Wedding Highlight: A Fantasy Come To Life

From fairytale princess weddings to whimsical receptions inspired by movies, destination weddings in Orlando are a dream come true.



courtesy of Walt disney world resort

Rachael Cabanting and her husband, Steven, are self-professed “Disney nerds”—so much so, in fact, that when the time came to plan their wedding, Orlando was a no-brainer destination.

The couple loved the Disney/Pixar movie Up for its sweet message about growing old with your true love and the whimsical journey launched using thousands of balloons. So they decided to base their wedding-day theme on the movie. The result: rainbow balloon boutonnières, old-timey bottle caps strewn around the tables, and a bouquet made from candy-colored vintage jewelry. And guess who showed up for the first dance? One of the world’s most famous couples, Mickey and Minnie, of course. 

In a place where on any given day you’re likely to spy couples at the Magic Kingdom wearing mouse ears with a veil or top hat attached, a fantasy wedding here is par for the course. Local wedding photographer Nicole Faust says she’s shot several unique weddings over the years.

“I think Orlando is a place that facilitates the idea of having a specific theme for your wedding ceremony and reception. It’s acceptable and almost encouraged,” she says.

And with cosplay (costume play) going mainstream and the popularity of Disney, LEGO, Marvel, Star Wars and Harry Potter, Orlando is the ideal destination for the character wedding of one’s dreams. Here, couples can live out their unabashed fandom in and around Central Florida’s theme parks and attractions.



​amy smith/WDW

Many women, once little girls who dressed up like characters Belle or Cinderella, can have their own princess experience with a Disney wedding. To complete the transformation into a princess bride, wedding dress company Alfred Angelo makes official Disney wedding gowns based on popular Disney princesses, such as Elsa from Frozen. The flowing pale blue gown is bedazzled with a crystal bodice and a diaphanous cape.  

Of course, fantasy weddings are only a small slice of the cake when it comes to themes and décor, but wedding planners and photographers enjoy the experience almost as much as the wedding party. Tracy L. Marini, owner of Orlando-based wedding planning group Eventfully Yours, says, “I did a Harry Potter-themed wedding, and it was so much fun. When you’re doing weddings every weekend, anything out of the normal realm is exciting because it’s so different than what we are used to.”  

Even if a couple isn’t willing to go the whole nine yards and walk down the aisle as Princess Leia and Han Solo, Marini says it’s still possible to introduce small elements of a theme into a more traditional wedding. And those couples who do choose a full-on big day fantasy experience will come away with some pretty awesome photos from an “only-in-Orlando” wedding. 

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