GIVEN how expensive weddings can be, it’s no surprise that Disney can charge a princely sum for nuptials in its parks.
But savvy brides have revealed how they were able to get married in their dream setting without spending a fortune.
For Brit couples who want to tie the knot with Mickey and Co at the Florida resort, it’s all about doing it “unofficially”.
Disney’s Swan and Dolphin resort is unique in the fact that it sits on prime Disney World property but it’s not actually owned by the mouse.
Located in the exclusive Epcot area, the resort is a stone’s throw away from Epcot and Hollywood Studios parks and has fantastic views of the famous fireworks.
The resort uses the wedding planning service, Just Marry, to make booking a dream wedding as easy as possible for brides and grooms.
The Sweetheart Wedding package costs £3,106 and includes a food and beverage package for up to 20 guests and professional wedding photography.
The official way to book a Disney wedding is through Disney’s Fairytale Weddings.
The cheapest option comes out at £2,721, but this only includes four guests. Many brides and grooms have said that any personalisation or extras will cost big.
Jay Cordiner, from Aberdeenshire, chose the Swan and Dolphin as her wedding venue after she was put off by the price offered by Disney’s Fairytale Weddings.
She told Sun Online Travel: “We love Disney and I had known a few people who married at the Swan and Dolphin resort and it looked beautiful so we decided to do the same.”
“After the ceremony we booked dinner at Shulas at the resort with Disney characters. Half an hour with the characters was really expensive so I can’t imagine how much a whole Disney wedding would be at one of the parks or an official Disney hotel.”
Jay choose the Celebration Wedding package at Swan and Dolphin which is currently available at a cost of around £4,600.
It includes a food and beverage package for 20 guests, professional wedding photography, a wedding violinist, floral package and professional hair and make-up for the bride.
A similar Disney Fairytales wedding at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or the Canada Pavilion in Epcot would cost £5,500 and could only accommodate 18 guests and many of the extras – such as hair and make-up for the bride – are not included.
Jay added: “For us, it was perfect.
“We had our ceremony is a stunning venue on Disney property and we got our photos with the characters – which my daughter loved. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Laura Gerard from Fife also chose the Swan and Dolphin resort after dismissing the “official” option as too complicated and pricey.
She picked the Magical Wedding Package, which is currently $4,000 (£3,056).
Laura explained: “I had taken part in the International College Programme in Disney World in 2009 and when we decided on a destination wedding, we knew the only contender was Florida.
“We turned to Disney’s Fairytale Weddings at first but when I read all the rules about the minimum spend, certain numbers and having the actual date as a bit of a lottery, it really put us off.
“It was a minefield of different rules and regulations to follow and would be very expensive to customise.
“So instead, we opted for the Swan and Dolphin resort, which was still on Disney Property and a lot less expensive and much easier to arrange.
“We booked through Just Marry and worked with them to create our perfect day. The prices were clear and they were flexible and allowed us to customise with no problem – I can’t recommend them highly enough.”
But it’s not just the Swan and Dolphin resort that offer a Disney wedding without the price tag.
Disney Springs, the exclusive shopping district in the Disney World resort, offers various venues to tie the knot for a fraction of the price as well.
Sharon Sturgess from Staffordshire decided to hold her nuptials at House of Blues – a chain restaurant and bar – in the Disney shopping district.
The wedding cost her under £4000 – a lot less than the £10,000 quoted from Disney’s Fairytales Weddings.
She said: “My husband and I are massive Disney freaks and our initial plan was to get married in Disney World, just the two of us. However, friends and family kept inviting themselves along and the list grew and grew.
“We priced up a wedding on Disney property for 23 guests and there was no way we could afford it. The price for four guests at the ceremony alone was over £10,000 for what we were looking for.”
Sharon explained: “We looked at alternatives and decided on The House of Blues in Disney Springs since it was still on Disney property.
“We stayed at the Disney Port Orleans Riverside Hotel so caught the boat to Disney Springs on the morning of the wedding.
“We had a short ceremony with photos and then food – a three course meal and we paid for an unlimited bar for two hours.”
She added: “We had originally planned to have a rest and then meet again in Epcot in the evening but we loved House of Blues so much that we stayed on the front porch with live music all night – it was perfect.”
And for brides getting married in the Orlando area who would like just a sprinkling of Disney magic, there is a way to get some fantastic photos without the fantastic price tag.
The cost for a Magic Kingdom photoshoot is over £2,000 and only brides who have booked a Disney’s Fairytale Wedding ceremony are permitted to wear bridal attire.
But brides can still recreate the elusive castle shots by booking a meal at California Grill at the Contemporary Resort and taking advantage of its viewing platform.
Lianne Burbage, from Surrey, decided to hold her reception at California Grill to guarantee the castle photos.
She explained: “We did look into a photoshoot in the park itself but it was so expensive. But we were delighted with the photos we got.
“The photographer stood on the parallel balcony to take the shots and we loved them.”
For a dinner reception for 22 people and photo package, Lianne paid just $4,100 (£3,132).
According to the Facebook group, UK Disney Brides, you can book California Grill for a meal to celebrate nuptials and wedding attire is permitted as long as it is a normal dinner reservation and not a private catered event – otherwise you’d only be able to do it through Disney’s Fairytale Wedding.
For all of these options, bear in mind that while food and photographers might be included, you will still need to get there and get a dress.
Sun Online Travel previously revealed how you can save hundreds by staying in a Disney resort hotel.
There are also lots of ways you can save and even meet characters for free.
And for those heading to Disneyland Paris, there’s a secret spot where you can meet the characters without the crowd.