PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART II

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART II

Welcome back to part two of this series! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out part 1 of Planning Our Disney Fairytale Wedding here: PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I! I cannot believe our wedding is 68 short days away! Time is seriously flying by. My bridal shower is this upcoming Saturday, I have all of my hair, makeup, nail, etc appointments booked for the big day, and now we are just trying to get all of the small things together!

But anyway, you’re here to read about the next steps we’ve taken toward planning our dream wedding. A lot has happened within the month that I’ve written the first part of this series! We are now into planning all of the fine details and have had a few magical surprises along the way.


Part II: Planning our Fairytale Wedding 

Transitioning from Joe (sales representative) to our Coordinating Team

In the last blog, you saw that I worked hand-in-hand with Joe De Matei to learn more about the package we chose for our wedding as well as book our special day. After the Letter of Agreement was signed on all ends and completed, Joe introduced us to our new coordinating team. We were assigned an overall wedding coordinator as well as a room specialist and a photography specialist, which I will discuss in further detail down below.

The experience we had while working with Joe was exceptional. He was readily available whenever needed to answer any questions we had during the booking process. As his final gesture after introducing us to our team, we received a surprise package from him in the mail! In beautiful packaging, it included a card of well wishes, a Prince Charming coin charm, a Cinderella shoe bag, and a few cards with the items for ideas on how to incorporate the items into our special day.

Although I am positive this is something all sales rep’s send their couples after introducing them to their coordinating team, it was a surprise that brought me to tears of joy! Some pictures of the package can be found below 🙂


The Planning Kit

A few days after Joe introduced us to our coordinating team, we received an e-mail from our Wedding Coordinator, Steffane Christian. She briefly introduced herself, and then outlined the next several steps we would be taking leading up to our big day. The first few steps were to review the planning resources she attached, and then complete a planning kit.

This planning kit was no joke! It is a 22 page kit which basically outlines in fine detail every detail for you to specify for your big day. You start by putting in your personal information (both the bride and groom), and from there outline every little detail. The details we had to choose and specify for our big day included:

  • Floral. There were several bouquet and boutonniere pairings for us to choose from. We were also able to choose the flower colors within the style that we chose! Those two things were included in the package already, and after choosing those we were given the option to choose additional add-on floral.
    • The add on’s included bridesmaids bouquets, boutonniere’s for the bridal party and father of the bride and groom, corsages for the mother of the bride and groom, and floral decorations for the ceremony space. For each additional add-on, there were several options and styles to choose from ranging in price.
  • Enhancements. These items are all things that are not included in the base price of the package. Items that you could add on for the ceremony include flower girl baskets and ring bearer pillows, a sand ceremony set, charms for bouquets, a unity candle set, and more.
  • Photography. As I mentioned in part 1, two hours worth of photography is included in the package. However, couples have the option of adding on additional hours of photography as well as additional albums and prints. Couples also have the option of adding an in-park or additional resort photo shoot, which can be chosen on this page as well.
  • Cake. There were about five different cake styles that we were able to choose from, with about 5 more “enhanced” cakes that we could also choose with an up charge. After choosing the style we wanted, we were able to choose the cake flavor and filling. There were a ton of options for this part and it was definitely hard to choose!
  • Beverages. With the package, two bottles of champagne are included. We had the option here to add on additional bottles of champagne, sparking cider for underage guests, and treats to give out as favors.
  • Transportation. A four-hour, 8 passenger limousine is included in our package for transportation to and from the ceremony space. At this part in the kit, we had to outline the first two stops and last two stops for the limo driver. We also had the option of upgrading our limousine to Cinderella’s Coach or a variety of other style vehicles.
  • Music and Entertainment. This was probably my favorite part of the entire kit. Here, we were able to outline every song choice we wanted for our ceremony including the wedding party entrance, the bride’s entrance, the sand ceremony song, the recessional, the cake cutting ceremony, and the first dance.
    • They do provide you with a list of songs to choose from. However, at no additional cost you are able to personally request any song as long as you provide your coordinator with the sheet music!
    • In your package, a violinist is included. In this section, however, you can choose to upgrade or add on additional musicians or even pay to have characters come to the ceremony.

