As you probably already suspect, this post is going to be a little different than the previous ones. You see, I’ve been dabbling in the “blogosphere.” To be honest, I’m a writer who usually writes for other people’s blogs and websites, so I’ve been working on a focus for my own. In any case, you can imagine why I feel like this milestone is definitely something worth posting about!
Last week, my then-fiancé Rob and I headed to Disney World in Florida in order to exchange vows. If you’ve had or are in the process of planning a wedding, you know that the industry is on steroids – I mean, put the word “wedding” in front of anything, and its price will quadruple. I knew right off the bat that I wanted to stay within my budget, not wanting to pay back loans or credit cards from our big day even after it was over. So early on in the planning process, I realized we had a choice: we could have an affordable but mediocre wedding here in Maine with all of our relatives and friends (and beyond); or we could have a small ceremony / vacation with 15 of our closest family members.
We decided to go for the latter for a few reasons. First, it was surprisingly cost-effective, compared to many other options. Second, it actually simplified everything; Disney Fairy Tale Weddings come in packages (we picked the smallest one), which include a choice of bouquets, cakes, and on-site venues, as well as a photographer, musician, and limo service. Third, Rob and I aren’t big on a lot of reception traditions, so we opted for a big dinner over a dance-filled party (especially since there’d be so few people).
It worked out great because we rolled the wedding and honeymoon in one, and Rob’s parents treated the trip like their annual family vacation. They’re also very well acquainted with Disney, and we’ve been lucky enough to visit “the happiest place on Earth” with them a few times before. Needless to say, we’ve made lots of good memories at Disney – why not make some more?
Am I sad that our extended family and friends couldn’t come? Of course. But I know that I would have been extremely stressed if I had to plan a big wedding from scratch. (As a matter of fact, planning this small, “relaxed” wedding caused me enough anxiety as it was!) What’s more, Rob and I are incredibly fortunate to have understanding and supportive people in our lives who encouraged us to do what was best for us.
So, back to the wedding. The night before the big day, my mom, sister, and I stayed in a suite at the Grand Floridian. The next morning, we got our nails done at the Senses spa, which is right on the Grand’s grounds, and I can honestly say my nails have never looked prettier! Afterward, Jessica and Patricia from locally owned LeJeune Artistry came right to our room to do our hair and makeup – and they were wonderful. Not only are they incredibly talented, they were a lot of fun and helped ease my nerves before the ceremony. (I would highly recommend them to anyone planning their wedding in Orlando!)
As I mentioned earlier, a photographer came with the wedding package, and we added on an extra hour so he could snap some photos of us girls getting ready. Ali from Disney Fine Photography came to our room to start taking pictures, and he was friendly, helpful, and clearly cared about taking memorable shots.
Then, the moment arrived. Surrounded by our parents, siblings, and grandparents, Rob and I had our marriage ceremony at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion by the Grand Floridian. The newly-renovated chapel is located on a peninsula and is decked out with dreamy stained glass windows, a sparkling chandelier, and a view of the Magic Kingdom that looks like a storybook cover. Needless to say, it’s gorgeous.
Just outside and behind the chapel is a flower-laced archway that frames the castle, and in the front is a lit path that leads to the Grand Floridian’s grounds. Cliché or not, the solo violinist, stunning scenery, and overall ambiance was truly magical.
The watermarked photos in this post are just a few that Disney Fine Photography sent yesterday (the others were taken by my sister); I can’t wait to share the rest! This is just the first part of our wedding story, so stay tuned for future posts about our Animal Kingdom tour, our first experience at Avatar’s Pandora, our reception dinner at Il Mulino, and of course, more photos and details about the big day!