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The Secret Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Disney Fairytale Weddings

Just engaged? Congratulations! As a Disney fan, you might be rushing to check out all of the venues and offerings from Disney Fairytale Weddings, but we have to warn you that you may be in for some sticker shock.

Disney weddings have always been a splurge, but when the packages were revamped a couple of years ago many of the more affordable options for smaller events were replaced with event minimums that might not make sense for those hoping to get married on a budget.

disney-wedding-cinderella-coach

Credit: Pinterest

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get married at Walt Disney World without tying yourself down to the packages available through Disney Fairytale Weddings, and these options can be much more affordable, especially if you are hosting a smaller celebration.

Restaurants

There are several restaurants in Disney Springs that can host both ceremonies and receptions, and some of these venues are so gorgeous that they rival any “Disney official” wedding locations. Some of the venues around Disney Springs might even have just the look you’re going for that you would not find elsewhere at Walt Disney World such as the darker, music-inspired vibes of House of Blues or a wedding onboard a riverboat-style restaurant at Paddlefish.

The Edison Wedding

Credit: Bella Gray Photography

The following Disney Springs restaurants can host both ceremonies and receptions:

  • House of Blues
  • Paddlefish
  • Terralina
  • Maria and Enzo’s
  • The Edison

If you plan to have your ceremony elsewhere or are just looking for a nice restaurant with private dining suitable for a wedding, Disney Springs has options for that too.

Planet Hollywood

Credit: Joe Brooks Photography

Note that the following locations vary in the ability to host a full reception vs. a private dinner based on space needed and the number of Guests:

  • The BOATHOUSE
  • Jaleo by Chef Andres
  • Paradiso 37
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Raglan Road
  • STK Steakhouse
  • T-REX Cafe
  • Wine Bar George
  • Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
  • City Works Eatery & Pour House
B Resort & Spa Wedding Ceremony

Credit: B Resort & Spa

Resorts

Next up for your consideration are several Resorts. Walt Disney World is home to many Resort hotels that are not operated by Disney and therefore come with more affordable event rentals and wedding ceremony and reception spaces than those listed under Disney Fairytale Weddings.

If you are looking into a small reception or private dining at a Disney Springs restaurant, you may want to plan your ceremony at a nearby hotel. The Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista, B Resort & Spa, and Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando are all part of the Disney Springs Area, making it easy to hop over to a nearby restaurant for a reception.

Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista

Credit: Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista

Over in the EPCOT Resort Area, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort hosts ceremonies and receptions on Crescent Lake, making this an ideal location for an affordable Disney wedding with an EPCOT dessert party or after-party at Jellyrolls added on.

And some of the most affordable wedding packages at Walt Disney World are available at the Shades of Green Resort. You do not need to be part of the military or select civilian positions to get married at the Resort, you just need an eligible sponsor.

Shades of Green Wedding

Shades of Green, Credit: Jessica Leigh Photography

The following Resorts can host both ceremonies and receptions:

  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs
  • B Resort & Spa
  • Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
  • Shades of Green

Remember, you do not need to host a ceremony or reception at an official Disney location to book magical extras like fireworks cruises, dessert parties, and private dining. You may need to go through Disney Meetings & Events rather than Disney Fairytale Weddings, and you may have some limitations to keep the event separate from Disney’s wedding packages, but a lot is possible to still have the Disney wedding of your dreams on a budget if you can get a little creative.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."