There are a plethora of incredible destinations across the world for your wedding, and Lauren Steventon picks some of the best….
Turks And Caicos
Fancy getting married on your own private island? Well, luckily, you don’t need to sign the deeds beforehand….Parrot Cay is one of the prettiest private islands in the north Caribbean. 1000 unspoilt acres of tropical vegetation and a mile-long beach, punctuated by sumptuously stylish buildings and private villas. Hold a small ceremony in a tiki hut on the powder-white sand, or in the spa cottage overlooking the wetlands and their wildlife. The private residences, with their chic, sleek sophisticated island style, are the perfect spot for a large celebration, with private beach and extensive living areas for indoor or outdoor receptions – or go all out and hire the entire island. Excellent service ensures that everything will run super smoothly, from food to fireworks.
So you’ve heard about weddings in India, Thailand, Bali….but what about Bhutan? The country is breathtakingly beautiful and very spiritual – the perfect place to start the next stage of your life together. Plus, very few visitors are allowed every year, meaning that your special day won’t be overrun with tourists. Uma Paro in Paro has incredible views over the surrounding valley with rooms and suites set amidst azalea glades – it doesn’t get much more romantic than that! Guests can spend the days meeting the local people and exploring that incredible scenery by bike. As for the ceremony, seven kilometres away is Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. Uma Paro can arrange a marriage blessing ceremony in the magnificent but intimate main shrine room where about 20 monks will conduct ceremonial prayers, accompanied by drums and horns and cymbals. Magical.
Moyo Island, Indonesia
Imagine exchanging your vows deep in the Indonesian rainforest, next to a cascading waterfall and limestone pools. It sounds like something out of a movie, but in fact it is the wedding option at Amanwana, on the 350 sq km Moyo Island, a nature and marine reserve. The resort is made up of tented luxury camps, 15km off the coast of Sumbawa, east of Bali. Weddings for up to 15 guests can be catered for with flowers, wedding cake and wedding dinner. The bride and groom will be taken to the waterfall by traditional boat, decorated in drapes and jungle vegetation, and jeep. After the ceremony, local children will serenade the wedding party as they depart for dinner on the beach, lit by candles and lanterns and overlooking the Flores Sea.
Tel: 00 800 2255 2626
Whether you would like an intimate cocktail party or a grand wedding on a large scale, this new resort in Goa could be the perfect spot for your ceremony. Situated amidst lush paddy fields and framed by hundreds of coconut palms, and bathed in the Southern Indian sunshine, it is terribly romantic. Rooms, with large private terraces and balconies overlooking the Arabian Sea or the lush paddy fields, combine contemporary and hi-tech amenities with Goan cultural touches. Hold the ceremony in the landscaped gardens or pretty courtyard, with every element (from food to flowers) customised to your own taste. Personal touches are designed to make the day individual – from chocolates with the couple’s name given to each of the wedding guests as well as your own tailor-made wedding gifts and favours.
Four Seasons Firenze
Ah, Florence – artistic, classical, romantic. There are few European cities that can rival it for aesthetics or atmosphere. For true Renaissance romance, hold your wedding in an exquisite former church, a frescoed, gilt-edged ballroom or outdoors beneath towering trees in a centuries-old private park at Four Seasons Florence. With the exceptional service one expects from a Four Seasons, the hotel can help with organising everything from invitations to entertainment. There is an extensive selection of wedding menus to choose from – or create your own bespoke selection of food and drinks, tailored to your tastes. The hotel itself is an art-filled Renaissance palazzo with original frescoes, reliefs, sculpture and Florence’s oldest private park. A short stroll from the Duomo and the Uffizi, it is the perfect city setting for a destination wedding.
Chateau de Bagnols
Where better to play the princess bride than a genuine 13th century French chateau, secreted away in the heart of the Beaujolais wine region. Roam around long panelled corridors, sleep in rooms filled with Renaissance and 18th century wall and ceiling frescoes, and explore vineyards, forests and green hills. Every detail for your wedding will be meticulously planned, from the antique-finished silverware to glasses hand-made in Alsace to an 18th century design. The wedding ceremony takes place in the Church of Bagnols, in the gardens or in the Grand Salon, with champagne and canapés in the lavender alley and dinner in the Salle des Gardes or in the 19th century Winery.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Great Milton, Oxford, England
Raymond Blanc’s gastro-idyll tucked away in the Oxfordshire countryside is perfectly romantic. An ivy-clad manor house set amidst the croquet lawn, vegetable patches, Japanese garden, orchards and lavender walks, it is intimate and effortlessly romantic. Licensed to hold a Civil Wedding Ceremony, Le Manoir can cater for weddings of eight people in one of the suites, to exclusive use of the whole property for 120 diners or 64 guests staying overnight. Raymond Blanc and Michelin-starred head chef Gary Jones will create a gorgeous menu to accompany the celebrations and guests can organise to take advantage of the cookery school, the gardens, or perhaps a little pre-wedding wine tasting….
Makanyane Safari Lodge
There is one way you can top Wills and Kate’s wedding – get married on safari! Makanyane Safari Lodge is situated on the 75,000 hectare malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. The Big 5 roam the area, as do a plethora of other animal and bird species. Getting married deep in the African bush means an even more unforgettable day, complete with fantastic photo opportunities. The Lodge’s four-day wedding package includes several game drives and a ceremony conducted wherever the bride and groom would like – perhaps on the lodge’s main deck with its dramatic view over the waterhole, or at the lookout point against a backdrop of vast open plains. Wherever you choose, it is guaranteed to be spectacular.