Happily ever afters can happen anywhere, from backyard weddings to city hall nuptials. But it doesn't get much more magical-in the most literal sense-than a happily ever after at a Disney theme park. Having a Disney wedding can be a fairy tale for brides and grooms who have been watching Disney's Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and other classic movies on repeat since childhood. But they don't need to wish upon a star to say "I do" at Disney! Disney weddings happen everyday at the company's famous resorts and, with the help of Disney's expert wedding planners, celebrating your nuptials with Mickey and Minnie can be a reality with just a bit of information-and of course a little pixie dust. Brides spoke with Korri McFann, worldwide director of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings, to find out everything you need to know about having a Disney wedding. The takeaway? Disney weddings can be way cooler than you may think.
1. Disney weddings are pretty much as full-service as weddings get.
You know the venue-Disney, of course!-but what about all those other little details? Well, there's no need to search for a florist and caterer for your Disney wedding. "We like to call ourselves a one-stop-shop!" says Korri McFaan. "We offer a variety of wedding services like floral, food and beverage, entertainment, transportation, and more. We also have on-site world-class chefs who dish up signature culinary creations, or they can incorporate a couple's favorite dish or family recipe into the menu." (We vote for those Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles!)
2. No need to find a genie in a lamp-Disney weddings are actually rather affordable.
According to McFann, Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings packages start at $3,500 for an intimate celebration with up to four guests. You can also host bigger celebrations and choose extra special details Г la carte, with custom experiences beginning at $12,000.
3. For a ceremony and vacay in one, you can host a full wedding weekend at Disney.
Give your guests a mini Disney vacation by throwing a wedding weekend with all the works and tons of fun activities. "Today's couples are looking to make every moment count on their destination wedding, from the moment the wedding guests arrive to the moment they leave," McFann explains. There are plenty of locations for rehearsal dinners throughout the theme parks and resort hotels. "Epcot is a popular choice with 11 unique international pavilions to choose from and where guests can enjoy the nightly laser, light, and fireworks display that lights up the sky," notes McFann. "We are also seeing more couples choosing brunch as an option for rehearsal dinners. Couples dine early and then spend the day playing in the Disney parks, relaxing at their Disney Resort as a group by the pool, or shopping the day away at Disney Springs."
4. You can say "I do" in as little as three weeks.
As McFann tells us, a Disney wedding can be pulled off in as little as three weeks depending on availability. "We can begin the planning process anywhere between 16 months and three weeks ahead of a couple's anticipated wedding date," she says. McFann recommends that couples reach out about a year ahead of their expected wedding date, but it's Disney we're talking about here-magic can happen!
5. You'll have your very own Disney wedding planner to pull it off all.
Think of them like your personal fairy godmother! "When a couple first reaches out to begin planning their Disney wedding, they are paired with a Disney Wedding Consultant who will help them identify some of the high-level details like their wedding date, wedding venue, and estimated budget," explains McFann. "After some of those details have been confirmed, they will be paired with their Disney Wedding Planner who will take their wedding vision and work with floral, food and beverage, entertainment, and other Disney wedding experts to make their fairy tale come true. Their Disney Wedding Planner will handle all the details, so the couple can enjoy the entire wedding experience." Live across the country-or across the world? This makes it easy for couples to plan their Disney weddings from a distance. "Whether couples choose to visit one of our dedicated wedding planning studios or prefer to plan over the phone or email, we can create their dream wedding while ensuring it's a magical and seamless experience throughout the entire process," says McFann.
And if you do make it down to Walt Disney World Resort to plan your nuptials, the process is an experience in and of itself. You'll meet your wedding planner at the property's Franck's Bridal Studio, a re-creation of Franck's studio from Father of the Bride, where you'll view cakes, linens, themes, florals, table settings, and inspiration boards, all while classical music plays quietly in the background.
6. With a Disney wedding, you don't have to go all the way to France to get married in front of the Eiffel Tower.
At Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot, you can say "I do" in front of 11 unique international backdrops. "From the Eiffel Tower in France to Doge's Palace in Venice to the Koutoubia Minaret prayer tower in Marrakesh," lists McFann. "We recently introduced a lovely outdoor resort setting called Oak Manor Lawn, an intimate location at Disney's Port Orleans Resort Riverside," she also notes.
7. Not a princess bride? Your Disney wedding doesn't have to include ball gowns or tiaras, and can be mouse-ear free.
You can host a wedding at Disney without necessarily having a Disney wedding. "Many of our couples choose Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings because of the variety of venues we offer," explains McFann. "Not just because they have an affinity for Disney." Meaning, you can throw an event that's decidedly more grown-up and formal, with very minimal Disney detail. "Many people don't realize the global breadth and scope of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons offerings," McFann notes. "They are amazed with the number of themed settings we offer couples, from beaches to castles, European village settings, to everything in between."
8. But if you do dream of Disney wedding details, buckle your seatbelts.
You can choose countless Disney-themed details Г la carte to make your nuptials even more magical, from castle wedding cakes (the tallest of which was a 10-foot tall confection!) to mouse ear favors. Couples can even say вЂњI doвЂќ in front of Cinderella's Castle. "A dazzling fireworks display at Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite elements," adds McFann. "I also love when the bride arrives to her nuptials via Cinderella's coach."Courtesy of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings; Photo by That First Moment Photography
9. You can also add Mickey and Minnie to your guest list.
Make some room on that guest list, because you can have a number of Disney characters attend your nuptials, from Daisy Duck to Goofy. But the guest list additions don't stop there. Your reception can also include performances from Chinese acrobats, English butlers, musicians, magicians, "Streetmosphere" actors, and more.
10. You can even include cultural traditions in your Disney wedding.
McFann means it when she says that the sky's the limit when it comes to personalizing your big day. Disney weddings can even include special cultural traditions. "We host couples from around the world and they love to infuse their heritage, such as with a Chinese tea ceremony or traditional Indian or Jewish weddings."Courtesy of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings; Photo by That First Moment Photography
11. Like any trip to Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland, there are endless photo ops.
According to McFann, a Disney wedding must-have is a Disney Bridal portrait session, where the newlyweds snap photos in iconic locations throughout Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney Hollywood Studios, in Cinderella's coach, at the fireworks show, and even with Mickey and Minnie! Proof that dreams really do come true.