Reflections on Our Disney Wedding: 5 Years Out

Five years ago, at least a handful of you were watching me get married at Walt Disney World via cell phone photos posted live to this blog by my bridesman, Nate. Can you believe it’s been 5 years?

Here are some thoughts looking back on our Disney wedding…

Disney Wedding 5th Year

Best part of our wedding: having so many family members join us at Walt Disney World. Originally, I was very stressed when our guest list kept growing. Now, I can’t believe how blessed we are to have that many people who were willing to make the trip and I love that our families were able to mix and mingle in such a happy place. I especially cherish the fact that my grandparents made it out from California, since my grandfather passed away two years later. He had such a wonderful time and it’s my best memory with him.

Biggest Disney wedding regret: not spending more to keep the party going. It’s funny that I regret not spending enough money, since we went over budget by $2,000 as it was, but I really wish we had added a dessert party. Our guests would have loved it and at 5PM when the wedding was wrapping up, nobody wanted the fun to stop so we ended up trying to find each other at Downtown Disney. We should have sprung the extra cash to end the night with Illuminations and sweets to really end it on a high note.

Can’t believe we spent so much on: invitations and mailing newsletters. Considering I did them myself and they were ok-but-not-awesome, I can’t believe I spent a combined $1,000 putting together mail and sending it out to people. I really could have done something better with that money…good reminder that DIY doesn’t always mean cheaper!

Why didn’t we spend more on: bridal party gifts. I’ve always felt bad about not doing more for our party, especially since they spent so much to be down there with us.

I don’t know why we: thought we could run the WDW half-marathon two days after our wedding day. That was never going to happen!

I’m so glad we: took a week-long honeymoon 5 months before we got married. It was such a wonderful trip and when we went back for our WDW wedding, we didn’t feel any pressure to do everything in the parks.

If I could do it all again: I would have made our wedding party smaller. We included 16 people because we wanted them to know how special they are to us, but they ended up being “rewarded” by being told what to wear, having to get up early to take photos, and (for most) sitting in the front row for the wedding ceremony while their significant others sat by themselves. Not much of a perk for putting years of friendship in! Since we couldn’t do anything exclusive for them, we should have just let them come and enjoy the day.

I know a lot of you are a few years out from your Disney wedding. Anything you would have done differently?

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  • Reply Hope at Disneyland

    I remember checking your blog for “live updates” of your day like it was yesterday! I also remember how my heart melted when you posted pictures of your Grandpa with his face painted like a Tiger. I’m really glad that he was able to be a part of your day and that he had such a blast. I know that the memories you made that day are especially more valuable now.

    It really is funny to compare what was “so important” to us back when we were planning to what we find more important now.

    January 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm
  • Reply AmyKB

    so my wedding was very light on the Disney, as I’ve mentioned long ago in various comments – I had a (surprise!) Aladdin-themed bridal shower, did my bachelorette weekend in Orlando, had “A Whole New World” as our first dance song, and we spent our wedding night at the Disney Resort in Vero Beach, FL. but, I followed all of your planning and loved this post so thought I’d comment. (I’ll be 7 years out from my wedding in May.)

    Best part of our wedding: dancing with all of our friends and family at the reception. it was a real party, and the dance floor needed to be larger!

    Biggest Disney wedding regret: not having more Disney in the wedding. just a little something here or there in the decor or something.

    Can’t believe we spent so much on: photography. it just seemed like we paid the same amount as many others but didn’t get as many shots.

    Why didn’t we spend more on: appetizers. when we were 23, it seemed really cool to have a chocolate fountain with 6 different dippers as the food at the cocktail hour. I now realize that was probably weird and childish for anyone over 30.

    I don’t know why we: didn’t book two nights at the Disney Vero Resort and plan to spend a whole day there in between. We married on a Friday night and left for the honeymoon on Sunday, so we could have spent Saturday enjoying ourselves if we had taken the time to pack for the honeymoon in advance.

    I’m so glad we: didn’t cut corners where people suggested. The personalized napkins, tagged favors, hand-made celestial-themed table signs, and little things like that were some of my favorite “extras.”

    If I could do it all again: I would have invited fewer people. We had just above half of the invited attend, and it hurt me at the time. Plus, we invited a handful of people we felt obligated to at the time who came, but we no longer keep in contact with them.

    January 9, 2014 at 12:29 am
  • Reply Gina

    Steve and I were married at the Wedding Pavillion, Whitehall Patio and Sago Cay Point on January 5, 2009.

