Ashley & Matthew's Escape Wedding-3/16/18- YCG & Crescent Terrace (Updated 05/22-*Vendor Review*)

Happiest.Haunt_999

An aura of foreboding...
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
So sorry to hear that things were a little unraveled and frustrating, but it still sounds like you had fun, can't wait to read about the Big day!!:bride:
 

figmentfan814

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
I have enjoyed reading the first few days of your report so far. We had our 10th anniversary vow renewal on 3-13 at Epcot, so we were there the same week :lovestruc What a great idea with the family shoot at the resort, I loved the matching shirts for everyone. That's a bummer about your experience at the Boathouse. It was so cold that week in the evenings. We ended up moving our dessert party food inside the evening of the 13th. Looking forward to reading more!
 

ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
@figmentfan814 it was FREEZING that week in the evenings! Thankfully the day of, it was absolutely perfect. We couldn't have asked for better weather for the Friday, but man that Wed and Thurs night were cold! Congrats on your 10 years! Hope your vow renewal was magical!!
 

figmentfan814

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
@ALegrande - It was so cold on Tuesday morning during our pre-ceremony pictures I swear my teeth were chattering. Other than the temperatures we had an amazing day! It was definitely so much warmer later in the week. I'm so glad it had warmed up by your ceremony. Looking forward to reading more :love:
 

ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Our Wedding Day (1 of 2)!
Pre-Ceremony & Ceremony
Aaaah where do I even begin!? I think its kind of serendipitous that I'm recapping our wedding day on our 1 month anniversary. I'm feeling so nostalgic today! Our wedding day was perfect in so many ways and I wish I could relive it over and over again. I'll have to make 2 posts, because there's just too many photos I want to share with all of you to narrow it down to just 10! :p

I woke up in the morning pretty much right when I wanted to, around 8am. I was waking up on and off from about 6:30am, but I was always able to fall back to sleep (I thank the wine for that ;) ) I started the morning off exactly as I had envisioned: having my morning coffee on the balcony, looking over the Wedding Gazebo, sunlight pouring in and the birds chirping their morning song. It truly was magical. At one point I even started tearing up just realizing that all my dreams were really coming drue. Matt and I had always joked about the rabbits that frequent the gazebo area and said they would be our "wedding crashers" during the ceremony. At one point that morning I looked down and there they were, running around and playing in the morning dew on the grass, and I knew that everything was going to be great that day. It was like my little sign from above that the day was going to be perfect and not to worry or stress!

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With that I finished my coffee and went inside to start the day. I took a shower and got dressed in my bridal robe, and laid out all of the little details I wanted to make sure the photographers captured (invitations, jewelry, perfume, etc). We also took this moment to get our room serviced (smart thinking by my mom) so that the beds were nicely made for pictures and the room tidy and clean for everyone coming over.

Around 10:30 my bridesmaids started to arrive for our mimosa gathering. We all chatted about the rehearsal dinner the night before and the usual wedding day pleasantries. Around 11:00, my hair and makeup crew arrived (Weddings by Crystal) and they got to work. As girls were getting their hair/makeup done, others sat around talking or doing various things to get ready. I steamed my dress. Other girls steamed theirs. I was SO happy we had that extra connecting room, because it worked out great having one room for hair and makeup and one room for just hanging out. We had ordered lunch to be delivered from Panera around 11:30, which worked out great. Everyone ordered a boxed meal so they got exactly what they wanted and there was plenty of food. Around 12:30, our photographers arrived and got to work. I got my hair and make-up done in the middle of everyone which worked out well. The whole morning went by so fast, but it was so much FUN. I loved being with my bridesmaids, talking and getting ready, drinking mimosas (maybe one too many :rotfl:), jamming to my awesome wedding day playlist, and just enjoying the day. That will always be one of those memories that sticks out to me and I will cherish always!

Around 2:30 everyone was just about ready (our hair and makeup teams worked so FAST). This is where time (and my memory) starts to get really blurry for me because of everything going on. I remember that we started with some pictures of me and all of the girls in the room- I had some chalkboard signs where they could write how long we've known each other, so we took pictures with those and I also had some cute purple confetti that I wanted to use as a photo prop, so we did that. Then I think I got dressed and took the usual pictures- my mom and sister helping me do the buttons, spraying my perfume, etc. After that, some of the girls wanted to bring their stuff over to Swan and Dolphin so that it wasn't left in my room after the wedding and they'd have to come back and get it. So they did that while I went down and did my first touch with Matt :lovestruc. That was really a special moment. It was the first time that day that I cried, and boy did I lose it lol. I was so excited just to know that he was ready and waiting for me. That soon we would be husband and wife and we could celebrate with our family and friends. It was such a sweet and special moment that I will also cherish forever.

