Some women envision a sunset wedding at the beach while others prefer a small wedding at some secluded garden or vineyard. But for women raised alongside fairy tales and Disney princesses, nothing screams "fantasy wedding come true" more than walking down the aisle and saying "I do" in an actual castle.
Getting married in a castle gives every girl the opportunity to play princess during the most important day of her life. Castles provide a fabulous backdrop to frame this perfect day, from great halls and thrones to moats and walled gardens.
If you have money to spare, you just might be able to make this childhood dream come true by renting the entire castle grounds for your wedding day. Many castle properties all over the world are licensed to conduct wedding ceremonies and even accommodate guests—all in one location.
So if you're ready to make your fairytale fantasy come true, here are 12 beautiful castles where you and your princely groom can tie the knot and live happily ever after.
12 Pousada De Obidos
Since Obidos, Portugal is one of the world's best preserved walled cities, it's not hard to imagine how the rustic Pousada de Obidos would make for a great wedding venue. It's not located in Paris, but it is perhaps one of the most romantic sites you'll ever visit because of its rich historical background punctuated with tragic love stories.
The 12th-century medieval castle has 14 double rooms and three suites to accommodate your guests. All rooms are named after Portugal's king and queens and feature canopy beds and exposed stone walls, which will make your wedding feel all the more royal and splendid.
11 Culzean Castle
Found in Maybole, Scotland, the beautiful Culzean Castle gives a great view of the Scottish countryside with its picturesque cliff-side location. Its central tower was built in the 1500s and was eventually expanded for over 20 years since 1772 in order to create the 600-acre estate that it is today. The top floor was once given to former US President Dwight Eisenhower, but after his death, it has been converted into a six-bedroom vacation home.
Ceremonies can be held in the famous Oval Staircase or the Eisenhower apartment for smaller parties. Culzean Castle offers several flexible wedding packages to provide you a worry-free wedding experience.
10 Castell De Cardona
Have a lovely Medieval-themed wedding in Spain's Castell de Cardona, which looks straight out of a history book with its stone walls and vaulted ceilings. Located near Barcelona, Castell de Cardona boasts of panoramic views of the Catalonian countryside as it sits atop the village of Cardona. The property dates back to 800 AD when the first fort was built.
Castell de Cardona is also attached to the Church of Sant Vicenç and Minyona Tower, both built around 1000 AD, adding to its rich history. Your guests can stay in the castle's 53 guestrooms, which stay faithful to the medieval theme with its canopy beds and Gothic features.
9 Ballynahinch Castle
This castle-turned-hotel has a riverfront location and gives you a great view of the unspoiled Connemara scenery, situated at the very edge of Europe. The name of the castle came from the words "baile na hinse," which translates to "household of the island," referring to the castle built by the O'Flahertys Clan back in the 19th century.
Weddings in the Ballynahinch Castle are seasonal, as the estate does not host exclusive weddings during the summer months when most of its patrons are checking in. Up to 140 guests can be accommodated for the wedding that includes rental of all 48 hotel bedrooms.
8 Odescalchi Castle
This beautiful 15th-century castle located along the shores of Lake Bracciano and lies just outside Rome, Italy is famous for being the venue of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' wedding. Its romantic atmosphere certainly makes it one of the best places to get married in the world, as the castle boasts of 500 years of history. You can also find the Secret Garden and The Hall of the Caesars in this ancient tower.
The venue can hold up to 1,000 guests, so don't be surprised if the prices of wedding packages start at a hefty $50,000. Let's just hope that your marriage doesn't end up like the couple mentioned above.
7 Hotel De La Cite
What gives France's Hotel De La Cite a truly magical feel is its location within the fairy tale old town of Carcassonne, which is like a huge walled medieval citadel as big as a small village. Its earliest structures were fortified by the Romans as early as 100 BC, and the castle remained intact even after it lost its military importance.
Since the castle can be found right next to the Basilica of Saint Nazaire, you can hold the ceremony there and rent Hotel De La Cite for your reception. You may also hold the ceremony within the hotel grounds like in the Hotel Gardens and Salon de la Tour.
6 Belvoir Castle
Located in Leicestershire, England, Belvoir Castle is home to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, but they are more than happy to accommodate you and make you feel that the castle is yours for the day. Its hilltop setting provides a romantic backdrop to your wedding, as well as the impressive gardens, ballrooms, and turrets.
You can do the wedding ceremony at the Rutland Family Chapel on the castle grounds, and then you can rent the colorful Rose Garden or Lakeside Marquee for your reception, which can hold up to 400 guests.
Just a bit of trivia: "Belvoir" means "beautiful view" in French, so now you know why this castle is an idyllic location for your grand wedding.
5 Chateau Frontenac
If you're looking for a castle with a modern vibe, Chateau Frontenac located in Quebec, Canada just might be your ideal wedding destination. The original manor was built on this hilltop site overlooking Quebec City and Saint Lawrence River in 1648 but has since burned down and been rebuilt to its current castle form in 1893.
You can choose to celebrate your momentous day in several locations within Chateau Frontenac, including the historic Salon Rose Room and the Grand Ballroom. The castle also has its own wedding planner who will make sure that everything goes according to plan during your wedding.
4 Oheka Castle
The sprawling Oheka Castle remains to be the second largest residential home ever built in the United States with its 127 rooms in a 109,000-square foot estate. Originally built in 1919, this French-style chateau is a top wedding venue in the US as couples can rent one of the 32 individually decorated rooms in the castle, including the library and ballroom. There are also other stately common spaces within the castle ground that can be used for wedding ceremonies, like the terraces and formal gardens.
Guests who plan to stay the night can also access the exclusive Cold Spring Country Club, as well as a fine dining restaurant and fitness center.
3 Larnach Castle
The picturesque Larnach Castle in Dunedin, New Zealand is the only castle in New Zealand and is one of Dunedin's top tourist destinations. This Scottish baronial-style estate was built back in the 19th century and was restored by the Barker family into a luxury accommodation with award-winning gardens rated as Garden of International Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.
Some of the favorite wedding spots in Larnach Castle include the Rock Garden on the Ballroom Lawn, the Reflecting Pond, and the Alice Lawn. Aside from having a unique and exclusive historical setting, couples who book the castle for their wedding will also enjoy accommodations, catering, and transportation services.
2 Langley Castle
Built within 14 years, England's Langley Castle started construction back in 1350 AD during the reign of King Edward III. Today, this property consistently wins awards for being one of England's best small hotels, with only four floors and 25 rooms, each good for two people.
This Northumberland castle is perfect for couples looking for an intimate Medieval-style wedding venue. Whether it be a civil ceremony or a church ceremony, Langley Castle offers several wedding packages that would suit a variety of budgets. You may even book the whole place for exclusive use during your wedding day for less than £10,000.
1 Ashford Castle
Located in County Mayo, Ireland, Ashford Castle was built in 1228 and became the property of the Ireland's powerful Guinness family in 1852. It was eventually transformed into the five-star hotel that it is now in the 1900s. Over the years, famous celebrities and personalities have stayed in this 26,000-acre property, such as Princess Grace, US President Ronald Regan, and Brad Pitt.
Ashford Castle has also hosted lavish weddings and receptions in the past, including the 2001 high-profile wedding of Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye-Smith. If your budget can’t afford to rent the whole castle all to yourself, you can still get a piece of Ashford Castle by renting one of its many elegant rooms.