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Budgeting for a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding

With all of the options available it can be very easy to get carried away and spend more than you can afford on a wedding at Disney World.

Before you start planning, work out your budget. Then write a list of the things you simply cannot do without at your wedding. Continue the list with things that you'd like to have, and finish with things you know are simply too expensive. Get costs for the things that are the biggest priority and note them down on your list. Add everything together and see how much is left from your budget. Next, get the prices of the things that you'd like to have. Work out which of these you can afford, and which are most important to you both.

Don't forget to allow extra for tax, gratuity, tips, dresses, groom's attire, gifts, favors, travel, hotel stay, honeymoon, etc.

Here are some ways to save money:

Don't hold your wedding on a weekend, Disney weddings Monday - Thursday have the least expensive minimum expenditure totals.

Look at the food and beverage minimums, and any applicable venue fees before deciding where to hold your ceremony and reception. The Wedding Pavilion venue rental fee is more expensive that Epcot locations for ceremonies. The Grand Floridian has the highest food and beverage minimums of the Resorts.

Begin your wedding ceremony before 2pm. Weddings starting prior to 2pm have lower food and beverage minimums than those after 2pm.

Look at the season rack rates for Disney hotels before deciding on a date and try to opt for a date in value season. Your guests will also thank you for this!

Limit the number of guests you invite. For those you are unable to attend, consider having a home reception at a later date if that works out cheaper.

You can save on dress, floral and gift costs by limiting the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen you have.

Rehearsal dinners, welcome parties, bridesmaid luncheons aren't essential. If you feel you must have one, request that guests who wish to attend pay for themselves.

You can save on transportation costs by careful choice of ceremony and reception venues. Choose venues at or nearby the hotel in which you're staying. For example, stay at the Yacht Club, hold your ceremony at the Yacht Club Wedding Gazebo, & reception at the Yacht Club Ballroom.

If you won't need the bus or limo for the full 5 hour minimum, consider using an outside vendor who only charges by the hour and has no time minimums.

Look at ways you can save on floral costs. The Wedding Pavilion, and many other ceremony venues are beautiful enough without having to use floral decor. Centerpieces can be kept simple, maybe just using candles and scattered rose petals. Altar arrangements can be transferred to the reception to use on the head table or as centerpieces.

Buy rose petals for petal cones, flower girl, aisle, or scattering on reception tables from a local vendor rather than your floral provider. See our links section for websites to visit.

If you've met your total expenditure minimums, consider using outside vendors for photography, videography and floral. You can often get much better deals than what Disney can offer. But be aware of the escort cost for outside photography and videography vendors.

If you're using the Wedding Pavilion for the ceremony, don't pay extra for a musician, use the organist that's included in the venue fee. You can also use any of your own CDs here.

If a DJ is out of your price range, use a CD system instead. There may be a charge for this, but it will be much cheaper than a DJ.

If you're hiring a musician for the ceremony, use them at the pre-reception and part of the reception as well. You may be able to pay extra to hire them for a couple more hours, which can work out much cheaper than a DJ or live band.

Don't pay for expensive place cards and menus. Disney will provide simple ones at no extra cost. Or consider making them yourself. Card and fancy paper can be bought at the craft store or online. Your home printer can produce nice enough results. Add some glitter, embossing powder or ribbons and people won't know you didn't pay $$$ for them!

If you don't want a pre-reception, or a full 4 hour reception, you don't have to have them. Cutting the time will also cut costs.

Limit the offerings at the pre-reception. A lot of food will only make people too full to eat the main meal at the reception. And your guests will probably be too busy mingling to be bothered about eating!

Instead of a full bar at the pre-reception, just serve soft drinks and water.

Look at the menu options available and work out if it would be cheaper to have a buffet or plated meal.

Stick to a simple menu, and stay clear of the fancy sorbet intermezzos, and expensive slipper desserts if they are out of your budget range. Menus can be customized, and if you explain to your Wedding Planner that you have a tight budget, they will help find a menu to suit your cost limits.

Serve wedding cake instead of paying extra for dessert.

Have a cash bar rather than hosted or package. If you do intend on paying for the bar, sit down and work out which would be the best option (hosted or package), depending on how many light and heavy drinkers you're inviting. If you have guests that don't drink, speak to your planner about adding them to the under-21 count. Also, just choose the beer and wine package rather than adding in the more expensive call brands.

Request that only a half glass of champagne is served for the toast rather than a full glass.

Search of ebay for favors, or make your own! Soap molds can be bought on ebay, and can be used for making small soaps or even chocolates.

If you only have a small party, consider booking a fireworks cruise (Epcot or Magic Kingdom) as an alternative to a dessert party. It will work out much cheaper and you don't have to pay for food (you can pay to have snacks onboard if you wish though).

If you have a dessert party, ask your wedding planner if the $12.50 viewing fees can be waived for those who have used their hopper tickets that day, or have annual passes.



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