5 couples reveal what it's really like to get married on a Disney Cruise Line

Courtesy of Kristen DyerKristen and Mubarak Alhassan aboard the Disney Dream in May 2018.

Every year, hundreds of Disney cruises set sail from ports in Florida, California, and all over the world to take their passengers on a floating Disney vacation. While passengers young and old come to experience the company’s high quality entertainment and iconic charm, many cruises also see couples getting married onboard or at one of their stops.

While each couple has its own history with the Disney brand, many grew up on its stories, ultimately deciding to include its magic in their special celebration.

“They make dreams come true, let me tell you,” Disney cruise wedding photographer Jess Collins told INSIDER about the Disney cruise weddings.

Here are five couples who chose to celebrate their love at sea with Mickey.


Monica and Ryan Poulin got married aboard the Disney Dream ship in February 2018.

Courtesy of Monica PoulinMonica and Ryan Poulin during their Disney cruise wedding in February 2018.

Their three-day cruise included stops at Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, and Disney’s 1000-acre private island of Castaway Cay.

“Most weddings are between three and four nights because they are quite costly,” said Collins. “A lot of couples don’t want their guests to have to spend too much.”


The two met in high school, and, having ended up in Florida after college, had both gotten jobs with “the Mouse,” Monica told INSIDER.

Courtesy of Monica PoulinMonica and Ryan Poulin’s Disney cruise wedding.

Both worked at Disney World, Monica as a character attendant and Ryan as a photo pass photographer. Ryan proposed in January 2016 during the fireworks show at Disney’s Magic Kingdom when his family was visiting from out of town.


Read more:
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Knowing they wanted a Disney wedding but that park wedding prices were steep, the two opted for a cruise. Disney cruise wedding packages start at $US3,500.

Courtesy of Monica PoulinMonica Poulin and friends during her Disney cruise wedding.

“We came across Disney cruise lines and I was like, wow, that is perfect – it’s affordable, it’s still Disney, and it’s a vacation for everyone,” she said.

According to Wedding Wire, the average cost of a destination wedding in 2018 was $US32,000.


The two picked a three-day cruise and got married on Disney’s private island of Castaway Cay on the third day.

Courtesy of Monica PoulinMonica and Ryan Poulin’s wedding ceremony on Castaway Cay.

About 36 of the Poulins’ friends and family joined them on their special day.


Per Disney tradition, their cake was the stuff of fairy tales.

Courtesy of Monica PoulinThe Poulins’ wedding cake.

The basic cruise ship package includes a two-tier, white fondant cake with a selection of flavours including chocolate, vanilla, or marble, and fillings including lemon cream cheese, strawberries and cream, French vanilla, espresso chocolate, and raspberry chocolate.

The Poulins upgraded to a more chocolate-rich cake with a cookies and cream filling.


Following the ceremony, Disney ushers the wedding party back onto the ship for a Champagne reception.

Courtesy of Monica PoulinThe Poulins invited Minnie and Mickey to join their reception.

The Poulins opted to have Mickey and Minnie join their reception (for 30 minutes and an extra $US850).

“Our first dance was to ‘Married Life’ from the movie ‘Up,'” Monica said.


Kristen and Mubarak Alhassan got married aboard the Disney Dream in May 2018.

Courtesy of Kristen DyerKristen and Mubarak Alhassan aboard the Disney Dream in May 2018.

Like the Poulins, they chose a three-night cruise out of Port Canaveral.

“Cruise weddings are a great option for people who don’t want to settle for just one wedding location,” said Destination Weddings Travel Group vice president of marketing Jen Avey, “and want to get the best of (the entire) world.”


The two had met working at Disney World’s market research department in 2012, and began dating a year later.

Courtesy of Kristen DyerKristen and Mubarak Alhassan aboard the Disney Dream in May 2018.

While Kristen is a Florida native, Mubarak is originally from Ghana.


Their ceremony took place in the Outlook Lounge, located on the ship’s top deck.

Courtesy of Kristen DyerKristen and Mubarak Alhassan during their wedding in May 2018.

Having considered various Disney wedding options (the Aulani resort in Hawaii, for instance, and Florida’s various theme parks), the Alhassans, who live in Florida, realised that a Disney cruise offered exactly the “intimate but elegant” ceremony that they’d want, said Kristen.

The Outlook fits about 30 people, she said, and the two had 15 guests altogether. “I really loved how intimate everything was,” she said.


“Eat all of the Disney cruise food,” Kristen told INSIDER, “it’s the best thing on Earth.”

Courtesy of Kristen DyerKristen and Mubarak Alhassan’s wedding cake.

The Alhassans opted for a nautical cake. One tier was chocolate fudge and cookies and cream, and the second vanilla with a citrus lemon butter cream.

