Getting married in Rome is already a dream, but getting married in a beautiful castle just outside of the city? I don’t think mere mortals are even allowed to have dreams like that. Built in the fifteenth century on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano, Castello Orsini-Odescalchi houses a museum and cultural events center, but it can be your wedding venue for a bargain price of $50,000 — to start, of course. The happy (and wealthy) couple can choose to say their vows at neighboring St. Stephen’s Cathedral (which connects to the castle via tunnel) or in the light-filled granary overlooking the lake, the surrounding gardens (including the “secret garden”), or one of the armory rooms — any of which can also host receptions of up to 1,000 guests. The venue has played host to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes when they got married, as well as to numerous other famous weddings that, according to the website, “are considered to be amongst the most important in recent years.” (Whatever that means.)
If Italy isn’t your thing, but you still like the idea of saying “I do” in a castle-like compound, consider the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte in Maincy, France, instead. Set in a 1,200-acre private park estate, this seventeenth-century venue features multiple gardens and ballrooms from which to choose, with the latter containing intricate architecture, furniture, and candles that first kicked off the “Louis XIV style” way back when. The fees begin at $64,000 for a five-hour rental, and you can top off the trip by honeymooning in Paris, which is only 35 miles away.
Facebook / Laucala Island
Sure, the price tag for Laucala Island in Fiji — $150,000 per night — is a bit steep, but here’s what it includes: rental of the entire 3,460-acre private island, 25 Fijian-style villas set amid coconut plantations and deserted beaches (and atop volcanic mountains), 90-minute spa treatments for up to 80 guests, use of the 2,000-square-meter lagoon-style pool, meals cooked by top international chefs, and unlimited alcohol at all five of the resort’s restaurants and bars. With that kind of package, you might as well stay for the week.
Facebook / Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
Past Florida’s Key Largo and past Plantation Key (but just before Sugarloaf Key and Key West) is Little Torch Key and the site of an amazing wedding venue at Little Palm Island Resort. Led by the resort’s professional wedding coordinator, couples can help customize everything from the décor, to the beauty services, to the cuisine and wine selections for up to 60 guests. Packages include valet parking, dockage for up to 10 yachts, welcome bottles of Champagne in every one of the 30 various suites, and all gourmet meals for all guests — starting at $175,000 for three nights. Don’t worry about the honeymoon though — an additional romantic stay at the resort is included in your package.
Facebook / MolenVliet Oosthuizen Family Vineyards
Looking for a vineyard wedding venue that’s a bit further away than Napa? Try MolenVliet Vineyards in South Africa, which has been repeatedly ranked among the top wedding destination venues in the world. Nestled on the banks of the Dwars River in the Banhoek Valley, the property lets couples tie the knot in the landscaped gardens, in between the vineyards, or down in the quaint aging cellar, before moving into the main venue space, which comfortable seats up to 250 guests and overlooks the sprawling and breathtaking estate. Prices start at around $10,000 for three nights at the resort, with accommodation provided for 14 guests. Interestingly, this price does not include wine — but don’t worry, there’s still plenty to go around.
Getting married in a library might sound like a bore, but if it’s good enough for a fictional character on Sex and the City, it’s good enough for all of us, right? Yes, the New York Public Library (and its Bryant Park backyard) was the picturesque setting for the almost-wedding of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in the 2008 film, with its jaw-dropping main hallway, marble-covered walls and floors, towering ceilings, and chandeliers. The space can accommodate between 125 and 450 guests, and packages start at $50,000. The NYPL takes weddings so seriously that it requires a professional wedding planner be hired for each event.
Facebook / Biltmore
Looking for a wedding that’s as close to a fairy tale as possible? The 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is the place for you. Built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt as a country retreat, the 35-bedroom, 43-bathroom, and 65-fireplace mega-mansion has since expanded to include a winery, an inn, and a small “village” (named Antler Hill) for shopping, dining, outdoor activities, and an additional hotel. The estate is the perfect location for a wedding, and the Biltmore folks make it their goal to keep all guests happy and satisfied. Possible event locations include the lavish Lioncrest Grand Ballroom, the casually-elegant Antler Hill Barn, the breathtaking hilltop “Diana” space (offering views of the estate and surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains), and almost anywhere else the bride and groom desire. Packages start around $50,000 and feature lodging at The Inn for the happy couple, and can also include carriage rides, spa services, private wine tastings, and even fireworks.
As if Indian weddings weren’t large and extravagant enough, they can also be held at the 26-acre, 347-room Umaid Bhawan Palace — one of the largest private residences in the world. Designed in Art Deco style and made of golden-yellow sandstone, the palace was built in 1929 and now plays host to all kinds of distinguished guests and elite events, and also includes a section managed by Taj Hotels (which is often awarded the title of best hotel group in the world). A typical wedding (which is anything but typical) includes a ceremonial welcome on the first day, complete with aarti songs and folk performers, followed by a theme party the first evening. Then, on the actual wedding day, there’s a procession, ceremony, fireworks, formal dinner, and dance party to close out the night — with a seemingly-endless amount of venue options for everything. The cost for both days at the palace? About $400,000.