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After the first touch, since we had extra time, the photographers suggested doing a first look with my dad. I initially hadn't planned on that being anything formal with him, as my dad and I are close but definitely aren't the mushy types with each other. That ended up being a really sweet moment as well and now in hindsight I'm glad we did it. I can't wait to see the photos from that and the first touch!

After my dad left to go to the ceremony location, I finally met my DFTW coordinator Chrissy. She was as much of a sweetheart in person as she was throughout the whole planning process! A flood of relief washed over me as I realized she was there and now I really had no fear that everything would run smoothly with her present. At least, everything with the Disney portion of my day...

It was also around this time we found out that the reception space at Swan & Dolphin STILL wasn't cleared of the earlier event they had that day. It was now almost 4:00 and my set-up team (comprised of some very gracious and helpful family members) still hadn't started setting up, even though it was IN MY CONTRACT that we could start setting up at 3:30. Panic. Bridezilla. Freaking out. LOL I think I started growing a second head with the rage that I was feeling in that moment. Thankfully, my sister and other bridesmaids handled the situation but at one point I did hear my sister say "well the bride is freaking out so you need to figure it out". I am definitely a little unhappy with how S&D handled some aspects of our wedding, most notably this hiccup. But more on that later...

I also found out about 10 mins later that our florist had gotten a flat tire en route to S&D with our reception floral!! ugh! Once again though, my MOH/bridesmaids handled it all and even though I knew it was happening, they called the florist and worked it all out and tried to shield me from the stress as much as possible.

Around 4:20, we took a few final photos with me and my bridesmaids, this time with our floral since I didn't get my bouquet until Chrissy arrived. Fun fact about Escape- you don't get your personal floral until your planner arrives 1 hour before the event! I had tried to push them on changing that and getting it delivered earlier (I was even willing to pay a fee!) but no luck there. Thankfully it worked out and we had extra time so I was able to get these pictures with them with our floral just before the ceremony.

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4:50 rolled around real quick and we started walking to the walkway to the Gazebo! All I really remember saying at this point was "this is NUTS!" over and over again LOL :rotfl2:I just couldn't believe I was about to walk in to my fairytale! Everyone lined up and the music began. This. Was. It. I remember being nearly sick to my stomach with excitement. Everything looked beautiful, from what I could see. The only thing I noticed that I wish I would have talked to my planner about before hand was that they put out chairs for all of us, even those who would be standing. I knew they would do this, but what I wasn't prepared for was that one side would be completely in shade, and the other in the sun. So, naturally, EVERYONE sat on the same side- the shaded side. It looked a little funny because one whole side of chairs was practically empty >:( so that was a little annoying. Even though I thought about it well before the wedding, I just figured this was something that couldn't be changed, so I didn't bother asking. I definitely wish now that I would have though.

After everyone processed in- it was my turn! I heard my song, "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles, and instantly got teary-eyed. I remember my dad saying "I love you Ashley" just before we walked, and that made the water works fly even more! :sad: It was a good cry though. I truly feel like I had an out-of-body experience in that moment. I was literally walking into the dream that I had in my head since I was 14. The song. The weather. The gazebo. The flowers. The people. The man. It was all perfect. I was def ugly crying all the way down the aisle :laughing:.

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My uncle did a fabulous job with the whole ceremony and it all went perfect. I'm so glad now we made the decision to have my uncle marry us. I honestly can't imagine now it being anyone else. As I had always hoped, a bunch of my family members who couldn't fit within the 18 guests of Escape made it up to our rooms and were able to watch from the balcony, which was also extra special (my cousin also found the perfect moment to laugh REALLY loudly on purpose as a joke from wayyy up there). That was the other reason I really wanted our rooms to face the gazebo, so that could happen! I'm so happy it worked out. The violinist, Rob Kerr, was also freaking phenomenal. You guys, if you're doing the violinist as your music, REQUEST HIM. He performed every song perfectly- recognizable but also with its own spin on it to make it unique and not boring. I am still floored by the music and honestly that is part of the day that sticks out to me so much, because it really set the perfect mood out there at the gazebo.

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After the ceremony we did the cake and champagne celebration which, for us, was mostly an opportunity to take pictures with our bridal party and family members. The fun part was we all got to enjoy champagne while doing it! The setup was beautiful and this was also another really FUN 30-45 minutes. The servers serving us were awesome and Chrissy did a great job executing everything. The champagne was really GOOD too! We did a staged cake-cutting since the cake was being boxed up and taken to our reception to have there.

