Glad I Did/Wish I’d Done

I have to confess, my memories are so fond that my “Glad I Did” list got kinda out of hand. I mean, of course I’m glad I chose the Roots for photography, picked our three locations, took a boat to the reception, bought my dress for half price on eBay, etc. So I’ve tried to get it down to mostly things that some people might be on the fence about. Also, I sneaked in a list of honeymoon pointers just because everything went so smoothly and Patrick kept remarking on how cost-effective yet fun-packed the trip was.

GLAD I DID (or DIDN’T DO)

Wedding

Shipped the dress: I can’t tell you how nice it was to travel with just a few suitcases and not worry about where my dress was going to be stored on the plane. FedEx-Kinko’s was reasonably priced, and Carolyn Allen’s did all the packing/unpacking and transportation.

No welcome bags: I wanted to, really I did! I liked the idea of the project. But I was SO glad not to have to buy all the items, stuff the bags, transport the bags, distribute the bags and then agonize over who didn’t get a bag from the hotel. Plus, I’ve heard that a lot of the stuff in them gets tossed out…

No bridesmaids = no dresses, no hair and makeup, no flowers, and no gifts to pay for. And no stress over who to ask, hurt feelings, slackers, hubbub in the room on the wedding day, etc.

No newsletters: OK, we sent one two-page letter at the last minute when we decided to have a meet ‘n’ greet and wanted to explain transportation. But I’ve heard so many brides say that no one reads these and just ends up asking you questions about all the same stuff in the lovingly designed newsletter you slaved over.

Use part of the reception menu for the pre-reception: This was actually suggested by my WP, and it saved money and saved wasting food. The reception menus have way too much food on them as it is!

Ice cream with the wedding cake: I guess a lot of times people don’t eat the wedding cake, but ours disappeared quickly. It may be because the flavors were all variations on chocolate, but I think the ice cream made it.

Dessert Party: If you can swing it, do it! I’d recommend this over a rehearsal dinner, even. It is unique to a Disney wedding and the thing your guests will be talking about for years.

Honeymoon

No family on the honeymoon: We let people know that the honeymoon was just for us, and I’m pretty sure they understood. It was so nice not to be obligated to be anywhere or meet anyone, or to have to try to coordinate a big group with a bazillion different agendas. For almost two weeks we got to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to—bliss!

Rent Disney Vacation Club points: I can’t recommend this enough—we stayed in two different Deluxe resorts for less than our guests paid for a Moderate with the low-season wedding discount! Plus we had a kitchenette in both places, which was great for corralling leftover desserts.

Disney’s Honeymoon Registry/Sunshine Rewards/Disney Visa Rewards: We were so surprised by how many people used our Disney Honeymoon Registry, and it allowed us to do things we never would have been able to afford, like parasailing and the Lunch With an Imagineer program. I also did a LOT of surveys and offers on Sunshine Rewards in the months before our trip and cashed out for Disney gift cards. Along with our Disney Visa Rewards, these things paid for our entire honeymoon!

WISH I’D DONE

Only offer guests 2 of the 4 blocked hotels: I loved the idea of blocking 4 hotels so that a discount would be available to us at all of them for our honeymoon stay. But if I’d known about one-way buses and the time savings of transporting guests from fewer hotels, I would only have given mine 2 choices. As it is, most of them only stayed at 2 of the 4—the Value and the Moderate.

Vintage Rolls: I hate limos; I just saw ours as Point A-to-Point B transportation, but I forgot it would be in all our pictures and our video—ugh! DISer Caryn has made me feel a lot better about this by pointing out that I am too tall for the Rolls! However, I’ve always loved the idea of creative wedding transport, and if I’d been thinking about it, I would have found something as an alternative—maybe a Vespa?

More specificity about cake colors: I was SO specific with multiple pictures of everything else at my planning session, I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to include multiple samples of the cake colors. Oh yeah—because I thought they do what was in the picture I gave them! Still, I can’t complain too much – the designs were all spot on.

Customize the dessert party menu: At the time, I thought that you had to pick one of the set dessert party menus Epcot offers and stick to it. Now I know that you can basically build your own menu as long as it + drinks adds up to the minimum expenditure requirement.

