you’re in the happiest place on Earth! And up above… ohhhhhh up above is what makes this spot so special, it’s the MONORAIL! The monorail cruises through periodically adding a touch of Disney magic to your event that guests will talk about for years to come. In case you’re concerned, no, it’s not too loud, I promise!

This location lets your decor shine, so get creative with linens and centerpieces, there’s no need to match anything existing because it’s all so neutral.

My husband and I chose Whitehall because we love being outdoors.  We were married in January and the weather was exceptional.  On of the most unforgettable parts of our wedding was during out first dance when the monorail stopped and everyone on board waved to our guests.  That moment made me feel like a true Disney princess!!

If you’re looking for the elegance of the Grand Floridian but wanting to put your own spin on decor this is the venue for you!

Here’s what Disneymooners are saying about White Hall Patio on our forums:

We chose the Whitehall Room and patio for the proximity to the Magic Kingdom. We used it for our Welcome Dessert party the night before the wedding. We wanted a place with options for A/C because it’s so hot in Aug and with a view of Wishes. I definitely thought it was a nice venue but brides should be aware that it is a very obstructed view of Wishes

– Lianne

A Fairy Tale Focus ~ Debbie and John

Disneymooner Debbie, and her husband John, were married on November 8th, 2009 at the Disneyland Hotel’s Rose Court Garden. They held their reception at Disney’s Grand Californian’s Sequoia Ballroom.

Disneymooners: Tell us a little about yourselves!

Debbie: John and I met at work and dated for 3 years before getting engaged. In fact, we also work with my Dad and he interviewed John before he was hired. If only he knew he was interviewing his future son-in-law! After 3 years of dating, John proposed to me in our backyard by carving “Will you marry me?” into the trunk of our tree. I’ve always been a total Disney fan. John was somewhat indifferent to it but over time he’s “caught the fever” and now he’s a total Disney fan too. We’re now both longtime Disneyland annual passholders and love living about 20 minutes away so we can make quick trips whenever the mood strikes us.

Disneymooners: What made you decide to have a Disney wedding and why?

Debbie: I was totally stumped when it came time to decide on wedding and reception locations. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted or where to even start looking. It was stressful. Then a friend of mine told me she’d looked up Disney weddings online since she knows I’m such a big fan. She was surprised at how affordable it seemed and told me check it out. Knowing we would probably have about 215 guests I highly doubted it would be anything close to affordable so I didn’t really jump on calling. My mom eventually set up an appointment with DFTW for me, John, and my parents. The sales consultant was showing us the possibilities and I could barely sit still in my seat. Everything she was telling us sounded perfect! Then my Dad asked how much it would all cost …. I was a nervous wreck as she was number crunching. She gave us an estimate and my Dad said “sounds good to me”. I seriously just about passed out. Getting married at Disneyland was one of those “wildest dream” kind of ideas and there we were talking about making it happen. John hadn’t been converted to a total Disney fan yet but he was into it because (1) he knew how much I wanted to do it, (2) everything we saw seemed really nice, and (3) it was something totally different. We both ended up loving everything about it!

Disneymooners: How did your friends and family respond when they found out you were having a Disney wedding?

Debbie: They were all really excited about it! When I told my family we were getting married at Disneyland they said “of course you are”. They know me pretty well. Since the majority of our family and friends all live in Southern California our wedding wasn’t a destination wedding. We didn’t get the comments about the expense of traveling like many Disney brides seem to. However, since everyone lives here we also had a ginormous guest list!!

Disneymooners: Was there any particular reason why you chose your venue locations?

Debbie: We were a bit limited in our location choices due to our large number of guests. (It actually made the decision process a little easier.) I had always been adamant that I wasn’t going to get married outside because I didn’t want to worry about the weather. Well wouldn’t you know it, DL has a beautiful garden and gazebo that we knew was perfect as soon as we saw it. Seeing how our wedding was in November, we were a little worried about rain but I knew we’d figure it out. I have always loved the Grand Californian Hotel. It’s just so beautiful and I love the atmosphere. Not knowing how the pricing worked, I assumed it would cost more to have our reception there than at one of the other hotels. When I found out it was the same price no matter which hotel we chose, I was ecstatic! (That sales meeting with DFTW left me on a serious high!!!) At first we thought about using one of the ballrooms at the DL hotel since the Rose Garden was there, but once we walked into the GC I literally got chills. I knew it was the right choice for us. For the both the ceremony and reception we knew our locations as soon as we stepped foot in them. They just made sense.

Side note – We chose not to have a Disneyland castle wedding because my Dad just about had a heart attack when we were told the starting price.

Disneymooners: Planning a wedding, especially long distance, can be stressful for a couple. They wonder how it will all look in the end. How did it feel for you when you saw it all come together on your wedding day?

