Locations: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, Citricos, Epcot Lower UK Pavilion
Photographers: Regina Hyman and Chris Weirdo for Disney Fine Art Photography and Video
When it comes to bridal showers, it can be difficult to make everyone feel comfortable. Not all of the guests know each other and not everyone feels comfortable with traditional shower activities. I’m the type who gets uneasy at the mention of games, but recently, I’ve been to bridal showers that haven’t made me uncomfortable. The key was in the type of non-traditional games we played. While we all laughed and shared our answers as a group, nobody was put on the spot or forced into an awkward situation. Even when I was paired with a group of people I didn’t know, the fact we were playing trivia gave us something to focus on. By the end of the game we were chatting and joking comfortably with each other.
Many themes allow the hostesses to be creative with their games and I feel Disney is one of those themes. If you’re planning a Disney-themed bridal shower, here are my top five suggestions for non-traditional activities:
Find the Hidden Mickeys (or the glass slippers) –
If you’re a true Disney fan, you’ll know that the Disney parks are covered in hidden Mickeys. For the bridal shower, hide a few small Mickeys around the venue and award a prize for whoever finds the most. If you’d like to gear your shower towards the princesses, you could hide glass slippers instead.
Once Upon a Time –
In place of a traditional guest book, have your guests write one line about how the couple met or how they know the bride and groom. For example, you may have “the couple met in 2006 at a movie theatre” followed by “two years later they met my husband and I.” Have each partygoer add on to the previous line, so by the end of the shower, you have a full story to share with the bride.
Guess the DisneyBound -
Outfits inspired by Disney characters are growing in popularity. Have your guests attend the shower in outfits inspired by their favorite characters. Not only will your partygoers enjoy guessing each character, but you can award a prize for the most creative DisneyBound. Find inspiration for the outfits here, http://disneybound.tumblr.com/ .
Disney Wedding Trivia–
The fairytale endings are some of the most memorable scenes in the movies. While this game is slightly more traditional, the questions about the Disney couples and their weddings give the game a fun twist. You can either split the group into teams or opt for solo trivia. Whoever answers the most answers correctly wins a prize.
Pick your Prince Charming or Who has the Prince?–
Have each guest write their favorite prince on a piece of paper and add it to a bowl. Then have the bride pick and guess which guest chose which prince. If you like the idea of using the princes, but don’t want to put the bride on the spot, you could also consider “who has the prince?” The host puts an envelope at every place setting. Each envelope has a Disney prince, but whichever envelope has the bride’s “Prince Charming” is the winner.
Originally from England, Sarah Ryberg has lived in North Carolina for over 13 years and is a graduate of UNC Charlotte. She loves playing video games with her hubby, spending time with her dog Alice, and has quite the Disney obsession. Now, after two whirlwind weddings – one in Charlotte and another in her homeland – Sarah is settling into married life and learning what it takes to be a Mrs. You can reach Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog link: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/1205
Ok, I’m going to start right off by saying that this is information that I’ve pulled from the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Facebook page. I don’t have any secret sources or ins with the weddings team – I just wanted to pull together some answers I’ve seen given by the official Disney team to questions about yesterday’s big announcement.
Disney announced a change in their photography policy yesterday, or rather a return to an old policy: non-Disney photographers will now be allowed to photograph park events. For the last five years or so, if you were getting married in the park, you had to use a photographer provided by Disney Fine Art Photography. This caused problems for some brides who either were very attached to a particular non-Disney photographer’s style or who had a bad experience with the photographer that was assigned to them by Disney. So, it’s exciting that the pool has opened back up and couples now have more choices. Hopefully, this will lead to more in-park wedding events.
That being said, the announcement also raised a lot of questions. Here are some answers I’ve gleaned from the post on Disney’s Facebook page:
- The rule change does also apply to non-Disney videography.
- The rule does not apply to bridal sessions, which is a service exclusively offered by Disney Fine Art Photography. (This has been the rule for as long as I’ve known, so I wouldn’t expect any big changes here soon.)
- If you choose to use a non-Disney photographer at your park event, you need to provide the Disney wedding team with the photographer’s name so they can get in contact with them and inform them about the rules/restrictions that come with shooting in the parks. You will also need to have an official Disney escort/guide during your event for your photographer and there is an hourly fee associated.