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After the photos everyone headed over to our reception and Matt & I got a chance to walk around the Boardwalk and take our photos. That is another memory that stands out to me so much because it was such a fun moment just him & I. We finally got to relax and felt a weight lifted off our shoulders. We were reunited and could talk about the day and how it had been going, we could laugh and be our silly selves, it was magical :love: One of our photographers also brought us food over from the cocktail hour which was a clutch move (and the food was so delicious). After we wrapped up some photos on the walk over to the Swan it was time to get the party started!! :cool1:

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ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Our Wedding Day! (2 of 2)

Reception

Right away walking over the bridge to the Swan I instantly remembered- oh crap, the setup! The flowers! Did everything turn out okay!? Thankfully, it did. :hyper: I was so relieved to see that everything appeared to be set up in the right place, the flowers and centerpieces were where they were supposed to be, and everything looked amazing! PHEW!

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Our beautiful centerpiece floral arrived on time and looked amazing!

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Our guest book ("Advice & Well Wishes for the New Mr. & Mrs.!")

We started with our entrances- each bridesmaid & groomsman pair had their own song they were walking in to, and they did a little dance on the dance floor before going to stand by our Sweetheart table. We entered in to "Marry You" by Bruno Mars. Man, was my *new* husband enjoying that moment LOL. He's always had a knack for flair and loves having attention on him when it comes to things like dancing or singing. He hammed up that moment so much! LOL. After our entrances, we had our first dance- Thinking out Loud by Ed Sheeran. We decided to skip doing any family dances, since this is both of our second weddings and we wanted to just spend as much time as possible with our guests. After the dances, we said a short thank-you to everyone and opened up the buffet.

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The service staff at the Swan and Dolphin I must say were 100% top notch. They were ON IT and got us literally anything and everything we needed. I felt like such royalty. They always made sure I had a drink in hand and served us our own food right to our sweetheart table! We didn't even have to wait in the buffet line (which I am kind of bummed about ONLY because I didn't get to see "the spread" and like how everything was set up/laid out). The food was DELICIOUS and everything I remembered it would be from our tasting. The biggest hit were the beignets- everyone LOVED them! I'm actually sad I only got three of them lol I should have asked for more but I was actually SO FULL at that point! We definitely were NOT the couple that doesn't eat at their wedding haha we ate the crap out of that food!

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After dinner we ran out to take some quick sunset photos and then back in we came to do a photo with every table. It was important to me to have a photo with each person there, so that was our practical way of doing that. We went around and each table had to be "ready" when we got there- it was sort of like a race to see how quickly we could get it done lol. After that we went around and mingled some with the guests and then headed out to the dance floor! I'm pretty sure at that point I left the dance floor maybe 2 times the rest of the night :rotfl: I was having so much fun just dancing and singing the night away! Around 8:30 or so we cut the cake, and it was absolutely delicious! We did the yellow cake with hazelnut filling and chocolate cake with The Grey Stuff filling. I'm actually bummed because even though I asked for it, they didn't end up cutting our top layer! I feel bad that people didn't get the variety of two types of cake like I had intended. But oh well, what can you do! The cake cutting moment itself was a fun moment because as my husband was trying to feed me my piece, it actually fell out of his hands and down my chest!! :lmao:We decided to just roll with it, and there he went- face first, into my dress LOL. As awkward as it was I'll bet it made for some amazing pictures- I can't wait to get those back!

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By the time we knew it, it was already 9:30 and things were starting to wind down. No! How could this be!? We didn't even get a chance to play games yet, or talk to everyone we wanted to talk to! Had the DJ even played all the songs I wanted to hear? LOL howww could the night already be over?! At 10:00, we headed to the walkway area where everyone was gathered for our glow-stick exit. I was also flustered at this point because we had bought glow minnie and mickey ears we wanted to wear on our exit- but they were no where to be found! I didn't have time to go searching for them so we just said screw it and grabbed our mickey balloons that were at our seats and carried those out. The exit went off great and was actually a lot of fun! I was worried the glow sticks wouldn't be bright enough or wouldn't look like I had envisioned it, but they did. We left the group and headed out into the night as Mr. & Mrs.! It was really fun on the walk back to the Yacht Club as well, as many folks stopped and congratulated us or asked us if we wanted any pictures- it was fun :)

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We actually also did an after-party at Phins bar in the Dolphin lobby and that was a lot of fun too! After we freshened up at the Yacht ;) we hustled back to the Dolphin to hang out. There was actually a really good turn out! Our photographers were there too as well as my parents and most of our bridal party. I'm happy we did that because that gave us a chance to talk to some folks who we didn't get a chance to catch up with at the reception itself! Around 1:00am we finally called it a night and walked back to the Yacht. It was so nice that late at night because it was so peaceful and cool and calm out- it was the perfect end to a perfect day just walking with my husband in the cool March night air. I couldn't believe our wedding was over, but there was still SO much to look forward to! Disney the next day with my family was up next, and then the day after that we would be leaving for our honeymoon! No time to be sad- rest was very necessary after such an exhausting day! *3.16.18*

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My family that watched from the room decorated it for us as a surprise before leaving for the reception! Aren't these pillow cases just the cutest?!
 