Debbie: I remember being so relieved that it all looked just as I’d envisioned. All the hours and hours of research and work were totally worth it. The comments from our guests just put me over the moon – it wasn’t just that John and I liked how it turned out, all the people we loved thought it was wonderful too. Talk about a big payoff! I do remember thinking that the ballroom kinda looked like a big box and I wished we’d paid the ridiculous fee to have lighted trees around the walls to soften it up, but that’s the only thing that I remember being a little disappointed about. Overall, seeing it all come together felt great!!

Disneymooners: Was there anything that surprised you? Maybe something that you didn’t expect to have such a huge impact on the day?

Debbie: I can’t really think of anything other than how calm I was and how smoothly things seemed to go. There were a few little hiccups here and there but none of our guests knew any different and I just didn’t care that much. I feared I’d be a nervous wreck about everything but I was able to pass all the coordination off to very capable people and they took care of it. I was totally in the moment and having a blast.

Disneymooners: Part of the excitement for a lot of couples is to see their guests react to the magic of a Disney wedding. What aspect of your wedding do you think your guests loved the most?

Debbie: Two things come to mind – the food and Mickey & Minnie. The food at our reception was absolutely delicious. Our main course was lemon chicken – not that exciting – but dangit if that wasn’t the best darn piece of chicken I’ve ever had. We have several profession chefs in our family and they all raved about it. It didn’t taste like typical “wedding food”, it was a gourmet meal. The big thing that people still talk about was when Mickey and Minnie made an appearance at the reception. It was so fun to watch a roomful of adults turn into screaming 6 year olds. The cameras were snapping pictures like CRAZY! At one point we talked about not having them because we were afraid our guests would think it was kinda hokey …. not an issue! I loved being able to look around the room and see so many people that we care about wrapped up in the Disney magic.

Disneymooners: What was the #1 splurge you had that you couldn’t imagine not having on your wedding day?

Debbie: Oddly enough, besides Mickey and Minnie, I would say our photographer. She was pricey (and is even pricier now) but our pictures are just as wonderful as we’d hoped. She was able to capture so much of our day in such a beautiful way. She was great to work with, really knew her stuff, and kept us on schedule. She even posted about 20 sneak peaks to her blog early the next morning!! We got to see pics from the wedding before we hopped on the plan for our WDW Disneymoon. Definitely worth every penny.

Disneymooners: Tell our members about the top 3 things that you’re glad you did for your wedding.

Debbie: In addition to Mickey and Minnie and our photographer:
We hired Brian Bosch to handle all our decor. He worked in the Disney floral/decor department but was part of the huge layoff that occurred just as I started planning. He was wonderful!! He handled all the floral, linens, etc. He set up all the decor and even handled our “dancing on the clouds” effect during our first dance. We bought or made a lot of items ourselves and he put them all out for us and truly made my vision come alive. We probably paid a little more for floral than I could have found elsewhere but his expertise and help was totally worth it. Plus, he was friends with the whole DFTW team and knew how Disney weddings worked so it was like have an insider working for us without the Disney markup.

I asked to have a mock up of my bouquet made about a week or so before the wedding. I was having a hard time picturing it in my mind and got worried about the colors. I was kind of freaking out about it so I asked how much it would cost. Seeing that bouquet got me so excited for the wedding and put my mind at ease that the floral would be beautiful.

Allowed my father-in-law to pay for chair covers at the last minute. I cut them in a cost savings move but a few days before the wedding he told me he really wanted to make a contribution so I called and had them added. They added so much to the decor. It really helped it all come together.

I’m adding a 4th because I just thought of a big one – I’m glad we hired a videographer!!! This was one of those things that some of my family thought was unnecessary but it’s one of the best decisions we made. The day is so filled with emotion and goes by so quickly. Without our videos I wouldn’t remember half of it! I honestly only had minimal recollection of the ceremony before we got the video back. Even if your videographer is just your cousin sitting in the second row, get a video!!!!

Disneymooners: Was there anything that you wish you had done? Or wish you had done differently?

Debbie: I wish I had scraped together enough money to have those lighted trees around the ballroom walls. I wish I’d thought to ask if we could do an in-park photo shoot. (I saw another Disneyland bride had negotiated one a few months after our wedding. I was kicking myself for not even thinking to ask!) I wish we’d stayed at the Grand Californian one more night before rushing off on our Disneymoon – we were exhausted the next morning. Really, that stuff is kind of minor though … our wedding was so wonderful! Disney and our amazing vendors helped us pull off the wedding we were dreaming of. We have such great memories of it all.

Disneymooners: Photography is very important to all brides. Was there a particular shot that you knew you absolutely had to have to document your day?

Debbie: You would think there would be, but I can’t think of one at the moment. I just wanted pictures of it all! Pictures with our families were important so we made a must-have list.

