My Disney Cruise Wedding: Budget-Friendly

Our entire week-long cruise wedding came in at less than $5,000.

How, you ask?

Well, to start, our DCL wedding package was only $3,000. That included the venues, floral (bouquets and décor), live music, hair and makeup, event coordinators, cake, champagne, officiant, photos, food…everything. Of course, like any wedding, you can pay to upgrade elements (more tiers on the cake, additional musicians, exotic flowers), but we stuck with the basic package and I have 0 regrets. We used air-miles and hotel rewards so we didn’t spend a dime traveling to and from the port, and the cruise-fare was just over a thousand dollars because we were able to take advantage of Dave’s military benefits and Florida resident discounts, plus my platinum Disney Cruise status to keep it all cheap. Then all the extras like my bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses, guest favors, etc., came in at just a few hundred dollars – total.

Pro tips: skip the sample sales and budget bridal salons and just go to second-hand shops to find a gown. Use jewelry and accessories you already own and incorporate family heirlooms. Don’t be afraid to shop from clearance racks and thrift stores to find accessories.

A lot of people dismiss DCL weddings because they don’t want to ask their family and friends to pay for a cruise. But most of our guests combined four people to a room (the third and fourth person are drastically cheaper than the first two) and divided the cost evenly, so for those that booked in advance it was less than $500 per person — for the entire week-long all-inclusive cruise. Plus, everyone had 18 months notice to save, and the ability to do monthly payments of $25 leading up to the cruise. If you have an issue with that you are basically saying, “I am not okay asking my loved ones to pay $25 a month to go on an amazing, once in a lifetime vacation – but I am okay asking them to drop hundreds and hundreds of dollars all at once just to stay in a basic hotel, sit in metal folding chairs outside, eat snack platters from the grocery store, and leave the next day.” See how ridiculous it seems when you put it that way? Fortunately for us, lots of people felt a cruise was a better use of their time and money – and we ended up spending a glorious week on the high seas with dozens of incredible people.

I personally couldn’t justify spending 5k+ on a single day when it’s possible to pay the same amount (or even less) for an all-inclusive, week-long luxury wedding celebration that could be a once in a lifetime experience for everyone involved. Why ask my wedding guests to use their limited time off and hard-earned money for something that doesn’t really benefit them? It’s awesome that they love us and want to support our marriage – but I wanted it to be a good investment for them too. Basically what I am saying is…why pay more and work harder for everyone to get less out of it?

Because DCL weddings are so affordable, I didn’t have to cut corners or make compromises. I got to invite tons of people, and not hurt anyone’s feelings or burn any bridges by not inviting them. Because we could invite so many people (and because so many people came – more than 40!) we had the opportunity to spend quality time with our closest friends, reconnect with people we hadn’t seen in a long time, make brand new friends…and it was wonderful to see how many people cared about us. If we had only sent invitations to a handful of people, we would have missed out on being surrounded by so much love and joy — and possibly have eliminated people who truly wanted to support us. So yes, we had a beautiful, magazine-worthy wedding for a very low price…but the most important thing is that the low cost allowed us to open up our life to anyone who cared to be a part of it. That alone made it 100% worth it.

PS: I know everyone has different reasons for spending what they do and getting married where they do. I am in no way judging or saying you are wrong. I am just saying there are alternatives out there, and a Disney Cruise wedding is a very affordable, amazing option.

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