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

A Fairy Tale Focus: Tara & Chris

Disneymooner, Tara and her fiance Chris, will be having a Wishes wedding at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian on September 1st 2012. They will be holding their reception at the American Adventure Rotunda at Epcot.

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

Tara: Chris and I not your average couple and things have not always been so great. I currently work for Limited Brands and Chris is a sergeant for a local police department. I met Chris while working at Kohl’s and he was doing special duty there. He always talked to me and said hi while at work, but I never thought anything of because so did all the other police officers. One day I had mentioned that I was finally moving out on my own, which was close to where he lived, he gave me his number incase I needed anything and things just blossomed from there. Chris is a huge Steelers fan so I go along with him since I didn’t really watch NFL before I met him. We are both huge Disney fans and hope to move to Florida in the next couple of years.

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

Tara: I had been to Disney World many times as a child, but had not gone as an adult until I met Chris. I fell in love with Disney World even if it was during July 4th! I had always joked about wanting a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding after we went, but did not think it was going to happen. I looked at their website and told Chris that I really think we could make it work with their minimums. We looked at some places locally and I felt the prices were going to be comparable. After doing some research, we decided it was going to be a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding.

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

Tara: Our main concern with a destination wedding is having to planning a wedding so far away. However, we have met with DFTW 3 times in the past year and will meet with our planner again in a couple weeks so it makes things a lot easier. I really do not know what we would have done if we didn’t have some many opportunities to go to Florida and meet face to face.

Disneymooners: How has the reaction of your guests been to a Disney wedding?

Tara: Most people seem to react with a little shock and most of them make the comment that it must be expensive since it is Disney, but we set them straight. Some are excited though because they have never been.

Disneymooners: Any special reason why you chose these locations?

Tara: We were limited to our locations based on our estimate of 100 people, we changed venues a couple times, but glad we settled with this

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. Illuminations
2. Chair covers
3. Quick ceremony (hopefully this holds true)

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

Tara: Our cocktail hour is going to be at Italy Isola during Illuminations and we are definitely having Mickey and Minnie there.

Disneymooners: How has your planning experience with Disney Fairy Tale Weddings been thus far?

Tara: My planning experience has had its ups and downs so far. I have had a couple planners so far which can sometimes be frustrating when getting shifted around. Also, MK bridal portraits aren’t available anytime around our wedding so it is also frustrating in that aspect when things do not go as plan… However, my current planner is doing a great job and making things go a lot smoother.

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

Tara: Our biggest challenge has been making decisions. Chris and I are both easy going, laid back people so trying to make decisions isn’t always the easiest. Decisions are also a challenge because we are just estimating our 100 head count even though we are inviting over 300 guests. Granted I would love for everyone to come, but it will also send our budget sky high.

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?

Tara: Shop around and be patient. We can’t really cut much through DFTW so we had to look at the other things we having. For example, I waited about 5 months from buying my gown and returned to the bridal salon to look for a rehearsal dinner dress and ended up finding the dress I fell in love with 5 months prior on the discontinued rack and it saved us big bucks.

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

Tara: Yes and no. Honestly I didn’t really come in with a budget, I knew what my parents would pay and anything else Chris and I had to pay for. Chris and I have kept it to the minimum and do not have very many extras so we are comfortable with what we are spending. I also had the passporter’s book which helped give me an idea of what things were going to cost before Disney sent out the BEO.

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

Tara: We are staying in the concierge rooms for 4 our of the 8 days we will be there. Not only that, my bridesmaids will be staying with me in the concierge room for one night and I think it will have them spoiled.

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

Tara: I love having a planning journal, not only does it allow me to share my ideas and experiences, but it also gives me a place to vent (only sometimes) when DFTW causes stress knowing my fellow disneymooners are there to listen. I also enjoy having a planning journal because I tend to look at the other planning journals and it gives me ideas.

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

Tara: I am looking forward to seeing everything put together and the reaction on our guests’ faces.

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

Tara: These boards are full of a lot of information so take your time and look through everything. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions on here or to your planner.

Tara, the Disneymooners would like to thank you for sharing your experience with us. We are so happy to have you as a part of our community! We look forward to sending you off on your big day. And we can’t wait to hear all about it when you return! All the best~ the Disneymooners