How to plan a Disney-inspired wedding away from Disney! We wanted to bring the magic of Disney to our loved ones in our hometown in PA for our wedding so here are my tips for how to have a pixie-dusted wedding, bridal shower, bachelorette, and rehearsal dinner without the price tag of a Disney wedding!
I always dreamed of getting married at Disney. We actually have a home video from our trip to the Polynesian in Walt Disney World when I was 13 of me telling my dad “I’m going to get married there someday” as he viewed the Grand Floridian through the lens of the videocamera. But when it came time to plan our wedding the most important thing to us was making sure all of our loved ones could attend, so I was going to have to find a way to incorporate as much Disney magic as I could without flying all of my friends and family to Orlando!
It was the most magical day!
BACHELORETTE THEME – Under the Sea
For my bachelorette I wanted a girls beach trip so we packed up and headed to Charleston, SC for a “Bre’s Last Splash” Little Mermaid theme celebration!
My amazing friends decorated the hotel room for me with all things mermaid – even Sebastian and Flounder! It’s the details that make it special, so we had a mermaid makeup station and of course got ready with fun glitter fake tattoos and I had a gold glitter sparkly crown. We had all of the snacks for our girls pizza night, including mermaid sugar cookies (which of course we had a girls wine and cookie decorating night to make!) It was such a memorable theme and Charleston was the perfect location for our mermaid bash!
BRIDAL SHOWER THEME – Snow White
I LOVE a Disney classic, so I was thrilled when my mom surprised me with a beautiful Snow White theme for my bridal shower!
It was a beautiful celebration at a local art gallery complete with on-theme wood table centerpieces and a lunch that included the yummiest and sweetest snacks named after the dwarfs (like Bashful’s Berry Medley) and Cupcakes White As Snow.
REHEARSAL DINNER THEME – Be Our Guest
Obviously the theme for the rehearsal dinner had to be Be Our Guest! It was hosted at the Dobbin House ballroom in Gettysburg, PA, the oldest building in town (from the 1700s!) converted into a restaurant, so it was the perfect setting for Beast castle vibes & a Be Our Guest theme! There were rose centerpieces, candelabras, and hand-painted “Be Our Guest” and “Tale As Old As Time” posters in beautiful gold frames. Fun fact – we invited our priest to the rehearsal dinner and the next day he actually started out our wedding homily by SINGING “tale as old as timeeeee”.
It was absolutely incredible.
THE WEDDING RECEPTION: HAPPILY EVER AFTER THEME
The Bridesmaid Dresses
Where to start!? I’ve always loved cool colors so for my Cinderella-themed reception I wanted to have mismatched dresses in Cinderella blue and pastel purple tones. I wanted to make sure my bridesmaids had dresses they would want to wear again so I assigned them a color (my maid and matron of honors were in purple) and let them choose the design! David’s bridal is such a good go-to for this flexibility and my bridesmaids were in a few different cities so knowing they each had a local shop to try on made things so much easier!
We had a beautiful indoor-outdoor space for our reception with a big beautiful tiered terrace so I wanted to combine my Cinderella theme with a little bit of “Secret Garden” to help the indoor/outdoor flow (honestly the entire time I was picturing the gazebo scene in A Cinderella Story when “I’ll Be” is playing in the background, which of COURSE was our first dance song). We hung wisteria from the chandeliers to recreate this look and at the center of each table was a carriage and baby’s breath. My wedding coordinator knew that I loved Disney so she even wrote the cutest quotes on the mirrors in the women’s lounge! It was the sweetest gesture.
Going back to the A Cinderella Story inspiration, our transportation from the Church to the Reception was a classic car from the 60’s. I.AM.OBSESSED!
During cocktail hour and while everyone was seated enjoying their meal, we played instrumental Disney music in the background. I spent HOURS perfecting the perfect magical instrumental playlist (remember this was two and a half years before Bridgerton made instrumental playlists a thing) so if you want my Spotify playlist send me a message! Occasionally I still listen to it while I’m working.
A Night to Remember
We wanted to honor our grandparents, great-grandparents and loved ones that couldn’t be with us on our special day, and decided to do a tribute at the end of the celebration with a fireworks show and Phil Colin’s “You’ll be in my Heart” playing. Of course I wept, no matter how many times I practiced listening to the song I couldn’t help it.
But we ended by switching the song to “Happily Ever After” and having our own Disney-inspired firework send-off! The most magical way to end the most magical night.
I know it was three years ago now but another big thank you to everyone who made this special day possible. I’ll be honest, I teared up writing some of this!
Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane and the details of our Disney-inspired wedding at home! If you’re a Disney bride, comment below or send me a message! Would love to chat. 🙂
Photographer: Camie Jo | Church: St. Francis | Reception: The Links | Cake: Karen Rodkey