- If you are currently planning a wedding, there’s a chance that you might be able to change to a park venue, but you’d have to check with your wedding planner. I’ve posted a scannable list of WDW park venues if you want to take a look at your options.
Ok and now the big question…with a big fat murky answer: What’s up with Walt Disney World engagement sessions? Can you take a non-Disney photographer into the WDW parks and do a session like you can at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure?
Again, I’m going to first stress that I don’t work for Disney, have no secret information, and I’m also not a Disney wedding photographer (unofficial or otherwise). So, even though I’ll give you my two cents, I encourage you to do your own research by talking to the Disney wedding team, your photographer, guest relations, etc. because they’re all more likely to have information that I don’t have. I can guarantee you that “…but my friend Carly said…” will get you absolutely nowhere with anyone if you’re trying to do an engagement session.
But here’s what I’ve gathered:
If you want to take a professional photographer into the Walt Disney World parks, it appears that you (the happy couple) are probably not going to get into trouble for it unless you break park rules or disrupt the park experience for other guests (which would get you in trouble whether you were doing a session or not). I’ve phoned WDW Guest Relations and the information that I got back was that there’s no rule against bringing in a photographer. So if there is a rule, it’s not making it down to Guest Relations for whatever reason or at least not to the people I’ve spoken to.
If you go into the park, will you get stopped by a cast member who doesn’t think sessions will be allowed? I have absolutely no idea. It really seems to depend from cast member to cast member if they think guests are allowed to do this. That being said, I still get 1-2 submissions a week for unofficial WDW park events and if you think about it, lots of people take professional cameras into the parks every day so I don’t know if cast members would be able to tell that it was a professional session unless you guys were being disruptive by clearing areas for photos, using special lighting, or entering off-limits areas, all of which would you get in trouble anyway regardless of the photo session.
THAT BEING SAID – I’ve heard from multiple photographers that the official Disney team does not want professional photographers to do unofficial park sessions (engagement, family, honeymooons, etc.) and there seems to be a possibility that photographers will get blacklisted from doing Disney weddings if they start doing paid park sessions. So even if you don’t get into trouble during your session in the park, your photographer might get into trouble after the fact. I really don’t know details here, as I’ve never spoken to a blacklisted photographer or directly spoken to the Disney team about this. The announcement yesterday was clear that it only applied to Disney wedding events…but at the same time you wouldn’t be going through DFTW to do an unofficial session anyway, so I don’t know if they meant “you can only use non-Disney photographers at your wedding and at no other time” or if they meant “we don’t deal with unofficial non-wedding events in general”.
The other confusing thing comes from the fact that the parks in California have been letting professional photographers do unofficial session in their parks for what seems like forever. There has been a sharp line between CA and FL because the no-non-Disney-photographer rule was in place for weddings, but now that it’s lifted it’s really hard to see what the difference is, especially when the unofficial engagement sessions (which are not booked through the Disneyland weddings team and which take place without park guides/escorts) are being shared and celebrated by the official Disney wedding blog.
To be fair, professional engagement sessions at the CA parks are probably doing great things both for park media and for the wedding team out there. I know that there are many couples who specifically travel to the parks and buy park admission just to get in and get their photos and every time someone sees a new set of engagement photos from the parks, they’re that much more likely to get excited about maybe having an official Disney wedding event.
From a professional perspective, it’s also a great opportunity for new photographers to break into the Disney wedding market without waiting to be booked for an official event. I know many of the California photographers I’ve worked with started building their portfolios with park engagements and then moved into doing Disney weddings. It seems unfair that WDW area photographers could be penalized for doing the same, especially when there isn’t a competing official service that offers park engagement sessions.
So that’s what I’ve gathered. If anything official comes out and someone is willing to go on the record one way or another, I’ll let you guys know as soon as I find out. Honestly, I’m really hoping that this gets clearly settled just so we all know, since I haven’t decided if I’m going to start sharing my unofficial in-park submissions again. I have no idea if any of the WDW area photographers that I showcase often will start doing unofficial park sessions, but if you’re having an official park wedding event you’re free to book them! Yay!