Illuminations Dessert Party: Is it worth it?

Thanks to one of our biggest blog contributors here on, Living Seas Bride,  who talks discusses her thoughts on having an Illuminations Dessert Party. 

When we planned out Disney Fairy Tale Wedding in 2006, we knew three definite things.

1. We were having our reception at the Living Seas

2 We were having characters are the reception.

3. We MUST have an illuminations dessert party

In fact, above all else, I was willing to cut corners on floral and decor if it meant having that special moment. I had seen countless other brides have those amazing fireworks images and I was certain to have them.

Many couples struggle with the question when a budget is in mind:  Is it worth it?

My answer is always a resounding YES!!  The dessert party was a moment I will never forget and one that our guests still talk about six and a half years later.  They felt so special being led to a private location during park hours.  They felt like the show was all for them….and not the thousands of other guests. 😉

To be able to see the look of awe in the eyes of the youngest to the oldest made the cost worth every penny.

The desserts and view alone are enough to convince anyone who can budget it in, to go for it!

I remember leaving my reception and being so excited to experience one more part of the magic with my guests.

And the view………well it is next to none. I have never had a better view of Illuminations in my life.  The pictures can do the talking.

To read more about  how your Illuminations Dessert Party can really wow your wedding guests, please visit our Disneymooner Forums


A Disney Bride’s Favorite Moment: Vanessa

A favorite moment shared by Disneymooner Vanessa who was married at Epcot’s America Adventure Rotunda.

We were married in the AAR, so had photos around the World Showcase with our wedding party right after the ceremony. Our planner soon took them away to the reception and Randy took Kris and I to Italy and Germany for a few last shots before they made us leave! I remember Kris and I walking together having those first moments alone as a married couple and I remember us both saying how we couldn’t believe that the wedding was actually here and that it all came together. We were also relieved to have it over (in a good way!) I need to upload this picture!

Walking through Epcot to our dessert party with our guests was one of my favorite times during the day. We even got Photopass people to take our pictures (which I don’t think is supposed to happen.) Here is one of the photos from walking through Epcot:

Finally, at our dessert party where one of our groomsmen’s little girls wanted to come get her picture with me because she thought I was Cinderella. (We didn’t have kids under 12 at our ceremony or reception, so this was the first time during the day that she had gotten to see me in my wedding dress.)

What a wonderful memory – thank you for sharing Vanessa! If you would like to read more Favorite Moments by Disneymooner Brides please go to our forums.

A Disney Bride’s Favorite Moment: Geneva

I remember practicing our first dance in the ballrooms over & over again every day until the wedding.

I remember enjoying that special walk with my dad.

I remember locking eyes on Stephen as I walked towards him on our wedding day.

I remember getting bombed smack dab between the eyes with a wad of petals from the pretty little petal bags I had so painstakingly stuffed by hand.

(I think my mom did it…just sayin’)

I remember waiting outside the ballroom to be “announced” at the reception.

I remember wondering where everyone went around 4pm…lol…seriously, I looked up & the party was over. We had a 10am wedding, so it was time, but it was still kind of a shocker.

I remember walking to Epcot from the Yacht Club en masse then though the park to our DP.

I remember being lucky enough to steal away on the way out for those coveted “bonus” shots and hearing people say we must be models shooting material for a Disney FTW commercial…my photographer was (& is) a total hottie, so it’s no wonder why people thought that…

How could I possibly pick one favorite moment?? LOL

To read more favorite moments please join our private forums Disneymooners

A Disney Bride’s Favorite Moments: Beth

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 Beth, who had a Disney Escape Wedding and spent a lovely honeymoon in Walt Disney World. To find out more about her events, join on the Disneymooner Forums.

“One of my favorite memories of our wedding week happened at the Coral Reef!

This has always been one of my favorite restaurants I love the aquarium and I was hoping beyond hope that we would be sitting close to it. We went and checked in early (it was like 11:30) and were told it would take a few minutes. OK no problem at all we could at least sit down in the air-conditioned building which felt so good after being outside in the sun for the past hour and half running across the world and back. We just sat and relaxed and enjoyed life when our names were called. It was hard to get up and move but I couldn’t wait for Dennis to see the inside of the restaurant. His first reaction was WOW and my first reaction when we got a table right by the aquarium was also WOW! I had never been that close and knew that the meal was going to be very pleasant. We could barely drag our eyes away from the fish when out waiter came to get our drink and appetizer order.

While we were waiting for our main courses I noticed a school of fish headed to our table, I was pointing it out to Dennis when we noticed that there was a diver in the middle of the fish. I was so excited it must be feeding time and we got to watch but the diver kept coming our way, the last feeding I saw the diver stopped in the middle of the tank where everyone could see but he was headed our way. When he reached our table he stopped and waved and blew kisses to me. I blew kisses back I mean what’s a girl supposed to do? Dennis was laughing the whole time and the diver started fumbling for something and I thought it was a waterproof marker and paper. I had seen them write things before for others by way of communication so I didn’t think twice about that. What blew me away was when he unrolled this sheet of paper and it said “Congratulations Dennis and Beth”.

I stood up so fast and almost fell over the extra chair on my way to Dennis’s side for the camera. All the cast members were gathering around and all the other guests in the restaurant were headed over that way. One mom pulled her son back who was headed for our spot by the aquarium to talk to the diver and wave. I couldn’t even speak right then and Dennis grabbed the camera and got a picture.

A cast member came running and asked if we wanted a picture with him and of course the answer was yes. I was almost in tears right then, I had never felt more Disney Magic than I did at that moment. We were both blown away. The cast member got our picture and we waved at the diver again as he left. I think by this point I did have tears running down my face and was just in shock. Everyone in the restaurant was telling us congratulations and it was all I could do to shake my head thanks.

Our waiter came up and asked if we knew that it was coming and I looked up at him and shook my head no. He then asked who had arranged it for us because it had to be done special. Again we said we had no idea and I began wracking my brain as to who I had told about us eating there and when we were going to be there. The only name that came up was that of our travel agent since she had made the arrangements. The waiter had gone to ask the manager for us but he did not know either.

Our food arrived and I remember that it was delicious but I was still on cloud nine with the diver. As we were beginning to dig-in the diver appeared beside our table with the certificate and we talked for a few minutes. We told him how much we appreciated it and how magical it made our visit.”

What a wonderful memory – thank you for sharing Beth! Our understanding is that sadly you can no longer book a diver-relayed message for a special occasion but occasionally, you’ll see divers in the tank feeding fish and cleaning.


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!