What Happens at a Disney Cruise Wedding?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get married on a Disney Cruise? Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn't it?
In 2017, Picture the Magic readers Bill and Kim C. from Eastvale, California set sail on the Disney Fantasy and were married at a lovely wedding ceremony at sea.
The happy couple made all of their arrangements through Disney Fairy Tale Weddings. To get a sense of the cost of a Disney Cruise Wedding, view the general price ranges listed by Disney here.
They were kind enough to share the story of their magical Disney Cruise wedding in this interview with me!
DISNEY CRUISE WEDDING: Q&A
Q. How did you meet?
We met in a photography class in high school when Kim was a freshman and Bill was a senior. There was an immediate strong connection, though Kim’s mom stated that Bill was too old for her to date him...so we became best friends.
Bill moved to New York in 1987, but prior to leaving he asked her to wait for him. He said that he would return in 2 years. Then life happened.
Bill finally returned to So Cal in 2015 and asked his best friend of many years out on a date. The rest is history.
Q. Why did you decide to get married on a Disney Cruise?
We both have a love for the water and knew wherever we got married, water would have to be involved somehow. After researching venues near the Southern California coast, we both decided to look at alternatives due to the expense.
Since Bill is a DVC owner, we decided that a Walt Disney World/Cruise honeymoon was perfect and while researching options, Kim came across information that it would only be around $3000 to add on a wedding to the cruise.
It was a perfect match!
Q. How did you choose this particular cruise?
It was mainly a process of elimination on the cruises leaving Port Canaveral and its ports. Since Bill hadn’t been to any of the Virgin Islands, it seemed like an obvious choice.
We selected a 7-day cruise on the Disney Fantasy. Our original itinerary was supposed to be St. Maarten, St. Thomas, then off to Tortola, before finishing at Disney Castaway Cay.
But this was disrupted by hurricane Irma. Very sad, everything was so devastated. As of this writing, some of the ports have yet to reopen.
So, with 10 days to go before sailing we had to rearrange our itinerary to the Western Caribbean ports of Cozumel, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and finishing on Disney Castaway Cay.
Q. What was your guest list like? How many did you invite? How many attended?
We invited all of our immediate family and a few very close friends. We were prepared to sail alone but were very happy to find that many were interested. In the end, only Kim’s family joined us. We had a total of six guests, which included Kim’s mom, youngest son, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. We had a full return reception two weeks after getting home which included approximately 75 guests.
Q. What was it like to plan for a wedding on a Disney Cruise ship?
It was fairly easy since there were not as many options as a land wedding.
The Disney Fairy Tale Wedding coordinators were amazing and very knowledgeable and always tried their best to be accommodating. But, there were a few hiccups that will be discussed below.
Q. What are the factors that make up the cost of doing a Disney Cruise wedding?
We love that the wedding package included an intimate dinner for two at Palo, the venue, the wedding cake, champagne toast, a spa treatment, and Bridal bouquet and Groom boutonniere. Since most of the elements were included in the price, the only extras were our cake topper (one isn’t included anymore) and personal items like the banner and guestbook.
Q. Tell us about your stateroom.
We wanted a room with a view and access to the outside. We selected an aft verandah cabin at the back of the ship. It was a decent sized room with a king size bed, a couch, and a large balcony. The view was spectacular!
The only downside was the severe vibrations during docking at the ports.
Q. What coordination did you do with DCL in preparation?
The only coordination done prior to the cruise with DCL was booking our cabins, including for family members, and booking excursions and restaurant reservations.
Once onboard, the DCL coordinator, Erica, met with us about 1:30pm, we went up to the Outlook on Deck 14 and had our legal ceremony (it went by SO fast!...wham...just like that we were legally married!!). We sat down with Erica and gave her all our decorations.
Q. Tell us about the actual wedding ceremony. Where was it held?
The ceremony was held in the Outlook on Deck 14 on a Thursday. It was a day at port in Falmouth, Jamaica.
The ceremony took place at 4pm; it was the perfect time. We were able to get in all of the photos around the ship while everyone was still in port.
It was an intimate setting with a floor to ceiling view of the ocean. There was upholstered seating for our guests, a podium where the captain held the ceremony, an alcove for the cake and another alcove for the pianist.
Kim brought onboard several personal items that made everything feel very personal.
A “Best Day Ever” banner was placed on the front of the cake table, a hidden Mickey “Love” sign was placed near the personalized guestbook, several custom-made, mini lanterns were placed around the room, and hand-painted sea urchins and lots of bling were in the bride’s bouquet, on the cake, and scattered around the tables.
Q. Who was your photographer? Why did you choose her?
Collette Mruk was chosen by another bride on this sailing and Kim contacted her for availability. She was really easy to work with and very knowledgeable about Disney Cruise Ship weddings.
Q. What was the absolute best thing about being married on a Disney Cruise?
Feeling like Disney royalty!
We were treated like Disney royalty and Kim felt like a Princess from being pampered at the spa while getting her hair and makeup done to walking around the ship before and after the ceremony while children ooh’d and aww’d about how pretty she looked.
Q. What surprised you about getting married on a Disney Cruise?
How extremely special we felt. Erica (our DCL coordinator) thought of everything, like little gifts in our stateroom and throughout our trip. From chocolate covered strawberries, to champagne, and rose petals on the bed the night of our wedding ceremony. It was so magical! It was everything we expected, but done the Disney way.
Q. What did you decide to wear? What about bridesmaids or groomsmen?
Kim wore a Mark Lesley wedding gown, floral embroidered high heels with hidden Mickey’s on the soles, and a diamond necklace, earrings, and bracelet.
Bill wore a classic tuxedo with a hidden Mickey bowtie. Kim’s son, who walked her down the aisle, wore a suit with a matching hidden Mickey tie.
Q. If you were to do it differently, what would you change?
Everything we would change was out of our control, due to the itinerary change because of the hurricanes, so we honestly wouldn’t change anything that was in our control. Maybe choose not to travel to the Caribbean in October.
Q. What paperwork did you have to deal with to get married on a ship?
We chose to use Brevard County Clerk’s mail-away marriage license. The process was very easy and accommodating. It worked out perfect since we live in California. Just don’t forget to order extra certified copies of your marriage certificate, there was a place on the form to check for additional copies that Bill forgot. If you wait, it will cost you more if you need to reorder.
Q. Tell us in detail how DCL Cast Members or others participated in your wedding.
First, I have to give a shout out to Stephanie from Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, our land coordinator. She was amazing at making sure all of our requests were handled appropriately before we boarded the ship. If it weren't for her, when the itinerary was changed, all of our reservations and port excursions would not have been so smooth.
She was my personal Disney fairy god-mother prior to boarding the ship and kept me calm for all those months leading up to the big day!
Our onboard coordinator was Erica. She was outstanding in making sure we were taken care of, our reservations were made, and our wedding itinerary was perfect. We were in excellent hands!
Commodore Tom performed our ceremony, and the pianist were the only ones directly involved. Though it felt like the entire staff was involved in making our day magical in every way.
Our stateroom host went above and beyond to tie into our celebration, and our servers also joined in with little treats along the way.
Q. What tips do you have for anyone who wants to tie the knot on a Disney Cruise ship?
Definitely do your homework.
Besides the Fairytale Wedding’s website, there are several other websites, including Facebook and Pinterest pages available, to learn about all the options available.
The best advice I received was…it never hurts to ask your coordinator if there’s something you want and if the land coordinator says no or probably not...ask your onboard coordinator. They are all so very accommodating and eager to please.