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Happiest.Haunt_999

An aura of foreboding...
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Everything was so gorgeous! I love the floral and the ladies dresses, and you were stunning! I am so glad it went great and can't wait to read more! :cutie:
 

ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Everything was so gorgeous! I love the floral and the ladies dresses, and you were stunning! I am so glad it went great and can't wait to read more! :cutie:

Thank you so much! Thanks for following along on my whole journey!

Oh it looks just perfect! So beautiful! And so sweet of your family to decorate your room!

Thank you @olafLover ! I know, it was so super sweet to come “home” to that after the wedding! We had no idea and it was a total surprise!
 

ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Post-Wedding 4- Disney Day!
So the day after our wedding, we planned to go to Hollywood Studios with as many people who wanted to join us as possible! Initially I had wanted to do Magic Kingdom, but I soon changed that idea when I remembered MK has no alcohol LOL. Plus, I liked that HS was much more walkable and manageable, plus, then we could make it more of a half-day thing and go to the park a little bit later, giving everyone time to sleep in (and recover) from the night before! We opened it up to anyone invited to the wedding, but mostly it ended up being my entire family who came with us. I was a bit bummed that none of my friends came, but I get it. It IS expensive and we are locals, so it makes sense they wouldn't come but my family (who was mostly visiting from out of town/out of state) would. All in all, we ended up having 22 adults and 6 kids in the group! Most of us agreed to wear our "Ohana" shirts from the family picture day, which ended up being really special because as a huge group moving through HS with those shirts on- we were definitely noticeable!

Prior to the wedding, I had worked with everyone to plan the 3 fast passes for the day and I ended up being the one adding everyone to the Fast Pass group! It was kind of stressful, but I'm glad I had a part in that process as well- it gave me something to do in the days and weeks leading up to the wedding. We had decided as a group to do Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, and Tower of Terror. This gave a nice variety of rides- something tame, something medium, and something more thrilling. I also came up with a general itinerary for the day that everyone could choose to follow or not. I'll post a copy of it in the files below, for reference. The main piece of advice I would give for people planning a park day with a large group is to not overplan the day. I think what worked really well for our group was the mix of activities I put together. We started out with somewhere where people could grab a snack or a drink, followed by a ride. This meant they were full, and they were having fun right off the bat. Then I planned time for us to walk around the Star Wars Launch Bay and meet the characters, giving us a chance to be indoors and for people who didn't care to meet characters to sit and take a break. Then we did another ride, then took a break for snacks and lunch, then did a show (again giving people a chance to rest from walking), then we did dinner and finally our last ride. It was a great mix of activities and people had plenty of stopping points to rest, have snacks, etc. Especially with the kids, it was important we planned breaks and more slower-paced things. Its also super important to be flexible with the times, because large groups move veryyyy slow. Overall though, the day was so much fun and we all had a great time! Only at one point did my cousin and his wife and their 2 kids break away from the rest of us for a bit, because they were uninterested in seeing the Indiana Jones stunt show. Also, my other cousin and his wife and their 2 kids left early and didn't stay for fireworks, since they had a 45 min drive back to our house where they were staying that night. But all in all, we all really had a great time given the largeness of our group, and everyone kept mentioning how easy the day was flowing and how much fun they were having.

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I'm so glad we decided to do this park day, because it really gave Matt and I a chance to be with my extended family members who travelled so far to be there for our wedding. We really hadn't had TOO much time with everyone prior to this, so it was really special to make the memories with the kids, and spend more quality time (almost 8 hours!) together with everyone. Truth be told, this was honestly one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend (apart from our amazing ceremony and saying "I do")! It is truly something I will cherish forever, to have all the people I love so much in my absolute favorite place togther (yes, HS is my favorite park due to so many childhood memories there). I am so glad everyone that came, did, and that my family were all so great about the day! Also, this was our first time staying at the resorts around Epcot, so it was SUPER nice to be so close to the resort afterwards. Even though I was dead tired and didn't know how I would make it, we ended up walking back via the Boardwalk path to HS because it was a beautiful night (and my sister was insisting). It was so great to walk right back to the resort in less time it would have taken for the boat or buses (since we left at park closing). On the way, we actually stopped at my parents/sisters room at the Swan and ate the top tier of our cake together with them! lol Since it hadn't been served at the wedding, we all dug in to that as a midnight snack, had a beer and talked about the day, and then Matt and I left and had a beautiful stroll back to Yacht Club. it was a perfect end to a perfect night!

Next up- our Honeymoon Cruise (briefly as that isn't Disney related!)
 