    Best part of our wedding: Having our freinds and family make the trip from Connecticut all the way to WDW. It was amazing being in my favorite place with our favorite people. The best moment of our wedding? That was by far during our first dance. We had our reception at the White Hall Patio, outside, and during our first dance the Monorail that passes by the area, stopped, and everyone on board waved and everyone at the wedding waved back. I like to think that moment will be responsible for future DFTWs 🙂

    Biggest Disney wedding regret: Not coordinting in park time, before and after during the week with family. I did not want to be bossing people around on their trip down to the wedding; most people stayed a week, so I did not make plans to meet in the parks. I should have. I found out later people were reluctant to approach us on the days after the wedding because they thought we wanted to enjoy a honeymoon alone. If we wanted that we would have gone somewhere else. Definately plan some in park time to get some group photos and make memories.

    Can’t believe we spent so much on: My dress. Went over budget unnecessairly.

    Why didn’t we spend more on: the bar! I skimped and did beer and wine. I should have done a full open bar but we only had 30 guests and the cost made no sense to me and I didn’t want people wasted. I bet people thought we were cheap!

    I don’t know why we: Got a limo to drive from GF to WP. I mean really, it’s like 100 yards LOL.

    I’m so glad we: Had a dessert party at Sago Cay. I loved it there and it was the perfect size for our guests. Sure, the in park stuff is great, but this was private and Wishes is my favorite.

    If I could do it all again: I would have had a proper rehearsal dinner. I skimped on that (I was a poor student, cut me some slack) but they deserved it and I didn’t provide it. I also have some amazing people in my life now, many Disney brides I met while planning, who I wish were at my wedding. I would love to have those girls who have become my best friends there. I would have spent less on the dress.

    January 9, 2014 at 11:23 am
  • Reply Lisa Reese

    I loved my Disney Cruise Wedding so much. I am lucky because as a Travel Agent with a Disney Cruiseline wedding myself I have all of the brides I have helped since my wedding to compare my wedding too. LOL There are some things I would change for sure and some I would never ever change.

    Biggest Disney wedding regret: I have two. The first is not taking a photographer with me. I used the Ships photography and while it is ok, acceptable, not bad – It is not WOW! Some of the recent brides who I have worked with have pictures that make me weep (in a good way of course). The 2nd thing would be to get married on a 7 night cruise instead of a 4 night. I really feel bad for the brides with a 3 night. There is just so much to do and so little time. I tried to keep the cost down for my guests so I went with a 4 night….after it was all said and done every one of my guests had such a good time that they sad they would have paid for the 7 night no questions asked.

    Can’t believe we spent so much on: Invitations. I made them so they were not too bad, but I mail over 100 at like $4 – $5 a piece! They included books about the cruise etc. In the end the same people would have came with an email invite. I wish I would have just went in the middle.

    Why didn’t we spend more on: Photography and a Longer cruise (see above)

    I don’t know why we: Now we…me…Thought I would feel like doing my own hair and make up the morning of our Park Photos. I looked a hot mess, I was so tired. LOL

    I’m so glad we: Did the Park Photos. Being at the Magic Kingdom before sunrise was a once in a lifetime experience.

    If I could do it all again: I would not change anything major. I loved my wedding, loved my guests and loved DCL! I would bring a photographer. At the end of the day though I married the love of my life my favorite place on earth – Castaway Cay!

    January 9, 2014 at 11:44 am
  • Reply Heidi

    Best Part of our Wedding: Celebrating with family and friends. I loved that we had so many events to keep the fun going. It started on Saturday with a ladies’ tea party and ended Monday night with a dessert party (really Tuesday morning if they joined us for breakfast). I feel bad for brides who only do a ceremony followed by a reception. It goes too quickly.

    Wedding Regret: I have two. 1. Spending so much on a premium photographer when there are so many up-and-comers who do amazing work for less. I love many of my photos, but I also missed a lot of photos because I didn’t dictate them to my photographers. I didn’t think I needed to ask for pics of the bride with parents before the wedding. I just kinda thought that would happen. And it’s not okay with what I paid. 2. Had a florist that would do a mockup. My bouquet was not what I pictured and nothing like my inspiration photos. Pretty, yes. But still a disappointment.

    Can’t believe we spent so much on: aside from photographer, I’d say napkins and menu cards. I could’ve done without them. And now, it’s another memento that I feel obliged to keep. In retrospect, I would’ve used free disney napkins and had a single large menu board when guests walk in

    Why we didn’t spend more on: chair covers for the tea party at Whitehall Room. I had coordinated linens, gorgeous centerpieces and a beautiful cake. The chairs looked out of place uncovered.

    I don’t know why we: didn’t let DFTW move our Welcome Dinner inside. It was in the low 50s, which was COLD at Italy Isola. I was so set on seeing it setup, but it made for a cold evening. We could’ve enjoyed the dinner inside with the warmth and still made our way outside for the fireworks.

