Summer is undoubtedly wedding season, which means you’re either attending a ceremony, in the wedding party, or bridezilla herself in the planning stages. Booking a venue is usually the first step, along with choosing the kind of event you want to host—an exotic destination wedding, casual beach nuptials, or over-the-top fairytale affair are just a few ways to go about it. For a little inspiration (or just something to fantasize about) here are five very different, but very beautiful and enchanting luxury villas just waiting to be that ideal 'I do' location.
Barr Mansion in Austin, Texas
Since everything is bigger in Texas, a wedding there should stand up to the slogan. Whether you and your love are looking for an indoor or outdoor venue, Victorian or modern, Barr Mansion in Austin is a great place for any and all of the above. Located 15 minutes from downtown (but seeming much further away), the sprawling grounds can host 50-600 of your closest friends and family. The flower gardens make a beautiful backdrop for an outdoor ceremony, while the Artisan Ballroom, with 40-foot-high glass walls, is a great way to still bring the serene surroundings in during an intimate indoor ceremony. Resident event coordinators, Elyse and Rick, are on hand to create the right happily ever after moment for guests.
One unique aspect to Barr Mansion is the fact that it’s the nation’s first, and so far only, USDA Certified Organic Event Facility. Not only is the food incredibly fresh, but it’s better for you and your guests as well as the earth. Menu items vary depending on the harvest season, but their ‘Modern Comfort Food’ is inspired by traditional recipes from around the world with a local, organic twist. You can also bet their cakes are 100% organic as well, made from scratch right in the Mansion’s kitchen.
Khayangan Estate in Bali
For an exotic wedding far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Khayangan Estate in Bali is a great option. Set atop a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, this villa is focused on creating quiet moments and offering the utmost in privacy—even employing their own security guards. You and your guests will feel like royalty staying in the individual luxury villas with private plunge pools, infinity edge pools, and spacious living and dining pavilions all surrounded by lush, colorful gardens. Each are decorated to reflect the 100-year-old history of the buildings (once the homes of noble men) with teak wood floors and hand-carved panels, yet are still well-equipped with modern features like soaking tubs and floor-to-ceiling glass walls.
Couples can exchange vows in the balmy breezes and then choose to spoil their guests with several different menus and outdoor entertainment. They can opt for a casual BBQ, a more formal four-course, sit-down meal, or a local feast of Balinese favorites. Vibrant flower arrangements, fire dancers, flickering torches, swaying palms, and endless azure waters set the mood for romance and fun for all in this tropical paradise. With a name that means “seventh heaven” how could it not?
Calivigny Island, Caribbean
When a private villa just isn’t quite private enough, why not bring your friends and family to your very own island? Located off the coast of Grenada, this little slice of the Caribbean dream can host up to 20 people in the island’s sprawling beach house and 12 more in the 173-foot yacht docked on the shore. There is plenty to keep guests busy on this 81-acre island while they wait for the festivities to begin: ride bikes, quads or jet skis, have a cocktail at the pool’s swim-up bar, lay on the beach, or even get a treatment from the resident massage therapist.
Ten beautiful suites make up the main beach house, each with its own en-suite bathroom. The entire estate is decorated in high style, with furnishings from Oscar de la Renta and Richard Frinier, to bring together both French Colonial and Balinese esthetics. The private chef and his team, along with the maître d’hotel, are ready to prepare impressive spreads with the use of the freshest local ingredients and decorative tropical detailing. Calivigny Island is available for rentals with a minimum of seven nights, yet that just doesn’t seem long enough.
Villa Giona in Verona, Italy
What could be more romantic than getting married in the city where Romeo and Juliet fell in love? Setting the stage for love, Villa Giona’s stunning property features lush gardens, olive trees, fruit orchards, and dazzling fountains all surrounded by rolling green vineyards. With 17 rooms and suites, along with a separate apartment, friends and family can stay close to help the happy couple prepare for their big day (in addition to all the assistance from the in-house Wedding Designer, Marion).
The couple can also choose to exchange vows in several different settings in the Verona/Lake Garda area: directly under Juliet’s balcony, at a local castle, church or cathedral, or at the Town Hall. Guests can then return to the villa for a beautiful meal and dancing under the stars. To end the evening in an extravagant way, guests can watch a spectacular, musical fireworks show complete with the couple’s initials glowing in the middle of a heart in the sky. Now that’s amore!
Villa Botanica in Queensland, Australia
Romance is just waiting to bloom at Villa Botanica in Queensland, Australia. Overlooking Pioneer Bay on the edge of the Coral Sea, this ultra-private venue runs along five acres of coastline for spectacular views and even better photo ops. Speaking of which, the property offers 14 different locations for wedding photos so each couple can capture exactly the right mood for their day. Unlike other villas which also host groups or individuals for vacation experiences, Villa Botanica is purely a wedding and reception venue, so full attention is placed on making the big day exactly what the love birds had envisioned.
The bride glides down the palm-lined tile walkway to the Seaside Pavilion—where the ceremony takes place—which opens up to panoramas of turquoise waters reaching out to Hayman Island, Whitsundays, and Airlie Beach. While guests (up to 80) will be taken to their nearby accommodations via complimentary private transportation after all the dining and dancing, the new Mr. and Mrs. are welcome to shack up in the Bridal Villa on the day and night of the wedding. Balinese décor, an outdoor free-standing tub, and terrace with ocean views make for a relaxing retreat after a long, exciting day.