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ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Our AMAZING Honeymoon!
So the day after the Disney day (2 days after the wedding) it was time to leave for our amazing 1 week cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas! We would have loved to do a Disney cruise, however that just wasn't in the budget for us after spending so much on the wedding. A funny story about our honeymoon cruise- I actually booked it before we were even engaged! :rolleyes1 I was in my obsessive pre-planning phase just WAITING to get engaged and since I had already planned so much of the wedding, I had naturally moved on to planning the honeymoon. I saw a great deal for a 7 day RCL cruise with a balcony room, and I knew that I just had to book it! The deposit amount was low and I knew I could cancel it with plenty of time if need be. We both had never been on a 7 day cruise (only 5 days or shorter) and we had never had a balcony room, so I knew it would just be perfect! Also, we both had only been on the smaller ships, never something as big as the Oasis. I knew it would be the perfect honeymoon for us since my husband loves cruising (its his favorite type of vacation) so it wouldn't be something he gave me any grief over, and it would be nice to just totally "get away" after the wedding- cut off from cell service and all.

It was CRAZY having to pack for not only the wedding week but also a whole week of cruising afterward! I don't know how we didn't forget anything major (except DH's dress shoes). I ordered us a car service as a surprise to my new hubby to take us to the Port. This is where that whole "I wish I would have saved our Escape limo" comes in to play. Don't get me wrong- we loved the service we received from the limo company (Florida Magical Tours & Transportation), but it sucked to have to pay $140 for a town car when we could have had a stretch limo for free! :rolleyes2 But either way, DH was surprised and loved the idea, and it was REALLY nice going this route for our transportation to the Port. Funnily enough we both spent almost the whole ride on our phones :laughing:, since we hadn't had a SECOND to even look at all of the congratulatory posts and pictures people had been posting to social media. So honestly, it was nice to just take that hour or so to totally chill, relax, and catch up on all the posts, send all the thank-yous, and save all of the photos we wanted to be sure to have. The drive went smoothly and without a hitch! Before we knew it, we were pulling up to our MAMMOTH of a cruise ship!

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Driving up to the Port, seeing our cruise ship for the first time!!

We boarded with no problems or issues, and our room was ready pretty immediately. We got on board around 12:30, headed straight for lunch, and then went to check out the ship. Gosh, I have never seen a ship so big! We went to the spa right away to sign up for a couples massage (and take advantage of the day 1 booking promotions), and then we got ready to head to the Sail Away party. One of the best things was that my family all went to a restaurant at the Port to wave to us as we sailed away! We could see my mom, dad, aunt, & uncle clearly from the aft of the ship and were able to wave to them as we were leaving! That was a really fun memory I'll never forget.

We loved our ship so much and this was honestly one of the best vacations we ever had. The ship stopped in Labadee (their private island off the coast of Haiti), Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel. Due to the recent security situations (and because I've been there before), we decided not to get off the ship in Cozumel. We had a great time at every port stop- doing excursions in both Jamaica and the Private Island- and we ate and drank enough on the ship to keep us content for the entire year! Our room was beautiful and the ship had so much to do and see on board. Some of our favorite things were watching the outdoor movies in the Aquatheater and going to the amazing nightly shows. We also LOVED the adults-only area called the Solarium, complete with its own bar and infinity hot tubs. We truly had the time of our lives and it was by far one of the easiest, best vacations I've been on in a LONG time. Even by day 7, I didn't want it to end! I definitely wasn't ready to face reality and REALLY accept that the wedding process was over.

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Thankfully, we both took two days off post-cruise to unwind and unpack, and just sort of decompress from everything. While going back to work was hard, it was nice to start to get things like sneak peeks of our photos to show everyone, and talking to friends and family and catching up on how they enjoyed everything helped keep that wedding excitement alive. I can't believe how fast the entire process went, from engagement to the end of the honeymoon. It was a WHIRLWIND 11 months and I'm actually really proud of Matt and I for being able to pull all of this off almost completely on our own in such a short time span. I really will miss the wedding process, and I've found as time goes on that there are definitely a number of things that I wish I could have changed about our big day. I'm on the fence currently about a vow renewal- on the one hand, I want to have a chance to be a Disney Bride again and do-over all of those things, but on the other hand I know it would be really hard to sell it to our friends and family to come to FL for ANOTHER wedding-like event. Which, when it comes down to it, I guess it truly IS just about Matt and I, but that would mean leaving out things like a DP, as we won't have the number of guests to justify the cost (which I'm sure 10 years from now will be way higher than it is now! I'm guessing... $5K minimum expenditure for all DPS). So I go back and forth on that. But, for now, what I've done is really thrown myself into planning our anniversaries! Already for year 1 we have a really great plan in place- taking a Disney Cruise and doing a casual resort photo shoot with The Roots! For 5 years I'm thinking a small party with our close family and friends on Grand Yacht 1. So those things help me cure the post-wedding blues and have helped me to get over some of the lingering "blah" feeling I've had.

