Weddings in Disney World...

Weddings in Disney World

Ever since she was just a little girl, the daughter of a friend of mine embraced a variety of playtime identities, the majority of which revolved around princesses from Disney movies and storybooks.

She even went so far as to inform her parents during one summer vacation that, when she grew up, she was going to marry Prince Charming at Sleeping Beauty Castle. Fast forward to 12 years later. While the shaggy haired fianc she brought home from college didnt exactly fit everyones definition of a prince, her earlier declaration about exchanging vows at The Happiest Place on Earth hadnt wavered a smidge with her transition to adulthood.

Fortunately, there had been a progression of enough similarly minded and determined young brides that in 1991 Walt Disney World added fairy tale weddings to its host of stellar attractions. Today, the Florida theme park not only has a variety of themed wedding packages available but will even throw in Cinderellas glass coach for you to borrow in order to arrive at your nuptials in magical style. More traditional transport such as a gleaming white limousine or a vintage Packard are available as well.

Such fantasy weddings, of course, dont come cheap. Nor are they the right route to go if the date youve happened picked to say I do falls anytime around Valentines Day, during the summer months or at the year end crunch of major holidays. The more formal affairs are held at the Disney resorts surrounding the theme park and can be booked anywhere from one month to a year in advance. A deposit is required at the time of reservation with the full balance due a month before the ceremony itself.

Events such as this can also be staged within the parks gates at selected locations. In the more public areas, of course, youll be competing with a lot of noise and garnering lots of attention from inquisitive tourists with camcorders. On the plus side, Disneys wedding coordinators are pros at handling everything down to the smallest level of detail. This is especially helpful if the parties doing the planning live outside a Florida zip code. Prospective brides and grooms can either deal with Disney staff directly or have their own wedding planner play intermediary in designing a custom package that will suit the couples taste and specific budget. Want to invite Mickey or Captain Hook to be part of your photo ops or enjoy a dance with the news Mrs.? They can even arrange that, too.

When my friends daughter and her young man got married, it was in the rose garden of the Disney Yacht Club, a swank setting that looks and feels more like Cape Cod than Orlando. Because the wedding party and guest list were so small, it also projected the ambiance of being in the backyard gazebo of a private and well to do home. Her original choice, the Boardwalk Resort, is another seaside setting that was already booked by the time she and her fiance started their plans. Both venues had a starting price of approximately $3,000 per couple. Larger wedding parties up to 250 people can be accommodated at the Disney Wedding Pavilion, a Victorian solarium built on Seven Seas Lagoon Island.

The biggest advantage of using a Disney wedding coordinator as my friend and her husband discovered was that virtually the only thing they had to do was make sure their daughters wedding dress got finished on time and that all of the invitations got mailed out. The coordinator arranged for the flowers, the cake, the minister, the musician (a violinist with a repertoire of Disney melodies), the transportation and even the photographer. Since then, the good folks at Disney have also added the amenity of a customized wedding website whereby the bride and grooms guests can look up the pictures online and order various size copies.

Last but not least, multi-day passes to the theme park for the new couple and members of their wedding party are included in the package price.