A Fairy Tale Focus ~ Gina & Steve

Disneymooner, Gina, and her husband, Steve, were married at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion on January 5th, 2009. They had their reception at the Whitehall Room and Dessert Party at Sago Cay Pointe at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Disneymooners: Tell us a little about yourselves!

Gina: Hi! I’m Gina and I am an attorney; my husband Steve is in manufacturing management. I law school during the wedding planning. We live in Connecticut with our two cats Shooter and Deuce. Besides Disney we love hiking, biking and being outdoors in general.

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

Gina: I have been obsessed with Disney for as far back as I can remember and I took Steve along for the ride. When he proposed I just knew we had to be married at the Wedding Pavilion no matter what it took. I had always commented whenever we went by on the monorail. I’d say “How amazing would a wedding be there?” or “We’ll get married there someday”. When we got engaged and started seriously planning we realized that, hey, we could have a Disney wedding!!!!! The pricing was similar or even LESS than what a wedding would be here so why not follow our dreams and just do it?

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

Gina: We gave them PLENTY of notice, about 2 years. We knew it was a long way to travel and we knew they’d need some time to prepare. At first I think they might not have thought we were serious but as time went on they knew that we were going to do it. We told everyone that we’d understand if they couldn’t make the trip but we’d love to have them there. Everyone who mattered came and no one gave us a hard time about it. In fact, more people than we thought would make the trip made it which was heartwarming and special to us.

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

Gina: We had the wedding pavilion in mind for a while and I knew I wanted to try and host an outdoor reception. We went and looked at a few spaces and like the Whitehall Patio best for that purpose. We had a small wedding so we did not need a large space. That area just seemed to fit our small group perfectly and had sort of a blank canvas look to it which allowed us to get creative in the décor.

I knew my Disney wedding would not be complete without a fireworks dessert party. During my planning I’d seen many Disney couples’ photos of Illuminations parties and really wanted similar photos. We toured the areas available to us with such a small group and were not in love with them. On the way back to Franck’s with the planner Steve said “Is there anywhere we can watch Wishes from?” and she said “As a matter of fact there is” and took us right to Sago Cay. It was perfect. Walking distance from Whitehall with a view of our favorite fireworks show. SOLD!

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?

Gina: Overwhelmed with happiness, everything was exactly how I pictured it or BETTER. When I walked out onto the patio, before my guests went out and saw the linens, candles and floral I just smiled ear to ear. Everything was just how I wanted it Carol, my planner, and Elizabeth from floral exceeded all of my expectations. I looked around and simply couldn’t believe I was there. Was this really my Disney wedding? Had we really accomplished this dream? Were all of our loved ones really there to join us?! Surreal.

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

Gina: Steve and I were lucky enough to experience the most magical moment during our reception. As we danced our first dance on the patio below the monorail we were surprised to look up and see that the monorail had stopped and everyone on board was waving! All of our guests were laughing and smiling and waving up to the people on board it was just magic only Disney could provide. I still think of that moment often when I think of our wedding and our guests still mention it when they bring up the wedding. I like to think I am responsible for creating the dream of a Disney wedding in one little princesses mind who was on board that day.

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?

Gina: I think they loved the monorail moment mentioned above the most. I also think they really loved finishing the night off with desserts and fireworks, those seem to be the moments that people remember most. I think many did not know what to expect from a Disney wedding and lots of them expressed to me that they were so thrilled at how nice it was.

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

Gina: The dessert party. Just book one. Now! It was perfect and made for some amazing photo ops. I think desserts and fireworks are uniquely Disney. Sure, some other places can provide similar experiences by Disney does it best!

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

Gina:

  1. Had my reception outside. It was a perfect day, sure, it could have gone wrong, but it worked for us
  2. Had a dessert party with fireworks.
  3. Followed our dreams. Do not worry what others think about your wedding choices just do what you want and it will all work out in the end. Everyone worth it will be there and will have fun!

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

Gina: I wish we had a character but budget just did not allow and I also sometimes wish we would have had the Cinderella carriage but again it was too expensive for us at the time. Lastly, I wish my Magic Kingdom photo was not cancelled. One week before the wedding Disney Photo called me and said they couldn’t do it for us because there was going to be construction going on and they could only reschedule 2 weeks later when we were back home. That was a bummer. I’d love to have had those photos.

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?

Gina: Not really. I didn’t ask the photographer for any particular shots. I just went with it.

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

Gina: Follow your dreams. Plan the wedding YOU want. Do not worry about anyone else’s desires. It’s your day. Stay calm, let your planner take care of you, they will make sure everything is perfect. All you need is faith, trust and pixie dust!

You can read all about Gina’s wedding here

Gina, 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

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A Fairy Tale Focus ~ Sarah & Pat

Disneymooner Pixie Sarah, and her husband Pat, were married on July 15th, 2006 at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion. They hosted their reception at Living Seas Salon inside Epcot followed by an Illuminations Dessert Party at Italy Isola

Disneymooners: Tell us a little about yourselves!

