If you are having a destination wedding or simply have many guests traveling to your wedding then considering a welcome party is a must. Not only is a great way to kick off the celebration, it also shows appreciation for everyone traveling. It’s a great way to greet your guests, thank them for coming and ease your nerves before the big day. Not to mention, seeing and chatting with everyone the night before can save you time at your reception…less small talk and more partying!
Hosting a Disney Wedding naturally made it a destination for all of our guests. Our welcome party was a dessert and cocktail party held on the Italy Isola patio in Disney’s Epcot leading up to the nightly fireworks show, Illuminations. Guests were able to meet at the entrance to Epcot and were escorted in by event guides, no park pass necessary. This was a huge perk for many of our wedding guests who weren’t buying park passes as they still got to see a bit of the park on their walk in and experience the magic of a Disney fireworks show.
A standard dessert party in Disney is ninety minutes and we stuck with this length. Our party began Friday night at 8 with fireworks at 9. I would recommend opting for a longer party if you have a lot of guests like we did. With over 120 people attending our welcome party it was hard to see everyone in that short time frame! Plus not much time is left after the show before the park has to be vacated. If I could do it all again I’d have the party start at 7:30!
Drinks & Sweet Treats
Sticking with the ambiance of the replica Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background we custom picked Italian wine, beer, and prosecco as drink options in place of a standard open bar option. We wanted the party to be fun and relaxing for everyone but didn’t want things to get out of hand with full bar options. Having limited options that would please everyone also kept the bar lines moving and added an aura of sophistication to the party. I ordered custom bar menu signs from Etsy and cocktail napkins from Wedding Paper Divas to fill out the bar area.
A full buffet of desserts including mini tiramisu, eclairs, lemon pound cake and more was spread amongst tables and guests helped themselves throughout the evening. We chose the “Star” Dessert Buffet package but there are higher and lower options as well plus ability to add a la carte stations such as fruit, cheese and crackers, or even an ice cream bar to fulfill anyone’s sweet tooth.
Dessert Party Decor
We kept decor very simple with the standard white table linens on a mix of high and low tables. Our centerpieces were glass cylinder vases filled with color changing stars to keep things bright and fun. We also added Mickey vision glasses which allowed viewers to see bursts of Mickey heads while viewing the fireworks. For being such a Disney nut myself I never even knew this existed and it was really exciting to experience.
Our photography package had plenty of flexibility and hours so we utilized one hour of dual photographers at the dessert party. This allowed us to ease into the formal posing and get comfortable with our team for the next day. We now have some great images of the desserts, guests, fireworks and some very special photos of us to look back on. During the fireworks we were staged on the arched bridge entering the patio for some slow shutter photos to capture the bursts of light behind. These were really fabulous photos we wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.
Our Epcot dessert party was certainly one of the highlights of our wedding weekend for us and many of our guests. If you are getting married in Disney World there is no better place to host a welcome event or post reception party. Front row seats for the fireworks, drinks, and great food will make it an unforgettable night.