I would say that this planning kit was really the only downfall of planning a Disney wedding, if you could even call it that. Part of a traditional wedding planning experience is to taste test cake, go to a florist and see the bouquets and flowers firsthand to design your wedding floral, and meet with a photographer in person. However, the planning kit does have photo’s of everything, but it’s all digital. I found myself quite often thinking “I wish I could see this/try this in person”.

On the other hand, this planning kit outlined literally everything and made all of the details a one-stop-shop. It was very simple to navigate and really takes the stress away from having to go to different vendors to plan it all yourself.

I did have to speak with Steffane a few times while going through the planning kit with various questions. We exchanged emails but also spoke over the phone. She was very informative and helpful, and always answered emails promptly.

After submitting the planning kit to Steffane, she informed us that she received it and would review it over the next several days. We were then told that we would be expecting a Banquet Event Order – Rough Draft in our email within the next two weeks!


Room Blocks and Photography

Aside from our wedding coordinator, our room specialist and photography specialist both reached out to us around the same time Steffane did.

  • Photography Specialist – Karen Chandler. Karen’s email started just like Steffane’s did, introducing herself and telling us what her role in our wedding would be. Basically, she provided us with a website where we could go see all of the Disney Wedding photographer’s personal albums. She told us to check all of them out, as they all have different styles, and recommended we choose a “top three” that fit our aesthetic. Karen told us to put their names in the Planning Kit (which we did) to let our coordinator know who we would prefer. We were informed that there was no guarantee we would be assigned one of the three we chose, but that they would try their best to accommodate!
  • Room Specialist – Janet Moore. Janet started her email introducing herself like the other members of her team did. She then gave us a timeline regarding the room block including when she recommended people book by, when the block would close, how many nights we can reduce out of the total we reserved, and more. Janet also provided me with a link to share with my guests so they can book rooms directly in the block. Lastly, we were provided with our own unique link to track our guests bookings and other additional information.

I really didn’t have to reach out to Karen during this stage in the process, as it was all self explanatory. However, I did have a few questions for Janet and she was very prompt in returning my call as well as extremely kind and easy to work with. She has been in this business for over 20 years and you can tell she still loves what she does!


Banquet Event Order

It took less than a week from the time I sent the completed planning kit to Steffane for her to send the first draft of our Banquet Event Order. This is basically a detailed receipt of all of the choices we made as well as any additional add-on’s we chose. She instructed us to print the BEO out and review it. If we have any changes, we simply mark them on the page and initial at the bottom of the page to confirm.

With the BEO, she gave us our estimated budget and the due-date. Steffane instructed us to send in the edited and complete BEO with the remaining balance no later than one month before our wedding so she can finalize all of the details.

About a week after sending the BEO, my fiance and I got another surprise package from Disney Fairytale Weddings in the mail, this time from Steffane! This package was in the same beautiful packaging as the other, and included a well wishes card, a Pixie Dust charm for my bouquet, and a set of Prince Charming collar stays/tie holders for Daron. They are absolutely beautiful, and of course brought tears to my eyes – again! Below are some pictures of this lovely package 🙂


And, that brings us to the end of Part II of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series! Part III in our series will be all about the time period between submitting our BEO and final payment to our big day, so be on the look-out!

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying this series! We are so excited for our special day, adn cannot wait to share it with all of you. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! Thanks for reading, see ya real soon 🙂

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I

In honor of my wedding being less than 100 days away (yay!), I thought it would be fun to create a series where I document the planning process of our Disney Fairytale wedding! In this series, I’ll take you along the planning process with me in anticipation of our big day.

But first, let’s backtrack a bit. Up until about January, we had an entire destination wedding planned. The wedding was set to be at Bilmar Beach Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida for all of our family and friends on May 25, 2019. We were looking at 150-200 guests, and it was going to be beautiful.

