Your jaw will drop when you see these stunning locales
by Jenn Sinrich
COURTESY OF VILLA VENEZIANO
If you’re looking to infuse culture, sophistication, and some flair into your nuptials, you’re probably scouting every potential European wedding venue from across the Atlantic. The good news is there is an endless number to choose from. The bad news is it might take a lifetime, if not longer, to whittle down your choices. To help streamline the process, we’ve done some research for you, selecting some of the most majestic and dramatic venues across Europe. From hotels nestled on winding cliffs overlooking picturesque villages to straight-up castles that will give your guests the history lesson of a lifetime (not to mention serve as the most stunning backdrop for your photos), here are some truly magnificent spots for your European wedding.
Dukes London | London, England
After all the buzz of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, there’s no better destination to tie the knot than the home of the groom. The quintessentially British hotel, Dukes London, is situated on a quiet courtyard in St. James’s, Mayfair, and also happens to be a convenient five-minute walk from Buckingham Palace. Steeped in heritage, it promises a wedding on par with that of royals, whether the dream is a quiet ceremony with your nearest and dearest or a champagne reception with all the trimmings.
Couples looking to keep their nuptials more intimate can opt to have a picnic reception in one of the nearby royal parks, including Green Park and St. James Park. Looking for the ultimate royal experience? Book the hotel’s Duke of Clarence Penthouse Suite with views of Royal Residence Clarence House and Green Park.
PHOTO BY BEN YEW PHOTOGRAPHY
Château du Grand-Lucé | Le Grand-Lucé, France
This 18th-century château (French for castle) in the Loire Valley has survived wars and revolutions, hosted nobles, writers, and philosophers (we’re talking Voltaire himself) and can serve as a truly breathtaking backdrop for your wedding. With 15 suites, a grand salon, formal and informal dining rooms, orangeries and, of course, magnificent gardens, this is the spot for an intimate and unforgettable European wedding. Although it’s been around since the 1700s, the hotel was recently restored by award-winning designer Timothy Corrigan (not to mention that its gardens are better groomed than David Beckham).
Ca’Sagredo Hotel | Venice, Italy
Just imagine how absolutely stunning your wedding pictures would come out if they were taken in this city with no roads, just canals. Connected by more than 100 tiny islands in the Adriatic Sea, Venice is undoubtedly one of the most romantic and picturesque spots on the planet. For a wedding fit for a Venetian princess, consider the ever elegant Ca’Sagredo Hotel, which leans majestically on the banks of Venice’s Grand Canal. The hotel also serves as a museum, with its opulent décor, stucco works, frescoes, and paintings galore. The main hall offers a rare chance to relive the magnificence of a centuries-old Venetian Palace, marked with paintings on the ceiling and walls. There’s also a rooftop terrace suitable for smaller ceremonies, cocktail receptions, and brunches.
Regent Porto Montenegro | Tivat, Montenegro
If you and your soon-to-be spouse are looking to get married in an exotic yet under-explored location in Europe, one place to consider is the Balkan country of Montenegro. The coastal town in the southwestern part of the country draws lovers from around the world for its serene beauty. The Regent Porto Montenegro is one of the most popular spots for weddings since it’s set along a posh promenade of bobbing super yachts on the Adriatic Sea. The venue is surrounded by lush greenery and statuesque water fountains, which serve as the perfect backdrop for your photos.
Villa Veneziano | Lefkada, Greece
If you’re looking to get married on a Greek island that doesn’t require a ferry ride or flight from Athens, Lefkada is your go-to. It’s completely surrounded by the Ionian Sea except for one causeway that attaches it to the mainland. Nestled atop a hillside and surrounded by half an acre of verdant gardens, it offers panoramic views of the Ionian Sea, Meganissi, and the famous Skorpios Islands. The Villa is situated in Perigiali, which is 15 minutes south of the capital and three minutes from the popular village and marina of Nydri, so there will be plenty for your guests to see and explore on their off time. As for photos, you’ll have the chance to score some in front of the Venetian-inspired architecture clad with Byzantine design elements that reflect the island’s rich heritage. The outdoor areas boast an infinity pool, which could also serve as the setting for your first look.
The Dolder Grand | Zurich, Switzerland
Imagine getting married in a castle that overlooks the bustling city of Zurich but is still surrounded by the breathtaking Swiss countryside. Sounds amazing, right? That’s what you’ll get when you choose The Dolder Grand as your venue. Prior to the big day, couples can bask in relaxation at The Dolder Grand’s spa with a couple’s celebration package, where newlyweds-to-be can sit side by side and indulge in mud baths, massages, and facials. Talk about a way to shake off pre-wedding jitters. The Dolder Grand’s 400-square-meter ballroom has a modern touch with its imposed cupola ceiling that can be lit in various colors. The parquet floor makes a killer dance floor and the adjoining terrace is perfect for guests who would like a breath of fresh air mid-reception.
Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc | Antibes, France
The French Riviera is absolutely jaw-dropping in its own right, but Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc, which juts into the pristine waters of the Ligurian Sea, is next-level—perhaps that’s why it was the official hotel for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and has served as the spot for a handful of celebrity weddings. The secluded grounds include exquisite gardens, private coastline, restaurants, terraces, and large event spaces, all overlooking the French Riviera. The Salon Iles de Lérins can host a banquet for 200 guests or be divided into three distinctive spaces, transforming the atmosphere throughout an event.
Villa La Vigie | Monte Carlo, Monaco
If it was good enough for Princess Grace…well, you get the idea. In the independent city-state along the Mediterranean where the actress served as princess for decades, there are hardly any spaces that aren’t picture-perfect for a private, over-the-top luxury wedding. But perhaps the cream of the crop is Monte Carlo’s Villa “La Vigie,” the most prestigious of them all, thanks to its history, architecture, and unique location (it was home to Karl Lagerfeld for over 10 years in the 1990s). Today guests can tie the knot among panoramic views of the Mediterranean, in the Principality of Monaco and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Bay, surrounded by a beautiful tree-covered park. Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, the iconic spa of Monaco and former haunt of Grace Kelly, also offers various services to ensure that the bride is prepped and taken care of for her wedding day.
Verdura Resort | Sicily, Italy
The scene in this historic fishing port along Sicily’s southern coast is ideal for a destination wedding that will truly wow your guests. Make the enchanting, open-air amphitheater at Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel—surrounded by the natural beauty of the southern coast of Sicily, as well as olive trees and citrus groves—your spot to say “I do.” The resort offers 203 bedrooms that look over the two Kyle Phillips–designed championship golf courses, a staggering 4,000-square-meter spa complete with four outdoor Thalassotherapy pools overlooking the amazing Italian scenery, and plenty of on-site activities and experiences available for booking, including cooking classes, mixology classes, wine tasting, horseback riding on the beach, golf, hiking, and more.
Conservatorium | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Whether you’re looking for an enchanting, fairy tale wedding venue or one that’s modern, urban, and chic, Conservatorium can serve as the backdrop. Located in the very heart of Amsterdam’s famous museum district, next to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum, is this opulent hotel that once served as a bank and music conservatory. It’s no surprise that it’s a popular destination for weddings, with stunning contemporary interiors and breathtaking views of the city. To top it off, they’ll provide you with a wedding coordinator who’ll handle everything from the flowers and wedding cake to the decorations and DJ.