    I’m so glad we: had the coach. Especially since it took us from the WP to Narcoossee’s for the reception. It was worth it.

    If I could do it all again: I would pare down some expenses, but overall keep the events and style of what we had!

    January 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply Christine

    Happy anniversary!!! Just the other day I was thinking that I actually originally found your blog when you were briefly a Weddingbee blogger. 😛 I started following Weddingbee before I was even thinking of getting married because I liked seeing all the crafty projects, and I was SO EXCITED when you became a bee because you were having a Disney wedding and I could not wait to find out more about it! After you left, I’m glad I continued to follow your blogs because I really had no clue what Disney had to offer at all, and if you had never been Miss Flip Flop, I might never have had a Disney wedding. 🙂

    I have the same feeling about some of our DIY projects. They were OK, but not awesome. Some things are better left to the pros and it’s not like I saved THAT much money lol. Back then, I thought I really wanted to customize a lot of things, and so I went DIY, but some of the pre-made templates offered online are so nice, it might not have been worth it in the end.

    I think the biggest wedding splurges should be on the party itself. After marrying my hubby, the other greatest joy on my wedding day was the moment when I stopped to look around the reception room and saw everyone having such a good time. :’) So I would have extended the reception hours or had a welcome dessert party the night before…and invited more people…because a wedding is as much about celebrating the couple as it is thanking your friends and family for all their love and support. 🙂

    January 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm
  • Reply Vanessa F

    My husband, Kris, and I were married at the American Adventure Rotunda in Epcot on March 3, 2008. Our ceremony was in the morning followed by a brunch reception at the Living Seas. Later that evening, we had an Illuminations dessert party.

    Best part of our wedding: Having our closest family and friends enjoy time in the parks and spend time together before and after the wedding. We planned events such as a tea at the Garden View Tearoom, attending a Detroit Tigers spring training game, a private hayride at Fort Wilderness and several group meals over the course of several days. The best moments of our wedding day – 1) When my husband and I went around the World Showcase taking photos after our bridal party headed to the reception. 2) Taking pictures in front of the Living Seas with park guests gathering around. 3) When a little girl asked her parents if I was Cinderella.

    Biggest Disney wedding regret: I was pretty strict about staying on budget and I wish I would have splurged on a few extra things. For one, we used a limo instead of having a carriage for our arrival/departure from the ceremony. I would have used the traditional carriage and probably not the Cinderella coach. I also wish we would have extended the time of our brunch reception. Since we didn’t have a DJ, we figured we didn’t need very long reception. However, people could have used more time to visit and to enjoy the atmosphere.

    Can’t believe we spent so much on: Favors. We had really cute suitcase destination wedding tins we filled with Ghirardelli chocolate squares. I forgot them at home and we ended up having to send them to people later. Our guests enjoyed the welcome bags we had the resorts, so I don’t think we needed to worry about having favors too. They were only around $2 each, but I still don’t think they were necessary since we had the welcome bags.

    Why we didn’t spend more on: The carriage and time at the reception. I worked hard to stay on budget and the small amount these two items would have added would not have been very much in the long run. The other thing I would have spent more on is food at the dessert reception. We did the cheapest menu and I wish we would have added additional items.

    I don’t know why we: Tried to do so much ourselves. I should have engaged my bridesmaids more to help with the welcome bags and little details of the day.

    I’m so glad we: Spent the week at Walt Disney World with our family and friends then took a honeymoon two months later. We went to Hawaii for 10 days and while it added to our budget it was nice to have the experience with family and friends then have a traditional honeymoon. I’m also glad we had an at-home reception three months after our wedding after we had our photos and video back to share with everyone.

    On a small note, I’m also glad I gave my cellphone over to my aunt to handle any calls on our wedding day. It was less stress having someone screen requests while I was getting ready, etc.

    If I could do it all again: I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying about the favors we forgot at home. Needless to say it’s a long story we thought they were in a piece of luggage that was lost by Magical Express. When they found the luggage there favors weren’t there, so we realized they were still at home in Michigan.

    I also would have done a final walk-through of our ceremony site once it was set up. A few small things like memorial flowers were placed in the wrong spots and I could have fixed it if I took a quick peek before the ceremony. I saw it early on while set-up was still taking place.

    Finally, I wish I could have tried some of the hors d’oeuvre from the cocktail hour.

    Our wedding was a dream come true and I love all the great people I met along the way with our planning. I have made some great friends with other Disney brides and I am so happy to have gotten married at the Happiest Place on Earth!

    January 9, 2014 at 9:35 pm
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