Sarah:100% Disneyphiles. If it deals with Disney we need to be apart of it and know about it. As DVC members we always have a trip (or two planned.

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

Sarah: We both grew up on Disney. Our families both took trips each year and so when we met we continued building on that number of trips together. I don’t think there was ever a doubt in our minds when we got engaged that we would be returning to say I do. We actually had no other locations in consideration; it was Disney wedding or bust. We knew having a wedding in Walt Disney World meant it got that Disney seal of quality and magic.

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

Sarah: I don’t think many people were shocked when they heard the news. We had gotten engaged there and as soon as we decided on a wedding there we began telling people to save up for a destination wedding. We were lucky and were not met with much resistance on the traveling. Our families were very supportive and they are all Disney fans themselves.

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

Sarah: The wedding and reception venues were givens for us. We were getting married in the heat of a Floridian summer so we needed an indoor location. I always dreamed of having a wedding at the Wedding Pavilion, with every monorail ride overhead. The Living Seas decision was made 2 years prior on the Behind the Scenes Tour at Epcot. Part of the tour shows you this private room in the Living Seas. As soon as our tour guide mentioned couples could have their receptions there, our eyes met and the decision was done.

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?

Sarah: Planning the wedding from a distance was a touch stressful at times, but the planning session and constant communication with my wedding planner really helped ease all the anxiety for me. I think it was a really surprise for us to see everything come together. You see it all piece by piece for so long, that it’s hard to see the grand picture of how the centerpieces will look on those tables under that lighting. We were really blown away by how well Disney took our ideas and brought them to life. I remember the biggest moment for us was seeing our reception for the first time.

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

Sarah: I think I was really surprised at how the adults reacted to our three characters at the reception. We had Mickey, Minnie and Stitch at our reception and the look of excitement and awe really captured us. To see these giant smiles on the faces of grown men and women dancing with Mickey was priceless.

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?

Sarah: It’s really hard for me to name just one aspect that our guests loved. There are a few things that they still talk about. I think the guests were really taken back by the Dessert Party at Italy Isola and the private area for Illuminations. They really felt like they were celebrities that night being escorted back stage to a private area just for them.

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

Sarah: Our Illuminations Dessert Party. Looking back I don’t think our wedding would have been the same if we didn’t have that event after the reception. It was a final farewell to our guests who traveled so far for us. It was the perfect ending to an amazing day.

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

Sarah:

  1. Had characters at our reception. The look of pure exhilaration on the faces of the youngest to the oldest as they danced with Mickey Mouse and Stitch at our reception was priceless.
  2. Had a few group events prior to the wedding. We had our rehearsal dinner and a night out at Pleasure Island a few days before. I was so thankful for those special moments with our friends and family. I found myself wanting more of those moments during the trip.
  3. Surprised our guests twice. We hired Major Domo to play a prank on our guests during the ceremony. No one knew what was going on and really thought our best man had lost the rings. The story is still told to this day with big laughs. We also surprised everyone with the lighted slipper sorbet at our reception. Everyone thought that was the greatest addition.

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

Sarah: Looking back in the weeks and months after the wedding there wasn’t really anything I would have done differently. We were so happy with the event from start to finish, I can’t imagine changing anything. Now that almost 6 years have passed I think there are so new trends and additions I could have added had they been an option. I think if given the chance now I would have done an Epcot photo shoot after the wedding.

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?

Sarah: There were a ton of photos I had on my must list. I even made a detailed list of top 20 pictures that MUST be taken and handed it to my photographer. He was great and carried it around all day to make sure he got all of them. If I had to pick one…they were the fireworks shots from our dessert party. Those are still some of my favorites. However, I did find that some of my more cherished ones were the unexpected ones taken.

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

Sarah: Plan the wedding you both want, not the wedding you think other people want. We really did plan the wedding we both envisioned. Sure we took others into consideration but the wedding venues, style, theming, music, ceremony, etc were all us. And for those brides ready to walk down the aisle, my advice to every bride that I have seen off over the years. Take a mental picture. At some point on your wedding day stand off to the side and look around at everything around you. Take in the sights and sounds and the people around you. The day goes by lightning fast and you will be happy you took a few precious moments to be in the moments, once its all over.

You can read all about Sarah’s wedding here

Sarah, 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

A Fairy Tale Focus ~ Lesley & Tyler

Disneymooner Lesley, and her fiance Tyler, will be having a Wishes wedding on September 2, 2012 at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at the Walt Disney World Resort. They will be having their reception at the Grand Floridian Salons.

You can follow Lesley’s Planning Journal here

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

Lesley: Tyler & I are high school sweethearts we have been together for 8 years. Our first trip together was to Disney with multiple trips between then and now which have increased our love for Disney. I am finishing up my second bachelor’s degree in nursing (yes it is possible to plan your dream wedding in nursing school!!); Tyler has a great job with a Cement company right out of college as a logistics analysis.

