My husband and I recently got married at the Polynesian in Walt Disney World all in for under $4,000! You may say that’s an insane amount of money (as I did) but with the Knot reporting that in 2014 the average amount spent on a wedding was $31,213 I would say we managed to save quite a bit of money. Here is a complete guide on the process of planning a Disney Memories Wedding!
We opted to go with what Disney Weddings calls a Memories wedding. The Memories Collection was first introduced in 2010 as part of Disney Wedding’s 20th-anniversary celebration. It was supposed to be temporary (ending in 2012) but has since been added as part of its permanent collection now.
The Memories Collection is the perfect vow renewal or in our case, elopement option. The ceremony itself is only an hour and you may invite up to four guests. The actual ceremony portion we managed to pare down to about 5 minutes and the remaining time was spent with our Disney photographer. Truly the focus of this collection is on capturing the memories.
Where to start when planning your Disney Wedding
Choosing the date! When you get engaged the question you hear the most is, “So, when is the wedding?” Picking a date is essential to starting the planning process. Disney Memories weddings are only offered Monday – Friday with times ranges from 9am – 3pm. This may sound crazy but we picked our wedding date based on the days we could find the best hotel discounts.
My husband and I we weren’t attached to a particular month, it just had to be cool and responsibly priced to stay on property. Somehow this mix of priorities gave us an October 24th wedding date. It may be different, for you, however. For example, it may be more important that you sneak some Christmas decorations into your wedding photos or you may love an even like Flower and Garden in the spring. Decide on a time of year that works best for you and your Fiancee.
When to start the Disney Wedding Planning Process
Each Disney Wedding Collection can be booked at varying months in advance. The Memories collection may be book up to 6 months in advanced. This puts you dangerously close to the 180 dining reservation mark. You see, unlike dining reservations, you may call Disney Wedding and book your October 24th wedding on May 1st. We almost missed out on eating at our top pick, California Grill for dinner our wedding night because we booking everything only a 4 months from our wedding day. It can be done, however, I checked the Disney dining website daily and just days before the wedding and scored our dinner overlooking the Magic Kingdom.
How to Plan your Disney Wedding Details
In the Memories Collection, your entire wedding is planned via email and phone. In order to reserve your wedding date, you must have two things the day and time you want to reserve as well as the location.
If you would like to see the ceremony site options they are public available to visit at any time. My husband and I visited each spot ahead of time to confirm the best spot for us. We had the luxury of living within driving distance. If you do not or are unable to fly down ahead time, look on Disney Wedding website as well as Youtube. There are loads of other couples who have been kind enough to share their special day with the world.
Disney Memories Wedding Locations
This is located at the edge of the water at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It is hard to top the backdrop of Luau beach, you get the backdrop of both Cinderella’s castle and Disney’s Wedding Pavilion. The ceremony takes place on the white sandy beach and gives a calm, relaxing island atmosphere.
You will find this location tucked off by the water at Disney’s Grand Floridan Hotel. Sago Cay offers a shaded ceremony with a backdrop of Cinderella’s castle.
Conch Key Marina
Conch Key is a second location offered at Disney’s Grand Floridan Hotel. This is a very small, tight location offered on the waterfront with Cinderella’s castle featured in the background. Notice the castle theme?
What’s Included With a Disney Memories Wedding
Disney has gone out of their way to simplify this wedding process for you. Most of the major elements Disney has packaged in the cost of the Memories wedding package. Here is a list of what’s included.
The cost of the bride’s bouquet is included in the package. You will have a selection of several different styles, each one you has different options to customize the colors. If you want to get your own bouquet you can opt to get flowers for different people in your wedding party instead. For example, you can get flowers for your maid of honor or boutineers for the groom and any groomsmen. I loved how my flowers turned out, especially the little hidden Mickey they placed inside!
Disney will provide a photographer, however, they do not guarantee who your photographer will be. This was a hard one for me to give up control over but in the end, I was glad I did. You may request who you want, as well give them a list of people you do not. You will be directed to this website to view the portfolios of all the current Fine Art Photographers. Our pictures were shot by Brittany and we HIGHLY recommend her. She did a fantastic job, made us feel super comfortable, and captured some amazing shots.
If you don’t want to take a gamble on who Disney will end up sending to shoot your wedding on the big day you can always hire your own photographer. This will mean you will forfeit the one that Disney would provide and you do NOT get any discount. The good news is your own photographer or videographer you choose to hire outside of Disney does not count towards your guest count.
At the time of writing these packages do not have an upcharge for any of the wedding location options, it is covered with the base price of the package.
Transportation or In Room Celebration
Your memories wedding includes either three hours of limousine service for transportation or you can opt to have an in room celebration like we did. If you want to pay a little extra you can also opt to get both!
Disney always excels at customer service and guest care. Their wedding coordinators are no exception to this. Someone is there every step of the way to answer all your questions. With a memories wedding, everything is handled via email and phone before the wedding. However, I never had any issues getting speedy responses to all my questions.
On your wedding day, a wedding coordinator will meet you on site to ensure everything about your day goes off without a hitch. They will meet you in the lobby of the hotel and can even arrange to make sure you and your future spouse don’t see each other until the ceremony starts. I was greeted by the coordinator and introduced to the photographer. It was then that I got my bouquet and went over the next steps.
This was such a perfect touch to our short little ceremony. A violinist will play a song for your guests while they’re waiting, a song while the bride walks out and finally a song for the end of the ceremony. We think this is the perfect touch to a small intimate ceramony. Best of all you can make all the music Disney songs.
What Do you Need to Book on your Own
Every Disney wedding package requires you to book a resort stay. For the Memories Wedding packages, you are required to book this on your own and provide them with your hotel confirmation number in your contract. I opted to book through a travel agent which saved me time and a whole lot of money. The agency was checking for price drops and found a much better sale and rebooked at a lower price about a month after my initial booking!
Officiant or Minister
Disney does have a list of recommended officiants for your ceremony but you are free to book whomever you like for your ceremony. This includes if you have a friend or family member who is a notary and you wish for them to perform the ceremony. We opted to go with Reverend Kevin Knox for our ceremony and he was perfect. He has done countless Disney Weddings and flawlessly led our ceremony. We highly recommend Reverend Knox.
Hair and Makeup
Again, Disney will provide you with a list of their recommended hair and makeup people. I found that a lot of them had really high spend minimums which just didn’t make any sense for my wedding since I had no bridal party. After some searching around on the Knot, I found Dana who owns Once Upon a Beauty Hair and Makeup! She did an amazing job and was so friendly. We recommend her to anyone who needs a hair and makeup team here in the Orlando area.
If you want to read more check out Inside Our Disney Memories Wedding!
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!