Ah, marriage. It’s truly wonderful, isn’t it? But also super hard?! Last April when our 15th wedding anniversary came around, we really wanted to do something special. As you can imagine, there are a lot of ups and downs in a 15+ year relationship and so, we decided to honor our marriage with a vow renewal. Disney World holds a lot of special memories for our family and of course it’s the most “Magical Place on Earth” so we knew, Disney World was the perfect place to have our vow renewal.
Official Disney Vow Renewal or DIY Disney Vow Renewal?
A really big part of me wanted the Fairytale experience that an official Disney Weddings vow renewal would offer, including a ceremony at a park location. The more I learned however, the more I realized that this was not the right option for us. First of all, in order to have a Disney Weddings event, you need to spend a minimum of $5,000 (not including hotel and theme park tickets). Second, the Paris pavilion in Epcot is one of the more affordable location options, but as expected, they hold ceremonies very early in the morning before the park opens and they host one event after the other at a pretty quick pace.
We ultimately decided that this was not going to be the intimate, personal celebration that we were trying to plan so I set out to put together our own vow renewal experience at Disney World.
Location, Location, Location
When visiting Disney World, we often choose to stay at a value resort. They are super fun for the kids and cost effective. For our vow renewal Disney trip however, we planned a trip that was much more focused on us grownups. As such, we opted to stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The room was very comfortable for the 5 of us and we enjoyed the elegant theme. Although we enjoy the character themes of the value resort pools, it was really nice to sit by a more luxurious pool for a change. We even rented a private cabana for our pool day.
The Yacht Club and surrounding area is very resort-like. We were able to hold our ceremony on a little white sandy beach under palm trees (my favorite!). I did not contact Disney or the hotel about this ahead of time. It was just our family of 5 and, as hotel guests, it felt like our little ceremony was no different from other people hanging out in various areas of the hotel, we were just really dressed up, haha.
We held our ceremony at 9am in order to beat the hot Florida sun and also to allow us to get to Epcot early enough to spend the day there. Priorities, haha!
Jessica Friend Photography
This vow renewal was very important to us and I wanted to make sure we were able to capture all of the special moments. I did a google search for ‘Orlando area photographers’ and found the amazing Jessica Friend, owner of Jessica Friend Photo Design.
Orlando Photography – Jessica Friend Photo Design – Orlando photographer
Jessica was very professional and super easy to work with. We are still so happy with our lovely photos.
I put a lot of thought into our ceremony. How to make it special and the best way to incorporate our kids. We started the ceremony by talking to the kids about why we were having a vow renewal ceremony and why it meant so much to us to have them be a part of it.
Next, we did a ‘Cord of Three Strands’ ceremony. This was a very intentional and important aspect of our ceremony, especially when it comes to the kids. For those who are not familiar with the ‘Cord of Three Strands’, you can learn more about it here:
This is a ceremony based on a lovely bible verse, but there are non-religious ways to incorporate this symbolism too. We opted for one of each and braided the strands two times:
1- The strands as a representation of us (myself and my husband), the kids and God.
This was meant to symbolize the strength of our family and our faith in God.
Together, we can’t be broken.
2-The strands as a representation of each of the three kids.
This was meant to symbolize the importance of our kids’ relationship with each other. Together, they can’t be broken.
After the strands ceremony, my son (our officiant) began reading his script. I put together a simple script by copying and pasting different elements I found online.
Next, we exchanged our personally written vows and finished with a big smooch!
When In Disney and Other Special Touches
We decided to celebrate in Disney World for a reason so although I didn’t hire Disney to officially arrange our vow renewal, I did want there to be special Disney touches!
I started with arranging for a ‘Toast For Two’ delivery from Disney Floral and Gifts. http://www.disneyworld.disneyfloralandgifts.com
This gift basket came with 2 Disney Champagne Flutes, a bottle of Prosecco and a box of chocolates.
My husband gave me a Disney ‘Happily Ever After’ Alex and Ani bracelet to commemorate the occasion.
Lastly, later that day, we celebrated our Anniversary at Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada pavilion at Epcot and enjoyed our pre-ordered celebration cake. These cakes are as Disney as it gets and I love it! They are really good too!! For a list of participating restaurants and info on how to order, visit this website http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/cake-orders/
In addition to the special Disney touches, I also looked for ways to pay homage to our wedding day. I pulled out my keepsake box from our wedding day and found my tiara and some flower arrangements that were on our head table during our wedding reception. We used silk flowers for our bouquets and flower arrangements, so I still have them all.
If you are thinking about planning a vow renewal of your own, whether at Disney World or somewhere else, there are a few things that I recommend you keep in mind during your planning.
*Why do you want to have a vow renewal ceremony? How can you plan a ceremony that reflects your goal?
*Do you want to have a private ceremony or have invited guests?
*Do you want to include your kids in your ceremony?
*What can you do to really personalize your ceremony? Special touches?
*Don’t skip the professional photographer!
Wishing you much joy and happiness as you plan your special day!
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