We Knew It’d Be Expensive to Get Married at Disney World But… Wow
For some people, Disney is everything.
And you’ll basically need to do that, too, if you want to get married there -- because it costs a TON.
I always imagined Disney weddings were expensive, but I didn’t know just how pricy they’d be. Then Carlye Wisel infiltrated the world of Disney brides (DisBrides) and wrote about the costs for Racked, and they blew my mind.
Keep reading to see the ludicrous prices for yourself.
How Much Does a Disney Wedding Cost?
Disney weddings are a big business.
So big, in fact, Disney has an entire branch devoted entirely to them.
“Disney Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons aids in facilitating the 5,000 Disney nuptials that occur each year at Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, Disney's Aulani resort in Hawaii, and aboard Disney Cruise Line ships, as well as ceremonies and celebrations at international Disney parks,” Wisel writes.
There are three types of Disney weddings:
- Memories, which allow four guests
- Escapes, which allow to 18 guests
- Wishes, “a custom event with many possibilities and a flexible guest count,” according to Disney’s wedding website
A Wishes wedding in Florida has “a minimum food and beverage expenditure starting at $125 per person, minimum ceremony fee of $3,500 and minimum enhancement fee of $5,000.”
The $125 per person rate is for “brunch”-- a wedding that starts at 7:30 a.m. If you want to get married at dinnertime, it’ll cost you $175 per person.
And those “enhancement minimums”? They “may include but are not limited to floral, photography, videography, transportation, venue fees and entertainment.”
Oh, right. And the venue isn’t included in the ceremony fee.
So let’s break down a typical Disney wedding budget:
- Ceremony fee: $3,500
- Wedding pavilion with organist: $4,000+
- 50 dinner guests at $175 each: $8,750
- Plus 23% service charge and 6.5% sales tax: $2,581
- Charter bus transportation (required for five hours): $551
- Minimal flowers: $948
- DJ (four hours): $1,650
- Photographer (four hours): $2,995
That means -- not counting the dress or rings -- you’re looking at nearly $25,000 for the bare minimum required by most couples.
Disney Weddings Come With Extras… and Extra Costs
But what if you want any fun stuff? I mean, come on, it’s a Disney wedding.
Here’s how much some of those extras would set you back:
- Arrival in Cinderella’s coach (complete with miniature white ponies and costumed footmen): $2,950
- Appearance of two characters for 30 minutes: $1,650
- “Memories Video Package”: $4,550+
- Live band: $7,000+
You can check the a-la-carte offerings on this site, but note: “Prices do not include any applicable tax, gratuity or additional fees.”
And if you want to wear your gown in the Magic Kingdom during operating hours -- rather than before opening or after closing like other brides -- you’ll have to shell out a minimum of $75,000 for the wedding, according to Wizel’s investigation.
For the DisBrides community, though, these extravagances are worth being wed in the happiest place on earth.
"From now on, every vacation that we take to Walt Disney World will allow us to relive the happiest times of our lives, while also making more beautiful memories,” one Disney groom told Wizel.
“It will forever be the magical place that I married the love of my life."
And really, that’s a beautiful thing. Some would even say priceless.
Your Turn: Do you dream of getting married in Disney World?
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.