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Planning A Magical Disney Destination Wedding: A Step-By-Step Guide

Having your special day in the enchanting world of Disney is truly magical, but planning such a destination wedding requires a unique timeline and some insider knowledge. In this blog post, we will walk you through the key steps to plan a Disney Fairy Tale wedding, specifically focusing on the Walt Disney World location, ensuring it's a stress-less and truly enchanting experience.

Step 1: 18 Months Before – Planning for your call with Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings

You’ll want to have a few things planned ahead before you call Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings.

Deciding what is most important to you, your wedding date OR a specific location on property, is going to be critical in these early stages. Roughly 1,600 weddings (around 12 weddings occur each day at various locations) are held just on the Walt Disney World property each year. With hundreds of couples vying for the same date or location, knowing what you want and where you are flexible will go a long way.

This is also the time to start thinking about the bigger picture. Will you want a Theme Park Portrait Session? Where will you and your guests be staying? Will you need/want room blocks, and in which properties would you like to have your guests stay? Would you like a ceremony rehearsal, a welcome party, farewell breakfast, or dessert party in addition to your wedding? There are a lot of options that can feel overwhelming.

Start building your Disney Wedding Team early. A Disney Wedding is its own unique experience in every way. While you can do this on your own, we recommend contacting an outside Wedding Planner that has experience navigating Disney’s timelines, vendor requirements, and experience working with on and off-site vendors for day-of coordination.

As your Disney dream team of wedding experts grows to include your Disney Wedding Consultant, Disney Wedding Event Services Manager, Onsite Day-of Coordinator, Chef, Floral Designer, Disney Entertainment Manager, Room Reservations Contact, and more, having a partner in planning can make the process more joyful and less stressful. We have a great post on what a Wedding Planner actually does that expands on this even more.

Lastly, this is a great time to begin your very own Disney Wedding Pinterest Board. During your planning, you’ll be choosing elements like floral, décor, cake design, etc. We encourage you to have a Pinterest board for your Wedding, Reception, and photos with inspiration to share with your Wedding Planner and your Disney Wedding Event Services Manager.

Step 2: 16 Months Before - Contacting Disney

It’s time to start your Disney wedding journey by contacting Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings at least 16 months before your desired wedding date via their website. From there, Disney will initiate a conversation with you and inform you about their process. It's essential to understand that Disney communicates with couples about the same wedding locations, so you want to be proactive with your dates and locations. After this call, you can start piecing together your ideas for the needs from your vendors.

Step 3: Vendor Research

While waiting for your exact wedding date at 12 months out, start researching and reaching out to potential vendors. Don't wait until you have your date; many in-demand vendors pencil in multiple dates for their clients. Focus on crucial elements like your officiant, hair and makeup, photography, and videography, as these will help you capture the day's magic.

Step 4: 12 Months Before - Selecting the Date and Location

Around 12 months before your wedding, Disney will schedule a conversation with you and collect your top three location preferences for your selected day. Be sure to have must-have choices in mind, like the iconic Wedding Pavilion. Consider the best time of day for your wedding to capture the enchantment of the "magic hour."

Step 5: Personalize Your Wedding

Make your Disney wedding uniquely yours. Share your love for Disney and your vision for the day with your planner and your Disney Wedding Event Services Manager, after turning in your planning kit. This is where your Disney Wedding Pinterest Board will really help everyone understand your vision for your magical day. Also, consider sending a welcome letter to your Wedding Planner and your Disney Wedding Event Services Manager to establish a personal connection and infuse your personality into the wedding. These personal touches will help inspire everyone on your team to think of ideas and concepts you may not know were available to you.

Step 6: 5-6 Months Before - Detailed Planning

Around the 5–6-month mark, you'll start meeting with your Disney Wedding Event Services Manager. At this point, you'll discuss the plan for the days leading up to your most magical day and start to outline your BEO (banquet event order). Pay close attention to the details in the BEO to ensure your vision is accurately represented.

Step 7: Food Tasting and Decor

Around the same time, you'll have a food tasting and meet with the Floral team. This is where you’ll schedule to be a part of a Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings group menu tasting experience at the Walt Disney World Resort. This is a complimentary event and will include other couples hosting a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding.