So there you have it! Our wedding process from Beginning to End! I do want to do one final post where I review all of our vendors and get into more specifics about the things I would change/ things I wish I'd done differently, so that hopefully that information could help future brides. So until then, TTFN!
 
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Landslide305

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 9, 2005
I really enjoyed reading your report. You did a beautiful job and will have the memories to last a lifetime. (I really want to book that ship! It looks gorgeous)
 

ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
I really enjoyed reading your report. You did a beautiful job and will have the memories to last a lifetime. (I really want to book that ship! It looks gorgeous)

Thank you so much @Landslide305 !! Thanks for reading along and following my journey! I HIGHLY recommend Oasis! It’s definitely worth it- or it’s sister ships Harmony or Allure. I was glad the ship wasn’t OVERWHELMINGLY big, but had plenty to do to keep us busy for 7 days. You won’t regret it!!

I think I’m definitely going to print out my whole PJ and keep it in a momento box of stuff I have from our wedding. I already get the urge sometimes to read back through it to “relive” the planning process! I’m so glad I decided to end up doing one so I can always have the memories to look back on!
 

Woth2982

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Loved reading all about your wedding! Looks like it was such a great day! The cruise looks like you had a blast as well. Keeping a print out of the PJ is a great idea. If you ever have kids Im sure they would love to read about all the planning that went into it.
 

ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Loved reading all about your wedding! Looks like it was such a great day! The cruise looks like you had a blast as well. Keeping a print out of the PJ is a great idea. If you ever have kids Im sure they would love to read about all the planning that went into it.

Thanks so much!! It really was a great day. We had so much fun on the cruise! Oooh that's such a good point about future children- I didn't even consider that! How neat! Thanks for reading my journey!
 

ALegrande

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Vendor Review
Alright so now that we have our final gallery of photos back and things have pretty much calmed down after the wedding, I figured its a good time to do a quick vendor review.

I want to preface this post with the fact that I did have honestly very high expectations for all of my vendors, which is perhaps a bit of the "bridezilla" in me that really came forward. In my mind, vendors for a wedding *should* be at the top of their game for the prices they charge and for how important the day is. With that said, I do think most of our vendors were great and I WOULD recommend them again, just with caution for some...

Anyway, here goes.

Disney Fairytale Weddings: A
Working with Disney was, for us, a great experience. The *only* place we had some trouble was with our sales consultant at the very beginning, who was very rude and condescending and not on the top of her game. I was so worried that we wouldn't get our chosen date and time because of her, but everything else worked out amazing. Our planner, Chrissy Owen-Walsh, was absolutely fantastic. They were able to accommodate almost every request I had, and I loved how flexible the Escape package was even thought it didn't seem that way at first glance. The Disney portion of our day flowed seamlessly and absolutely perfect. They really do have a magical touch that sometimes baffles the mind. Its because of them that I feel any desire at all to do a vow renewal in the future; the experience with them was magical and I want to have that experience again! Anyone on the fence about using DFTW, don't hesitate. They are amazing (at least for Escape!)

Swan & Dolphin Catering: B
Swan and Dolphin catering was absolutely amazing in the beginning. From the signing process through our tasting, they were fabulous. However, this stellar service dropped off a lot after the tasting. Lindsey Cullen became difficult to reach and took forever to respond to emails. I have since found out that she transferred to another Starwood Hotel in Seattle, so perhaps the experience for future brides will be different. This also might explain her lack of professionalism, since perhaps she knew she would be leaving soon. Also, the day of the wedding, they had another event happening at the Crescent Terrace in the early afternoon. It was stated in our contract we wouldn't be able to set up until 3:30, which was cutting it close, but doable all the same. The day of the wedding, my family members that we had asked to help with reception setup called us a few minutes shy of 4:00 and told us they still weren't allowed in to Crescent Terrace and the other event was still ongoing. When my MOH called Lindsey to see what was going on, her response was "well we can't just kick them out". This is where I REALLY lost it lol and my bridezilla monster reared its ugly head, because that was an unacceptable answer to me. If it was stated in our CONTRACT that we would get the space starting at 3:30, then you SURE CAN kick them out! lol. Luckily, Lindsey and her team definitely made up for it by offering to set up all of our decor and send our family on to the ceremony (remember we had a 5pm ceremony time! Making the delay even more of an issue for them as they were worried they would miss the ceremony). When we got there, everything was set up and good to go, so I guess in the long run, no harm done. It was definitely just not the experience I had hoped for, especially on my wedding day when my anxiousness was through the roof.

