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Planning a Disney Wedding

January 13, 2023

If you have taken the resort monorail line to the Magic Kingdom, you have probably caught a glimpse of the Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  You may have even seen some brides and grooms in the parks. Or perhaps you’ve watched the Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings series on Disney+.  For many big Disney fans, there’s no place more magical for a wedding than Walt Disney World!  If you have considered getting married or having a vow renewal at Disney World, here’s what you need to know about planning a Disney wedding.

The Planning Timeline Can Include Quite a Bit of Waiting

Details like decor are often discussed later in the planning process.
Photo Credit: Disney Fine Art Photography: Stephanie Caldwell

10-16 Months Out

For weddings or vow renewals with a ceremony and full reception, you can begin speaking to a Disney Wedding Consultant 16 months ahead of your preferred wedding date.  This contact will essentially be your salesperson.  At this point, you’ll discuss possible dates, times, and locations for your big day.  You’ll also note if you are interested in a park shoot, so you can take photos in your wedding attire before guests are in the parks.  You aren’t making any decisions about details just yet!  At 12 months prior to your requested date, you can then book your venues by signing a contract and putting down a deposit.  Your consultant can also help you set up a hotel room block for your guests.  

If you only plan to do a ceremony, you’ll be able to speak to a consultant and book your venue starting at 10 months prior to your requested date.  This will also involve a contract and deposit.

About 6-10 Months Out

Then there are a few months without much action that can often make couples feel anxious.  While it may seem like a long time without much communication between signing the contract and the next step of working with a planner, this is completely normal for Disney weddings.  It’s a good idea to use this time to think about your vision for the day and any non-Disney vendors you may want to use.  Disney offers nearly everything you need, but you do need to find some outside vendors.  For example, you will need to book your own officiant, hair and makeup artists, and videographer.  Some couples also prefer to use non-Disney photographers if they have specific preferences for the style of photography.

About 4-6 Months Out

You’ll be assigned a planner and floral event designer.  They are the ones who will coordinate the details of your day like your menu, floral, entertainment, transportation, and decor.  This is when your planning will really begin in earnest.  

As you get closer to your wedding date, you’ll finalize your guest count, budget, and banquet event order (BEO), which outlines the full details of your day.  If you’re planning a wedding as opposed to a vow renewal, you’ll also need to obtain a Florida marriage license.  Depending on which county courthouse you choose, the license is valid for 30 to 60 days.  

Your Budget Is Largely Dependent on the Venue and Time of Day

Disney’s Wedding Pavilion
Photo Credit: Disney Fine Art Photography: Stephanie Caldwell

Probably the first thing that many couples want to know is how much a Disney wedding will cost.  This will largely depend on your venue since that determines your event minimum.  Event minimums range from $15,000 for venues like the Marina Patio & Terrace at the Grand Floridian or Crescent Cove by the Yacht Club and Beach Club to up to $100,000 for park venues like a Magic Kingdom After Hours ceremony.  Event minimums are met through elements such as:

  • Ceremony venue fees
  • Food and beverage
  • Photography
  • Floral
  • Decor
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation

If you are looking to save a little on your minimums, be flexible with the time of day and day of the week.  Food and beverage minimums are cheapest for brunch receptions ($140/person minimum) and most expensive for dinner receptions ($210/person minimum).  Also, the event minimums are lower for weekdays and higher for weekends and holidays.   

There Are So Many Ways to Customize Your Day

Mickey and Minnie can make an appearance!
Photo Credit: Disney Fine Art Photography: Stephanie Caldwell

Depending on your budget, there are lots of different options that you can add to customize your day.  If you are dreaming of the perfect fairytale exit, you can rent Cinderella’s coach.  You can also have your favorite characters make an appearance!  You can even arrange for special events like fireworks, dessert parties, or ride mix-ins where you and your guests get a private ride on an attraction for an unforgettable experience. 

However you choose to honor your big day, Disney weddings are a unique and memorable way to celebrate the start of your very own happily ever after!

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