Five Palaces Fit for a Fairy Tale Wedding

You don't have to be Kate Middleton to get married in a castle...just ask Amal Clooney and Katie Holmes

Now that Pippa Middleton's nuptials are on the horizon and engagement rumors between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are swirling about, everyone has royal weddings on their mind.

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While Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince William was a literal royal affair at Westminster Abbey, her little sister will have a much more subdued event. Her wedding ceremony will take place close to the Middleton's family home, complete with official roles for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.


But you don’t have to be a prince or princess to say "I do" in a castle; a number of regal locations offer the ability to book the venue for your special day. Because really, who doesn’t want a royal-approved, fairy tale wedding, replete with a dreamy backdrop? Click through to find out about five incredible castles and palaces to throw your perfect wedding.


1. Kensington Palace

Let’s start with Kensington Palace. Yes, you can get married under the same roof that Prince William and Kate Middleton will soon call home (after those renovations, of course).


If you want some celebrity inspo for your big day here, just look to Nicky Hilton; she held her 2015 wedding to James Rothschild here.

Nicky Hilton/Instagram

In terms of logistics, three of the gardens and lawns are suitable for wedding receptions, if you’re going for an outdoorsy event. But, the Orangery is the only venue that is actually licensed to perform the wedding ceremony itself.


The Orangery, built in 1704 by Queen Anne, is named such because it's where she wanted to "winter her orange trees." It can hold 300 people for a standing reception, but the number of guests for the civil ceremony will be capped at 150 people. For a more intimate event, the dinner and dancing part of the evening will be limited to 120 people.


2. Odescalchi Castle

The TomKat marriage might not have lasted, but the former couple set a rather high standard with their 2006 wedding, held in an actual Italian castle.

Robert Evans/Handout via Getty Images

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reportedly spent around $3.5 million on the fête. You might need a celeb-worthy bank account, but you don’t have to be a Hollywood star to say "I do" at Castello Odescalchi. The 15th century castle in Bracciano is available for booking, and it’s pretty spectacular.

Courtesy Odescalchi Castle

For a religious ceremony, you’ll be in the Duomo di S. Stefano Catholic Church, which is connected to the castle in the most fairy tale way of all—via secret tunnel.

Courtesy Odescalchi Castle

The "symbolic or blessing ceremony" ensues in either the castle’s halls or in the Granaio’s Garden. We think you should go for the Secret Garden, which has the most picturesque views of a surrounding lake. Because what is a wedding without a scenic sunset photo shoot? That’s also what the castle’s wedding team (yup, that’s a thing) recommends, followed by a short trek to Cesar Hall for dinner—table set ups are as luxe as you could imagine, with nickel, silver or gold cutlery, silk-screened crystalware and china.

Courtesy Odescalchi Castle

Finally, the after dinner portion of the night is in the Court of Honour, where one heads to the courtyard (actually a 14th century loggia) for the wedding cake and dancing.

Courtesy Odescalchi Castle

3. Aman Venice

The Aman Venice is a 16th century Italian palazzo (i.e., palace) that has been converted into a luxury hotel.

Pierre Teyssot/AFP/Getty Images

You might recognize it as the setting of George and Amal Clooney’s three-day September 2014 nuptials. The actor and human rights lawyer wed in a picturesque ceremony, held in the gilded hall of the historic building, dubbed Piano Nobile.


If you want to emulate the pair, you’ll have to rent out the entire hotel. Piano Nobile is the "grandest floor of the Palazzo" and the full reservation enables up to 100 guest, plus the exclusive use of the ballroom, bar, and red and yellow dining rooms. They’ll also create bespoke menus for the special day, source entertainment options and help with all the details for the celebration.


The hotel is positioned on the canal, as you may recall from all those photos of the Clooneys gliding by on a boat. Plus, Clooney has called Venice the "most romantic city in the world."


4. Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle in Ireland was originally built in 1228, and was previously owned by the Guinness family, who used it as their home, until it was turned into a five-star luxury hotel.

Ashford Castle/Instagram

The Irish estate is accustomed to lavish celebrity weddings; Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith married here in 2001. They offer multiple options, but renting the castle out on an exclusive basis for an event of up to 164 people seems like the way to go if you’re really looking for the whole royal vibe. If you’re into a smaller affair, go for the Connaught Room, which holds up to 40 guests.

Ashford Castle/Instagram

5. Oheka Castle

Finally, let’s look at Oheka Castle, located in the faraway land of…Long Island. The Huntington, New York estate was originally built for financier Otto Hermann Kahn between 1914 and 1919, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Palaces.


The 109,000-square-foot, 127-room estate is said to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby mansion. They host one wedding per day at most, for which you can do a sit-down dinner of up to 400 guests in the Terrace Room, or a "Gatsby Style" event that can hold up to 1,000 people.


An interesting assortment of people have chosen the castle as their wedding locale, including Kevin Jonas, Megyn Kelly and the nuptials between the now very publicly separated Anthony Weiner and Huma Adedin, for which former president Bill Clinton officiated the ceremony.


The American castle also has serious Hollywood clout—it was used to portray Xanadu in Citizen Kane, and it makes a guest appearance in Gossip Girl. Oh, and it’s also the mansion in the background of Taylor Swift’s "Blank Space" video.


With royal wedding rumors running rampant and Pippa Middleton’s big day coming up, let’s look at very regal palaces where any mere mortal can get married. Click through the slideshow above to see the five top castles where you can hold your wedding, and get some inspo from the likes of George and Amal Clooney, Katie Holmes and even Taylor Swift.

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