The closer and closer the wedding got the more stress that was added on. Our family and friends began stressing about getting time off of work and if they could afford it, it was hard finding vendors due to the wedding being Memorial Day weekend, and the list could go on and on. So, finally, my fiance and I decided we would cancel our “big” wedding and elope. That is what leads us to the start of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series…

Part I: Booking our Fairytale Wedding 

Choosing Our Package

When considering and brainstorming places to elope, one of the major factors we were considering was what would be easily accessible while still fitting into our lifestyle. We didn’t want to just head to a courthouse – we wanted something that would compliment who we were. I started googling “Places to elope in Orlando, Florida”, and Disney Fairytale weddings popped up. We knew then that we would be having a Disney Fairytale wedding.

There are three tiers to choose from for a Disney wedding, and this is where the planning began. The three options are:

  • Wishes: Starting at $12,000 with a minimum of 18 guests.
  • Escape: Starting at $7,000 with a maximum of 18 guests.
  • Memories: Starting at $3,500 with a maximum of 4 guests.

Initially, we thought that the Memories package would fit best for us since we wanted to do a simple elopement. However, the more we discussed the idea of our “special day”, we couldn’t picture saying I Do without our parents and siblings with us. We decided that the Escape package was the best fit for us, and this is where the fun began.

Disney’s Escape Wedding Package

Now that we chose which package would best fit our vision and our guest list, we then contacted a Sales Representative to get further information on how the package works and what is included. Our representative, Joe De Matei, was outstanding and a big help in this first stage of the planning process! During about an hour-long consultation on the phone, I was given the following information on what would be included in our special day:

  • A one-hour ceremony. Within this hour-long time frame, we would have the traditional wedding ceremony including a processional and a recessional. The hour also includes champagne toasts, a cake cutting ceremony, and a first dance.
    • There were several venues to choose from, which I will get more into a little later.
  • A two-tier cake and two bottles of champagne. These two items, as part of the ceremony, are included in the package cost.
  • A solo violinist. The violinist is included for the ceremony, and the song choices for the sand ceremony, processional, recessional, first dance, cake cutting, and more would be decided upon by my fiance and I. We were informed that they have pre-set songs we could choose from, or we could make special  requests ahead of time!
  • A bouquet and boutonniere. For the bride and groom only. There are several options to choose from!
  • A four-hour limousine charter. This can be used for our bridal party or any special guests.
  • 2-hour service of a Disney photographer. The photographer would be there to capture all moments during the ceremony, as well as photos of the bridal party and family after the ceremony has ended.
    • Included with the photographer is a 20-photo personalized album as well as a USB of all photo’s taken on the special day with printing rights.
  • An on-site wedding coordinator, room specialist, and photography coordinator. This team is assigned to you after booking the package.

A few other things that I took note of in regard to the package are…

  • There are several enhancement options that can be added on to customize the special day including floral decor for the ceremony space, additional hours for photography, videography, floral for the bridal party, and more.
  • We were able to set up a room block with special rates for rooms and tickets for our guests. If our guests reserve 10 room nights in total, we are provided with a complimentary nights stay at the resort of our choice.
  • We are required to have a four-night stay booked as the couple, and the reservation has to be linked to our package.

Lastly, some things that are necessary (or, that I found necessary) for our special day and are not included in the package are:

  • An officiant. We are provided with a list to choose from, but the officiant must be paid for and booked seperately.
  • Floral for our bridal party. We have the option of ordering floral through the Disney floral department or bringing in our own.
  • A reserved space to get ready for the bridal party. This one is fine, as we are able to get ready in our hotel rooms and be escorted in the limo to the ceremony space.

After speaking with Joe, we decided that this package was perfect for our elopement and fit our dream very nicely. This moves us into the next part of the process, which is deciding on a venue and putting a “soft hold” on our package!

Choosing our Venue

With the Escape package, we had five different venues to choose from:

  • Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Canada Terrace at the Canada Pavilion in EPCOT
  • Sea Breeze Point at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • Wedding Gazebo at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 
  • Luau Pointe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Our first choice was the Canada Terrace in EPCOT. We love that park, and the backdrop of the ceremony space is the waterfall in the back of the Canada pavilion. However, even though the date we wanted was open (May 24), the only time slot available was 9:00am, as they only do ceremonies before park opening which – to us – was entirely too early!

