Disney has hosted hundreds of thousands of weddings and vow renewals over the years through their wedding planning division, Disney Fairytale Weddings. If you aren’t familiar with Disney Fairytale Weddings, also known as Disney Weddings, it is the division of the Walt Disney Company that plans weddings, vow renewals, engagements and honeymoons for couples across the globe. Disney fans can basically get married at any Disney property, including aboard the Disney Cruise Line. Weddings range anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000+. But, did you know though that there are other options to get married at Walt Disney World and not go through Disney Fairytale Weddings?
Today I’m sharing something that I took a crash course in when my Disney Cruise Line wedding was canceled by Disney last week. Long story short, my fiancé and I had booked a September 2021 sailing and planned to hold our wedding in the Atrium of the Disney Magic. Less than six months out, we received notification that our Disney Cruise vacation was canceled and along with that, our wedding.
We decided not to rebook ourselves and our guests on another cruise because of the uncertainty of cruising, and instead would plan a wedding at Walt Disney World. At first, we thought that we would go through Disney Fairytale Weddings, because we imagined that they would help us transition our wedding to Walt Disney World. That was far from the reality unfortunately.
So, I started researching other options outside of Disney Fairytale Weddings that would still allow us to get married at Walt Disney World, but wouldn’t have the price tag and parameters that Disney Weddings has.
If you’re looking for ways to save on a Disney wedding, I highly suggest considering the locations I will discuss below. Each is on Disney property, so you’ll be getting married at Disney, but is not as expensive of an option.
Alternative Disney Wedding Locations in Disney
Please note that prices mentioned may have changed depending on your time and date event, as well as corporate changes made. These prices will hopefully provide a guide, but you should reach out to the contacts I have listed below for up to date information.
Swan & Dolphin Resort
The Swan & Dolphin Resort is located in the Epcot resort area and right “off” of the Boardwalk. Couples can hold both ceremonies and receptions at the Swan & Dolphin, but you are not required to hold both at the location. Just Marry, a Central Florida event planning group handles al Swan & Dolphin weddings and can assist with everything from floral to your officiant, to tuxedo rentals.
Pricing begins at $3,800 for a ceremony at one of Swan & Dolphin’s four ceremony locations and includes the ceremony location, cake and a champagne toast for up to 20 guests, and a Just Marry event coordinator to liaise with vendors and assist before and during your event. It is important to note that this total includes all service charges and taxes, as you’ll find that these necessary costs can really impact your budget.
A big plus with Swan & Dolphin that other non-Disney Fairytale Weddings locations don’t offer, is the ability to have Disney characters at your wedding. If this is something you are interested in, speak with your coordinator for more details.
Paddlefish at Disney Springs is quickly becoming a favorite of Disney brides and grooms, as it provides a space for both the ceremony and reception that is picturesque, easy to traverse, and affordable.
Ceremonies at Paddlefish take place on the deck of the “ship” and receptions will be held inside the restaurant. The cost of a ceremony begins at $500, plus a $150 attendant fee. The food and beverage minimum for a reception are dependent on the time of day, but start at $2,000. Wedding cakes are not provided by Paddlefish, but can be brought in from outside vendors. These prices do not include taxes and service charges.
Just Marry also handles coordination of Paddlefish events and can provides packages for you that include their coordination services as well as other event elements. Unlike Swan & Dolphin, however, you are not required to have Just Marry coordinate your event – you can do it on your own and save a few dollars.
Right next door, and also owned by the same restaurant group, Terralina hosts Disney micro-weddings, that are perfect for group with 22 or less people. Ceremonies are $300, plus $150 for an attendant fee, and take place on the Lakeside Terrace, with Paddlefish as your background. Ceremonies must take place prior to restaurant opening – between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM.
Terralina has several options for dining locations that differ in price and seating arrangements for guests. The Wine Cellar seats 24 guests at 2 tables and has a food and beverage minimum of $1,200 for event concluding by 3:30 PM. The Alcove seats 20 guests at several tables and has a minimum spend of $1,000. The Conservatory can seat up to 20 guests at several small tables and the minimum spend is $1,500.
As with Paddlefish, you can book Terralina on your own, or you can book through Just Marry and take advantage of their coordinating services. Be sure to remember that the prices listed above do not include taxes and service charges.
Shades of Green
Shades of Green is the Armed Forces Recreation Center resort on Walt Disney World property. If you’re not a member of the US Armed Forces, don’t skip this section! You can still get married here! You will need a military sponsor – active and retired military, DOD Civilians, 100% Disabled Veterans and Widows – in order to book.
