Picture it, all of your friends and family gathered together, and the music starts to play when Cinderella’s coach suddenly appears and out steps…you. Is that not the stuff dreams are made of? Disney Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons can turn that dream into a reality!
When Disney fans start thinking of their wedding, a Disney wedding is one of the first things that pop into their heads. Many (like myself) dismiss the idea quickly, assuming it would be astronomically expensive. You would be surprised, though, to find out just how affordable it can be! Honestly, if you had asked me before I started my research for this piece, I’d have guessed that you couldn’t get married at Walt Disney World for less than $50,000, and even then, that would be the most basic of weddings. I was very, very incorrect (and now possibly regretting my decision not to get married at Disney). So what is planning a Disney wedding really like?
Let’s discuss the big one right away. How much does it cost? Korri McCann, director of marketing for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons, says, “The event minimum for a ceremony inside a Disney park starts at $10,000. This includes a couple’s ceremony venue, chairs, water station, a musician, and of course, a dedicated wedding planning team as well as a selection of other wedding elements that are important to the couple like floral and decor, transportation, and more.”
You do pay for each component of a Disney wedding, and so you can choose to make it as simple or extravagant as you like. The least expensive wedding venue starts at $3,500. That would be for an outdoor location outside of the parks (think resort hotel gazebos and waterfront lawns).
Unsurprisingly, getting married in Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella Castle is the most expensive venue coming in at $30,000 (this price doesn’t include food, transportation, decorations, photography, or any extras). Most venues, however (including some in-park locations), tend to cost between $5,000-$7,500.
Keep in mind, though, that the event minimum increases with increased venue cost. Choosing Cinderella Castle, for instance, a $50,000 minimum applies, rather than the $10,000 minimum. A $10,000 Disney wedding is not impossible, but it would be difficult to achieve. Adding specialty items, like horse-drawn carriages, increases the price. Keeping the wedding outside of the theme parks decreases the cost. McCann said, “the average wedding in the United States is $28,000. We are right in that wheelhouse.”
As with all things, Disney goes above and beyond for its guests. That doesn’t stop when planning a wedding. Disney handles all of the details from start to finish. Stephanie Burman and her husband Antonio Santiago said they were able to plan their entire wedding in about three hours, leaving them free to spend the next of their day at Magic Kingdom. “It was the most amazing experience,” he said.
“The planning was super easy,” Burman said. “They sent you a planning packet, and you would just go through and kind of mark all the things you really wanted and what you envisioned for your day. … The planner really just takes everything that you want and just runs with it.”
Disney aims to bring storytelling into its weddings. “They come they come with very creative ideas, and it’s our job here to help them be their storytellers and bring imagination to it to really play out whatever that is drummed up in their mind,” McCann said. Everything is handled in-house, meaning that Disney supplies the catering, floral arrangements, decorations, photographer, and all of the other details involved. No outside professionals are allowed (your dad, the amazing photographer, can’t take your official wedding photos, a Disney photographer must).
What Options Are Available?Credit: The Knot
Disney Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald coined the phrase “If you can dream it, you can do it” while working on EPCOT’s Horizons. This idea is at the heart of Disney weddings. You’re only limited by your wallet. Want to arrive in Cinderella’s coach while the Dapper Dans sing “Here Comes the Bride”? You can do it. Want Mickey to make an appearance at your reception? You got it.
Want your whole wedding party to ride your favorite ride before or after the ceremony? Coming right up! Your first dance can have pyrotechnics (venue allowing), custom lighting, and a live performance by some of the parks most fantastic performers, as long as you’re willing to pay the increased prices that come along with those options.
The costs for these extras are impossible to quantify. The website doesn’t list them because, honestly, the sky is the limit. You can find out more about extras and addons here. One couple wanted Mickey and Minnie to make an appearance at their wedding so badly that they decided not to have food at their reception to cover the cost.
Speaking of food, you and your guests can enjoy food from all over the resort (and more) during your reception. You aren’t limited to choosing from a catering menu. Any restaurant at the Resort is available to you, and you don’t have to stick with just one either. If you love the Risotto from Tutto Italia Ristorante, Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake from Liberty Tree Tavern, and Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier, you can have them! You can even have them prepare a special family recipe if you like. Food pricing begins at $140/per person for breakfast, $175/per person for lunch, and $210/per person for dinner.
Clearly, a Disney wedding isn’t cheap, but it’s not as expensive as you may have thought either. $10,000 is well below the national average, and as stated above, it’s certainly possible to get married at Disney World for that amount. The more you add, the more it costs, but by keeping it simple, we were surprised to learn how affordable it could be. Certainly, it seems worth it for such a unique way to celebrate one of the most important milestones in a person’s life.
What do you think? Would you ever consider a Disney wedding? Let us know in the comments.