Our second choice was Luau Pointe. We absolutely love the Polynesian, and this ceremony space is beautiful. It’s very tropical and surrounded by beautiful greenery with the backdrop being Seven Seas Lagoon. Since we initially were supposed to get married on the beach, we figured this was perfect! After deciding on this ceremony spot, we were informed that the 1:00pm slot was already reserved, but a 9:00am and an 11:00am ceremony was open and available. As I mentioned above, 9:00am was too early for our taste, so we decided on the 11:00 slot!

Soft-Hold of our Date and Venue

The next and final step of the booking experience was to put a “soft hold” on our ceremony venue, date, and time. What this basically meant was that everything was reserved in our name for about a month’s time span while the Letter of Agreement was being drawn up and until the deposit was set.

To draw up the Letter of Agreement, I had about two weeks to fill out a form from Joe. On the form, I had to choose up to three resorts for our our room block (one value, one moderate, and one deluxe) as well as a resort for our complimentary room. I also had to provide him with basic information including our contact information and our parents’. Since it was easy information, that part of the process only took about three days.

After sending in that information, it took about another two weeks for Joe and his team to draw up a Letter of Agreement. I had to review that all of the information was correct, and my fiance and I had to sign the document. We then had about two more weeks to get the deposit of $1,000 over to them. Once everything was signed and they received the deposit, Joe and his team took about another week to sign the document on their end as well as assign us our wedding coordinator team.

And, that brings us to the end of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series! Part II in our series will be information on how we planned every detail of our wedding with our coordinating team, so be on the look-out!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this series! We are so excited for our special day, adn cannot wait to share it with all of you! Below are some photo’s of the venue we chose (Luau Pointe)! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! See ya real soon 😉

VALENTINES DAY IN DISNEY?!

VALENTINES DAY IN DISNEY?!

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and what better place to spend it than in the Most Magical Place on Earth? Although WDW is viewed as a family friendly vacation destination, there are plenty of things adults can do for a romantic date night. I thought it might be fun today to list a few fun and romantic date ideas for couples this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Spend the evening in Disney Springs. Disney Springs is one of my favorite places to just go visit. Grab a bite to eat, go watch a movie, see a live band or performer, do some shopping – the possibilities there are endless. On vacations, or even now, this  is a place my fiance and I love to get dressed up and go to for a night of fun!
  2. Have dinner at the Sci-Fi Diner in Hollywood Studios. Although it may not seem like it, I think this restaurant can be extremely romantic! There’s just something about sitting in a “car” under the “stars” watching a movie with your loved one that brings major date vibes!
  3. Watch a fireworks show. This is, in my opinion, as romantic as it can get in WDW. Especially if you’re watching Happily Ever After in MK. Between the story told through the projections and the fireworks themselves, this makes for a perfect ending to a romantic night.
  4. Buy a nice gift. This is a tradition my fiance and I have held since we’d come visit for vacations – we’d buy each other “surprises”. It’s almost as if it’s a contest on who can get the better gift. We’d pick a store, set a price point, and split up to find each other the perfect gift/surprise/momento of our day and our vacation. This tradition is still one of our favorites. Some other things we’ve (he’s) done include sneaking to the “bathroom” – aka Pandora or a store – and surprising me with jewelry, balloons, ice cream, etc. It always makes him feel good to surprise me and make me happy, and I love that he’d always think of me and get excited to do so! Definitely something I’d suggest on a romantic date night to WDW!
  5. Go on a few dark rides. Whether it’s Peter Pan’s Flight, Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh, or even Haunted Mansion, these rides have potential to be super romantic. Simply just by sitting in your own private ride vehicle and getting to admire the beauty of the ride is something that makes for a romantic time.
  6. Catch a show. One of our favorites to catch when we need a little romance added into our day is Beauty and the Beast in Hollywood Studios. Nothing like seeing a classing and favorite fairy tale come to life right before your eyes!
  7. Play putt-putt at Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course. Mini golf always makes for a fun date with your significant other. Adding the Disney touch to it just makes it that much better of a time!
  8. Simply walking around Magic Kingdom holding hands. There is nothing more simple, and more romantic, than walking hand-in-hand down Main Street USA. You just feel the magic all around you, and if you’re truly in the moment it can make for an unforgettable experience. Just head to MK without a plan and see where the night takes you!