Before the event, we recommend you coordinate with your Wedding Planner and your Disney Wedding Event Services Manager to review and submit your Cake Tasting Form to sample the possible flavors of cake and filling would you like to taste. It’s best to schedule this for the same weekend as your group menu tasting experience. You will pick up your samples at the Grand Floridian Main Lobby and you can choose your favorit place in the parks or property to enjoy and review.

During the event, you will sample a variety of menu delights selected by Disney’s talented culinary team to help you create a reception menu to fit your style. Disneys Food and Pastry Chefs will be available during the event to help inspire and design the perfect wedding cake based on the samples you enjoyed the most.

This is your chance to see, touch, and taste some elements that Disney can bring to the table to help you make decisions about everything, from decorative elements like tablecloths and special fabrics, to menu and desert options. You’ll even meet with your weddings culinary team to share your preferences for your wedding cake and ensure your chosen chef takes notes for a personalized touch.

Step 8: 3 Months Before - Finalize Details

At 3 months out, focus on finalizing guest counts, transportation arrangements, and communication with your vendors. By this point your invitations should have gone out, you have a rough head count, and the majority of your vendors should be booked. Remember that vendors who have not worked with Disney Weddings before must have a $2 million insurance policy to work on Disney property.

Also, at the 90 day mark, your second payment of either the overall minimum expenditure OR 75% of the per person food & beverage minimum for your estimated guest count (whichever amount is higher) will be due. The non-refundable portion of your deposit will be applied to this payment leaving the additional deposit of $1,000 on your wedding account.

Step 9: 45 Days Before - Confirmations

We recommend scheduling call with your Wedding Planner and your Disney Wedding Planning Team. Your team will provide a detailed final budget based on all specific conversations, meetings, and email correspondences that you have already had to date. This will be your time to to check on who has made reservations for your room block, make sure all of your guests have made accomodations before the deadline, confirmed your floral/entertainment/menu choices and notified your Disney Wedding Planning Team of any changes. If you haven't arranged for your marriage certificate, ensure you have all necessary documents and enough time to visit a courthouse before your big day.If you haven't arranged for your marriage certificate, ensure you have all necessary documents and enough time to visit a courthouse before your big day. There are two courthouses close to Walt Disney World that you can go in person, if needed. Your Wedding Planner and/or officiant can also help with securing this if you’re struggling to know where to go or what to do.

Step 10: 30 Days Before - Confirmations

With only 30 days to go, ensure that all details are locked in. Finalize payments, make any last-minute adjustments to your guest and room count, and double-check your vendor arrangements. A final call with your Wedding Planner and your Disney Wedding Event Services Manager will help confirm everything is on track. Once you cross that 30 day mark, all things with Disney are locked in, and any last minute changes cannot be guaranteed.

Step 11: 1 Week Before - Travel and Marriage Certificates

One week before the wedding, you or your Wedding Planner should contact your vendors to confirm times and logistics.A final guest count is due to your Disney Wedding Event Services Manager for all food & beverage functions (except wedding cake final guarantee which is due at 30 days).

Step 12: The Week Leading Up To Your Wedding

This is where we remind you to breathe. You’re almost there. You’ve spent the last 18 months preparing for this moment. Remember, your Disney wedding should be a celebration of your love and a day you'll cherish forever. By following these steps and staying organized, you can ensure that your dream wedding in the magical world of Disney comes to life seamlessly. So, let the enchantment begin!

Want to learn more about our full-service wedding planning services? Head on over to our Services page to learn how our company has evolved into a magical event-planning experience unlike any other.

Ready to start planning? SCHEDULE A CALL TODAY so we can begin walking hand-in-hand with you every step along the way and advocating on your behalf to make sure that your wedding day is everything you've ever dreamed of and more.

Whether you hire us Fairy Tales & Wedding Bells to be part of your Disney Wedding Dream team or not, we'd ove to hear about it. Share your Disney Fairy Tale wedding photos and videos with us by tagging us @fairytalesweddingbells on Facebook and Instagram or @fairytalesnweddingbells on Tiktok.

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