Our 12/2/17 Happily Ever After at the Swan! (West Courtyard ceremony and Crescent Terrace reception)

myadventurebook

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 28, 2013
Hi all!

I have had a handful of folks ask me about doing a TR for our wedding, which was 12/2/17 at the Swan. It was all outside, and I believe our event is quite different than what's typically done. I had an incredibly hard time finding any information on an all-outdoor Swan-catered event, so I hope people will be able to use our event as a template for what's possible! Our wedding was perfect from beginning to end, and I wouldn't change a thing about our day- not even the fact that I broke my ankle a month prior (more on that later)!

I really think I can be a big help to brides trying to plan a Swan wedding so feel free to message me any questions you might have. :)

I don't plan to put a ton of info about the planning of the wedding into this thread, as that part doesn't bring back fond memories (to say the least). I will sum that up under one of the posts.




Table of Contents:

- My husband and I
- Our Wedding Story
- Our Vendors
- Tasting (September 2017)
- Basic outline of our day
- Beyond the wedding (our rehearsal, where we stayed, coordinating everything)
- Pre-ceremony
- Ceremony
- Post-ceremony
- Reception
- At-home reception- 2/24/18
- Hiccups (my broken ankle, lost wedding video and more!)
 
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myadventurebook

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 28, 2013
Introductions




Who we are: Amanda and Jamie

Where we are from: Philadelphia, PA

When/how we met: We met on an online dating site in Spring 2011, and we started dating in Summer 2011 :)

Engagement story: In late 2015, I came home from school (college) one day. It had been an awful day, I hadn't eaten anything and traffic coming home was terrible. When I got home, Jamie was waiting for me and told me he had a surprise inside. When i got inside the apartment, it was filled with balloons and romantic instrumental Disney music was playing on the TV. I knew what was coming then- haha! The rest is history.

We went on a trip at the end of 2015 to WDW to celebrate our engagement, and we even visited Crescent Terrace to get an idea of the space for a possible wedding venue. The picture above is a Photopass photo from that trip.

About us as a couple: Probably the easiest bit of trivia I can share is that we are both geeks. We share our love of video games, anime, 90s sitcoms and of course Disney. Most importantly, though, we also have two cat children, Gollum and Jessie (named after the Toy Story character), who we share our home with. :3
 

myadventurebook

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 28, 2013
Our Wedding Story

Our wedding went through years of machinations and plans before we finally wound up where we did. For about a year, beginning in early 2016, we planned out three different weddings before we decided on the Swan.

First, we had planned on a small "Mini-Wishes" wedding (which I believe is no longer even a thing?) for May 2017. It was to be a morning ceremony at SBP followed by an Attic breakfast reception. It would have been amazing, but I am happy we went another direction for many different reasons, not least of which is our guests' schedules, which were compromised enough by a Saturday wedding, so I can't really imagine the stress we'd be putting on friends and family with a weekday event. That is not to demean anyone who chooses a weekday event, but it just didn't work for our families.

The longest-running plan was for a wedding here in the Philadelphia area, which would have been in October 2017. We put down a ton of deposits and even had STDs mocked up. However, this wedding was crushing me. It wasn't at all what I wanted and I couldn't imagine all of the expenses we still owed going into something that, frankly, neither of us were happy with. We cancelled that wedding about a year after we started planning it and got in contact with Just Marry! in February of 2017.

After the initial contact with Just Marry!, we decided on a date and went ahead finding vendors and planning the rest of our day! I am so happy with the decision we made to have the wedding at the Swan and I wouldn't change anything about our day.

 
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  • myadventurebook

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2013
    Our Vendors

    Unlike a lot of brides who write TRs, I am doing this completely after having worked with all of these vendors so I will give a quick review of each. Moderators, please let me know if this violates anything in the TOS, but I don't believe what I'm doing is meant in any way to promote or advertise these businesses. I simply want to let brides know of a list of vendors who have worked with the Swan and Dolphin in the past!

    Planner/Venue: Just Marry! with coordinator Jessica Yutangco

    I could write a book full of praise for Jessica. She is seriously amazing at what she does. If you have the chance to request her through Just Marry!, do it! I believe she may work with DFTW as well, but I'm not sure.

    Food/Catering: Swan and Dolphin Catering with Catering Sales Manager Lindsey Cullen

    Lindsey was so easy to work with and she really let us be creative with our food and beverage choices. It was great to get to meet her beforehand at the tasting, which was quite a special event in itself. Beyond that, the food itself is possibly the best wedding food I've ever had, barnone, and I'm not just being biased. Most of our guests made similar comments about how amazing the food was.

