Disney Cruise Wedding-What Would You do?

Which Would You Choose?

  • Cozumel

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Grand Cayman

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • On Board

    Votes: 5 83.3%
  • Falmouth

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other (please tell me)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    6

OhhShiney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 3, 2020
So my future hubby and I (mostly me, hes very laid back and would be happy to just go to the courthouse) are trying to figure out a small destination wedding (it was going to be an elopement, but then certain people invited themselves-so back to the drawing board we went.)
In an effort to make things easier on everyone (and especially me), we're leaning towards a DCL wedding, however, I'm not over the moon with their onboard options-so we're also researching independent onshore options on a Fantasy Western Caribbean route(during star wars sailings).
We're trying to not talk to much about weddings with friends, for various reasons, or family (see above self-inviting issues -also control issues) until we have a more concrete plan in place. Therefore, I'm seeking some help from the hive mind.
As of now, we're tossing around three options:

A) Day 3- On Shore -Cozumel. (830-430)
PROS: Found a location/package (Mr Sanchos) I'm pretty fond of.
Some wonderful photoshoot locations on the wild side of island
USD is decently strong against the Mexican Peso
Cozumel is *very* rarely missed.
Don't have to tender!
CONS: Pirate night is this night. (I love dressing up for pirate night-may be sad about having to take my dress of so soon, or I might be dying to change-this could go either way)
This will be the day after my birthday. (that seems odd...will people think its odd?)

B) Day 4-On Shore - Grand Cayman (1030-530)
PROS: May be able to wear dress longer (no pirate night to change for)
Found some nice location options (smiths cove, especially)
Photos in "Hell!"
Late arrival time (1030am) gives me a window to not worry about rushing getting ready.
CONS: A huge number of people from multiple ships in port (over 17,500pax)
We're the last ship to arrive.
This port seems to get missed enough to make me nervous.
USD is a bit weak compared to the Cayman dollar.
Have to tender!
Nice location options aren't quite as private as I'd prefer
Not finding as many around the island photo spots
We would really enjoy spending the day snorkeling in Grand Cayman.

C) On board ceremony, ideally Day 4 or 5, early evening
PROS: Easiest to coordinate options.
I don't hate the outlook lounge.
Wouldn't have to worry about taking care of legalities before boarding.
Meridan Patio looks kinda ok
Don't have to find my own coordinator
Would allow me to book an inpark photo session in wedding clothes (yes its alot of money...but hollywood tower hotel pics....*🤤*)
Day 5 is my preferred anniversary date, because its basically halfway between our birthdays, but ultimately, i'm just being a little crazy and know that either 18,19,20 would all be completely fine.
DCL already does naked wedding cakes, so at least one thing I don't have to negotiate!
CONS: Not interested in/don't need many of the inclusions.
I don't love the outlook lounge.
I can't find many reference images of the Meridan patio set up for a wedding
Stuck with whatever coordinator they give me
Disney weddings aren't know for flexibility
Limits choices for Photography and videography
I've tried reaching out Disney Fairytale Weddings, and their responses....leave something to be desired (I feel like I'm getting automated replies that don't touch on my actual questions.)
There's no actual guarantee on location/date/time until 45 days out (and even after that , it can be changed)

So what would you do? If you were a guest, what would you prefer? Are there any considerations I haven't thought of? Have any ideas for options I maybe haven't considered? Please help this over thinking bride to be.



SOME BASIC NOTES:

I have nothing against getting married in Jamaica, I just can't find a location that really speaks to me near Falmouth. If you have suggestions, PLEASE share!

Although I do like the idea of the ceremony in the sand, I don't really want to do Castaway Cay because I will feel like I'm "stealing" that day from my guests. I love Castaway, and I want everyone to enjoy it with their families in whatever way they would like. (It's also the last day of the cruise, so I would have longer to obsess over things, and a higher chance of sunburn).

Neither sea day is an option. (the first is my birthday, the second is stars wars day, and we don't want to miss that/cause our guests to miss that.

Our birthdays are about 9 days apart, and I would like a date between them (for purely practical reasons- we like to take a birthday trip yearly, and i'd like to be able to combine that with an anniversary trip)

I am aware that DCL requires a basic legal ceremony to be held on embarkation day, and then they perform a symbolic ceremony later. (we have a small guest list of people close to us, all of whom have had some experience with "symbolic" weddings that have taken place after legal ones. Nobody is going to feel cheated or lied to- nor will we keep this info a secret from them)
I will try to take a quick scouting trip to the chosen location before the wedding (hopefully with FI, but his schedule may not allow for it)-and may drop off some decor items, linens, etc with the planner (assuming its an on shore location). (the on location check is something I hope to be able to do, in part because I've never actually planned a wedding where I couldn't do a venue walk through, and also because I have moderate allergic reaction to a family of plants that tend to be prevalent in tropical landscaping, and I'd rather my wedding day not involve an epi-pen-I've learned to only trust pictures so far)

Even though it will be "short notice" by typical destination wedding standards (and not the cheapest trip for anyone), we're expecting 15-20 people (some of which will be kids). I assure you that number has been arrived at from careful analysis of relevant facts, as things currently stand. If more people choose to come, that's fine. If fewer people, also completely cool.