Disney’s cruise line website lists 14 different dining options aboard the Disney Dream, including the Royal Court Royal Tea, where cruisers can have tea with a Disney princess, and the Enchanted Garden, inspired by the gardens of Versailles.


Kristen had grown up loving the Disney brand.

Courtesy of Kristen DyerKristen and Mubarak Alhassan aboard the Disney Dream in May 2018.

She’d grown up idolizing Cinderella, and her family was part of the Disney Vacation Club.

“Disney was like the one place where my dad always seemed like he was really happy,” Kristen told INSIDER. “It’s kind of funny that [Mubarak and I] had that crazy Disney whirlwind romance and now we’re married.”


After the wedding, a guest and die-hard Carnival Cruise Liner told Kristen, “you spoiled me for life. I can never do anything but Disney ever again.”

Courtesy of Kristen DyerKristen and Mubarak Alhassan aboard the Disney Dream in May 2018.

“Even to this day,” she said, “everyone’s like ‘when’s the reunion?'”


Tiffany Keffalas and Michael Beamer got married aboard the Disney Dream in November 2016.

Courtesy of Tiffany KeffalasTiffany Keffalas during her Disney cruise wedding in November 2016.

The two booked a three-night cruise sailing out of Port Canaveral in Florida. Beamer is an engineer and Keffalas owns her own graphic design business in Butler, Pennsylvania.


The two were high school sweethearts, having met in their senior year in 2011.

Courtesy of Tiffany KeffalasTiffany Keffalas and her bridesmaids aboard the Disney Dream in November 2016.

During their time at Robert Morris University, Beamer and Keffalas also participated in the Disney College Program, where they ultimately decided a Disney wedding would be the way to go. The Disney College Program is a five to seven-month program offering college credit and leadership building courses.


“We grew up drinking the Disney juice,” Keffalas told INSIDER about her Disney-loving upbringing.

Courtesy of Tiffany KeffalasTiffany Keffalas and Michael Beamer during their wedding ceremony in November 2016.

“I grew up going to Disney several times a year,” she said. When she started dating Beamer, she said jokingly, “I was like, listen, you better like Disney or you’re out.”

According to photographer Jess Collins, the Disney cruise couples she’s photographed “live, breathe, or eat Disney.”


Read more:
This photographer’s shots of Disney Cruise weddings prove that they are the most magical way to get married


Keffalas and Beamer got married on Castaway Cay with 50 guests in attendance.

Courtesy Tiffany KeffalasKeffalas and Beamer on Castaway Cay on their wedding day.

“We knew if we did a Disney World wedding we would have had probably closer to 150 to 200 guests,” Keffalas said about wanting to keep the event small. Going the cruise route “was kind of our way of eliminating guests without not inviting them,” she said.

According to The Knot, one of the main reasons to have a destination wedding is “they’re virtually stress-free.”


One of the most special moments during Keffalas and Beamer’s three-night wedding cruise was getting photographed on the ship’s stage.

Courtesy of Tiffany KeffalasKeffalas and Beamer on the Disney Dream stage.

“We got special permission to take pictures on the stage on the cruise ship where they do all of their musical productions,” said Keffalas, “so that was really special to me. My husband and I met in music and musical theatre.”

Among the shows featured on the Disney Cruise Line are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Frozen,” and “Tangled.”


Keffalas’s advice for first-time cruisers? “Always do a four-day over a three-day if this is your first cruise because a three-night’s gonna feel way too quick.”

Courtesy of Tiffany KeffalasKeffalas and Beamer on the Disney Dream stage.

“I actually put Disney cruise standards way above the resort standards,” she said of the various Disney experiences. “We did the first cruise with everybody, got married, and then my husband and I got right back on the ship for a four-night cruise – that was our honeymoon.”

Read more:

5 ways for adults to have fun on a Disney Cruise


Jeffrey and Ty Blake-Holden got married on the Disney Dream in May 2017.

Courtesy of Jeffrey Blake-HoldenJeffrey and Ty Blake-Holden during their Disney cruise wedding in May 2017.

Having gone on between 30 and 35 cruises on cruise lines from the Norwegian Cruise Line to Royal Caribbean to Carnival Cruise Line, Jeffrey’s an avid cruiser.

“Most of my vacations are Disney vacations just because of the level of service,” he said. “There’s a Disney difference – it’s the smell of the ships, it’s the interaction with the cast members … Bottom line, it’s quality.”

The Disney Dream and the Disney Wonder both scored 100 on the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention‘s sanitation test.


The two had met aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship in August 2016. Blake was vacationing while Ty was working as a sign language interpreter.

Courtesy of Jeffrey Blake-HoldenJeffrey and Ty Blake-Holden during their Disney cruise wedding in May 2017.

