Disney World Wedding - reception choice decision fatigue!

sirjackstephens

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
Hey everyone! Here I am for my very first post, ever, on the DIS boards.

My wedding is coming up in April and we are planning to do it at Disney World. She loves Disney World, and so do I, so it seems the perfect place. But wow, there are SO MANY options and things to consider.

I wonder if some of the folks here have gone through this before and might be able to offer some advice: We're considering an outdoor reception, during park hours, in EPCOT - at Italy Isola. We can save some money by doing this, as the reception will lead into the fireworks - with no need to spend more on a separate dessert party. But we're a little worried that we will be too limited there, with no ability to play music, have a microphone for speeches, and with no character visits allowed. Plus - the sun, with no shade.

Is it worth it to spend more big bucks to secure an indoor location for the reception (i.e. Living Seas, GM Lounge), just so that we can have Mickey, speeches can be heard, and so forth? Did those of you who had receptions at outdoor in-park locations face any challenges that you regret?

Many thanks in advance - we're very excited!
 

Charlie818

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
Hey everyone! Here I am for my very first post, ever, on the DIS boards.

My wedding is coming up in April and we are planning to do it at Disney World. She loves Disney World, and so do I, so it seems the perfect place. But wow, there are SO MANY options and things to consider.

I wonder if some of the folks here have gone through this before and might be able to offer some advice: We're considering an outdoor reception, during park hours, in EPCOT - at Italy Isola. We can save some money by doing this, as the reception will lead into the fireworks - with no need to spend more on a separate dessert party. But we're a little worried that we will be too limited there, with no ability to play music, have a microphone for speeches, and with no character visits allowed. Plus - the sun, with no shade.

Is it worth it to spend more big bucks to secure an indoor location for the reception (i.e. Living Seas, GM Lounge), just so that we can have Mickey, speeches can be heard, and so forth? Did those of you who had receptions at outdoor in-park locations face any challenges that you regret?

Many thanks in advance - we're very excited!
I know exactly how you feel! We're still considering our options for next October and must be driving our Consultant crazy changing our minds every two seconds.

We tried to narrow it down with things we had to have - something fun and interesting but with air-conditioning (we're English so the Florida heat may melt our guests :rotfl:).

I do love Italy Isola though - it's so perfect for a wedding. If it weren't for Food and Wine I think we might have added it into the decision mix.
 

AnnaS

DIS Sponsoor/Veteran
Joined
Jul 7, 2001
My daughter's is coming in two weeks !!!!!!! - Italy Isola by the water and then on to the GM Lounge. Dessert party in the evening.

Can't really comment until we come back..........but what might/might not be worth it to you, might be worth it to us or someone else.

Keeping fingers crossed it's going to be beautiful, we won't forget anything, etc. etc. Many people think that we don't have to do much since it's a destination wedding but there is so much involved and so many details that have to be taken care of/thought of from many miles away. Yes, it can be taken care of via phone and email.......but there are so many things to think of that one would not normally have to think about when at home. For instance, we upped the estimated count (food wise) and right before finally payment/signature - we realized we never upped the chairs, menus, napkins, etc. It's a separate account. If you go to a catering hall or a church here at home...... say you have 10 guests estimate a the beginning and your final count is 20.........you would never think of asking for extra chairs at the two venues, napkins, menus, chairs, etc. You think it would be automatically be added.

Lot's of "rules" to follow too. Read up on it here and on the Disney World site. There are a ton of great threads. Know what you want, estimate # of people, estimate the amount of $$ and add $$$$ on top of your estimate :)

Good luck!!!! Let us know how you make out.
 
  • Karin1984

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2012
    Which indoor venues are available?

    With decisions like this, I always think 'how will i look back on this 20 years from now?'
    If you think there will be regrets about having no characters etc then you know what you really want or if you can settle for less.

    Other option, save money now and plan the 5/10/15 year anniversary with the characters
     

    Barbara Smith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 17, 2018
    My daughter just got married in September at Disney at the wedding pavilion. We had the same predicament. We had a prereception/cocktail hour at an indoor location. We chose the White Hall room and patio at the Grand Floridian, there wasn’t a charge for the room as long as we met the food and beverage minimum. They got married at 5 had pictures following. While they were doing pictures our guest were taken over and enjoyed appetizers, drinks, and music. Then the couple came in had their first dance, parent dances and Mickey and Minnie were able to join us there. About 745-8 we travel to Epcot to the Italy Isola. We had dinner while we enjoyed the fireworks. We were a little worried about 1 the heat and 2 eating dinner so late but by the time we got there the sun was down and there was a nice breeze. Dinner didn’t seem to be too late, nobody was starving since we had 3 different appetizers at the prereception and we are from the Midwest so at home it was 8 PM. After fireworks they did cake cutting. We visited with guests and about 11:30 called it a night. It was perfect. We did have to have it on Sunday evening instead of Friday or Saturday because of Food and Wine festival.
     
