I doubt my husband had any idea, when we began dating, how much of a Disney freak I was. I tried to keep it on the down-low, but after a few months we were attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party together, watching Princess and the Frog in theaters, and blasting Disney princess songs in the car following dates. There was no turning back, and luckily, I didn’t scare him away. My prince (sorry, I know that’s cheesy) stuck with me throughout my Disney Professional Internship and the publishing of two Disney books.
Therefore, when he popped the question, he had to know our wedding would include Disney elements.
Now, I like to think that I’m a classy girl (even though I’m probably not). I love Disney, but I didn’t want my wedding to have Mickey Mouse heads shoved in everyone’s faces throughout the entire ceremony. And as much as I love to read about Disney World weddings in the Magic Kingdom and look at portrait session pictures of brides and their grooms in empty parks, going “all out” in that way isn’t really my style (or, let’s be honest, in my budget).
We might’ve snuck into the Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian Resort on one occasion just to see what it looked like, and I did fall in love and seriously consider it for a hot second…but then one look at the price tag convinced me otherwise.
Luckily, there are lots of other ways to incorporate subtle amounts of Disney style into your wedding. And bless my dear husband’s heart, he went with all of my ideas and married a Disney-obsessed bride. Something about me has to appeal to him, since we’re still going strong, and he’s still my best friend in the whole world.
I knew from the second I got engaged that I wanted a Disney-themed cake. I searched “Disney wedding cakes” on Pinterest and was overwhelmed. I started realizing that I needed some sort of theme, and drew up a list of my favorite Disney movies. The Little Mermaid was at the top of my list, of course (my name is Arielle, and my husband’s name is Eric- it’s fate), but close behind was Tangled and Cinderella (2015). I wanted to combine the three somehow- without looking cheesy.
I found a custom Little Mermaid wedding topper on Etsy, which features the famous couple during the “Kiss the Girl” scene. Then, I worked with the bakery to come up with a design that featured some of the tangled colors and floating lanterns making their way up the cake. Behold the finished product:
I was in love with the way it turned out, and every layer was a different flavor. This was my favorite Disney element from my wedding.
I probably should have talked about this first, but I was distracted by the cake. Anyway, what do you do if you can’t afford a Disney wedding, but it’s what you really want? You find a way to make it happen!
As I was researching venues, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort came up. I knew as soon as I clicked on the website that this was the one. It was still a Disney hotel, but it didn’t have the craziness of the theme parks. It’s right on the water, and the resort is so peaceful and beautiful. It’s also very relaxed, with amazing restaurants, villas, and even sea turtle nesting areas on the beach. I decided to cut costs by getting married on a Thursday, with the ceremony at 11 am. The weekday and morning hours made it very affordable, and I still got a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding planner, florist, and baker/caterer.
The hotel was also perfect for my needs in the fact that it had very subtle Disney elements. You can see one picture of Mickey behind the hotel front desk. I also loved that it was on the beach, so that I could take lots of Little Mermaid-inspired photos. This venue really made the whole day magical, and taking a nap in the hotel room after the ceremony was heavenly. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves, knowing that I was now married to my best friend…it was the best nap I’ve ever had in my life!
The Colors and Decorations
I decided to go with Tangled-inspired colors for my wedding. The main colors that show up in the movie are purple and gold/yellow- just check out the image below:
I gave my bridesmaids a pale purple color palette to choose from, and let them pick their own style of dress. Everyone got yellow and purple flowers to put in their hair, and my bouquet was full of yellow calla lilies. We also decorated the tables with purple and gold petals (okay, they were fake, but I was a Disney bride on a budget).
Another main theme in Tangled are floating lanterns- Rapunzel dreams of seeing the floating lanterns in her kingdom her whole life. I really wanted everyone at the wedding to set off a floating lantern at the end of the ceremony, but Disney vetoed that idea- not good for a beach setting OR the sea creatures that live there. Since I do value the environment over aesthetic, I decided to give everyone a paper lantern as a wedding gift; one that they could take home, light with a candle and set off on their own. However, this also was a fail- I ordered a bunch of paper lanterns off Amazon, but when Eric and I tried to test them out by our backyard, we couldn’t get a single one to float like they do in the movie. That’s when I decided to take an easier route.
I bought a few lanterns from Michaels, inserted a few tea candles into each one, and put them as a place setting at each table. Sure, they weren’t floating lanterns, but (in my opinion) they still added a nice, fairytale touch. And my in-laws were very happy when, after the ceremony, we told them they could take the lanterns home for free. I think that’s one of the only times since getting married that I’ve made my in-laws happy!
I always thought I would choose a Disney wedding dress from Alfred Angelo; you know, the ones inspired after princesses like Belle, Sleeping Beauty, etc. However, none of them looked good on me. I ended up going with a very simple spaghetti-strap dress with a tight bodice and full lace skirt.
One of the reasons I liked it so much was because (to me) it resembled the ball gown from the live-action Cinderella movie- minus the blue color, the ruffled sleeves, and the butterflies. I know it sounds cliché, but I really did feel like a princess walking down the aisle in that dress.
To top off the look, my husband surprised me on the morning of our wedding with a custom-made flower crown. I had always wanted to wear a flower crown, and here it was! This was one of the only times I can remember shedding tears in public- at least they were happy tears! This was before the movie Moana came out, but now that I look back, the flower crown does resemble the one Moana wears when she’s in her village. One more Disney element to check off!
To be fair, my wedding wasn’t rocking a full-on Disney playlist, but I wouldn’t be a true Disney fan unless I had some Disney songs in there!
I had my bridesmaids walk down the aisle to the instrumental version of “Strong” from the Cinderella 2015 soundtrack. I walked down the aisle to the instrumental “Who is She,” also from Cinderella- it’s the song that plays over the moment that Cinderella walks into the ball, and all eyes turn to her.
For the first dance song, I did a mash-up of one of my husband’s favorite songs, and “Kiss the Girl.” This was especially appropriate, since my best friend married us and ended the ceremony with “You may now kiss the girl” instead of “You may now kiss the bride.” I think my husband was happy with the fact that we compromised on the first dance song.
A lot of “acquaintances” have since claimed that we never went on a REAL honeymoon, but to me, it was perfect. We visited Southern California and I got to fulfill my dream of going to Disneyland for the first time. It was so perfect, we vowed to go again someday, and now here we are two years later about to make our second visit.
Until our next trip (this time to visit Disney California Adventure, among other LA sights), I plan to post little stories from our honeymoon to get excited. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in, readers!
Did anyone else have, or is dreaming of having, a Disney wedding?
Hugs and Fishes,
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort: https://verobeach.disney.go.com
Wedding Photographer: http://www.booktheday.com