Oheka Castle US
Phillip Ennis

The most incredible castle wedding venues in the world

From gargoyle-clad turrets to rosy pink palaces, these castles are what fairytales are made of

Everyone deserves to feel like royalty on their wedding day. If you’ve always dreamed of a Cinderella moment and prefer terms like “lavish”, “opulent” and “sumptuous” over “quaint”, “intimate” and “cosy”, then a castle wedding could be the right pick for you. But where to start? From Hollywood-approved Irish abodes to Kyoto palaces cocooned in cherry blossoms, here are the best castle wedding venues across the globe.

Craigievar Castle, ScotlandAlamy

Craigievar Castle, Scotland

Home to an estimated 2,000 castles, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to holding your castle wedding in Scotland. Our pick? The peachy pink Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire, perching just on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park. Built in 1576, it’s a stunning vestige of Scottish Baronial architecture, and is one of the best-preserved castles in Scotland. Ceremonies can be held inside the castle, while receptions are best held in a marquee on the castle’s grounds. The castle alone will make a swoon-worthy backdrop for your wedding photos, but it’s also the perfect jumping off point if you were hoping to combine your wedding with a honeymoon road trip around the Scottish Highlands.

Guests: 30 for an in-castle ceremony, 100 in a marquee on the grounds
Address: Craigievar Castle, Alford, Aberdeenshire, AB33 8JF
Website: nts.org.uk/craigievar-castle/weddings

Hluboká Castle, Czech RepublicAlamy

Hluboká Castle, Czech Republic

Look familiar? If you were one of the 29 million people who tuned into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018, you may recognise Hluboká Castle as it’s said to take inspiration from England’s very own Windsor Castle. Built in the 13th century as a Gothic fortress, the Schwarzenberg family were the last private owners of the estate, having lived there from 1661 to 1939. During this time, the Schwarzenbergs attended Queen Victoria’s coronation and were said to be so bewitched by Windsor Castle during their visit that they went home and immediately began to remodel. Today, the castle sits above the vast River Vltava and its grounds are filled with lush rose gardens. Located in the South Bohemian region of the country,  known for its forests and fairytale chateaus, it’s just over an hour and a half from Prague. A ceremony-only venue, there are several grand options to choose from, but our pick is the light-filled gothic orangery.

Guests: varies depending on location
Address: Hluboká Castle, 373 41 Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czechia
Website: zamek-hluboka.cz/weddings

Ashford CastleAervisions

Ashford Castle, Ireland

Nestled on the shores of Lough Corrib in the heart of Ireland’s rugged Connemara region, Ashford Castle’s stoic facade looks as if it’s been plucked from a storybook. Built in 1228, the castle is now home to a five-star hotel (read: sumptuous suites, elegant dining areas, and a lavish spa. Ireland’s oldest falconry school also sits amongst its 350 acres of grounds). Weddings here range from the intimate to the elaborate as all of the hotel's 83 rooms are available to be booked for exclusive use. Following the ceremony, the wedding breakfast will be held in the opulent chandelier-dotted George V Dining Room where guests are served a four-course meal. After getting your boogie on in The Drawing Room, the newlyweds can escape to the hotel’s designated bridal suite, or the hideaway cottage on the lake’s shores for more privacy. If it’s good enough for Hollywood, it’s good enough for us: Pierce Brosnan married Keely Shaye Smith at the castle in 2001.

Guests: up to 160
Address: Ashford Castle, Ashford Castle Dr, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Website: ashfordcastle.com/weddings

Château de Chambord, FranceLéonard de Serres

Château de Chambord, France

Found in France’s UNESCO world heritage-listed Loire Valley, Château de Chambord is one of the country’s most spectacular estates. Built in the first half of the 16th century, the castle is a prime example of French Renaissance architecture withs its white brick walls, towers, turrets and arched entrance ways. While you can get married in the castle itself, for a more private event opt to book out Relais de Chambord, the only hotel located in the château's private 5,440-hectare estate. The boutique hotel is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, and has rooms, terraces, and gardens overlooking the castle for your ceremony. On the day itself you can expect a cocktail hour, a four-course banquet, and the newlyweds are offered a complimentary stay in one of its suites. A hot air balloon flight, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and time spent in the spa are optional, but in our opinion necessary, add-ons.

