Planning a Disney Cruise Line wedding can be a bit overwhelming because of the limited amount of information on the topic. However, DCL weddings are becoming more popular so what better topic to tackle then the tips and tricks to planning a Disney Cruise Line wedding. We believe every couple deserves to have a stress free wedding planning experience.
Please understand that your DCL wedding will require more forethought then most weddings because of the logistics involved with securing reservations and the restrictions that come along with those reservations. Planning for your DCL wedding will take some flexibility since options are somewhat limited when compared to traditional wedding on land. It’s not difficult, but it will take some time and effort. Planning ahead for the proper options opens up your opportunities to create unforgettable memories on your special day. Here are a few tips that we have learned while planning both of our own cruises:
Cruise ships are popular destinations with passengers who book well in advance for the dates that they want to cruise, especially during peak travel times such as holiday weekends and school breaks. Planning on short notice can mean you won’t get much flexibility on the travel or wedding elements you want.
Choosing your cruise itinerary is the first step you and your fiancé have to decide. Disney Cruise Line offers a wide variety of itineraries that range from 3 to 14 days. The most popular ship for a cruise wedding is the Disney Dream. It sails out of Port Canaveral, Florida, offering 3-4 day sailings that are more comfortable and cost effective for your traveling guests.
Themed cruises such as Halloween On The High Seas and Very Merrytime tend to book quicker because of all the themed activities and decor. You can book about 18 months prior to the sailing date, so it’s best to lock in your stateroom as soon as possible to get the best available options for all your cruise wedding related details.
When booking a Disney cruise wedding it is best to use a travel agent. It’s a free service to you that is immensely helpful. Most of your guests probably have never sailed with Disney prior to your cruise wedding and everyone’s travel needs are different. Having someone you can direct your guests to with all their questions and concerns takes the stress off of you and your fiancé to ensure everyone’s accommodations are in order.
We highly recommend utilizing Pirate and Mermaid Vacations as your travel agent for your Disney Cruise Line wedding. They are very efficient, knowledgeable, and resourceful. This travel agency goes above and beyond for all of their clients!
Once you have your stateroom booked, don’t forget to add your wedding package to your stateroom. Disney requires you to have a stateroom reservation when booking your wedding package. You can add your wedding package to your stateroom at the same time you book your stateroom. Once you have booked your wedding package, it’ll take a few days for a Disney wedding specialist to contact you and send you your planning guide.
The best time to book your wedding vendors is shortly after booking your stateroom. Not only to save on their travel fee. It’s also because he / she has to reserve the amount of days your Disney cruise is sailing. ( Possibly the traveling day before and after as well. ) Although your vendor list isn’t as extensive as a traditional wedding, you may want to bring your photographer, videographer, and hair / makeup artist. These wedding vendors will help you create your dream wedding day.
Although DCL subcontracts a photo company for all of their cruise ships, it’s highly recommended to bring your own Disney Cruise Line wedding photographer aboard. Your wedding is once in a lifetime. You’ll want someone you personally choose and connect with, to capture the most memorable day of your life. Not just someone who will snap a few photos for an hour or two. Bringing your own wedding photographer aboard eliminates the doubts & uncertainty of what your wedding photos will look like. You also don’t have to rush to do photos around the ship because it’s a customized experience. Having a professional wedding photographer that’s wanting the best photo results possible for you is exhilarating. You’ll have that peace of mind and trust.
Wedding videography is impactful and emotional. There is something special about getting to relive the moments and motions that took place during your dream wedding day. Watching your significant other’s reaction when he/she sees you for the first time; hearing your dad’s voice shake while he’s giving his speech; seeing your special guests ( Disney characters ) interacting with your friends and family; those are all special moments that you can look back on and pass down to your children.
We highly recommend Luxe Filmography if you’d like to bring your own Disney Cruise Line wedding videographer. Patrick creates the most epic, cinematic films that are simply breathtaking.
