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Old 01-30-2014, 08:17 AM   #1
edeneye
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Jess & Ben's Wishes Wedding 11/18/14 Sea Breeze Point/Backstage Prop Shop

Are you ready for this? Brace yourself... My name is Ben & I'm a Disney Groom *collective gasp*. And thus our story begins

Who are we? You?.. Us?... Who gettin' hitched?!


Jess & I met on MSN Messenger almost 11 years ago via a mutual friend. After a few weeks we met up for lunch one day, followed shortly after by another meeting and another. So many texts exchanged and after about 6 weeks we became official on July 2, 2003 - Jess' 16th birthday (I had myself just gone 18).


(that's us on the right, Jess with the colourful stockings!)

Oh & we live in Australia. Did I mention that? So despite Jess' infatuation with Disney we had never been, instead we became passholders at all our local theme parks which Disney pale into insignificance and spent much of our early years together there. Jess finally got to visit Disneyland in 2007 and has since been to every Disney resort except the Tokyo ones. But my first visit didn't come until 2012...

The proposal

After months and months of planning, my first trip out of the country would be to Walt Disney World. Jess was so excited, she had been dying to show me Disney ever since her first time and this was our first trip to WDW.

Roughly halfway through our visit we had a reservation at Les Chefs de France, we are both big fans of Ratatouille. Jess knew the little Chef himself visited tables at certain times and held her breath for months hoping she wouldn't miss out. She loves him so much!

Well sure enough, before we had even ordered out he came. If anyone hasn't encountered him before, he arrives on a cart among a cheese platter and that cart came straight to us at our lovely table by the window. His companion lifted off the dish et voilà, one little chef and one little ring box.


Oh please someone say something. 'Yes' preferably

Unfortunately I was a tad boxed in at that point and unable to get on one knee as I'd hoped (I did it later on) and I was kinda emotional. Composed enough but fully aware that speech would result in tears. Awkward moment I'll never live down, but we got the point across. Chef Remy squeaked his congratulations and recommended the Creme Brulee and he was off to do his rounds, leaving us with celebratory champagne and our new badges. I can't say enough how extraordinarily gracious the management and staff at Les Chefs de France were, they really went above and beyond and looked after us. Naturally though we were very sad to hear Remy is no longer there, he'll forever be an integral part of our lives.


Engagement announcement a la instagram.

Upon returning to our room I had completely forgotten about one other detail. Mickey & Minnie had visited and left us *both* a surprise! Roses, flower petals (which housekeeping had a lot of fun decorating with every day) and a print congratulating us. Proposing is a little scary but Disney give you all the tools to make it magical and take so much of the pressure off.

As we were abroad at the time, we had to let Facebook do the job of informing our friends and family who were lighting up our notifications once they woke up to the news back home. After 9 and a half years we were finally engaged.

Why a Disney wedding?

Besides that Jess & I absolutely fell in love with WDW on our stay, there were other more practical matters that helped inform our decision on a DFTW. I have a big family. My cousin had a wedding a few weeks ago with 150 guests - and she had to let a lot of people down. No kids even! Jess however has a very, very small family - many of whom she rarely sees. I currently live in one state with mine, she in another with hers. Travel is necessary for someone regardless and there are crazy uneven numbers to deal with, Jess would be a little uncomfortable at an affair featuring 150 people she may as well have never met!

Jess already knew you could have a wedding at Disney & introduced me to the concept. Once it was discussed there has never been any going back. Who was I to tell my Bride she can't have the Happiest Place on Earth? We had already planned our next visit on our way home from the US so that was to be our first meeting with DFTW. Even though that would be 18 months away from our date, we were accommodated a site visit with our Sales Consultant due to the fact we came a long way and wouldn't be able to make it back! Followed by a six month wait to see if we could have November 18, 2014 (spoilers - we could).

As I said we have our date set and our venues chosen. Our wonderful Sales Consultant suggested both sites but due to a convention booking was only able to show us Sea Breeze, we haven't and aren't likely to set foot in Prop Shop until our wedding arrives but it looks suitably mad and whimsical like us and importantly will very neatly accommodate our guest count which we anticipate to be no more than 25. We're also going to have a farewell party - well, a group booking - at the Crystal Palace because we love Pooh Bear and want him involved in our wedding somehow. Since he can't come to the reception we just had to have this, it's one of the things I've been most adamant about!