Guests: up to 150
Address: Château de Chambord, Place Saint-Louis, 41250 Chambord, France
Website: relaisdechambord.com/weddings-and-special-celebrations

Nijō Castle, JapanAlamy

Nijō Castle, Japan

With gardens peppered with cherry blossoms in the spring, weeping Japanese pagoda trees in the summer, trees with shades of red and gold in the autumn, and blanketed by snow in the winter, Kyoto’s Nijō Castle is truly a castle wedding venue for every season. Ceremony spaces are limited, but the lucky couples who do get married here are offered private use of both the Seiryu-en Garden and Koun-tei Teahouse for an authentic Japanese-style wedding. Following the ceremony, guests are encouraged to dine at a kaiseki inn or restaurant nearby to sample the best of the traditional Kyoto cuisine. Be sure to take advantage of the castle’s pre-ceremony photo package first though, as the 450-year-old castle is both a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the 17 historic monuments of ancient Kyoto.

Guests: up to 30
Address: Nijō Castle, 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8301, Japan
Website: nijo-jocastle.city.kyoto.lg.jp/wedding

Peckforton Castle, EnglandShane Webber

Peckforton Castle, England

Set among Cheshire’s perennially green rolling countryside, the fortified Peckforton Castle is a prime spot for a grand castle wedding. Hollywood thinks so too: US singer Ciara married NFL quarterback Russell Wilson here in 2016, with Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Jennifer Hudson rumoured to be among the guests. Couples can choose between the more intimate on-site chapel for their ceremony, or the grand Great Hall fitted with stained glass windows, high vaulted ceilings and a 19th-century Victorian fireplace. The chandelier-clad drawing room is a sumptuous spot for the reception, with a menu cooked by in-house chefs that can be tailored to the couple's wishes. Fancy even more privacy? The castle offers an exclusive use package to rent out its 48 guest rooms and suites.

Guests: up to 160
Address: Peckforton Castle, Peckforton Castle Dr, Stone House Ln, Cheshire, Tarporley CW6 9TN
Website: peckfortoncastle.co.uk/weddings

Castello di Spessa, ItalyTeodora Simon

Castello di Spessa, Italy

With options to marry under an archway of wisteria, on a terrace with views of the Collio hills, or in one of the castle’s stately rooms, Castello di Spessa’s terracotta facade seems as if it was made solely for a balmy summer wedding. Following the ceremony, guests can sip on champagne on the terrace, and the reception can be held in the expansive garden, the fountain courtyard, or one of the lavish 19th century halls. The menu here favours local Friulian cuisine (read: handmade pasta, locally caught fish, and seasonal vegetables), and dishes are served alongside wine straight from the castle’s vineyards. With 43 rooms for guests, continue the celebrations with your nearest and dearest with a post-wedding brunch followed by time on the castle’s golf course or the spa. Simply meraviglioso.

Guests: up to 300
Address: Castello di Spessa, Via Spessa, 1, 34070 Capriva del Friuli GO, Italy
Website: castellodispessa.it/weddings

Kronovalls Vinslott, Sweden

Set in southern Sweden’s wine country, just an hour's drive from the unapologetically modern coastal city of Malmö, Kronovalls Vinslott is a stark contrast to its nearest big city. A turn off a leafy lane leads you to the castle built in 1760, taking inspiration from the French baroque style. Ceremonies can be held in the baroque garden, or at the quaint Fågeltofta church just down the road. Reception tables are set in the castle’s Empire salon, where guests can dine on a seasonal three-course menu under ceiling paintings and fixtures finished with gold leaf. Post-dessert, the wedding party will follow torchlights to the old coach house, where the cake will be sliced and the first dance will be had. For those who fancy an evening snack, the castle’s chefs can whip up a wood-fired pizza as you dance the night away.

Guests: up to 100
Address: Kronovalls Vinslott, Kronovall Långahuset 101, 273 92 Tomelilla, Sweden
Website: kronovall.se/slottsbollop

Lanarch Castle, New ZealandAlamy

Lanarch Castle, New Zealand

Overlooking the South Island’s Otago Peninsula, Lanarch Castle was built in 1871 as a private residence and remains as New Zealand’s one and only castle. It’s known for its intricate ceilings (one ceiling in the main foyer took six years to complete), and enclosed glass verandahs which were made from the 20 tonnes of glass the original owners imported from Venice. Today, there are several locations both inside and outside of the castle that can be used for wedding ceremonies, from the rock garden, to the ballroom lawn, and the reflecting pond which has the city of Dunedin as a backdrop. The reception can be held in the ballroom, with its period furniture and baronial open fires, and there is an option of adding a marquee to extend your guest list further.