    Photographer: Jesse Giles Photography

    Jesse takes the most gorgeous photos and her prices are the most fair and reasonable I've seen of any wedding photographer (and I've researched many of them across two states!). However, I did want to point out that she is very no-nonsense and all-business on the day of the wedding. As a very nervous bride, I was hoping for someone a little warmer who would make me feel at ease during a very stressful time. That could just be personal preference, but I did want to point it out.

    Florist: Raining Roses

    Not much else can be said about Raining Roses that hasn't been said already- I know they have a great reputation with Disney brides, and for good reason!

    DJ: Graingertainment

    We worked with Jake from Graingertainment, and he was the best DJ myself and my husband have ever seen. Honestly, I can't rate him highly enough. We worked with a DJ for our at-home reception who was not nearly as professional, so we definitely have a good comparison. If you like nerdy tunes, Jake is the man!

    Cake: It's Tasty Too!

    I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so I can't really comment on this cake in comparison to others as I'm just not a huge fan of cake to begin with! However, we had a ton of compliments on the cake and it looked absolutely beautiful.

    Hair & Makeup: DNA Cosmetics

    I worked with Rosie from DNA Cosmetics. She was an absolute joy to be around and super talented at what she does. I would highly recommend her!

    Finally, that brings us to the videographer. I will not list the company name here because I don't want to ruin this company's reputation. However, any Disney brides looking to outside videography can feel free to message me and I will give you the name of this company so that you can avoid them. This company not only lost a significant portion of our video, but they were unapologetic about it and delivered a very poor product with the video they were able to use. Overall it was an awful, awful experience with this company, and I hope no other bride ever has to go through the same.

     
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    Woth2982

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2008
    Following along! I am having an at home Disney wedding in September with a Disneymoon in November. I am sorry to hear you had a bad video experience! I hope they were able to get something strung together to help remember the day! Looking forward to seeing all you had planned!
     

    myadventurebook

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2013
    Our Tasting- September 20, 2017

    We travelled down to WDW from 9/19-9/22. On 9/20, I did my hair trial and we had our tasting. If you can swing it, I highly recommend travelling to WDW for these two things. We used travel reward points for our trip.

    For my trial, Rosie from DNA Cosmetics met me at our hotel room and did my hair and makeup. It turned out absolutely amazing, and Rosie was so easy and fun to be around.



    Between the trial and the wedding, I decided on a few small changes to the look. Mainly I wanted to keep the matural part in my hair rather than having it all slicked back, and I chose a different lipstick color for the final look.

    After the trial, we headed over to the Boardwalk. It's our favorite place in WDW, so we wanted to walk around a bit before our tasting.


    In my Kame House uniform!

    When it was time for the tasting, we headed to the Swan lobby to meet with our planner Jessica. I could immediately tell when we met her that she really knew her stuff, and I felt totally safe in her hands.

    Jessica brought us to one of the Swan ballrooms, which was set up exactly how it would be on the wedding day. There was an entire buffet, dessert table and h'ors douveres table as well as a dining table and a table with various tablecloths and decor we could choose from. We were met by Lindsey, our catering manager, as well as several servers.




    So much food!​

    The tasting itself was pretty simple. We chose between several appetizers, entrees and desserts, as well as chose our tablecloths and other decor.

    We also chose to go with themed bar called "The Locals," which uses local Florida ingredients for specialty cocktails from around the state. I am really into that sort of thing, so there was no way I was leaving that out. Unfortunately though, I didn't even get close to the bar on the day of the wedding, so I can't really remark on the drinks!

    We also got to do a walkthrough of the ceremony and reception spaces. We had visited Crescent Terrace a few times before, but this was our first time seeing West Courtyard. It's beautiful! West Courtyard is super intimate and great for a small wedding like ours. I wish it had better lighting, but that was something we couldn't really help.




    The next day, we used some leftover WDW tickets we had for a day in MK. Then we headed home!




     
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    ALegrande

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2017
    Oh my goodness, our weddings are SO similar! Down to the very detail that I ALSO broke my ankle (okay, well, 2nd degree sprained the tendon) 6 weeks before our big day lol. Also we are super unique in that our ceremony is through Disney but our reception is through S&D. Ours is actually in a few weeks- 3/16/18 to be exact! We are having our ceremony through DFTW Escape package (Yacht Club Gazebo), but we are having our reception at Crescent Terrace!! I also found it really hard to find much info about all-outdoors ceremonies/receptions anywhere on Disney property. There was ONE photo I found of Crescent Terrace at night, and its what sold me! We can't wait for our wedding in 2 weeks, and I can't wait to read about your experiences and see how our events are similar! Thanks for sharing!
     