We just loooove Pooh Bear

We haven't yet booked any wedding day outside vendors but have made most of our enquiries and just tonight finalised personal floral through a local vendor over here, no photos as yet of course but she's excited to work with us! We also have a celebrity each whom we're acquainted with that we want to ask to marry us first before we start otherwise looking at Officiants.

And that's pretty much where we're currently at! Jess has her dress but I'll need to hand over to her for that to be revealed because I'm not seeing it!!
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:47 AM   #2
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What a wonderful story!!!
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:28 AM   #3
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Thanks! We've got over 10 years so far but 2014 will be amazing and worth a lot of hard work. Our first house of our own together after living apart for 3 years to save for all this, our next big holiday and our Disney wedding. So excited!

Also, your sig reminded me - we're booked onto a Disney Cruise for just after our wedding day. Most of our honeymoon will actually be before the big day but we'll have a nice few days to ourselves as a married couple aboard our first ever Disney Cruise before it's time to come home and face most likely our worst Disney withdrawal yet.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:29 AM   #4
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I'm told that a package arrived today from DFTW. Hoooorraaaaay! This must be our signed contract, annual passes and an additional surprise from our lovely Sales Consultant which we've been so curious about for about 5 weeks now. We actually got the email on Christmas morning saying that it was on it's way and was definitely the best present we got all day. Can't wait to see what's inside!


See, I did get down on bended knee at some point!

Also we've heard from our Room Block Coordinator who will have a very hard time the next few months dealing with us and our guests' comings and goings. Massive benefit of that is we can communicate via email! Being that the time difference is 16hrs this is very handy, any time I need to call Disney it has to happen at midnight local time at the earliest so avoiding that wherever possible is awesome. And cheaper!

Room Block


Our happy place. There's 'value' and there's nostalgia

We elected to block All-Star Movies for us and our guests. That was where we stayed on our first trip and we just adore it. Plus it has the bonus of being the cheapest available but I swear it's because we loved our stay the first time! In fact, our second visit had us staying at Art of Animation and on one morning we drove over to ASMo just to visit and have some Mickey Waffles! We kept our guests involved in the booking process & told them they can resort-hop all they want but for the Wedding festivities we need them to be at ASMo for ease of transport. Wrangling 20+ Australians (and one Brit) whom have never been to WDW before from a handful of resorts would be a logistical nightmare that I'm glad we will avoid. Plus it'll be like the best summer camp you could imagine!


And this is what happiness tastes like

Both of us being (born in the 80's) 90s kids we also requested that all of our party stays at the Mighty Ducks section. Thinking of this I'm considering as a gift to my two groomsmen that we get Mighty Ducks jerseys with our names on them and the numbers '11', '18' and '14' to commemorate the date. And to probably make a fun picture! Due to the team ownership vs Disney brand ownership though, proper Mighty Ducks merch comes and goes so that may be pretty tricky and quite costly.


Ducks fly together.. Ducks fly together... Ducks fly together!

But a wedding party at a value resort? Surely not? What will happen if we try to squeeze a bride, parents, bridesmaids and photographers into one of those teeny tiny rooms?!? Well worry not, we will get among some luxury around the wedding date. Jess & I will check in to ASMo on the 5th and stay through until the wedding day. Jess will spend the night before at the Boardwalk Inn with her bridesmaids next door and from the Wedding Night until we leave for our Cruise I will join her there!

As we have around 25 guests expected and we alone are staying for 16 room nights, we are gonna hit that magic number really, really easily so our free night is going to be taken at the start of our trip at the Grand Floridian. Since it's free we might as well milk it for all we can get! We plan to do the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and then spend the following day relaxing/recovering at our swanky free resort and getting massages for our aching.. well probably almost everything.