I absolutely could  have went on and on with this list.  As I mentioned above, there’s just something about the magic and the “Disney touch” that can make any experience a romantic one. So, if you’re headed to the parks this Valentine’s Day, keep a few of these ideas in mind to create an unforgettable experience!

Thanks for reading! Do you have any magical and romantic date ideas for WDW that I didn’t mention?  Leave them in a comment down below! Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to be notified when we post next. Happy Valentine’s Day, I’ll see ya real soon 😉

REVISITING WHERE WE GOT ENGAGED!

REVISITING WHERE WE GOT ENGAGED!

If you followed my blog months back, you might have read one of my first posts which was the story of Dee and I getting engaged in Disney Springs (if you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link: OUR DISNEY WORLD ENGAGEMENT STORY). That night we would have never imagined that two years from then, we’d be living minutes away from The Most Magical Place on Earth and yet here we are!

So, of course, we decided we just had to go back and reminisce on our most memorable moment together yet. For months we planned to head to Disney Springs January 3, 2019 and relive everything we felt that same day in 2017 – and the experience didn’t fall short.

All day, we were elated because not only was it the anniversary of our engagement, but we had just (FINALLY) rung in our wedding year. All we could talk about was how we couldn’t believe two years had flown by so quickly and how now we are living our dream.

So, we headed to Disney Springs and the first thing we noticed was how much more crowded it was compared to two years ago! Both parking garages were full, but after driving around the Lime Garage for a bit we finally found a spot. Walking into DS itself, it was jam packed. But, unlike Christmas Eve, that didn’t stop us from having a magical time or even hinder our experience.

Since we parked in the Lime Garage, our first stop was the 45 foot tall Christmas tree in the middle of the shopping center – which is the tree my soon-to-be husband proposed in front of. It truly felt like stepping into a time warp because the tree was exactly how I remembered it. The same golden shimmery garland glistened around the tree with illuminating baubles that were larger than our heads scattered throughout. Just seeing the beauty of the tree itself brought a flood of emotions with it reminding me of that magical moment two years ago. Of course, we stopped and snapped a few pictures and stared at the trees beauty a little more before heading on.

Next stop was to grab a bite to eat at Chicken Guy. Now, obviously this new quick-service restaurant just opened this past summer 2018, but Dee had yet to try it out! If you  read my rave review on the restaurant (CHICKEN GUY: A REVIEW), then you’d know that it is amazing and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to eat there let alone introduce it to my fiance! It did not disappoint.

Last, we embarked on  the journey all the way across DS to the Christmas Tree Trail. This seasonal attraction holds 27 themed trees that you can admire while walking in a winter wonderland – with snow and all! Our first experience walking along the CTT was the night we got engaged, before he popped the question, so it was another nostalgic and magical moment.

There were a few differences this year compared to two years ago, but in good ways! First, there was more snow falling which only added to the magical feeling. Also, there were a few different trees including a Haunted Mansion themed tree which is officially my favorite. The last difference I noticed was instead of a curved trail that just basically went along one path, this year there were different sections/areas. I’m assuming this change was to help with crowds – which there were a ton of – and it did, but it wasn’t as smooth of a walk. Either way, it was still such a wonderful experience!

After the Christmas Tree Trail, there was a little photo spot with Goofy, Pluto, and Donald statues that was exactly the same two years ago, so of course we had to snap a picture there as well!

After the trail, we decided to head back home and relax for the rest of the night. It was so beyond nice to revisit where we got engaged and relive that night. However, since then we have done nothing but look ahead into the future. We also decided that day that, due to many reasons, we are going to have a small and intimate wedding ceremony and celebrating in Walt Disney World instead of our big wedding that we had been planning. Later in the summer, we are going to head back home to Ohio for a week and have a party with all of our friends and family to celebrate our marriage. We have been non stop talking to family, planning for this new decision, and looking forward to the best day of our lives. We are truly living in a fairy tale. Only 138 days to go!

Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of any new posts. Also, check out the then and now pictures below! See ya real soon 😉