I truly gravitated towards Brittany and Josh’s love story as soon as she began revealing information about their relationship in her initial inquiry emails. Brittany is from Toronto, Canada and Josh from Illinois. They met on a two week transatlantic Disney Cruise Line sailing. They were drawn to each other and quickly decided they were dating and serious – it was a big commitment to do the “long distance thing” but their hearts knew it was right. A couple who loves Disney, Disney Cruise Line and travel immediate grabs my attention!
Josh knew a proposal would have to be grand – their meet up vacations were better than most people’s trips, having sailed together on Disney Cruise Line three times, their wedding being their fourth. (And their honeymoon will be their fifth!) I’ve actually never personally known someone who was Disney Castaway Club (that’s their club for repeat sailer – you’re automatically enlisted after your first Disney Cruise) PLATINUM until I met Josh! He’s been on something like seventeen or nineteen cruises with Disney. Impressive! So with all this in mind, Josh knew it would have to be a proposal somewhere truly exceptional.
When his family was planning a Christmas holiday trip to Hawaii in 2017, staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Oahu, he saw his opportunity. His mom carried the ring through TSA security just in case they had to sift through any baggage going through the x-ray machine! He proposed on the beach during sunset and she said yes! (I especially love this proposal because I’ve been to Aulani and could picture the exact beach he proposed on.)
As they started to plan their wedding and getting married on a cruise came into focus, including what it would look like, they knew photography would be extremely important to them. A Disney Cruise wedding package doesn’t necessarily include a photographer – it’s an add on of sorts and even at that they don’t have wedding photographer specialists onboard. Many couples consider bringing a pro along…and I’m so glad I was that pro for them.
(Getting married on a cruise ship takes some extra considerations and I’m so glad they prepared early, did their
Their three day wedding was a celebration the entire time, with each great meal and port destination, including Port Canaveral, Nassau and Castaway Cay. (I’ll even include Orlando in that because they stayed at Walt Disney World before and afterwards!) It was a time for family and friends to gather from near and far and get to know one another better, from Canada and the United States, to watch a really sweet, genuine, smiley and down-to-Earth couple enter the next exciting season of life: marriage. And here you have just a taste of their wedding photos (there are hundreds more for them to enjoy in a private gallery!) that shows the splendor of their day.
Getting married on a cruise is a blast with family and your best friends nearby, at all times, to have meals with relax by the pool…and of course go to the spa that morning and to help the bride get dressed!
One of the things I loved about being a photographer brought on the ship to photograph their fairy tale wedding was I could capture all details and moments, like getting ready, that the onboard photographers don’t capture yet make a wedding day special. It’s not simply the ceremony and reception but the moments preparing for the day with family and friends, that add to the fun of having a wedding.
Luckily Brittany, her bridesmaids and mom were just across the way from the groomsmen, all on Deck 5, just a few yards away from each other. It was beneficial for me to easily go back and forth between the rooms to capture them both getting ready and special details including their shoes, rings and attire. It was, however, appealing to take Brittany’s gown to the main atrium for some extraordinary photo ops!
They were going to wait to see each other at their ceremony. But on the cruise they let me know they changed their minds and wanted to do a first look, which I was all for. After the first look (seen above), they commuted to the ceremony area on the beach at Castaway Cay, separately. I happened to have been sitting near Josh on the tram to the beach and he said, “I’m SO GLAD we did a first look. My nerves are calm now.” And that’s precisely one of the reasons I advocate for a first look!
Imagine having a best friend you’re about to marry – someone you confide in, you share all times with both happy and sad. Your best friend and confident. Then imagine having the most important day of your life and refraining from seeing one another until the pomp and circumstance of a ceremony with everyone looking on. It’s a little nerve wracking to some people and I don’t blame them! Wouldn’t it be better to just see each other first to hug and kiss and be excited for your wedding day together? (I think so!) I shared a bit of that sentiment with Josh as we were transported to the beach on the tram for their Disney Cruise Line wedding ceremony.
They recited custom vows with a perfect view of the Disney Dream cruise ship in the background. Shoes were optional, of course, which they proudly declared on custom signage. (Most people opted for feeling the sand between their toes and left their shoes by the sign and nearest palm tree.)
Guests congratulated them on the beach with a little bubble celebration before we took some quick family photos. As guests made their way back to the ship for their reception myself, Brittany, Josh and their wedding party walked a small radius for iconic beach wedding photos, then we took a quick stop at Boat Beach with the help of golf cart transportation for some of my favorite photos of the day. Finally, we made our way onto the ship.
I love doing the best job possible for all my couples. Which is why I absolutely adored hearing someone on the island (who was watching from nearby waiting us to board golf carts so she could help transport us back to the ship) say, “Oooh I’ve never seen any photographer do that!” I was smiling ear to ear and replied, “That’s why they hired me!” 🙂
We made our way back to the ship just before the heavens opened and it started to pour (but after photos with Mickey Mouse, of course)! It was perfect timing because we were due to be in the D Lounge for their cake and champagne toast reception. They also danced their first dance to a Disney song, of course, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” It was the extra lovely, emotional, Elton John, version of the song.
Getting married on a cruise ship meant the joy of the Disney-owned island, Castaway Cay, and the splendor of a Disney ship, in particular. It’s the best of both worlds, land and sea. Thus, we took full advantage of the opportunity to roam a practically empty ship, as most of the guests were enjoying Castaway Cay at the time. We took many more photos of the bridesmaids, groomsmen and happy newlyweds all over the place, on nearly every upper deck.
We went from the grand staircase in the main atrium, to Cabanas for the impressive Finding Nemo mosaic walls, to the upper stacks, to the Enchanted Garden restaurant, to the Cinderella mosaics near Guest Services and more. We spent over an hour having fun in all these awesome locations!
Isn’t it all such a dream come true? Their hashtag was #MitchellDreamWedding (for their last name, the cruise ship name and simply the reality of the situation) and it was just that. A dream wedding, just for them.
I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of a few Disney Fairy Tale Weddings now. For more inspiration check out:
- Nonica and Jeremy’s Walt Disney World Wedding at the Wedding Pavilion, Grand Floridian and Contemporary Resort
- Rebecca and Josh’s Walt Disney World Wedding at Disney’s Boardwalk
Interested in having us capture your fairy tale wedding? Contact us!