Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Choosing a Venue: Disney Wedding?

While technically not a part of our venue hunt in the traditional sense, I decided to include a discussion of choosing a Destination option as part of this series. John and I really seriously considered a few "destination wedding" options when we were talking about places to get married. While we considered destinations like Reno (where my dad lives), Las Vegas, and even my mom's small Florida home town, Choice Number One was actually either Disneyland or Disney World. John and I both love going ot Disney theme parks; what would be more fun that getting married at one and sharing that experience with our nearest and dearest? We also loved the idea that it would be a smaller, more intimate event; John and I originally envisioned a very small wedding with maybe 30-50 guests, and a destination wedding would be a great way to make that happen.  I won't bore you with the details of my research and what we learned about options and pricing, since there are already so many great resources on the internet for that information, but rather I'll talk a little bit to the pros and cons as John and I viewed them.

One of the first things that that we considered was cost. Turns out, it would almost certainly have been less expensive to have a "basic" wedding at a Disney venue than something comparable in the Bay Area. Sure, getting married in a theme park itself would have been more expensive, but they have really lovely themed hotel options that would have put most local hotels to shame. Most of the options that raise the price of the hotel options were things we were adamantly against, like renting Cinderella's carriage or having costumed characters show up. John prefers Disneyland in general, but I was really taken with some of the 1930's-looking options at the Boardwalk hotel at Disney World.  Had we gone with this option, we would have had a non-Disney wedding that just happened to use Disney-owned facilities, with the added bonus of being able to enjoy Disney theme parks with our guests on the days surrounding the wedding.

Photo not mine; via DISboards

Another consideration that I kept hearing mentioned when people brought up the idea of a destination wedding is that they are a selfish choice, since not everyone who wants to come can come. I think it is selfish to hijack a couple's day and say that if a couple of individuals cannot attend, the couple is being selfish to do what they want on their wedding day. We would have made sure that the people we really cared about would have been able to make it, and all of my family is traveling from out of state, anyway; to most of them, it doesn't make any difference whether they're flying here or flying somewhere else. My cousin had a destination wedding in Mexico, and those of us who were able to attend had a blast; it was an entire week of festivities, not just one day.

Ultimately, we decided against having a destination wedding since we felt like we wouldn't be able to personalize the wedding as much as we wanted to from afar, especially with Disney's restrictions. However, it was a hard choice, and I still daydream about the possibility of a small, intimate Disney World vow renewal ten years down the road...

In considering this option, I realized the thing that appealed to me most about having a destination wedding was getting to spend more than just one day with our guests, especially with our friends and family traveling from out of state. I realized that with a little bit of planning, there was no reason we couldn't do that even if we were getting married within driving distance of our home. So, taking this to heart, John and I have decided to put together a couple of itineraries for our guests so if they'd like to sightsee they have some options, and we're going to try to plan some group activities in the days leading up to the wedding so that, for those who are able to be with us for more than just a day or two, we'll be able to make the most of their visit.

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