Lady & The Tramp themed Welcome Party

This post was written by Disneymooner Heidi. For more information about her event and others at this location please join the  Disneymooner Forums

When we started planning our Disney Wedding, I was overwhelmed with all the amazing venues and options we had. I knew I wanted our wedding to be a once-in-a-lifetime event both for us and our guests. Initially, I was hoping for a morning ceremony, followed by a brunch reception and an IllumiNations dessert party later that night. I fell in love with the idea of an event at Italy Isola, the “island” in front of the Italy Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase.

Unfortunately, the location was booked for the evening of our wedding date, which was MLK, Jr. Day in 2009. Our Coordinator suggested hosting an event there the night before the wedding, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it! We decided to call it a “Welcome Dinner” instead of a rehearsal dinner, since all of our guests were either family, in the wedding party, or from out-of-town. This gave us all the opportunity to spend time together before the big day. Plus, the drama of IllumiNations combined with the VIP treatment of a private dinner on Italy Isola certainly set the stage for how unique our wedding would be.

Surprisingly, a simple dinner buffet was not four times the cost of a dessert buffet, as I had initially thought. True, you can have a fairly inexpensive dessert buffet, but by the time I had added all the “extras” I HAD to have, our dessert party would have been only $15 or so p.p. less than the dinner buffet we selected, which included dessert! Because it was set in Italy, and because I love “Lady and the Tramp,” we went with an Italian theme, complete with the Lady and the Tramp buffet that Epcot catering offered at the time. We also opted to do B.O.C. (bill on consumption) for alcohol and drinks (which we also chose for the wedding) and it saved us a bundle. The event happens so quickly, and folks spend so much time either visiting or watching the fireworks, that drinks are not consumed as quickly as you might imagine.

Keeping with the Italian theme, we used Epcot’s black plastic tables and chairs, but had Disney Floral cover the tables with red and white checkered table cloths and an assortment of dried pasta and lanterns for centerpieces.

While I think the effect was perfect, I’m sure a simpler table setting would not have taken away from the beauty of the event.

We also worked with Shelley from Impressions to complete a seating chart, table names and menus…with a Lady and the Tramp theme, of course.

The only chink in the armor was that the day of the event proved to be a chilly one! It was January 18th, and it was in the 50s that evening. After a few discussions with our planner, we decided to add heaters to the event. This proved to be expensive, but our other option was to move the dinner indoors (possibly to the American Adventure Parlor on the second floor of the AA building), and then move outside for the fireworks. I was against that, due to the planning we had put into having a cohesive event. In the end, it might have been a smarter choice, as we were all pretty chilly. So, if you’re having an event in January or February, be prepared for the weather to interfere!

As with everything else in Epcot, your guests must arrive by bus (or have a park ticket). And despite our numerous reminders about the bus times and locations, my father-in-law and his wife missed the bus, because “someone told [them] they had to have park tickets to get into Epcot and come through the front gate.” Ugh. So, be prepared to address these concerns in numerous ways to get the message across for your guests.

Nonetheless, everything looked and (mostly) tasted fabulous.

The food was quite a spread! The only negative was that the “tiramisu” was more like a mousse than an actual tiramisu, so avoid that if you can!

We had salad and antipasti…

Tilapia Picatta, Chicken Parm, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Penne Pasta and Roasted Veggies

As well as cannoli and the offending tiramisu for dessert.

And it makes a pretty good backdrop for pictures 🙂

It was a fabulous way to kick off our wedding, and our guests are still talking about it 3 1/2 years later!


A Disney Bride’s Favorite Moments: Heidi

Some of our Disneymooner Forum members have been sharing their favorite moments from their Disney Wedding. This week’s favorite moment was shared by Disneymooner Heidi, who had both an escape and a wishes wedding. To find out more about her events, join on the Disneymooner Forums.

For our Escape Wedding, I love this shot. It was so impromptu. We threw the whole thing together in a couple weeks, and it was such an awesome feeling to actually run away and get married at the most Fabulous Place on Earth.

At our Big Wedding, I had a similar feeling as the chimes sounded right before they opened the doors to the WP. I actually almost cried, and I was never in danger of that before.

But, I LOVED the feeling as we left the ceremony for the reception. The coach went from the WP right through the GF grounds all the way up to Narcoossee’s. We got so many looks along the way and little girls kept pointing and saying “Look! It’s Cinderella and Prince Charming!” It was so awesome!

Thank you for sharing Heidi.

Entertainment: Characters – Stitch

“Adding a Tiny Terror”

I suppose that most people assume all couples who chose a Disney World Wedding have a Disney character at their event.   While many couples chose to add a little Disney magic to their festivities, many more do not.  It’s all a personal choice for the theme of the event.

One thing is true when we were planning we certainly had options.  We knew we wanted Mickey and Minnie at our event.  We added them to the budget and let it be.

A few months into planning we decided to see if it was possible to add a newer character to the mix….Stitch.  Lilo and Stitch the movie was one of our favorites at this point and we thought that  adding him might add just a touch of tiny terror to our event.  We kept the characters a secret from most of our guests.  Our bridal party and parents knew about Mickey and Minnie.  But we really wanted more surprises for them.

While we were dancing Mickey and Minnie came in for their set.  We were having a blast and mostly the adults were taken back more than the children.  They wanted to have their picture taken and dance with the famous mice.

“Just then the cd skipped and came to a screeching halt……we all looked around Our guests looked around and wondered what was going on now?? I almost was taken back and wondering what was going on. Scott says “Uh Oh folks….silence….”

