We decided to get married at Disney World, so the planning begins. We share our experience with initially planning our Disney World wedding.
Welcome to the Mickey From The UK Disney World Wedding Series, where we share some of the details and experiences planning our Disney World wedding from the UK. We walk through some key aspects of why we are doing it, and answer reader questions as we go along our journey. Keep in mind Disney change their policies, prices and packages regularly, our experience described here is correct at the time of our booking from 2018 to 2020.
Every since we shared our Disney World wedding plans we've had a few people tell us they've sent enquires to the wedding team and were often just redirected to their website. Although I cannot speak for how initial emails are run in 2020, we first got in contact at the end of 2018 and they were extremely helpful and delighted to answer questions.
Like all things Disney World, you have the minefield of learning ADR's, Fastpass, and everything in-between to setup and manage your holiday. Some of it is explained on Disney's websites, but it's communities of Disney fans that really fill in those gaps of understanding. Disney weddings are sort of the same. Their website gives a good overview and showcases some desirable photographs. However, looking over it now I can look at one page and say, "oh yes, but to do that you must do this and this", and "you can do that but that's crazy expensive", etc. Even looking over all their brochures and documentation, as well as reading up elsewhere, there were still so many unanswered questions.
And to my original opening, the first point of contact with the Disney weddings team, who - I can only imagine - get so many emails and questions, even from people who haven't looked at the website. Perhaps sometimes from people who are looking to get married many years in the future. Keep in mind that Disney don't start officially planning until 12 months before, but you can put your name down for things just before that. Disney weddings are so customisable there isn't a lot you can't do, which is why it's hard when they get open questions like "how much is it?", especially when a lot of people are just nosing about, so keep that in mind if you're looking to do this. Do your research first and read their website and brochures, and then try and have more specific questions to ask them and I'm sure they'll be happy to answer.
As I said, our first contact was at the end of September 2018 over email. We talked back and forth with Rebecca (a wedding sales assistant) who was really helpful at answering the questions I had after reading through all their brochures.
For example, they require a $4,000 deposit, but their math didn't add up on their estimates. I asked about this, and it turns out the deposit is actually $3,000, but they keep $1,000 back incase you overspend on the day. Which is then refunded after the wedding if you manage not to go overboard. There are many little quirks like this that isn't readily showcased anywhere that crop up, even after reading through their website.
At the time, we were planning to have the wedding in May 2021 (but moved to September 2020). So we did get in contact early, but just to ask specific questions. When we decided to go ahead with the wedding, we started to plan how we were going to go about it.
As we're from the UK, we thought the planning would be tricky, but thankfully they let you do all the planning over phone or email. You don't technically have to set foot over the before you get married. At around June 2019, we decided to move the wedding up to September 2020 from May 2021. We let them know our desires and straight away got introduced to our Disney Wedding Consultant, who was Kristi.
It's A Lottery
You cannot officially start booking until 12 months out. Although, if you want to get married at the wedding Pavillion at a specific date and time, you can get in contact and put your name down before that point. At the 12 month mark, if another couple have the same desired date and time as you, a lottery takes place to see who gets it. This is why when you put your name down, you supply a few backup dates and times. Thankfully, when our 12 month mark hit, we got the date and time we wanted.
So It Begins...
The future Mrs really wanted to do a planning and food tasting session (which at the time of booking was included in the prices of a Wishes package), but trying to fit that in was going to be a challenge, especially being from the UK. We already had a 2-week trip booked for September 2019, and then the plan was to go back September 2020 to do the planning session and then get married in May 2021. After looking into the pricing more deeply, we decided to cut out a trip to save some money. So we were already going in September 2019, and wanted to do the planning session then for a September 2020 wedding. However, the tricky part is that you can only officially book 12 months out, let alone have a planning session (they advise a planning session is 6-8 months out).
Thankfully, the team were super helpful in rushing the process along so we could have one. As soon as we arrived in September 2019, we went straight over to see them for a site visit of the Pavillion and where we wanted for the reception, signed the paperwork, and paid the $4,000 deposit. Afer that, she managed to book the planning session with everything we asked for on the day before our last day of the trip. Keep in mind from a business point of view, it's hard from the to set this up without a deposit being paid and contracts signed, as they have to move chefs around and make provisions for these sessions, so keep that in mind if you ever have a request like this yourself.
We are super grateful they managed to get a planning session done with us, and really enjoyed doing it. We'll go into the planning session in more detail in part 3.