Outside Vendors.. uh oh

And we've started on vendors. Personal floral deposit has been paid for and I heard back this morning from Nathan & Jensey Root whose work I absolutely love. They're currently at Nathan's sister's wedding but shot me back a quick email to say they are free on our date and will be in touch soon about the details! Only trouble is we also heard from DFTW this morning, clarifying the terms of the Magic Kingdom portrait shoot. Uh oh. Jess' NUMBER ONE priority and a large part of why she wanted a Disney wedding is for the Castle Portrait. If anyone is unfamiliar this is something you can book seperately to your wedding day photography BUT if you don't use Disney Fine Art you have to wait until 45 days before your ceremony to book. There is also a block out on these that commences just after our ceremony and they warn that may be extended. Basically the inference is 'get your photos through us, get your portrait session. Don't and you'd better cross your fingers'.

So now we come to a possible dilemma: Amazing wedding photography VS the one wedding portrait Jess has dreamed about all along. What do we do, what do we do? If we have to let our portrait booking wait another 250 days I'm pretty sure Jess will explode from stress. But the uncertainty that comes with Disney Fine Art and the undisputable brilliance of Root Photography is a huge tradeoff. Because we're both film grads we are really serious about photography, it is at the top of the list of 'things that would annoy us on our Wedding Day' if we don't feel we've got the right photographer/s. This one is gonna keep us up at night.

Last edited by edeneye; 01-31-2014 at 12:42 AM. Reason: Removing sig from consecutive posts to reduce clutter!
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:33 AM   #5
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Wedding Contract

And sure enough, the package that arrived was indeed our completed contract! For anyone unfamiliar with the process, you only get to choose your date - if available - from a certain timeframe. In our case being a Wishes collection, our magical date was 1 year in advance. So even though we had our site visit in April 2012, we had to wait until November 18 to find out if we could have the date we wanted. Once your date is confirmed you get an email and a massive weight off your shoulders (don't worry, another will take it's place).

Following the confirmation, you give them information regarding room block & other details before your contract is prepared and emailed to you. Bride and Groom must sign it and deliver it and a payment authorisation for your deposit (ours $2000) back to DFTW by a certain date. We had two weeks. Even though we live on the other side of the planet, that should be cool right? Yeah, normally only a small amount of stress. In December? Yeeeahhhh... That's a worry.

We signed the form the same day and Jess took it to a post office and explained the urgency. They suggested International Courier (a 3-5 business day service) as being our only safe option and as this is something we weren't gonna gamble on lest it be late and things get messy we paid up the $52 and sent it on it's way. 3-5 business days... On the 10th of December, what do you think that translates to? It took the longest 10 days I've ever experienced (8 business). Doesn't seem like much but when the next available date for delivery was a deadline on which your wedding depends, it's kinda scary. Fun fact: I ordered Jess some last minute Christmas presents from the Disney Store the same day as we sent our contract. They arrived at her door sooner than the contract to theirs.

Anyways, once the contract arrived at DFTW there was much celebrating and frantic emailing on both sides. Then they simply sign off on their end and return a copy to us, which is what arrived yesterday.


We get to be WDW Annual Passholders??! Other Wedding presents take note: the bar has been set and it is ridiculous. Good luck.

When it arrived though we found it had been opened. An Australia Post facility opened not only the outer envelope but all of the internal ones too. Rifled through our documents, our annual pass vouchers, the letter from our Wedding Consultant. All for no discernible reason and before we got to. A very magical package, but unfortunately tampered with from top to bottom. We contacted DFTW and listed what was inside, just to make sure we didn't 'lose' anything and have been assured it's all present.

Also today I received further communication from Nathan & Jensey Root regarding their pricing structure and availability for our date. I asked if they'd shot Prop Shop before and they replied it would be their first time so that's exciting! Well, if we can work it all out! I broke down the cost vs the cost of all Disney packages, line by line, inclusion by inclusion and averaged out the cost/hour and the give & take of it all. I think the quality of their work stands them head & shoulders above but we do have a budget to consider and certain priorities to make sure we look after. We'll be discussing that over the weekend and hopefully come to a decision we're happy with and can let all parties know on Monday. Either way we always expected this to be one of our biggest expenses because we'll have a lot of people back home who wont be there and we're really serious about photography (we have shot weddings ourselves before) so it has to be just right.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:40 AM   #6
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I'm really enjoying your planning journal, Disney groom! For what it's worth, even if the cost was extra and the portrait session slightly up in the air, I'd go with the Roots! Their work is so magnificent, and I agree that you really don't want to mess with something as important as photography, especially if you're far away and some people will only experience it through photos. If DFAP let you choose your photographer or interview them first it'd be one thing. But they don't, and it's so not something I would leave to chance.

