Shannon had the opportunity to talk with Allison Mertzman about her recent vow renewal at Walt Disney World. They discussed the planning process and if Allison thought it was worth it.
Allison Mertzman is a travel agent that specializes in Disney travel and a content creator. She started posting on TikTok during the pandemic because she and her wife were both at home and enjoyed it.
She became very popular with a series called “Hey, Babe” where she asks her wife questions. She has about 850,000 followers on TikTok and almost 150,000 followers on Instagram.
Shannon was excited to find the Disney Parks connection after already following her.
Allison and her wife got married 10 years ago. Allison hoped at their 10 year anniversary they could do a vow renewal fairytale wedding! She asked for about 5 years and her wife was on board.
Allison was going through cancer treatments and needed something to look forward to, so she planned her dream wedding vow renewal.
She planned to have the ceremony at Sea Breeze Point. This was her dream location. She wanted to be sure to book in advance to get the locations she wanted.
Allison and her wife had their vow renewal at Sea Breeze Point and their reception at the Attic, which is an incredible location above Jelly Rolls on the Boardwalk.
When Allison began planning, she told Disney what her guest count would be and was given options. However, she knew where she wanted her ceremony and reception to be.
It was important for Allison to have a more private location, but you can get married in the parks and have your receptions in the parks as well.
Allison booked her date and locations at 10 months. Because it was a vow renewal it is technically a special event rather than a wedding. But there were minimums to meet and she used wedding locations.
Once the ceremony and reception locations were booked, the next steps happened about 2-4 months prior to the event. That is when you need to start making decisions.
Pricing is not guaranteed until 4-6 months prior to the event.
In April Allison went to Disney for a tasting event. She was able to meet with some entertainment and taste different food options. There are also options to look at decor.
Allison’s event was in August, so a lot of the decisions were made about 4 months out. The reception location only had space for a buffet so they made decisions about the food offered.
In June Allison met with her wedding coordinator to discuss vendors, schedule, and other information about how the event will go. Two weeks later Allison went over decor, color scheme, lights, and other decisions. These meetings were done via zoom as Allison lives in LA.
Thirty days prior to the event, Allison got the final financial information and head count. Everything was done very close to the day of. Allison was glad this wasn’t her first wedding and was a vow renewal because so many of the decisions were made so close to the event.
Disney has recommended vendors and for some vendors you must use their preferred vendors. Some things you can use your own, like hair, makeup, and photography.
On the day of Allison’s vow renewal it was supposed to rain so she had to have back-up locations in case of rain. Allison chose an archway on the boardwalk in case of rain. She was not excited about this at all. Thankfully it did not rain on them, so everything went according to plan!
Allison stayed at the Boardwalk to make everything easy. They invited 30 people. They invited good friends and family there and a good friend officiated the wedding.
Their two girls participated in the wedding which made it so incredibly special. It was a difficult year and they decided to write their own vows, which was incredibly meaningful.
Allison and her mom were both diagnosed with breast cancer just a few months apart. They both needed something to look forward to. Allison’s mom started radiation the day after the trip to Florida for the wedding.
Allison’s takeaway was that even in the midst of trials, you can still smile and have hope.
“People deserve happiness even when they are living in the worst moments of their life.”
Allison says this event was just around where she thought it would be – right around $14,000. This was absolutely everything she wanted – an allergy-friendly churro bar, special music, and more.
She says you can do it for less but she got everything she wanted. She said that they saved for several years in order to make it happen.
Allison wanted churros from Nomad Lounge and while they couldn’t do that, they did do gluten free churros with special sauces.
At 4 p.m. they met in the lobby of the Boardwalk and took some photos outside. Their families were seated shortly after.
At 5 p.m. they arrived and the ceremony began. It was about minutes long and then everyone went to the Attic for the reception. They started with a cocktail hour followed by dinner. The party went until about 10 p.m.
Allison got some wonderful photos taken, including some taken between the ceremony and reception. The photographer Shaina was wonderful and was able to capture some great shots that looked like they were the only ones around.
Allison didn’t use a group rate on hotel rooms because they used DVC points to book rooms. There weren’t any discounts or anything.
Allison did a partnership for her wife’s suit. It was a custom tailored suit that was very special and very important.
They started at Legoland because their children love Peppa Pig. They wanted to do the whole thing while their kids are still interested in that. They all had a great time.
The whole wedding group of 30 went on a triple VIP tour as part of the wedding festivities. They also did a day at Epcot and some evening hours. They were able to ride Cosmic Rewind 5 times over the course of their trip, which was wonderful!
Their tour was 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. including special viewing for fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. It was really special.
This was a huge celebration to celebrate life. Allison didn’t want to put anything on hold anymore because of her cancer diagnosis. It was important to really celebrate with their families.
When you are choosing airport transportation option you will be picked up 3 hours prior to departure. This can be frustrating if you have TSA pre-check or need less time at the airport.
You can choose a different form of transportation or you can give the company a different flight time to get picked up a little later.
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