    Last edited:

    lurkyloo

    The Attic was just perfect!
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    Welcome!

    We're considering an outdoor reception, during park hours, in EPCOT - at Italy Isola. We can save some money by doing this, as the reception will lead into the fireworks - with no need to spend more on a separate dessert party. But we're a little worried that we will be too limited there, with no ability to play music, have a microphone for speeches, and with no character visits allowed.
    You can have acoustic music while the park is still open and amplified music AND characters after it closes. Here's an interview with a couple who had a DJ outside at Italy Isola after the park closed: https://disneyweddingpodcast.com/wishes-wedding-spotlight-heather-michael/

    Another idea would be to hold your cocktail hour in an Epcot location that can be walled off with plants, like the courtyard in Morocco, and have characters appear there before you proceed to Italy for the reception. That one has a pretty low food and beverage minimum too. There are photos of a similar event here: https://disneyweddingpodcast.com/how-to-plan-a-small-private-event-at-walt-disney-world/

    Or you could have characters appear at the ceremony site after the ceremony is over, like this couple: https://disneyweddingpodcast.com/wishes-wedding-spotlight-danielle-jason/

    Plus - the sun, with no shade.
    If you time your reception so that it starts with the fireworks, this won't be an issue.


    Is it worth it to spend more big bucks to secure an indoor location for the reception (i.e. Living Seas, GM Lounge), just so that we can have Mickey, speeches can be heard, and so forth? Did those of you who had receptions at outdoor in-park locations face any challenges that you regret?
    You two need to sit down and figure out what your top, say, three priorities are. If characters and a high-energy dance party are at the top, then you'll need to look at whether you're willing to compromise on location by moving indoors or timing by having your outdoor reception late enough to accommodate these.

    Here are some more interviews with couples who had evening outdoor receptions in Epcot:


     

    sirjackstephens

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2019
    Which indoor venues are available?

    With decisions like this, I always think 'how will i look back on this 20 years from now?'
    If you think there will be regrets about having no characters etc then you know what you really want or if you can settle for less.

    Other option, save money now and plan the 5/10/15 year anniversary with the characters
    Living Seas Salon, and GM Lounge.

    I think that is really good advice. The real value will be in the memories.
     
  • sirjackstephens

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2019
    My daughter just got married in September at Disney at the wedding pavilion. We had the same predicament. We had a prereception/cocktail hour at an indoor location. We chose the White Hall room and patio at the Grand Floridian, there wasn’t a charge for the room as long as we met the food and beverage minimum. They got married at 5 had pictures following. While they were doing pictures our guest were taken over and enjoyed appetizers, drinks, and music. Then the couple came in had their first dance, parent dances and Mickey and Minnie were able to join us there. About 745-8 we travel to Epcot to the Italy Isola. We had dinner while we enjoyed the fireworks. We were a little worried about 1 the heat and 2 eating dinner so late but by the time we got there the sun was down and there was a nice breeze. Dinner didn’t seem to be too late, nobody was starving since we had 3 different appetizers at the prereception and we are from the Midwest so at home it was 8 PM. After fireworks they did cake cutting. We visited with guests and about 11:30 called it a night. It was perfect. We did have to have it on Sunday evening instead of Friday or Saturday because of Food and Wine festival.
    Barbara, sounds amazing! Interesting idea to have the couple join the pre-reception at the tail end of it. How long did it take them to arrive there? Were guests getting antsy and wanting to move on to the reception by that point?

    Did you have any toasts or speeches at Italy Isola? If not, so you think guests would have been able to hear toasts/speeches over the ambient park music and guests?
     

    Barbara Smith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 17, 2018
    Barbara, sounds amazing! Interesting idea to have the couple join the pre-reception at the tail end of it. How long did it take them to arrive there? Were guests getting antsy and wanting to move on to the reception by that point?