I've been inside the prop shop! Are you having a planning session??? I'd love to see what you're planning to do with the space! Congrats!
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:06 AM   #7
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haha You've been in there?! I'm so curious about that whole space, we tried to figure out whereabouts it was in relation to the park but couldn't see any hint. Our first time in there is likely to be just before the ceremony at this rate! With Jess, dancing is a necessity so first & foremost we're gonna have to clear some space for that! She also mentioned tonight wanting those projections of the carriage, 'happily ever after' etc around the room or the floor. I said the walls are kinda busy already so it may have to be the floor. She also wants a slideshow! I think our guests are gonna be overstimulated! Oh & she doesn't want a character. She wants FIVE OF THEM! Better cancel the Crystal Palace on the day after, we'll all need to rest our eyes for at least that whole day.

Thanks for the advice on photography too, we've been talking about it a bit this weekend and I just sent them and our consultant emails with some more questions. I hate to jerk everyone around but I'm terrified we'll get to October and Disney tell us we can't have an MK session and Jess tries to murder me because of it! I think Jess feels like ignorance is bliss, if she hadn't realised how amazing the Roots work was, she wouldn't know what she was potentially missing by going the safe route.

We'd love to fly in for the planning session but it's unlikely at this stage. If all my researching manages to save us a crazy amount of money then I think it'll happen but at this stage we're still quite frightened of our budget! I don't think I'll be brave enough to read our first estimate, Jess can do that and give me the gist of it. Upside to doing a planning session (besides FREE CAKE), we haven't done an engagement shoot yet and we could add that to our Root Photography package if we end up going with them. That'd be perfect.

Thanks for following along, I really appreciate the feedback!
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:33 PM   #8
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What a lovely story!

And from what I've seen, the Roots are fantastic! OH and those carriages and happily ever afters floating all over are a must So pretty!

5 characters??? Woah! Definitely cancel Crystal Palace

Following along!
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:38 PM   #9
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Congrats!!! And it's so great to read a pj from a groom!
I think my DF thought exactly the same thing when he proposed to me, because at first I couldn't get out a word!
I really like your plans so far and I totally understand your worries, although I'm a huge fan of the Roots. It seems that you always need luck with your MK shoot, but jeopardize the whole thing… maybe it's a little bit easier keeping in mind that you can always have a MK shoot as a DFTW couple? As something for an anniversary for example! (But of course I understand that it is something else when you're on your actual honeymoon).
I'm looking forward to hear more from you!!!
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:41 PM   #10
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Congrats!!! And it's so great to read a pj from a groom!
I think my DF thought exactly the same thing when he proposed to me, because at first I couldn't get out a word!

I really like your plans so far and I totally understand your worries, although I'm a huge fan of the Roots. It seems that you always need luck with your MK shoot, but jeopardize the whole thing… maybe it's a little bit easier keeping in mind that you can always have a MK shoot as a DFTW couple? As something for an anniversary for example! (But of course I understand that it is something else when you're on your actual honeymoon).
I'm looking forward to hear more from you!!!
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristiLyn View Post
5 characters??? Woah! Definitely cancel Crystal Palace
Yep, Mickey & Minnie for cake cutting/dancing and pictures. Then a slight overlap with Donald, Chip & Dale for dancing, pictures and general shenanigans! We also want to ask about some characters that we'd love to meet and typically don't get the chance, especially since if they ever get brought out we're allll the way over here in Australia. No matter how unlikely, we'll definitely ask about if we could have Roger Rabbit, Remy, Bolt & Lotso Huggin Bear (we both love him, just want to give him a hug and make him feel better!). And I don't know if they even have a Darkwing Duck in Orlando - they do in Paris - but he's worth an ask. The worst that can happen is they say no!