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

Lesley: When I was little and traveling to Disney with my family (growing up we went 2-3 times a year) I always said I would get married at Disney. In 2006 Tyler and I took a picture outside the wedding pavilion, at that time having little meaning he knew that was where I wanted to get married. In 2011 he proposed to my at Narcoossee’s and while walking around the park the next day with our just engaged pins on we saw multiple just married pins. We stayed on the boardwalk and as we were on our balcony we saw a couple who had just got married walking in their wedding attire, we yelled “congratulations” to them. It was at that point I think we both though why not, lets finish our happily ever after and get to have that moment where everyone is going to be looking at us!!

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

Lesley: Our biggest concern at the start was getting his family down there. My family and extended family use to take trips together to Disney for graduations/birthdays and it has been awhile since our last family trip so we knew my side would not be a problem. His family has never even been to Disney so I thought this was a perfect opportunity for them to join us in our happily ever after while enjoying a family vacation. I am finishing up nursing school, so I didn’t want to be doing a lot of planning so we knew a destination wedding was the right choice for us. Here towards the end, we are still working out a lot of the kinks to get family members down there but I know our day will be perfect and in the end our love ones will be there!

Disneymooners: Any special reason why you chose these locations?

Lesley: I always wanted to get married in a church so the wedding pavilion just fit our personalities and look. At first we wanted our reception at the Wilderness Lodge or Boardwalk. After finding out the WL didn’t have a reception location we looked at both boardwalk and GF at our site visit and to me it was an easy decision. The Grand Floridian to me has always been so appealing to the eye so it was a no brainer once I saw the reception locations and the convenience of the location in regards to the WP (No, offense to anyone having a reception at BW – I still love it there and would have it there if the WP was closer).

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!

Lesley:

  1. Wedding Pavilion – like I mentioned above we knew if we were having a DFTW it was going to be at the pavilion. The construction did throw me off but past brides have reassured me that guest will not solely be focused on the outside aspect.
  2. Dessert Party – we thought this would be a perfect “favor” for our guest. We are having our DP at Fantasmic! A little different then the typical illuminations but it has always been one of our favorite shows.
  3. Minnie & Mickey – we want to surprise our guest with some honoree guest. I think deep down people think they will be at the ceremony so they aren’t coming into the reception until later.
  4. Potato Martini Action Station – I love mashed potatoes so when I saw a past bride describe her upcoming wedding menu items I knew that I would also have to include this on mine!!

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

Lesley: Yes both (mentioned above)

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

Lesley: Trying to get everyone down there. We recently found out a group of our friends are coming which we are very excited about but then a few of our family members we thought for sure would be there have declined. Another challenge for me is transportation, even though Disney offers park-resort transportation Disney’s options does not seem to fit our budget, timeframe or guest count.

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?

Lesley: Don’t be afraid to look outside of Disney. We are going outside to get Floral and Transportation. In the end we are still saving money. I used these boards as a way to gain knowledge from past brides experience’s with outside vendors. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions to past brides, we all know the stress involved with planning a wedding and sometimes a question you think is “silly” will help you in the long run of planning. Also, be persistent with your budget and let your planner know if you think something is too expensive. For example, my cake came back at $17pp and I told my planner “no we were not going to have it cost that much for cake”. In the end I think it’s now down to $9pp using a 2-tiered cake (instead of 3) and sheet cake (after we cut it – we were told they are taking it all to the back anyways to cut, so our guest will never know).

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

Lesley: Yes, we have everything we want for our wedding on our BEO and we are just over minimum. It was important for us to stay around minimum as we are lucky enough to have someone pay for it. We know that it is costing a lot for our friends and family to come down so we kept that in mind too and have tried coordinating a lot of “free” activities for them such as a welcome party (rehearsal dinner) instead of limiting it to our wedding party only.

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

Lesley: I think Tyler & I are both excited about not having plans for the few days before the wedding. We are just going to go with the flow and since we have the AP’s we can go to the parks with the guest if we want to our just relax. I am really looking forward to going to maybe one park with his family because they have never been there before and I can’t wait to see the look on their faces!! We received an early present from a friend of mine and are staying at the Dolphin the night of our wedding (easy walk from Jellyrolls). We have never stayed there before as we use my family’s DVC points. We also have a going-away dinner planned for Ohana’s Monday evening (as most guest leave Tuesday, including Tyler & I who will be heading to JAMACIA!!!)

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

Lesley: Yes, the planning journal is the best choice I made as it helps answer a lot of my questions that I have instead of bothering my planner. It also helps me gain insight as to what other brides are doing/have done which leads me to look into it for my big day.

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

Lesley: Marrying my best friend of course. I can’t wait to see his reaction as I walk down the aisle and celebrating the whole day with our friends and family (it is an all day affair). Also, I can’t wait to have the moment where guest are congratulating us (like we remember from our previous trips).

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

Lesley: Take a deep breath and enjoy planning it will fly by. Try not to stress on the little things because the day of I know I’m going to look back and think I was crazy for fretting over it. Feel free to ask questions because my experience with past brides is where I get the best information and ideas!!

Lesley, 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! All the best ~ Disneymooners.

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!

Sally:
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.

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