Wax at home before I left: Depending on the kind of bikini wax you want, you may not be able to find it inside Disney World or close by. After my horrible experience at Mandara Spa, I think I would have been much better off getting this over with before I left (and getting to eat free brownies and lemonade at Bliss!).

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9 Responses
  • Kacie
    April 15, 2014

    Hi Carrie!
    I am an avid reader of your blog and an upcoming Disney Bride. Your blog has inspired me to reach out to the Roots for photography and as well as a lot of other Disney wedding tips! I just want to thank you for your detailed reports and know that you have helped so many brides, such as myself, figure out how to have the best Disney Wedding possible. My fiance and I travel to DW in just a few days to meet with our WP and tour venues. We are so excited and your blog has a WEALTH of knowledge. I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!

    • Carrie
      April 15, 2014

      Hey, thanks, Kacie! I’m so glad to be able to help out. Have a ton of fun on your trip!

  • Sarah Thurman
    June 19, 2014

    Hey Carrie.

    Not sure if I’m on the right page to ask this question, but here it goooes!

    I’ve listened to the fireworks cruise podcast twice. I really want to do it for my guests. I have never been on a fireworks cruise. Plus, I’ve never seen Illuminations. I have seen Wishes. Do you recommend one over another for the best overall fireworks cruise experience? Thanks!

    • Carrie
      June 19, 2014

      Hi Sarah! That’s a tricky one. Do you really really love Wishes? People who really really love Wishes seem to prefer the Wishes cruise, and apparently it’s nice cuz the fireworks reflect on Seven Seas Lagoon and you’re out on the water away from the crowds. I prefer IllumiNations BUT I don’t think the fireworks cruise is that great on nights where the boats can’t pull all the way inside Epcot. Sometimes the harbormaster lets them pull up at the edge of the patios in France, and it’s AMAZING cuz the fireworks are RIGHT THERE (you can see pictures of the view HERE). But if it’s one of the nights where you’re stuck under the bridge between France and the UK, and you’re behind other boats… meh. So maybe Wishes is a safer bet.

  • Sarah Thurman
    June 22, 2014

    Good advice! Btw, disneytravelbabble is now my browser homepage! 😉 The podcast has helped in countless ways! If I had not learned from you that outside vendors were allowed, I may never have known that a Wishes wedding would be feasible for us! You’re our fairy god-genie! Ok, I’m dying to know…how did you set up the interview with the Van Dykes?

    • Carrie
      June 23, 2014

      Wow! Your homepage, eh? I guess I’d better start updating more often!

      For five years, we were lucky enough to be part of a group who helped Dick Van Dyke decorate his house for Halloween—you can read the story of how THAT happened HERE, and here’ the next year’s story and here’s the last year’s. The last year he did it, we got to know Arlene. Although he decided not to decorate in 2013, Arlene was gracious enough to invite me back earlier that year to interview the two of them for my show!

  • Kelsie
    February 9, 2016

    Hi Carrie!
    I am in the very, very early stages of planning and I’m still trying to get an idea on pricing. It seems like you have to pay for every single detail of the wedding for the Wishes package when it seems more stuff is included in the Escape.
    I read that you used Roots for your photography. Also, you brought your own ipod. I was wondering if you had to pay extra or anything for bringing items in that aren’t Disney provided. I’m trying to save money where I can with flowers, music,cake etc.
    Thank you! (Ordered your book today!)

    • Carrie
      February 9, 2016

      Hi Kelsie! Yes, Wishes is an a la carte event, so everything is priced separately AND has tax and service charge on it (these are included in one flat price for Escape). The only time they charge you a fee for bringing something on your own is with booze and DJs/bands. Otherwise, there is no penalty. One thing to know is that you can only provide your own decor at ballroom locations—you must use Disney Floral at all other locations (though personal floral like bouquets and boutonnieres are the exception). However, Disney is good about working within your budget. You just might not get as much for you money as you would with an outside vendor. The cake and all other food must be provided by Disney, but, again, you can tell them what your budget is and they’ll work within it (Wishes does have minimum expenditures for food and beverages, though). It’s all explained in the book, and if you get the eBook version, you can get free updates whenever I add or change things (which happens about 3 times per year).

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