How to have a budget Disney-themed wedding of Her (your) dreams
It’s that time of year when engaged couples start planning their wedding for the following year, and I’m here to show you and help you make your create a Disney-themed wedding without spending the $50k to have the “official” wedding of the Magic Kingdom.
Creatively minded people may find this more enjoyable or even a great bonding experience with their significant other as you craft and plan this affordable Disney wedding. But fear not, less-artistically driven folks, this decorating and collecting of décor isn’t a painful process, and this is how my wife (less-artistic) and I (creatively-incline) Disneyfied our big day.
The first thing we did was give ourselves and the head table a theme which represented our relationship and overall wedding theme, Beauty and the Beast. Then we could start brainstorming the remaining table ideas. Which Disney movies we would want to see as a tables at our wedding for our guests oh and ah as they sit. We had a fairly large wedding and needed 14 movies that to ensure every table has a theme. With close to 500 movies under the Disney name, we had plenty to choose from. The next part to the table theming process was slightly more difficult; how to make a table’s decorations look elegant and not childish but still convey the movie the table represented. Because of this, movies like Toy Story and The Muppets were excluded from our list (but may make it on yours). We chose not to include movies where we would just have toys and puppets (literally the main characters from the previously mentioned movies) out on the tables, because we didn’t want that childish feeling, this was a wedding after all. I will detail some of the tables at the end of the article.
Along with the various items we decorated the tables with, I created picture framed silhouettes of the movies themselves to identify the table if our guests were unable to guess the tables theme. I loved creating these black and white photos as I got to stretch some of my creative abilities to convey a movie with all its key moments and figures. I loved it so much; these images are still a rotating screensaver on our home computer.
Other than the tables, how else can you make your wedding feel like an authentic Disney wedding? Once more tapping into some Photoshop skills, a printer and an assembly line of in-laws, we created our own wedding invitations and RSVP cards with Mickey and Minnie on them along with some other little Disney iconic features like the Cinderella’s Castle and Disney font (easily found at places like fontspace). We avoided a huge price tag to have official Disney invitations at the sacrifice of time and effort. And the important part of this step was that we loved the final design! Using the same kissing Mickey and Minnie, our guest’s names and their table location were printed and folded onto small place cards. Again, just a little Disney magic to keep the theme going.
Another little Disney-themed feature of our wedding was the guest favors. Traditionally, Jordan Almonds are a favor to give to guests because they represent wishes for the Bride and Groom. These little gifts were presented in small glass (plastic) slippers. We had to get enough glass slippers to shoe a dozen smoking caterpillars. We turned to Amazon for this and there are already bulk packs of these favors for fairly cheap considering the amount we would need. It’s the small things we did for our wedding that helped transplant everyone to the Magic Kingdom.
One touch that is completely free, but fun, that we didn’t end up using was to create themed drinks that can be made at the bar during your wedding. Naming fun mixed drinks like daiquiris after the Little Mermaid or some darker mixed drinks after the Beast or Gaston is something simple you can do and most wedding venues will print out a “Drink” list with these names on them. They wouldn’t cost anything more than they normally would, but it would just be a fun addition to the special day.
Not to keep sending you out to the internet to spend money when you are penny counting during what can be a stressful (financially) time, but again, through the wonders of other creative individuals I stumbled across on Etsy, we were able to get a wedding guest book, in our colors with the silhouette of Mickey and Minnie once again gracing the cover and minds of our guests.
The proverbial “icing on the cake” as it would be, wouldn’t be complete without a cake topper. For this we obviously had a kissing Mickey and Minnie mouse that we had received as a gift back at our “I do BBQ” party. This was also Disney themed party right down to the cupcake castle that my Pinterest obsessive in-laws were able to replicate. To list off a few more items we brought with us, we had our Disney bride and groom mouse-ears present visible during out first dance, which was of course to Beauty and the Beast (I even bowed as low as the Beast does to Belle to start the dance.)
As some bonus ideas to help make your wedding as nerdy as you are allowed to, just to keep your true spirit alive, you can copy what I did. As gifts to my groomsmen, I provided them all with cufflinks and tie clips to be worn during the wedding. Over the course of the year and through longtime friendships with them, I was able to give unique and specific cufflinks to each of my 7 groomsmen, my father, step father and father-in-law. These ranged in designs from; Batman (mine), 007, Mario as a frog, Black Mage from Final Fantasy, Throwing Dice, Voltron, Vader(my father), Star Wars Rebel Alliance, Captain America, Stormtrooper and a Tractor. I put these gifts inside of a kid’s metal lunchbox with similar comic book/cartoonish designs and packed it with some candy, stickers and toys all from the party store where you would find gifts for a child’s birthday party.
Also in the lunchbox, I included a pair of Green Lantern socks as my color for the wedding was Emerald Green, the color of my wedding band and personal favorite color. And on the night before the wedding, I also imparted each groomsmen a gift of a lightsaber toy that they were to wear on them during pictures and the ceremony (but to be hidden like a traditional Jedi/Sith saber…and per my wife’s orders). All of these gifts allowed us for some amazingly nerdy and memorable pictures before (including the Bride force choking all of us), during and after the wedding. Additionally, when I asked my groomsmen to be my support on this day, I gave them each a different comic book where various heroes were wedded in the issue; Superman Wedding Album #1, X-Men #30, Flash #142, Star Trek Nemesis, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, Batman: Son of the Demon, Giant Size Avengers #4, each in fair to good condition to again make it affordable but still making a nerdy statement.
As much as the wedding day is about her feeling like a princess, which I think was established without even going into detail about her wedding dress looking fit for a Disney princess to be spun around in, the day should also be memorable to you as well. So, on a budget and spread over the term of a year and a half, you can collect and piece together your own Disney wedding without dishing out the big bucks. Disney is so ingrained into our relationship that my entire vow was made from over 20 different quotes from Disney movies to make one creative but still heartfelt and personal statement. Not to be outdone by my wife’s vow which too, included Disney quotes to me.