Of course, ALL of this, is assuming that life/cruising is back to somewhat normal by winter.

(Yes, Im an overthinker/planner. I've been a event designer/wedding planner for the better part of the past decade, Im MUCH better at helping other people make choices, than making my own apparently)
 

earfulofmagic

cranking out magic and assembly line whimsy
Joined
May 16, 2017
Fellow overthinker and planner here :wave2: Totally get how you're feeling weighing the various options, pros & cons!
Take the following with the grain of salt that I have not yet had my wedding, and I've only cruised once (with DCL on the Dream!).

If it were me, I would pick onboard for these reasons from your list:
  • Easiest to coordinate options.
  • Wouldn't have to worry about taking care of legalities before boarding.
  • Don't have to find my own coordinator
  • Would allow me to book an inpark photo session in wedding clothes (yes its alot of money...but hollywood tower hotel pics....*🤤*)
  • Day 5 is my preferred anniversary date, because its basically halfway between our birthdays, but ultimately, i'm just being a little crazy and know that either 18,19,20 would all be completely fine.
I would be very worried about anything going amiss if I planned something in-port, not through DCL/DFTW. I think I would also feel rushed and worry about the timeline in port.
I've waited years to plan our wedding so that we get married on the exact date I want (in late 2021!), so choosing based on the preferred anniversary date you mentioned really speaks to me. That said, you could plan a small onshore ceremony at WDW (or elsewhere in Florida...) on the date so that your legal anniversary is the actual date, then hop on the next cruise immediately after. With your allergy, it does seem like the onboard locations pose much lower risk than in port, and Disney in general is very conscious of allergies.

Some reference images of the Meridian Patio used for a vow renewal on the Fantasy are linked in this podcast episode: https://disneyweddingpodcast.com/cruise-vow-renewal-spotlight-peta-allan/
That same couple's vow renewal video, including some shots of the patio, here: https://www.mycruisingfamily.com/blog/2019/11/5/we-renewed-our-vows-on-a-disney-cruise
This other episode showcased a ceremony in the atrium, and the bride discussed bringing aboard her own photographer (an additional expense of course, but it's an option to ensure you get the photos/videos you want): https://disneyweddingpodcast.com/noelle-jonathans-disney-cruise-wedding/

Whatever you choose, congratulations! It may take some nights of sleeping on it, but once you feel confident in your choice and stop catching your mind wandering to those "but what about this instead..." scenarios, you'll know you made the right one.
 


starry_solo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Friend is doing a DCL ceremony (will be married on land, but the "ceremony" and reception are on board)...that is, of course if DCL is cruising in September. All she has to do is pay, pick cake & colors and done. Easy peasy and no worries about anything else
 
  • lorimay

    🏖🏝⛱
    Joined
    Dec 11, 2008
    I think onboard is your safest choice.
    The thought of missing the port you are suppose to be married at would scare me.

    We did a very low-key vow renewal back in 2012 on The Magic for our 25th.
    It was just us, our kids, their significant others and our grandkids, it was perfect.
    We did on Deck 7 outside (which is no longer there :sad1:)
    DCL made is so easy, it was handled before we boarded. We met with the coordinator the day we boarded to go over everything.
    We used DCL photography, they were fine, but if you can, bring your own photographer onboard, go that route.

    I have seen brides that have been able to have the ceremony in the atrium, which looked amazing.
    I think you need to ask for permission for that.
    @lurkyloo has a podcast with DCL brides, she also had an e-book that will be very helpful to you.

    Good Luck & Congratulations!!!
     

    Wild4Walt

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2008
    Another vote for Onboard. While you may have some beautiful locations on the islands I'd be worried about trying to find vendors etc. Another thing to keep in mind is transportation for you and your guests to the site itself. That can be equally difficult to coordinate depending on how many you have in your party. Plus, I love the idea of the Tower of Terror photo shoot. Keep in mind that now, Disney is still on quarantine like the rest of us so it may be a delay in hearing from a coordinator.
     

    SailingSeas

    Will Retire to Castaway Cay!
    Joined
    Dec 7, 2009
    We did Castaway Cay, and it was amazing. I too, recommend onboard as well, it's much less stressful.

    I don't know if you were told, but the FTW team was furloughed and that may be why you're not getting the warm and fuzzies from the staff. Stephanie was the normal coordinator for the Fantasy and she is warm and caring and helped me through my father's passing during the wedding planning. She helped (gently) keep me focused and looking on the positive. I doubt I would have received that kind of support by a destination planner.
     

    SL6827

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2017
    Spent close to three weeks in Grand Cayman in 2018. It is very beautiful and also has a low crime rate.
     





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