Disneymooners: Do you have any words of wisdom to our future brides?

Debbie: Get started early with planning and doing any DIY projects. It gets crazy stressful in the end and you don’t want to turn into Bridezilla. Be patient with your planner (especially if you’re a far way off from your date) but at the same time don’t hesitate to speak up if you don’t feel you’re getting an appropriate amount of attention from them. You are paying them after all. Have faith that it will all come together in the end and be wonderful. It may not seem like it sometimes, but it really will. Oh, and be sure to visit the Disneymooners regularly for inspiration, advice, and support! I don’t know what I would have done without this site.

You can read Debbie’s Planning Journal here and enjoy her Wedding Recaps here

Debbie, on behalf of Disneymooners, thank you for taking the time to share a little about your wedding planning and day. You are a great member of our community and we look forward to following along in your Happily Ever After! All the best ~ the Disneymooners

Featured Venue Fridays: Sea Breeze Point

Sea Breeze Point is an open-air pavilion, that sits on the shores of Crescent Lake, and gives stunning views of Disney’s Boardwalk, Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts.

It is the only outdoor location that is completely covered and gives your guests excellent views of your wedding ceremony from all angles.  The venue can hold up to 80 guests which makes it an excellent choice for both Escape or Wishes Weddings.

The EPCOT resort area recaptures the 1940’s Boardwalk charm and is perfect for those couples who want to incorporate a beach or vintage theme into their wedding.

Imagine walking down a beautiful, breezy, wooden boardwalk instead of a traditional aisle on your wedding day. Perhaps you want to make a grand entrance in a horse- drawn carriage or a vintage car.

Many Brides choose Sea Breeze Point for its great location to many wonderful reception venues such as Atlantic Dance Hall, and the stunning Ballrooms at the Boardwalk Resort.

Here’s what Disneymooners are saying about Sea Breeze Point on our forums:

Along with the romantic vintage style of Sea Breeze Point, we loved how intimate the space feels.  All of our guests, who are most important people in our lives, will be seated in the gazebo during our ceremony and that will be very special.

– Kadie (planning bride 2013)

During our ceremony, a boat passing by beeped the horn, which you can hear in our video. Some couples might have an issue with that kind of thing. But I thought it was so cool!

– Meredith

When we got to Sea Breeze Point, my heart skipped a beat. It was beautiful. I think what really drew me in was the view from there. It was on the water and you saw the lighthouse and Atlantic Dance Hall in the background. Since we were having our reception at Atlantic Dance Hall, I loved the idea of our guests being able to see where we’d be celebrating later on.

– Marilyn

Featured Venue Fridays: The Living Seas Salon

Imagine transporting your guests under the sea and hosting an enchanted wedding reception in one of Disney’s theme parks.  The Living Seas Salon is a private area found in EPCOT’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion and showcases a wall of glass windows overlooking a 5.7 million gallon aquarium. Your guests will be amazed at their incredible view of a wide array of sea life, as they dance and eat dinner.

This venue can be used for weddings of 20-104 guests and has pre-existing tables of six. The Living Seas Salon already has pre-existing vibrant blue and green table linens.  However, brides who want to accent their own wedding colors can change these linens for an additional charge. Since the Living Seas Salon is a private venue, it gives brides and grooms the ability to have an in park reception during park hours.  The venue can be used for lunch and dinner receptions and is spacious enough to have a multi-level seating area.  Your cocktail hour can be hosted in a connecting room, giving the venue an intimate feel.

The biggest highlight of this location is the stunning view and its the only venue were couples can add Scuba Mickey to surprise their lucky guests. The Living Seas Salon other big selling point for Brides and Grooms is the pre-existing décor.  Many brides feel that the location needs very little in terms of additional decorations.

If you are considering the Living Seas Salon or have had your wedding at this venue, one thing is certain: This venue is one that your guests will soon not forget.

Here’s what Disneymooners on our forums are saying about the Living Seas:

“The Living Seas is a location that has that extra Disney magic. Even though all the reception locations we looked at during our site visit were beautiful, the thing I liked best about the Living Seas was that it provided my guests free entertainment! The view into the tanks gave them something to do besides the music and food that was already planned for the reception. I was able to have the extra Disney magic of the aquatic life without the costs that are required for things like characters. ” – Vanessa 

“I loved the fact that it was in park. This has a real excitement factor for guests and Bride and Groom alike. Also when you tell people you had your reception in EPCOT they are a little blown away and I like that…I loved every single part of the day and the Living Seas was a huge part of it.” – Gemma

“During our wedding reception scuba divers were inside the Living Seas aquarium. Our guests had a lot of fun dancing with the scuba divers through the glass.”  – Sarah 


For more information on the Living Seas Salon, including pricing minimums, site specific restrictions and wedding recaps please visit the Disneymooner Forums.