While there were some movies we had originally planned for a table, it was nearly impossible to think of items to place on the table without putting out actual toys or figures from the movie itself. An example of a failed table idea would be the Marry Poppins table and Winnie the Pooh table, we fell short of successfully coming up with props to decorate with. Here are some of our tables and what we used to decorate it with, again some are as simple as a purchase from online and some took some time to craft:
Aladdin: I found a miniature rug that looked like a magic flying carpet along with some brass beetle clasps from eBay. Along with some gold coins and a big fake ruby found at the local Michaels store. Finally, a brass genie lamp really sold this table’s movie theme.
Lion King: We had just seen Lion King on Broadway and were inspired to find a gold lion mask fit for a masquerade ball along with authentic African wood napkin holders that were carved into animals (sadly these were lost during the cleanup). The main piece for this table was my Pride Rock Styrofoam craft-project. Cutting some Styrofoam boards and stacking them, gluing them, spray painting them with a stony gray textured spray paint and putting a finishing touch of fake moss, this was my Pride of the table.
Little Mermaid: Some bent forks and a toy smoking pipe served as thingamajigs found in Ariel’s collection. The obvious colorful seashells and bottled beach sand filled the rest of the table for this Disney classic table. Average items that nearly every house and beach goer could find with ease.
Mulan: With a red Chinese dragon statue I actually already owned from a trip to China Town in San Francisco, we complimented it with some oriental fans and fake cherry tree petals spread on the table. (It can be as simple as that to get the idea across)
Alice in Wonderland: A small potion vial found at any hobby store filled with blue fruit juice and a tag that reads “drink me” and an entire full house of heart cards strewn over the table. With side items of an old (and broken for cheaper value) stop watch and some tea cups, this Mad Hatters tea party was reserved for out wilder friends.
Cinderella: We kind of backed ourselves into a corner here, as we had already used the glass slipper idea for guests’ favors. We still put a single slipper on the table along with a wireframe tea light holder in the shape of Cinderella’s carriage next to a fake jewel encrusted tiara.
Frozen: With Frozen being such a huge hit during this time period, I again went to work crafting some of the trolls from the movie. Simply using round Styrofoam balls painted with the same textured stone spray paint and moss, it was a quick and easy way to give these rolled up trolls their look. Along with some fake snow drifts and homemade cutout snowflakes (who didn’t make these as kids) the Frozen table was set.
Pirates of the Caribbean: One more time, for out more rowdy friends, we placed them at a table with an empty Vodka Skull bottle, some plastic swords and pirates telescope for them to play with. A pirate wouldn’t be complete without a fake treasure map made from yellowed paper found at hobby stores. I put a little too much effort into this fake map that I know none of my guests would have got; the treasure hunt path took the exact same twists and turns as the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride with skulls, ports and pirate ships marked on the map where the same events occur on the ride. I’m probably the only benefactor of that item. And sitting on the table was a miniature treasure chest (found at Michaels) and filled with more fake gold coins.
Mighty Ducks: I had to include this table as this movie was a favorite of mine. Again, real simple with some miniature hockey sticks from online and a handful of real hockey pucks. District 5’s hockey team was clearly marked at our wedding.
Up: This was when we started to run out of easy to decorate movies. When you think of up, you think of the balloons first. So I found a miniature house that we attached a bunch of small balloon cake decorations and this was the main item of the table. Included also was a small miniature mailbox and a hand crafted Wilderness Explorer flag. We were going to include some grape soda bottle caps, but we also knew there were a couple of babies in attendance and didn’t want to risk “where did the bottle caps go?”
Snow White: This table was the easiest to find items for. While we were looking for inspiration for other tables, we happened across some small table mirrors, a plastic apple and a bag of fake diamonds. We kept a goal to try and have at least 3 items for a table to try and make the table interesting and identifiable.
Star Wars: Yes, Disney owns Star Wars and my wife conceded this table to me as long as there were no action figures at the table. One of my groomsmen is crafty as well, and he has one of those Star Wars origami books and was helpful enough to make some of the paper craft from the book for this table. Not technically toys, and just decorative enough to make it seem elegant. Spread out across the table was also handfuls of Lego lightsabers. A large handful of these miniatures toys were enough to get the table theme across before toys were needed.
Peter Pan: This table was probably the first one we started collecting items for. Buying a real alligator head that we shoved a small clock into its mouth was the main piece for the table. With a tourist’s souvenir of a miniature Big Ben Tower and a child’s pirate Halloween costume’s hook hand, we knew we could continue in this fashion to complete the movies we wanted to do.
Head Table – Beauty and the Beast: With Beauty and the Beast as our personal theme, the iconic glowing rose in a glass case is all that is needed for everyone to know our table was that movie. This took some crafting on my part that I am very proud of. It did take some time to find the right parts for this centerpiece. The right glass dome shape was a hunt in itself for an affordable option. Once I had that, I found a round wooden base that I spray painted a marble textured stone spray paint and for to work on the fake rose complete with interwoven led lights in the flower itself. To make the lights glow, I connected the wires to a hidden 9v battery covered by the “falling” petals of the flower. Keeping a spare 9v battery for when the first one eventually died, this capstone that signified my dedication and effort of decorating our wedding, illuminated the evening when the lights dimmed and we got to dancing.
So there you have it. A long running list of Disney items were used to create our own Disney wedding. I hope this helps to give you some ideas and inspiration if you are looking for your own Disney wedding but keep it local and affordably elegant. We had a lot of fun planning it and creating the tables and images for the wedding, which will be a lasting memory in itself.