I will say this- Swan & Dolphin catering are more than willing to work with you on budget and pricing. They were flexible when we wanted to add things, and helped us out by throwing in several items for free. They had tons of options for food and desserts, just as much as Disney. If you are thinking about Swan and Dolphin as your reception venue, I still highly recommend them. As mentioned before, Lindsey Cullen has moved on to a different position, so likely your experience would be different and, hopefully better, than mine was. Having our reception there made it possible for us to have a traditional weekend wedding with a full reception and dancing, which we could not have done through Wishes/DFTW. Without the minimums associated with Wishes, we could save money in certain places and didn't have to be held to meeting a minimum amount. So, overall, I am grateful for them and our reception was just beautiful and was everything I had hoped for as far as my vision goes.

Publix Store 1431 (Celebration) (Floral): A+
I am so happy with our choice to go with Publix for our floral. Kitty, the floral Manager, and her team were absolutely wonderful to work with, and they totally matched my vision for the centerpieces that was one of the big things I couldn't live without at the wedding. I had always dreamed of huge, tall centerpieces, and they came as close to that vision as they could. Plus, we paid about 1/2 of what we would have paid going through a traditional florist. All told, we spent about $900 for 6 centerpieces and 2 table swags, which included delivery and setup. This was just for the floral; I had to buy the actual vases separately, but those I found on ebay from China and they held up surprisingly well (and I was able to re-sell them after the wedding and make some of my money back!). So for just at $1000, I was able to have the exact floral that I wanted, which was awesome. They even got a flat tire on the way to the Swan on the wedding day, and somehow they still made it on time and got the centerpieces set up perfectly before we arrived. I can't recommend them enough!

Subsonic Event DJs: C
We found Shawn/Subsonic DJs on The Knot and I ultimately went with him because he was the cheapest option of the 3 vendors I priced and there were great, raving reviews online AND someone had mentioned having him for a Swan and Dolphin wedding in the past. Again, throughout most of the process Shawn was amazing. We LOVED the fact they had an online planning website for us where we could put in song requests, outline who's-who in the wedding party/introductions, add what songs we wanted for cake cutting, first dance, etc. The day of the actual wedding, though, things fell totally flat. First of all, there were bigtime issues with the microphones having interference because of the trees around CT. So during our thank-you speech, the mics kept cutting in and out constantly. Also, Shawn messed up our introductions, playing the wrong songs for different people, then saying "woops!" and starting over, all the while there was a big silence in between him cueing up the right song. The songs played during the dancing portion were OK, and a lot of them were songs we requested, but there were also some played we explicitly said we didn't want, like the Cupid Shuffle. I feel like there were several times that I said to myself "I didn't request this song?", and it wasn't in a good way. I was all for him using his creative license to play songs that would get people moving, but it just seemed like the ones he did select fell short. I've also seen videos of other weddings where the DJ literally got out on the dance floor with the mic getting people involved and hyping up the crowd. Shawn did not do any of this and honestly after the introductions, its like he melted into the background and I barely noticed him. I know that everyone has their off days, and I truly think this is what this was, because he was so jazzed up and energetic the other times we had met with him. I'm not sure if there was something that happened behind the scenes with S&D or during his setup that maybe influenced him as well, but it just wasn't the stellar, hyped-up performance that I expected after the reviews I read of him online.

Miranda Grey Weddings (Photography): B-
Ugh, where do I begin with our photographers? Lol. Again, this process started off great. We connected with them after our first meeting so well, we thought for sure we had just met friends we would have beyond our wedding. They were so laid back and chill, promising us the world and again, hyping the process so much that we felt so confident with them. After our engagement shoot, we knew that we might run in to issues with them getting us our photos on time as those came a few days later than they promised. We tried to keep a positive attitude, though, because we had met with them probably 4 or 5 times in the planning process just to talk, catch up on the wedding, go over details with them, etc. On the day of the wedding, they were on time, but as the day wore on, their professionalism slipped. We had always had a very casual relationship with them, so we offered them alcoholic drinks in the room when they first got there. They definitely took this offering and ran with it, and had a few more drinks than one would think is acceptable for someone who is supposed to be working. Granted, they were not by any means drunk at all, but it didn't stop with just 1 drink in the morning and 1 at the reception. They had several throughout the day, and at one point some of the guests confused them as guests of our wedding. There were moments at the reception that friends and family members told us they were standing around talking and having a drink rather than taking pictures. In one of our pictures, one of photographers can be seen IN the circle that was made around us while we sang Piano Man. So we definitely felt like they were taking a far more relaxed approach to the event than we maybe would have hoped.

