Hayley and Elfyn are from the UK and had one of the most beautiful and classically Disney weddings I know of. I loved this interview so much! Their story of why they chose to get married in WDW, and having “character” guests is so romantic and fun! Enjoy!
1.) When did you decide you wanted a wedding at WDW?
We’d decided we wanted a wedding at WDW before we even got engaged! Elfyn said when we started dating in 2004 that we would go to WDW after I’d finished studying in 2007 as I’d always wanted to go, since I was a little girl. I joined Magical Kingdoms, a Disney forum, in 2006 to help me plan and the owner, Joanne, was planning the most beautiful Disney wedding – I had no idea you could get married at Disney! A seed had been planted in my head!
We both fell in love with WDW in 2007 and got to see the Wedding Pavilion for the first time. We were saying “wouldn’t it be nice if somehow we could get married here?” We returned to WDW in 2008 where Elfyn proposed on the Grand Floridian beach in front of the Pavilion. We HAD to get married here now! When we returned to the UK it was more of a case of, “Well, why DON’T we get married at Disney?” – and so we did!
2.) What locations did you decide on for your wedding day and How did you pick them?
We had our ceremony at the Wedding Pavilion, had our cocktail hour at the Sonoma Room (California Grill, Contemporary Resort), reception at the Napa Room (California Grill, Contemporary Resort), and a Wishes dessert party at Whitehall Room (Grand Floridian). This was meant to be at Sago Cay Pointe however we got moved as it threatened rain (and typically, it didn’t!)
It was very hard choosing locations. The Wedding Pavilion was easy peasy. We’d both fallen in love with the Pavilion and didn’t want to get married anywhere else. Also, we were getting married in August and didn’t fancy any of the outside locations in the heat. We were lucky enough to be able to have a site visit and saw the Whitehall Room, Napa Room, Sonoma Room, and the Living Seas Salon in Epcot. We were wowed by Living Seas. The only problem was that the space was huge for our party of 15-20 and the old rule about outside photographers. As much as we loved it, it was out.
We chose Sago Cay Pointe as we both absolutely love Wishes. I wish they had a MK location! As it happened, halfway through our planning the fireworks changed to the Pirate and Princess ones. It didn’t bother me too much at the time, but a small part of me wishes that I’d changed to Epcot!
3.)How was your interaction with Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding Department?
Overall, I had a good interaction with DFTW. Our coordinator, Diane, was absolutely awesome! She arranged a great site visit for us at short notice and tried to secure our special requests for us – such as the ice slipper sorbet at California Grill.
We didn’t get to meet our planner until the day before the wedding – this made me a bit nervous but there was no way we could get back out there for a planning session too. Ken is a no-nonsense New Yorker who will tell it to you straight – he was a presence throughout the wedding day, and it went off (mostly!) without a hitch!
We also dealt a lot with Ken’s assistant Jen, who really pulled through when she processed our payment super quickly as the dollar rate was dropping, which we really appreciated.
Our floral planner, Elizabeth was so sweet and everything was perfect on the day! She knew what I was talking about straight away and tirelessly emailed me photos of table linens and modified my floral BEO super quicky.
I really have to mention our resort contact, Jessica, who was absolutely amazing and so, so friendly!
4.)How did your family react to the wedding being in WDW?
I really thought my family would be like, are you crazy?!?! But I think they were half expecting it and really supportive (or they didn’t take it seriously for a while!) Once we got into the planning, everyone started getting really excited about going. My wonderful parents paid the Disney bill, and my wonderful In Laws gave us money towards flights, hotel, and spends – we really could not have had the wedding we did without them.
We were worried that we would offend people that couldn’t come, but no one mentioned anything. In the end, we were surprised how many came – there were 16 of us in the end, family and friends. We were of the thinking that as long as our parents were there, everyone else was a bonus and we were really touched at how many people made the journey and undertook the expense to be with us on our special day.
5.)What was your most magical memory from your wedding day?
This question is probably the hardest to answer! Except for the obvious getting married to my wonderful husband (at DISNEY no less!), it was probably seeing all our family and friends enjoy themselves at Disney!
A Donald Duck vs my Brother in Law dance-off also sticks in mind! And when we went up to the monorail station at the end of the night at the GF with our photographers to take some last shots, the monorail stopped, doors opened and everyone on board clapped – that was pretty special.