Whimsical Modern Disney Wedding: Kristen + Caleb

wooden chevron painted backdrop

Kristen + Caleb have a long family history with Disney, starting with when Kristen’s grandparents visited Disneyland opening week, which began a legacy of love and infatuation with Disney parks, movies and magic. So when it came time for them to plan their wedding, they knew they wanted to incorporate the whimsy of Disney and the magic behind it. :) In fact, Kristen + Caleb’s inspiration for their wedding came primarily from the opening credits to Cinderella and Mary Blair’s original storyboard artwork for the film. How fun!

Kristen says, “We made simple chandeliers for the tables with wire and dowels. We coated glass jars in colorful paper to be lanterns in the lawn once we left at night. We even made a movie to watch at the reception – it was supposed to be “movie on the lawn” but it rained, so we all huddled around each other under the greenhouse. Another dear friend painted two murals directly inspired by Mary Blair and our own love story. But more than “Disney” or “Cinderella” we wanted our wedding to be a day of rejoicing with those who have loved us so hard and so well.

Big congrats to Kristen + Caleb – and be sure to read their proposal story at the end of the feature! So incredibly sweet!! Thanks to Shannon Miller Photography for the photos.

confetti invitation

embroidery thread

silhouette drawings


I asked my girls to be bridesmaids by cutting up old children’s books and making them mini “storybooks” about our friendship.


pink and blue bouquet

One of the big efforts of the day was cocktail hour, which actually happened before the ceremony. Guests arrived to food, home-brewed “Cinderella Blonde Ale” made by dear friends, a magician and a singing quartet! We wanted it to feel similar to walking down Main Street USA with lots of color, activity and pretty noise.

giant white balloons

Caleb made the ceremony back-drop from old deck wood and a rigged diagram in photoshop. He hand painted it himself, too!

striped wooden backdrop

paper wreath

Our Musical Choices

Processional: Somewhere In Time Theme – John Barry + Rogers Williams

Recessional: Felt Good on My Lips – Tim McGraw

First Dance: Tale As Old As Time – Beauty and The Beast

flower girls

wedding party



flower girls and ring bearer

Caleb is one of 13 kids, and I’m one of 7, so with nearly 20 siblings we wanted the kids to be very involved in the day. We had 13 flower girls and ring-bearers.

wedding party

bride and groom

bride and groom

bride and groom

ribbon seating chart

multiple colored vases

facts about couple table numbers

colored vases

Our Favorite Memory From The Wedding

As weird as it sounds, the strongest, "real-est" and first moment I think of when I hear that question is the moment the limo-window was rolled up, and the doors were closed and we drove away. After a week of constant noise and activity and excitement, and then a whole DAY of "go go go go go! Next! Ah! You're getting married! Pictures! Vows! Pictures! Kiss! Dance! Eat! Dance! Greet! Ah!" it was surreal to run through the sparklers and sit down next to my husband. It was silent in the limo. We couldn't hear people screaming and ow-ow-ing. We both just looked at each other like "Whoa. What just HAPPENED?!" It was incredible to just be DONE. The wedding happened. We were now in a lifelong marriage. We talked non-stop for our entire ride to the hotel... we missed each other, and had so many stories to tell each other, and were so giddy and happy and overwhelmed. We had so much to re-live and laugh about. And we had forever to do it. I've never felt so loved in my entire life and I think it was the first few minutes I really had a chance to unwind and process it. And we had just seen all this people who love us so much, and enjoyed all these fun and holy moments, and worked so hard, and been surrounded by so much beauty and joy. But driving away with him was like "Yes. This is my favorite part. And this is why we did all of this. I just want to be with him."

first dance

castle wedding cake

sparkler exit

How did he propose? Last February my family found out my mom had breast cancer for a second time, and that it was in her lungs, liver, spine, chest and more. I immediately bought a one-way ticket, left my home in Maryland and flew to Florida to be with her. My boyfriend came to visit a few weekends later. I had spent almost two weeks with mom in the hospital and he (and my family) wanted me to take a break and go relax. After much forcing and my mom insisting that she wanted me to go, I let my man take me to Disney World. I’ve been to Disney parks literally dozens of times but he had never been. At the end of the night, my farm-boy turned Prince Charming pulled off the surprise of the century and proposed to me in front of Cinderella’s Castle during the fireworks display. I wept and drooled and moaned and shook. Not the most “princess graceful classy royal” reaction I’ve ever had. But I eventually said “YES.” And our hearts were full, alive and just stupid happy. Mom waited up all night for us to get home. I still cry picturing her sick, sweet self sitting RIGHT beside the door with a nightlight on at 2:30 am. (you can see photos from the proposal here)

Our Advice To Those Planning Now

Hm. I could list a hundred "wish I had known _____" but really, at the end of the day, as cliche' as it is, look forward to your marriage more than your wedding. Be flexible + kind + patient. There is a lot I would do different, and even more I'd do the same, mostly pledging my life and love to that cute cowboy. And our wedding was wonderful - it really, really was. But not as good as he is. Best friend is greater than perfect wedding. And I *think* if you keep that in perspective, you'll have a fairly-perfect wedding ;)

photography: Shannon Miller Photography // venue name: Shade Tree and Evergreen, Frederick, Maryland // caterer: Merlin Shorb Events // florist: Simply Flowers by Jonalee // magician: Bill Kerwood // reception emcee: Bill Kerwood // line dance caller: Doren McBroom // rental company: A Grand Event Rentals // dress from: CC's Boutique