Getting married in a castle is as close to a ‘fairytale wedding’ as it gets.
We’ve picked five great castle venues from India, Italy, Austria, South Africa and the States. So if your clients are looking for somewhere truly special to tie the knot, try selling one of the following:
Castle on the Hudson, Tarrytown, Westchester County
Why? The Castle on the Hudson sits on a hill in 11 acres of grounds, with romantic views of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.
It can accommodate wedding groups of up to 150 people. Smaller weddings of up to 40 people can take place in the Arthur Litt Library, with dinner and cocktails in the Tapestry Room.
For bigger weddings, the ceremony could either be in the Great Hall, or in the gardens, weather depending.
Getting a licence: The castle says marriage licences are to be applied for two to three months prior to the wedding. Once the licence has been secured, the castle can provide the couple with ceremony officiants.
Sample product: Rack rates for a deluxe king room start at $340 per night. Book through Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Agents will earn commission on the rooms, but not on the wedding and its associated events, such as dinner.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
Why? The lavish art deco Umaid Bhawan Palace is set in 26 acres of grounds. Spectacular events can be arranged, including flaming torch dinners on the lawns. Extras such as DJs, folk dancing and vintage car processions can be arranged for big events.
Getting a licence: Couples have to be resident in Rajasthan for one month before they can marry, so the most convenient option is to marry in the UK and have a blessing in Rajasthan.
Sample product:Somak offers Umaid Bhawan from £95 per night bed and breakfast. Blessings have to be arranged with the hotel directly.
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Why? Follow in the footsteps of Empress Sissi and marry in one of the rooms in the 17th century Schönbrunn Palace, in the heart of Vienna.
The wedding package with Crystal costs £1,699 per couple and includes co-ordination, ceremony, a translator during the ceremony and flowers.
Weddings can be held Monday to Friday at 4pm or 6pm and Saturday at 10am, 12pm or 2pm.
Getting a licence: There are no unusual requirements for weddings in Austria, but documents needed include original birth certificates and a Certificate of No Impediment issued by the local registry office.
Sample product: Crystal offers three nights’ bed and breakfast in Vienna in the four-star Hotel Kummer and seven nights’ half-board on Lake Wolfgang in the four-star Hotel White Horse on the lake from £938 per person, including flights and all transfers for a September departure.
Malcesine Castle, Lake Garda, Italy
Why? Weddings in Malcesine Castle, a beautiful medieval fortress overlooking the shores of Lake Garda, take place within the castle grounds. If a room is available, the castle can also arrange a champagne reception.
Getting a licence:Weddings in Italy need two witnesses. Civil weddings take place in a registry office, and couples have to sign a declaration saying they intend to marry no less than four days before the ceremony.
Sample product:Thomas Cook offers a wedding package, which includes ceremony and flowers. Seven nights’ half-board at the four-star Excelsior Bay Hotel, with views of Lake Garda, leads in at £735 per person, departing Gatwick in September.
Pezula Castle at Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, Knysna, South Africa
Why? A stylish 87-suite hotel, Pezula offers several wedding locations. Functions at Pezula Castle, located on a secluded beach, can accommodate up to 24 guests.
Alternatively, couples can tie the knot in the Pezula Clubhouse, with views of the golf course and the Indian Ocean. Here there is room for up to 120 guests.
Zachary’s Restaurant in the hotel seats 36 people. The hotel will offer special rates for guests as well as discounts on spa treatments, and treats for the happy couple, such as a champagne breakfast.
Getting a licence: The minimum age to marry without parental consent is 21, with a residency time of three days. Required papers are a passport, birth certificate, decree absolute, adoption certificate, deed poll certificate or death certificate of previous spouse if relevant. Couples need to visit one of the Home Affairs Offices in all major cities to obtain a licence.
Sample product:Abercrombie and Kent offers seven nights from £2,170 (saving £115) per person, inclusive of eight days’ car hire and international flights, departing September. The wedding would need to be arranged directly with the hotel.