Then music began to play – I did it again…I forgot all about my absolute favorite surprise of all!!!

You look like an angel
Walk like an angel
Talk like an angel
But I got wise
You´re the devil in disguise
Oh yes you are
The devil in disguise

I of course remembered instantly. Just then Stitch ran into the room and started to cause chaos immediately. I kid you not…when he came in the room the entire group screamed and clapped as if he was a rock star. Stitch rocked that place! It was so loud! He ran towards the cake as if to jump on it and gave me a huge hug. I do not think I could have been more excited or happy at this moment…I just could not stop laughing. I kind of felt bad for Mickey and Minnie…I searched for them once he arrived and all I saw were ears in the back. But thankfully there were people dancing with them. I joined them. I swear the adults enjoyed the characters more than the kids at points.”

There are so many character choices to have at your Disney Fairytale Wedding please be sure to check out our forums for more suggestions and ideas on how to entertain your guests.

Photography Trends: Day After Photo Shoot

This post was written by Disneymooner Debbie.

A trend that’s big right now in wedding photography is the Day After shoot. This is a photo shoot that occurs the day, week, month, etc. after your actual wedding. You can decide the timing with your photographer. Many Disney brides opt to have an in-park photo shoot after their wedding. This is another option if an in-park shoot isn’t right for you.

A Day After shoot can be in the form of bridal portraits, trash the dress, or something more casual. Planning a Day After shoot can take the pressure off of getting all the pictures you want on your wedding day and give you more time with your guests. It’s also a great way to get pictures at an alternate location or with a different look and feel. This is the perfect opportunity to get pictures on a clear day if your wedding day has rain. Or to get daylight pictures if you have an evening wedding. Some brides opt to for a fun casual pajama shoot in their hotel room.

The disadvantages to a Day After shoot center around cost. Your photographer will undoubtedly charge a fee for the shoot. And you will need to pay for hair and makeup again unless you plan to do it yourself. One other disadvantage might be delaying leaving on your honeymoon for a day to take pictures. But having a day to catch your breath before leaving on your honeymoon isn’t a bad idea!

If a Day After shoot sounds like something you might be interested in, be sure to ask your photographer about options.

Some Day After Photo Samples:

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Featured Venue Fridays: American Adventure for a Ceremony

This week’s featured venue post was written by Disneymooner Vanessa.  To read more about her wedding, please go to our private Disneymooner Forums. Vanessa had her wedding ceremony at American Adventure Rotunda followed by a Living Seas reception.

It is hard to pinpoint when I decided I would have a Disney wedding, but I had my mind made up long before I met my husband. I knew about the Disney Wedding Pavilion, but beyond that I did not know anything about having a Disney wedding. After getting engaged I thought that a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding would exceed our budget; however after doing some research I soon discovered that I was wrong.

Once we decided on getting married at Disney I realized that I wanted something different compared to the traditional ceremony. The wedding pavilion is a beautiful place, but it did not fit the quintessential Disney experience that I was looking for in a location. While researching video and photography vendors online I came across a sample video of a wedding inside the American Adventure Rotunda. When I watched it, I instantly fell in love with the location for our ceremony.

My husband and I are very political, so the grandeur of the rotunda reminded me of this connection that we have together. An added bonus was that Epcot is my family’s favorite park. Many of our guests had never been to Disney World prior to our wedding, so I knew the location would completely amaze them.

A lot of brides choose to use this venue for a reception; however the site requires a minimum of 100-150 guests that we would not have been able to meet with our small guest count of only 50. Having our ceremony there allowed us to utilize the space with our small group. The current site venue fee for ceremonies in the American Adventure Rotunda is $2,000 plus tax.

An added bonus to the location is that the Rotunda is Epcot’s only indoor ceremony location. It was great to be able to plan our wedding without being worried about the weather.

There are several tips I learned along the way while planning our ceremony in the Rotunda. First, ask to enter from the side entrance instead of the main doors. Many of the wedding videos I saw of the bride entering into the Rotunda were washed out as they opened the main doors and light flooded in from behind her. I asked for our ceremony to be set up facing the side entrance and our planner had me enter in from inside the National Treasures Exhibit. She also mentioned the option of having me come down the elevator from the Parlor reception venue although that is not what we did in the end.

Another tip is to save on spend your money wisely when it comes to decorating. The rotunda is very ornate, so you do not need to spend a lot of money on added décor. The standard issue chairs that come with the facility rental fee do not blend well with the Rotunda’s background. We decided to pay for chair covers to solve this problem. The covers were more affordable compared to renting completely different chairs.

An important videography and photography tip is to ask your vendors to take photos from the second floor. The aerial view during the ceremony is amazing. In addition, we asked our photographer to take a group photo with all of our guests looking up towards the second floor after the ceremony was over.

There are some limitations in terms of the music offerings that can be used at this location. We paid for a keyboard player which sounded great with the acoustics of the room. One other thing to consider is the time of your wedding. Since the World Showcase does not open to outside guests until 11 a.m. weddings in this area must take place during the morning. We had a 9 a.m. ceremony which meant my day started at 4:30 a.m. Only receptions are allowed at the site in the late evening.

Four years later I would still pick the same ceremony location. The American Adventure Rotunda was the perfect fit for our personality and budget. It gave us an in-park experience that none of our guests will ever forget.

To read more about Vanessa’s wedding join our private forums, including her recaps.