Actually, now I think of it the worst would be if they said yes to all of them. We'd have so many characters. And probably a huge bank loan!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aschenputtel View Post
I really like your plans so far and I totally understand your worries, although I'm a huge fan of the Roots. It seems that you always need luck with your MK shoot, but jeopardize the whole thing… maybe it's a little bit easier keeping in mind that you can always have a MK shoot as a DFTW couple? As something for an anniversary for example! (But of course I understand that it is something else when you're on your actual honeymoon).
I'm looking forward to hear more from you!!!
I sent an email last night to Disney to let them know we had been talking to the Roots and trying to gauge the likelihood of an MK portrait but I doubt they'll tell me! Our wedding consultant did tell us when the current block out dates for MK portraits are and they start on the 23rd so there'll probably be a few people trying to get theirs in before that date. You're right about needing luck with MK, we know that if we pick Disney Fine Art now we can book our MK date now. BUT what if it rains? Or they add more block out dates? Then we don't have the photographer we want or the portrait! You're right though, if all else fails we can still come back and do it later! We have some friends who are having their own Disney wedding in 2015 so it's not like we won't be back. Plus we're buying all our clothes and all our personal floral is artificial so we could certainly do it again with basically all our authentic gear including the bouquet.

Thanks to you both for your lovely words and for checking in! And to anyone else reading along! Today was a no-news-day but there's a lot I haven't covered yet and so much more to come, such as a decision on photographers hopefully when I get a couple of emails back in the coming days.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:02 AM   #12
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So I got the emails I was waiting for and it certainly eased our worry on photography! I hadn't realised that although the Magic Kingdom portrait session has a 45-day guideline for guests using an outside photographer, it is the only park with such a restriction. Meaning as a backup (that we're pretty excited about all the same!) we can enquire now and hopefully book a date for a Disney's Hollywood Studios portrait shoot! Maybe even Animal Kingdom too if it turns out we can't get MK. Our consultant told us it can be tough booking those between Sept & January with all the extra events in the park anyway and I don't really want to bet on it. Therefore I think we're in agreement that I'll get back to the Roots tonight and ask about where do we go from here.

Having almost sorted out our second vendor, we've started to think about the third. This is gonna be a toughie - a dj. We're actually both kinda against the idea, we're very serious about music and turning control of that over to a third party is a little worrisome! The trouble is Jess really wants dancing and lots of it. She wants someone to get the party going and keep the energy up. Plus as we will only have 20-25 guests, Jess really wants an audience to entertain so she's reluctant to let our guests in on plans we have. Therefore someone to make the announcements and play our first dance and other surprises we're thinking about is important. I'm only worried because I don't want Jess to have a single bad memory of our wedding (naturally) and I think the DJ playing music she hates could actually become one, trivial as it sounds! We both also know what it's like to be in a creative role and have your client tell you to change everything you're doing and do it their way. Kinda negates the point of hiring an expert!

Also today is our halfway point! It has been 286 days since we arrived at Franck's Bridal for our site visit and it is 286 days until our wedding. I actually have a digital countdown clock next to my bed that is ever ticking down so I can watch the days and hours tick by. I hope the batteries live long enough to take us right up to the big day!
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:20 AM   #13
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I totally understand your worries about the DJ. I'm also very picky when it comes to music - especially because my DF has a huge family and I never liked one band/DJ that they had (to be fair it was mostly German folk music, but the worst was the one DJ at a friends wedding who played only one Latin music album over and over again). Moreover it is very nice to have someone taking care of all the announcements.
Congrats to the Roots and to your decision on the park sessions. In my opinion (although I want one) you see MK sessions all the time (it's kind of a DFTW cliche), but it is very interesting to see sessions in over parks!
And to the countdown clock: what a sweet idea!!!
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:15 AM   #14
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Yep we were almost definitely not going to have a DJ but then I became aware of how they bring their equipment, get the party moving and on track and make announcements. These are all quite important! We'll email our wedding planner and tell them we feel we need some of these details taken care of, but someone who is gonna be pretty easygoing on the music side because we're hard to deal with on that stuff! We may end up just hiring an MC to handle the announcements and entertain the guests and stick with the ipod. If it comes down to budget, we wont mind dropping a dj.