We also had a major issue getting our photos back on time, which we anticipated. Our contract stated 6-8 weeks for our online gallery. We waited the full 8 weeks, and then about 3 days later we still had heard nothing from them, so Matt contacted them. They assured us we would have our photos that week (it was a Monday he contacted them). Friday came around and still no pictures, so we contacted them again. They said they "forgot to send the email" and would send it Saturday morning. Long story short, we didn't get our photos until SUNDAY late afternoon, which is odd since supposedly he had them ready, but just "forgot to send the email", right? :sad2: It was a very frustrating process that left us feeling icky about the whole thing. Instead of being excited to see our photos, we were grouchy and left with a bad taste in our mouths. We also could tell throughout the planning process that they never featured us on any social media posts, but would gush over other couples, which stung a little, and we just often felt undervalued and like they didn't care about our wedding as much as some others.

The reason why they still receive a higher overall grade, though, is because we do LOVE our photos. The work they did was great, and we got over 1,000 pictures, which *sort of * made up for the delay in getting them back. Granted, there are some details that they did miss, especially with regards to the decor and things like the ceremony and reception spaces before people were in them. They did, however, document the interactions between people and on the dance floor excellently, and they got great shots of us together and really captured our personalities. I've included 10 of our favorite pictures below so that you guys can see! We really do love the pictures and are happy our day is so well-documented, which in the end is what truly matters. We don't have to speak to them ever again, but we will have our pictures forever, so I would rather walk away from the wedding process with great photos and a crummy experience than a great experience with terrible photos.

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Weddings by Crystal (Hair and MUA): A
Crystal was another great find, and I had found her through a friend who had recently gotten married and recommended her. She was on time and worked FAST and had us all ready in under 4 hours (Myself, 4 bridesmaids, and my mom). I did feel that the final product was a *tad* bit different than my trial... more of a side ponytail than a side swoop of my hair. And in all fairness, I had the opportunity to tell her that and get it fixed, but I chose not to in the moment because I still looked beautiful and just didn't feel like sitting for the time it would take to fix it. Everyone was really happy with their hair and makeup and she even accommodated my mom who had said she didn't want her hair done but last minute decided to get it done anyway. My favorite thing about Crystal was she and her 2nd MUA both made everyone look relatively natural with regards to makeup. One of the most important things to me was that me and my friends looked like ourselves, which we totally did. My makeup stayed all night and so did my hair. I was 100% happy and will even probably use Crystal next year for our anniversary photo shoot!

Casa di Bella/The Dressing Room Celebration (Dress): A-
I absolutely loved my dress shopping experience and highly recommend this shop! Especially now that they have changed ownership and are formally The Dressing Room, they are managed a lot better and Rebecca (the new store manager) is amazingly passionate about her gowns. I only give them a minus because of the situation that I had during my shopping experience with the a/c going out and the struggle it was to get them to still let us have the appointment. I loved having the shop all to myself, and can't recommend that experience enough to future brides (even if its at a different shop-seriously! A private shop experience is so much better than with other girls doing the same thing across the room!). My dress was reasonably priced and totally unique and gorgeous. I also plan to use them again for our VR, if and when we decide to do one!

Men's Wearhouse: A
Don't get me wrong, I was SUPER nervous to be using Men's Wearhouse for our groom and groomsmen attire, but I was never really blown away by Carolyn Allen, and this was our only other option if we wanted the suits delivered. I really wanted to to go the delivery route because I was just SO nervous that if we left it up to the guys something might go wrong, and on top of that it just seemed like a no-brainer to get them delivered for no extra cost. After the horror stories I heard from some people, I started getting really nervous. I stayed on top of MW and checked in on them like twice in the planning process, to make sure they still had all of our details correct. I must say, everything went flawlessly smooth with them! The tuxes were delivered to our resort on time, with everything accounted for. All but 1 of the guys could try on their stuff before the deadline, so we were good there. Everything fit, and it looked great. I definitely recommend using their delivery services- it made everything so easy! One less thing to worry about. It was so nice the next day too just dropping the suits off at Bell Services and heading out to our Disney day. Just stay on top of them so that they don't mix up any of your details!

Florida Magical Tours and Transport: A
We used this company for our ride to the Port for our honeymoon, and they were great! Super reliable and arrived on time (early, actually!) and we had a great ride to the Port. They upgraded the car to an SUV rather than a town car for no extra charge, and they were one of the cheaper rates we found for our trip. They didn't do anything absolutely stellar, but all in all it was a great experience!
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So there you have it! I can't believe this wedding process now is truly over. Since the wedding day, I've been slowly hanging on to some things upcoming such as getting our photos back and updating my PJ with all of the post-wedding details. Now that both of those things are done, I truly am just about wrapped up with the wedding process! This summer, I plan to work on making a photo album of our pictures through Blurb and working on some Canvas wall displays of our favorite pics.

Thank you to everyone who followed on my journey as a Disney Bride! It truly was a once in a lifetime experience that I feel so blessed to have had. Being a Disney Bride is one of the absolute best feelings ever, and I hope this PJ has helped/will help many more brides feel that magic of being a Disney Bride as well! In the words of Tigger... TTFN!
 
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