On the fourth day of elopement week, Meghann & Josh will take us to a faraway land called Disneyland. Meghann & Josh are Disneyland annual pass holders so they decided to have a, totally not-approved-by-Disney, quickie civil ceremony inside the park. The best part when Alice and the Mad Hatter joined mid-ceremony as their Best Man and Maid of Honor. -Coco


The offbeat bride: Meghann, writer and editor (and OBT member)

Her offbeat partner: Josh, game designer, writer, and editor

Location & date of wedding: Snow White's Grotto in Disneyland — May 5th, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We and both our immediate families are Disneyland annual pass holders, so we decided to have a totally not-approved-by-Disney quickie civil ceremony inside the park on Cinco de Mayo. We paid admission for our minister and her family to join us for the day. We wore t-shirts and wedding-themed Mickey Ears, and had no attendants until Alice and the Mad Hatter crashed our ceremony and made themselves Best Man and Maid of Honor! I carried a Belle light-up wand because she is my favourite Princess. Afterwards we got a giant table at a Disneyland restaurant with a fabulous buffet and had a huge family dinner to celebrate my new husband's impending health insurance.

We are getting weddinged in January, but the civil ceremony ended up being so much more than we thought it would be. Everyone we told about it showed up, including our two-week old niece! The hotel randomly chose us as the Celebration Family of the Day (I told them it was our wedding night when I made the reservation) and so they upgraded our room to a suite, gave us balloons, and announced us to the entire lobby.

We started the morning excited about a day in the park with our families, and ended up with one of the most beautiful and memorable days of our entire lives. Our wedding will be hard-pressed to live up to our civil ceremony, that's for sure.

Tell us about the ceremony: We are Unitarian Universalists, so we had a lot of flexibility. Initially we were just going to make our civil ceremony “vows” be about the legal rights of government-sanctioned marriage, as a social justice commentary. However, in the end we decided to go with a very short sentimental ceremony, written by our minister, that was still conscious of the social issues surrounding marriages.

The ceremony text mentioned our daughter, saying that she “embodies all that is joyful, creative, and fearless about their love.” That really moved me when I read it for the first time.

Snow White's Grotto

The vows were succinct yet meaningful enough that I started crying: I embrace you as my wife/husband, to share in my life and my spirit, as lover and friend, from this day forward.

I also really liked that our minister included lines that allowed for us to exist as one of many different kinds of couples committing to each other, and not just another hetero-normative pairing in the legal machine: she said that we had “chosen each other from the many men and women of the earth” and that her authority as an officiant was vested in her by “the power of [our] own love.”

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was wanting to have the ceremony inside the park without paying the Disney premium for permission to do so. Since we weren't having an “event,” we decided to risk it, which meant having to be as flexible as possible in terms of location and time so as not to piss off management. Our first location choice, the Sailing Ship Columbia, was still in drydock, so we scouted out other places a few weeks beforehand. So the Wishing Well in the Grotto was our new first choice. We hung out for about an hour until it was fairly empty and we wouldn't be causing a ruckus.

My funniest moment: Only a few seconds into our quickie ceremony, the Mad Hatter and Alice saw what we were doing. Instead of reporting us to the management, they joined the wedding as Best Man and Maid of Honour!

Updating their Facebook relationship status, heehee!

My advice for offbeat brides: Look at your checklist. For every single thing, ask yourself WHY. If the answer to that is satisfactory, then ask yourself if you can afford it. If you can, great! If not, ask yourself if there is an affordable alternative that still preserves the significance? For instance, I am Belle-obsessed and had vaguely insane dreams about wearing a Disney couture Belle wedding dress and accessories. There is no way I could afford that, of course, but once I figured out that what I REALLY wanted was a way to incorporate an official Disney Belle item into either the elopement or the wedding, I discovered I was perfectly happy with the Belle light-up wand as my “bouquet.”

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Everything we wore that we didn't already own we bought from Disneyland.

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Comments on Meghann & Josh’s guerilla civil ceremony in Disneyland

  1. we are TOTALLY updating our facebook statuses too! i should make sure someone gets a photo 😀

  2. There aren’t even words. Absolutely fantastic. And can I say I might have teared up a little over the Alice/Hatter attendants. Possibly my favorite wedding ever.

  3. This is wonderful! I have to say that I would love to see someone second shoot a wedding using their Hipstamatic app.

  4. I love your advice about thinking of a way to incorporate something that would represent Belle when you realized that you couldn’t have the Belle dress (side note: Belle’s my favorite too – it’s her book reading, non-damsel in “distressness” that speaks to me). It’s great advice. I will try to remember that as I wind down to my almost a month away wedding and deal with coming to terms with not being able to do some things that I wish I could. I will take what you said to heart and try to think of a creative way to really get what the core desire was.

    There was one thing that made me sad about this…all I could think is what if some jerky management person discovers who Alice and the Mad Hatter are and discipline them for participating in the wedding… Fingers crossed hoping that this does not happen

    • I’m glad I could help you. 🙂

      FWIW, Disney is fairly lax when it comes to policing guerilla weddings as long as the folks involved behave themselves. We deliberately waited until the grotto was empty and Alice & Mad Hatter had no line for their photo op. We also made our ceremony as short as possible so as not to clog up the flow of traffic once people stopped to watch. I am friends with multiple cast members and they even gave me advice because they had helped other couples in the past.

      We also made sure that any money we did spend was put into the Disney machine — the passes for our minister and her family, our wedding night hotel, the celebration dinner, our ears/my wand, and the wedding-themed souvenirs we bought that night. We’re also going on a Disney Cruise Line honeymoon after our wedding in January and are using their honeymoon registry so we can indulge in the extras offered on the trip.

      • ms meghatron…would you be willing to share said cm’s advice either here or in private message? i’d love to hear more…i have my reasons 😉

  5. Such a great idea! The last wedding I was the officiant at was guerilla-style as well, at Orcutt Ranch in Canoga Park. Nice work!

  6. Hahha! My fiance and I had seriously considered a Disney Guerilla wedding. Unfortunately he’s afraid that getting caught would torpedo his chances for working at the House of Mouse. I’m so glad *somebody* did it though. 😀

  7. This is just awesome! So, so awesome. Totally made my Disney-adoring heart go pitter-patter. Congrats to you both!!!

  8. This is some seriously guerilla wedding awesomeness, and you look awesome in your t-shirt and wand, just beaming and being in love-surrounded by friends and fam. Inspirational!

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