    Did you have any toasts or speeches at Italy Isola? If not, so you think guests would have been able to hear toasts/speeches over the ambient park music and guests?
    We did group pictures immediately following the wedding and then they did the exit with bubbles. Then they loaded everyone back on the bus for the prereception. The couple stayed behind and took pictures inside and around the pavilion of just the two of them. We had a DJ at the prereception. He did a great job of keeping the guest entertained and getting people up on the dance floor while we were waiting for the couple to arrive. People didn’t even seem to notice the couple wasn’t there. 😉 Our wedding planner took my daughter and her new husband into a separate room and let them just take some time to themselves for a bit. They brought them in food and drinks and just let them breath. Bianca said that was so nice because it was the first time they could actually talk to each other without everyone around since they didn’t do first look. Then the DJ did the announcement of their entrance. They then did their dances. Mickey and Minnie came in the last 30-40 minutes we were there.
    Their timeline went like
    5-530 Wedding
    530-6 group pictures/exit
    6-645 couple pics/guest eating and dancing
    645-715 couple arrived/first dances/parent dances
    715-745ish-8 Mickey and Minnie visit
    Then we loaded up and went to Epcot.
    They did not do speeches at the reception at Disney. They waited and did them at the reception at home but you could definitely do them at Italy. We were eating dinner during fireworks. By the time the fireworks were over the park started to empty fairly quickly where I felt like we had the entire back of the world showcase to ourselves. The way the Isola is you are pretty isolated from the general public. We had 58 guest at the wedding and I feel like the tables were close enough together that they wouldn’t have had issues hearing speeches.
    Hope that information helps. Good luck on planning. It will go by so fast. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
     

    sirjackstephens

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2019
    Their timeline went like
    5-530 Wedding
    530-6 group pictures/exit
    6-645 couple pics/guest eating and dancing
    645-715 couple arrived/first dances/parent dances
    715-745ish-8 Mickey and Minnie visit
    Then we loaded up and went to Epcot.
    Wow, Barbara, thank you for the very detailed breakdown!

    It sounds like you all really made the most of your pre-reception, and that nobody felt impatient. We don't plan to have a DJ -- and will likely have our pre-reception outdoors at Luau Pointe (beach and palm tree area near Polynesian, a short walk from the wedding pavilion). I wonder if there is some other way to occupy the guests' time while the couple takes their pics.

    Another way to do it could be to have Mickey / Minnie go to the pre-reception to entertain the guests, and then have THEM come and get the couple and bring them in for the introduction. Then take a few more pics, have some fun, and then get back on the bus on the way over to EPCOT for the reception.

    Your info about Italy not being so loud that we cannot have speeches is really good and helpful -- thank you!

    It sounds like it might be very workable to do this and get everything in WITHOUT spending the extra bucks on an indoor reception spot.
     

    mickeymom22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2012
    I had a family member get married at the wedding pavilion. We all went outside and did the bubble exit for the couple, then the wedding party went back in for pictures. The guests made their way over to the Boardwalk for the reception. It was a fun inside venue. They didn't have any characters. They did have a DJ and a fun dance floor.

    Whatever you decide, I am sure it will be magical and you will make lovely memories!
     
  • slmoy1016

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2020
    Hi there! Just new to the group. My husband and I got married recently back in October (right during Food and Wine Festival). We both chose indoor locations due to the fact that humidity was still an issue / possible rain (hurricane season), and that we didn't want to end up in a ballroom for a reception. We had a lot of close family and friends come, but some of them were worried about heading into the Parks. We ended up using Disney Wedding Pavilion (ceremony) and Contemporary Resort: California Grill (Napa room) for dinner reception. The best timing was that it happened on Wednesday (we were able to see Happily Ever After fireworks at MK). Given that we picked a Wednesday, we saved on a lot of costs which we were happy to splurge on Cinderella's Coach. We cut out costs with mics / electrical gear, since the venue was small. I also brought in a portable wi-fi speaker linked to my iPod Touch to provide some music for our first dance. It all worked out in the end.

    As for your April wedding, I would just make sure the venue won't be taken up with Flower and Garden Festival. Good luck! Best Wishes too!
     
    Last edited:

    Summer2018

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2017
    Hey everyone! Here I am for my very first post, ever, on the DIS boards.

    My wedding is coming up in April and we are planning to do it at Disney World. She loves Disney World, and so do I, so it seems the perfect place. But wow, there are SO MANY options and things to consider.

    I wonder if some of the folks here have gone through this before and might be able to offer some advice: We're considering an outdoor reception, during park hours, in EPCOT - at Italy Isola. We can save some money by doing this, as the reception will lead into the fireworks - with no need to spend more on a separate dessert party. But we're a little worried that we will be too limited there, with no ability to play music, have a microphone for speeches, and with no character visits allowed. Plus - the sun, with no shade.

    Is it worth it to spend more big bucks to secure an indoor location for the reception (i.e. Living Seas, GM Lounge), just so that we can have Mickey, speeches can be heard, and so forth? Did those of you who had receptions at outdoor in-park locations face any challenges that you regret?

    Many thanks in advance - we're very excited!
    I would be so afraid of a downpour or severe heat in the direct sun.

    When I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt on an average vacation day, I enjoy a Disney storm to cool off. But, if I'm in formal wear for my DD's wedding, I do NOT want to get rained on or burned in the direct sun.
     

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