We really seem to be in the thick of the planning at the moment. Every day I find myself checking my emails on my lunchbreak and finding some things I need to attend to when I get home. Mostly travel arrangement things, our stay will be roughly one month. We arrive in LA, head down to Anaheim to Disneyland (my first visit), drive over to Vegas, fly to Orlando, spend just over two weeks at WDW and then we're off on a Disney Cruise! We've booked almost everything now and it's exciting but we're running through money so quickly! Also exchanging emails with the Roots who are just about to get into doing up a contract for us and then that's on! I also asked them for any recommendations on vendors they like working with.


Counting down the days, hours, minutes & seconds until our ceremony start

Oh & here's the aforementioned countdown clock! I work at an electronics store and this was part of a countdown display for a product that was launching last year. I was the only one at the store who knew how to program it so I took it home one day (or else it was headed for the trash) and knew exactly what date I was going to put in. As you can see, we're over the halfway point and now into 284 days to go. I'm sure that as we get closer, things will start moving faster than I want them to and it'll arrive before I know it and before I think I'm ready. So excited though!
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:47 AM   #15
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Another weekend so some quiet research time without any firm progress being made. Whereas when the weekdays come we're both checking our emails frequently as we are currently corresponding with our:

Florist
Photographers-to-be (is this a thing?! Well it is now!)
Sales Consultant
Wedding Planner
Room Block Coordinator
Disney Fine Art representative (regarding in-park portraits)
Travel Agent
Guests

So yeah, our emails are busy places at the moment and probably will be for another 9 months! I cannot imagine how people got married before the internet and do not envy them! I mention that we're sending our guests lots of info at the moment because everyone is starting to book their flights! They've always been excited but right now their attendance at our wedding has started to morph into their holiday which is a whole other level! Outside of the wedding, something I'm really looking forward to is simple stuff like sitting around in the eatery, having Mickey waffles with my friends. I've only ever gone with Jess and it's great having that time all to ourselves but this is gonna be such a fun experience.

While I'm talking about guests, I may as well expand a little! As we're coming from Australia, obviously we aren't gonna have a huge number. We're looking at anywhere from 20-25 people, as I say some of them have begun booking or at least dealing with the lucky travel agent we're all hassling! So who are these people? Almost exclusively friends! We announced to all that everyone who wanted to come was invited but we knew that only those with the means and who cared enough to be there would make it. It's a big, big trip but with two years notice as we gave it really only came down to saving $20 per week to have a comfy time.

Naturally, yes, there is plenty of angst that our wedding is seen to be inaccessible to many. To that we have always responded that it is indeed achievable in the timeframe allowed and that if anyone needed assistance with how it could work we would be only too happy to even go so far as do up a budget with them. No takers, of course. I'd love to have family there, but at the same time I don't want 100 people if 90 of whom wouldn't go out of their way to speak to me if it were any other event.

If you're thinking of a destination wedding but are worried about people getting their nose out of joint about the location just be aware that you're never gonna please everyone. I say please yourselves, it's your day and there'll be plenty of those near and dear who will be overjoyed at being included. So in saying that, the only family who are coming is Jess' parents. Mine have unfortunately chosen not to which I feel is something that'll linger for a while. Also, I have a close circle of friends from high school who I have always spoken to at least once a week in the eleven years since we finished. They have all also chosen not to come. Basically one of them was planning on trying for a baby this year and once that domino fell the others weren't keen on stepping up.

But who is coming!? I have two friends whom I've worked with since 2011 who have been very excited for us since before the proposal. They would never miss it and are my groomsmen and, in hard moments, what helps me keep going with this whimsy! Jess' two bridesmaids are friends from high school who are both also getting married this year! We all got engaged within a few months of each other and will end up getting married the same! I also have someone who has been a friend of my family for as long as I can remember who had that same enthusiasm (and not half of the means of others) who is going to be there and one of my great friends from High School who has since moved to England but will be flying over by herself! Haven't seen her in a few years so I'm looking forward to spending time with her, Jess & I both knew her well and she will be the person at the wedding whom I have known the longest (since 2000). Also if Jess ends up with an additional bridesmaid/adult 'flower girl', she will be my female groomsman/ring bearer.

It's sad not having certain people there but we'll have a wedding beyond our wildest dreams in front of 20 people with whom we'll be bonded for life. I feel a lot of disappointment but I can't fathom the stress people who have local weddings must go through trying to accommodate everyone!
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