  • myadventurebook

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2013
    Oh my goodness, our weddings are SO similar! Down to the very detail that I ALSO broke my ankle (okay, well, 2nd degree sprained the tendon) 6 weeks before our big day lol. Also we are super unique in that our ceremony is through Disney but our reception is through S&D. Ours is actually in a few weeks- 3/16/18 to be exact! We are having our ceremony through DFTW Escape package (Yacht Club Gazebo), but we are having our reception at Crescent Terrace!! I also found it really hard to find much info about all-outdoors ceremonies/receptions anywhere on Disney property. There was ONE photo I found of Crescent Terrace at night, and its what sold me! We can't wait for our wedding in 2 weeks, and I can't wait to read about your experiences and see how our events are similar! Thanks for sharing!
    Good luck with your (very soon) upcoming wedding! Yes, it sounds like our events are super similar. We didn't work with DFTW at all though, just Just Marry! for everything. Also, I know exactly what picture of Crescent Terrace you mean, as it's what I used as an inspiration photo for the caterers when asking if an outdoor event was possible. Hopefully we will both have some inspiration photos that will give future brides a better idea of nighttime weddings at Crescent Terrace! :)
     

    MeghanDB1024

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 15, 2018
    Our Vendors

    Unlike a lot of brides who write TRs, I am doing this completely after having worked with all of these vendors so I will give a quick review of each. Moderators, please let me know if this violates anything in the TOS, but I don't believe what I'm doing is meant in any way to promote or advertise these businesses. I simply want to let brides know of a list of vendors who have worked with the Swan and Dolphin in the past!

    Planner/Venue: Just Marry! with coordinator Jessica Yutangco

    I could write a book full of praise for Jessica. She is seriously amazing at what she does. If you have the chance to request her through Just Marry!, do it! I believe she may work with DFTW as well, but I'm not sure.

    Food/Catering: Swan and Dolphin Catering with Catering Sales Manager Lindsey Cullen

    Lindsey was so easy to work with and she really let us be creative with our food and beverage choices. It was great to get to meet her beforehand at the tasting, which was quite a special event in itself. Beyond that, the food itself is possibly the best wedding food I've ever had, barnone, and I'm not just being biased. Most of our guests made similar comments about how amazing the food was.

    Photographer: Jesse Giles Photography

    Jesse takes the most gorgeous photos and her prices are the most fair and reasonable I've seen of any wedding photographer (and I've researched many of them across two states!). However, I did want to point out that she is very no-nonsense and all-business on the day of the wedding. As a very nervous bride, I was hoping for someone a little warmer who would make me feel at ease during a very stressful time. That could just be personal preference, but I did want to point it out.

    Florist: Raining Roses

    Not much else can be said about Raining Roses that hasn't been said already- I know they have a great reputation with Disney brides, and for good reason!

    DJ: Graingertainment

    We worked with Jake from Graingertainment, and he was the best DJ myself and my husband have ever seen. Honestly, I can't rate him highly enough. We worked with a DJ for our at-home reception who was not nearly as professional, so we definitely have a good comparison. If you like nerdy tunes, Jake is the man!

    Cake: It's Tasty Too!

    I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so I can't really comment on this cake in comparison to others as I'm just not a huge fan of cake to begin with! However, we had a ton of compliments on the cake and it looked absolutely beautiful.

    Hair & Makeup: DNA Cosmetics

    I worked with Rosie from DNA Cosmetics. She was an absolute joy to be around and super talented at what she does. I would highly recommend her!

    Finally, that brings us to the videographer. I will not list the company name here because I don't want to ruin this company's reputation. However, any Disney brides looking to outside videography can feel free to message me and I will give you the name of this company so that you can avoid them. This company not only lost a significant portion of our video, but they were unapologetic about it and delivered a very poor product with the video they were able to use. Overall it was an awful, awful experience with this company, and I hope no other bride ever has to go through the same.
    Just discovered the S&D wedding option and I'm so confused already! Did you do the wedding ceremony and reception package? I'm not sure how I feel about the reception/catering being $120 per person.
     

    ALegrande

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2017
    @MeghanDB1024 , you can definitely customize menus that are cheaper!! I had my reception at S&D and was able to customize something that fit our budget more than what they advertised online. We only had a reception at S&D, our ceremony was Escape through DFTW, so we went directly through S&D catering department.
     
  • pepperandchips

    [melinda]
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2014
    Amanda, I wanted to say that I loved your episode on the Disney Wedding Podcast and hearing all about your day. I hope you keep writing! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. What a lovely couple and a beautiful wedding!
     

    MoPR

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2018
    Amanda, thank you so much for sharing so many wonderful details and lovely pictures from your wedding! I'm planning my WDW wedding now, as well, and I found your story and your podcast episode to be very helpful and inspiring. Thanks again for sharing!
     


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