Guests: up to 270
Address: Lanarch Castle, 145 Camp Road, Larnachs Castle, Dunedin 9077, New Zealand
Website: larnachcastle.co.nz/Larnach-Castle-Weddings

Oheka Castle, USBrett Matthews

Oheka Castle, US

The US certainly isn’t the first place you’d think of for a castle wedding, but Oheka Castle might change your mind. Plonked on the highest point of Long Island in Cold Spring Harbour, the French-style chateau is the second-largest private residence ever built in America. Now a hotel that has featured in everything from Citizen Kane to Succession, ceremonies can be held in the manicured formal gardens, while the white glove dinner service can be served anywhere from the more intimate old world formal dining room, to the lavish terrace room. The hotel can accommodate all of your guests for a post-wedding breakfast too, so you can keep the festivities going.

Guests: up to 350
Address: Oheka Castle, 135 W Gate Dr, Huntington, NY 11743, United States
Website: oheka.com

Jai Mahal Palace, IndiaJaideep Oberoi

Jai Mahal Palace, India

This cream and pink palace is a sanctuary in the middle of bustling Jaipur. Built in 1745, the Jai Mahal Palace is a prime example of Indo-Saracenic architecture and, before becoming a five-star hotel, was the residence of three of Jaipur’s prime ministers. Weddings can be held in the celebration lawns, with glorious views of the palace’s facade, or by the pond filled with blooming lotuses. With 18 acres of lush Mughlai Gardens to explore, there’s plenty of photo opportunities, and you can choose from a menu of local and western cuisines for your wedding breakfast. Post-dancing, guests and newlyweds can retire to one of the hotel’s 100 rooms and suites, fitted with antique furnishings, miniature paintings and Rajasthani motifs.

Guests: up to 3,000
Address: Jai Mahal Palace, Jacob Rd, Civil Lines, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302006, India
Website: tajhotels.com/wedding

Manorbier CastleArt by Design/Steve Wheller

Manorbier Castle, Wales

The romantic Norman stone Manorbier Castle is a commanding presence along the Pembrokeshire coastline, not an easy feat considering it’s surrounded by some of the UK’s best beaches. Flanked by a small village and just back from its namesake golden sand beach, this castle is complete with fairytale turrets, landscaped gardens, and a great hall. The 12th century vaulted chapel is the perfect spot to say “I do”, with its worn brick walls and beautiful natural light. For smaller parties, dinner can be served in the castle’s reception room (also with vaulted ceilings), or larger groups can opt for the castle’s bespoke tipi. Make a weekend of it and have your wedding party stay in Castle House, a large Victorian manor with charming original features that can sleep up to 12 guests.

Guests: up to 100
Address: Manorbier Castle, Manorbier, Tenby SA70 7SY
Website: manorbiercastle.co.uk/weddings

Bled Castle, SloveniaGrajska Poroka

Bled Castle, Slovenia

With its postcard perfect church sitting on an islet in the middle of the lake, shores thick with greenery, and a backdrop of the Julian Alps, Slovenia’s Lake Bled is one of those bucket list spots that everyone should visit at least once. Bled Castle clings to a rocky cliff on the northern edge of the lake, and its stunning vistas makes it a wise choice for a castle wedding venue. A wedding here will be a true step back in time with medieval dancing, fire eating, sword fighting, wine tasting, and a marriage certificate printed in the castle’s own print works. Weather-permitting, be sure to hold the reception on the castle’s terrace to make the most of the views across the lake and beyond. It’s a scene you and your guests will never forget.

Guests: up to 100
Address: Bled Castle, Grajska cesta 61, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Website: blejski-grad.si/wedding

Castell de Sant Marçal, Spain

Just 20 minutes from Barcelona, Castell de Sant Marçal transports its couples and guests into another time. Dating back to the 11th century, ivy creeps up the castle’s terracotta walls, but it’s the garden that’s the true draw for to-be-weds. We can’t think of a better place to say your vows than next to that fountain that sits in front of the castle among manicured hedges and trees. Set up your dining tables under the chestnut trees where you can enjoy the long Spanish summer evenings and take a twirl under the stars. For those who prefer an indoor shindig, the cellar with its brick arches and floor-to-ceiling paintings is a deeply romantic spot, or the light-filled greenhouse gives you the best of both worlds. In short: any option here is a winner.

Guests: up to 800
Address: Castell de Sant Marçal, BP-1413, 08290 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Website: castelldesantmarsal.com/weddings