The Resort offers several different options for couples, including packages that are for ceremony only and those that include a full reception. The Magnolia package, which is for intimate gatherings of 2 to 30 people, includes a ceremony, officiant, wedding flowers, cake, champagne toast, two complimentary champagne flutes, a photographer and a manicure/pedicure for the bride(s)/groom(s). This package costs $2,500 and you can increase the number of guests for an additional cost. Complete wedding packages, which include a one hour cocktail hour and four hour reception are priced as a per person cost. The Silver package is $115 per person, the Gold is $125 per person, and the Platinum is $135 per person. Each package provides something different in terms of food options and services provided. These packages require a minimum of 31 adult guests.
The Edison, located at Disney Springs, is a multi-story restaurant that brings you back to the days of the early 1900’s. While I don’t have specific information on pricing for this location, I would encourage you to reach out if it is something you are interested in. The Catering Sales Manager will work with you to create a unique and individualized package that will work for your specific needs. You can hold both your ceremony and reception at The Edison and will most likely have both a ceremony fee, as well as a food and beverage minimum you’d need to meet for the reception/cocktail hour.
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is located at Disney Springs and is owned by the same restaurant group as The Edison. Similarly the The Edison, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante does offer group dining experiences and will work with you to hold a ceremony if you inquire. They do not have wedding packages per say, but are willing to work with you to create an event that will check off all of your “must-haves.”
Morimoto is similar to The Edison and Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante – no wedding packages, but they will work with you to hold a wedding and reception. Located in Disney Springs, Morimoto is owned by the same restaurant group as The Edison and Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante. With all three of these options, you may have to get creative with the help of their team, but you could create a beautiful event for a fraction of the price of a Disney’s Fairytale Weddings event.
JW Marriott Bonnet Creek
If you are looking for more of a “traditional” wedding in Disney World, many of the hotels on property that are not operated by Disney offer packages that might be a great fit. The JW Marriott Bonnet Creek is located on Walt Disney World property and offers breathtaking views of WDW. Packages consist of a ceremony (starting at $2,500) and a cocktail hour and reception that is priced per person. For the least expensive package, the dinner cost is $149 per person. If you have less than 25 guests, you will also be charged a $500 room rental. Included in these packages is a 90 minute photographer and wedding arch.
If you’d like to have Walt Disney World property as your backdrop, be sure to ask about their outdoor ceremony location, which provides gorgeous views. Please note that outdoor ceremonies start at $2,800.
B Resort and Spa
The B Resort is located on Walt Disney World property and offers full wedding packages. When I reached out for information, they were running a special deal for weddings, so the cost may be different when you are reading this. We were quotes $2,800 for a ceremony space, cocktail hour, reception, and two room nights. Additionally, they also would provide a complimentary two night stay for the couple to return on their first anniversary.
Four Seasons at Walt Disney World
The Four Seasons at Walt Disney World offers a number of different wedding options for couples. If you are looking for a Disney micro-wedding, they offer the “Intimate Wedding” package which costs $6,500 and includes ceremony location, officiant, sound package, personal floral for the couple, 90-minute Photography package, celebration toast, water-station, complimentary 1-night stay for the couple, guestbook wedding amenity for the couple, and wedding garment pressing for the couple. This package is for 2 to 35 guests. If you would like to enhance your event or include a reception, Four Seasons at Walt Disney World does offer other packages.
Benefits of a Non-Disney Fairytale Weddings Event
One of the biggest “cons” of a Disney Fairytale Weddings event is the required minimums and the parameters you must fit into in order to have your wedding with Disney. Of course, this is understandable, as Walt Disney World was not created to be a wedding event space, but it can be frustrating for some couples. Selecting one of the above mentioned Disney wedding alternatives, gives you more of a blank slate – you can determine your budget and you have more opportunities to get creative.
Many of these Walt Disney World wedding locations also provide you the opportunity to “split up” the wedding and reception. For example, you could choose to do a $500 wedding ceremony at Paddlefish and then host a Dessert Party through Disney Meetings and Events ($5,000 minimum) for your reception – saving you money on the ceremony, but still giving you the Disney magic you want!
If I have learned anything through the process of Disney canceling my wedding, it’s that there are options if you are creative and willing to do some research. I hope this will help other brides and grooms who are looking for options other than Disney Fairytale Weddings. Of course, I would still encourage all couples to take a look at Disney Fairytale Weddings – you might find it’s the perfect fit for you in terms of your budget and your must haves.
No matter if you are going through Disney Fairytale Weddings or a Disney alternative, I highly suggest buying Carrie Hayward’s Fairytale Weddings Guide and joining the Disbrides and Disprides Facebook group. I’ve learned a ton from both of these resources.
If you have any questions about the information I’ve included, please feel free to leave a comment below! And if you’d like to follow along on our Disney wedding planning journey, follow me on Instagram @karmankismet and subscribe to my YouTube!