“I was sailing from San Diego to Port Canaveral and I happened to meet him while we were in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico,” said Jeffrey. Weeks later, introducing Ty to one of his friends, said Jefferey, “I whispered in his ear that this was the guy I was gonna marry.”


The two had their ceremony in the Outlook Lounge (but took photos in the atrium) on the second day of a four-night cruise.

Courtesy of Jeffrey Blake-HoldenJeffrey and Ty Blake-Holden during their Disney cruise wedding in May 2017.

About 20 friends and family joined them. The basic Disney cruise wedding package includes an officiant for the wedding, cake, and Champagne following the ceremony, and a solo musician, according to Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons.

The Blake-Holdens’ first dance was to Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This.”


“There’s this thing called trashing the dress,” said Jeffrey about a wedding tradition and highlight of their day: after the ceremony is over, some brides will jump in the ocean or take on an activity that effectively ruins their dresses.

Courtesy of Jeffrey Blake-HoldenJeffrey and Ty Blake-Holden trash their wedding clothes after their wedding ceremony in May 2017.

The Knot defines “trashing the dress” as brides “wearing their wedding dress once more in a much less careful manner (no bridesmaids carrying the train here) for a dramatic photo shoot.” Brides run into the ocean, climb trees, or take on any number of dramatic activities with their dresses.

“On the ship they have a waterslide,” said Jeffrey, “we got on the raft in our wedding clothes and went down the slide – kind of our version of [trashing the dress].”


Read more:
A newlywed couple travelled to 33 countries for their honeymoon, and the bride wore her dress the whole time


“I cried a lot,” said Blake about their wedding day, “happy tears, happy tears.”

Courtesy of Jeffrey Blake-HoldenJeffrey and Ty Blake-Holden after trashing their clothes in May 2017.

NBC News named Disney Cruise Lines one of the best options for a wedding for their low stress and low hassle.


The following fall “we did it all over again,” said Jeffrey.

Courtesy of Jeffrey Blake-HoldenJeffrey and Ty Blake-Holden during their Disney cruise wedding in May 2017.

The Blake-Holdens planned to go on another Disney cruise for a family vacation the following fall with members who were unable to attend their initial ceremony. Having planned to rent one of the lounges on the cruise for a Champagne toast, Jeffrey and Ty soon found out the family was expecting a full-fledged ceremony.

“So we actually went through and did the whole thing over again,” said Jeffrey.


Krystal and Ben Tirado got married on the Disney Dream in 2013.

Courtesy of Krystal TiradoKrystal and Ben Tirado during their Disney cruise wedding in 2013.

The two booked the three-night cruise out of Port Canaveral as well.

“I always kind of dreamed of having a big Disney wedding,” said Krystal, who’d wanted a Magic Kingdom ceremony but found the price tag too high. Luckily, she soon discovered the cruise wedding option.

“What intrigued me about it,” she added, “was we had basically a three-day wedding.”


The two had met in college: she was a cheerleader and he was a football player.

Courtesy of Krystal TiradoKrystal and Ben Tirado’s wedding on the Disney Dream in 2013.

“I knew he was a keeper,” Krystal said of her husband, “when I found out we had a mutual love for all things Disney.”


Their ceremony took place on Castaway Cay.

Courtesy of Krystal TiradoKrystal and Ben Tirado got married on Castaway Cay.

The Tirados were joined by 16 of their friends and family and were married by Krystal’s stepfather.


Read more:
I went to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, and now I understand why it’s such a hugely popular destination


“When you’re walking around on the ship and you’re in a gown, little girls will come up to you and ask you what princess you are,” Krystal said.

Courtesy of Krystal TiradoKrystal and Ben Tirado’s wedding on the Disney Dream in 2013.

“They will ask you for a picture and an autograph,” she said. “I think I probably had about four or five little girls say that to me on our wedding day and it just made my whole night.”

According to a part-time Disney princess at Disneyland in Anaheim, of the 600 or so women who audition for the role of a princess at one of the parks, only 30 ultimately get hired.


Krystal herself is a wedding photographer in Pittsburgh, and photographed both the Alhassan and the Keffalas/Beamer weddings.

Courtesy of Krystal TiradoKrystal and Ben Tirado’s wedding on the Disney Dream in 2013.

“I am obsessed with sunset and night-time photographs,” Krystal said of her signature wedding shots. “There is nothing that beats a sunset in the Bahamas.”


Though she shoots between 30 and 35 weddings a year, among her favourites, of course, are Disney’s.

Courtesy of Krystal TiradoKrystal and Ben Tirado’s wedding on the Disney Dream in 2013.

“They have so much extra Disney magic,” she told INSIDER.

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