Your glam squad is just as important. Like a traditional land wedding, you deserve to be pampered on your wedding day. Bringing your own wedding day hair and makeup artist will make you feel confident you are on your big day.
The onboard spa offers a select number of salon services, such as hair updos, manicures, and pedicures. However, they don’t provide makeup applications. You also don’t know if they are able to produce exactly what you are wanting until you meet them in person.
Bringing your hair and makeup artist with you ensures you will be glammed and photo ready all day. From your first look all the way until fireworks in the evening! ( And yes, it gets hot pretty quickly on Castaway Cay haha. )
If you and your girls want a personalized hair and makeup experience, check out Laura Reynolds Artistry! This glam squad is a dream team. They are super friendly, down to earth, and will help you achieve the look you are envisioning.
Now let’s talk about your guest list. Do you want a small and intimate wedding? Do you envision all your friends and family present?
With the Disney Cruise Line ceremony package, it includes 16 guests plus the wedding couple, a total of 18 people. Each additional guest, age 3+, is $20 per person.
The amount of guests you are expecting will help you determine which venue/s are best for your ceremony and your cake and champagne celebration.
Sending save-the-dates aren’t necessary but they are helpful. It’s the easiest way to let your guests know you’re having a destination wedding. Your friends and family need enough notice to make their own travel arrangements as well. Sending save-the-dates as soon as your cruise wedding is reserved is also the best way to pass on the lowest stateroom rate to your guests.
Also, don’t forget to include your travel agent’s information so that he or she can assist your guests with any questions. Having a travel agent handling it is also the most efficient way to keep track of who has booked their stateroom and who hasn’t.
After sending the save the dates, you’ll have a good idea of how many guests will be attending. With that in mind, it’s a great time to communicate with your planner which venues you want for your wedding. However, please keep in mind that DCL wedding venues, date, and time are subject to change. Your wedding coordinator will try his / her best to accommodate your wishing but it will depend on the schedule of the ship and what other activities are going.
The personalizations you add to your wedding is what makes your day unique to you. Some of the enhancements include your bouquet, floral touches, music selection, cake style and flavors. If you are interested in extending your cake and champagne celebration, you can add a bar and / or a food package. Onboard weddings can also add Disney characters to their cake and champagne celebration. ( Castaway Cay weddings aren’t typically able to add characters because they taking pictures with guests on the island. )
The biggest tip is, when in doubt, just ask! Your wedding coordinator will do his / her best to accommodate to all your wishes, if you are flexible with your wedding date and time, there is a better chance you will get the locations, characters, and other enhancements you want. Please note, enhancements are usually confirmed at the 45 days prior to sailing mark.
Your DCL wedding doesn’t have to be limited to what Disney offers, there are so many fun ideas you can incorporate to celebrate your wedding before and after your big day. Here are some ideas to make your Disney Cruise Line wedding experience extra special :
The cost of a Disney Cruise Line wedding will vary greatly on the elements you add to your wedding. The onboard wedding packages begin at $3,500. The locations available within the onboard wedding packages are the Meridian Patio, the Outlook Lounge, and the Deck 10 Aft Overlook. The upgraded wedding packages begin at $4,500. The locations available within the upgraded wedding packages are the Atrium, Castaway Cay Beach, and The Wedding Pointe.
All DCL base wedding packages include a on-site ceremony coordinator; fresh floral for the couple; an officiant; solo musician (pianist); a Cake & Champagne Celebration onboard the ship; dinner for the wedding couple at Palo; wedding couple attire steaming; a keepsake engraved cake knife and server set a Disney Cruise Line wedding certificate; a $100.00 onboard stateroom credit for the wedding couple; and for Castaway Cay ceremonies, round trip island transportation.
If you are ready to get started, we can help! Planning a Disney cruise line wedding is not as easy as you might think. However it also doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are many details to consider and decisions to make. Contact us to learn about how we can capture your Disney Cruise Line wedding photography and assist you throughout the planning process.
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