I worked in the wedding industry for a hot minute, and you know how most brides and grooms describe planning and executing their weddings? “Stressful, dramatic, exhausting…we should have eloped.” Which is a shame because it absolutely doesn’t need to be – and shouldn’t be – that way. You want to know what my wedding planning process was like? Easy, stress-free – FUN. Here is how it went down:
Disney mailed me a planning packet. On one page were venue options, occupancy limits, and pictures. On another page were pictures of cake designs and lists of all the possible sponge and filling flavors. Another page had pictures of bouquets. There were even more pages for music, venue décor, table linen colors, etc. Then all I had to do was write in the name of the option I wanted (“Oceanside Elegance Bouquet,” “Salted Caramel Fudge Ganache,”) and let them know if I wanted to change/customize anything. Then I mailed it back in – and they made it all happen. Yep…that’s it.
Now, if you have a really specific vision in mind this might not be a good option. If you want an exact kind of bouquet, or a really unique cake design, or particular aisle decor, then a DCL wedding probably isn’t a good fit for you. But if you aren’t overly picky and are okay with a few dozen options for each category (all beautiful, high-quality options) then you will be fine!
The only part that involved any effort from me was assigning seats at dinner. After we got the final guest count (43 people plus me and Dave) Disney emailed me a chart with a few different table sizes and layout options, and I chose the setup I wanted and assigned each person to a table. But even that was really easy – a little wedding planner trick for you is to just assign “anchors” to each table. Your anchor is the person or group of people that will be at that table no matter what. For instance: I kept all of Dave’s fraternity brothers at one table, my family at one, Dave’s at another, and bridal party at another. Then from there, I filled in empty seats based on who I thought would get along best and have a good time. It was quick, easy, and everyone had a great time at dinners and made lots of new friends.
When I boarded the ship I met with one of the event coordinators (yes, Disney included multiple coordinators in the base wedding package) who went through all my selections with me to make sure everything was correct, and then the wedding was the next day. A coordinator came to my room in the morning with a plate of fruit and escorted me to the salon for hair and makeup. After I was all prettied up the coordinator escorted me back to my room and brought my bridal party over so we could finish getting ready. Then after getting ready (and pictures, of course) we were lead to the venue. And while this was all happening a coordinator was doing the same for Dave, his groomsmen, and parents of the bride and groom. And yet another coordinator was supervising at the event space itself to make sure guests were seated and staff was where they needed to be. Everything went flawlessly, and after the ceremony and reception had finished up, the coordinators took care of breaking down and cleaning up. It was the least stressful day of my life – and the whole process itself was FUN…which is exactly how wedding planning should be.
As far as the parts that Disney didn’t handle, like air travel and lodging, it was still stress-free because my travel agent (and close family friend/fairy godmother in disguise) handled all of that. She worked with guests to book their cruise, secured the lowest-priced plane tickets, and found us great deals on hotel room blocks. She was amazing, and anyone planning ANY kind of wedding should absolutely use a travel agent (preferably mine). TAs are paid commission from the hotels/airlines/resorts/cruise lines they book through, so they don’t charge you. They can get way better deals than you can (believe it or not, the “wedding block discounts” are rip-offs compared to what a good Travel Agent can find) and you won’t have to worry about any of your guests not making it to where they need to be.
So there you have it. I had a perfectly beautiful, fun, intimate wedding celebration – with none of the headaches. The truth is, if you are stressed out planning your wedding, you are doing something wrong. This should be the most amazing time of your life, and if it isn’t…then you should probably just call it off and elope. Or get married on a Disney Cruise 😉