When it comes to creating a high-drama environment to exchange vows, it’s difficult to rival the grandiosity of a castle wedding venue. Palaces present an ideal location for couples aiming to cast all notions of humility aside on such a momentous occasion in favor of some real pomp and circumstance. The majestic structures are the stuff of real-life fairytales, where royal titleholders like the Windsors—and de facto royals, like Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas —have gotten hitched in the company of hundreds of their closest friends and relatives. Throwing a party inside of towering stone walls with centuries-old battlements or among ornate banquet halls with high-vaulted ceilings is a surefire way to give guests an experience they’ll never forget. While the term royal wedding may have established some very Great Britain–specific associations in recent years, there are a number of luxe castle properties functioning as wedding venues all across the globe, from Italy’s Lazio region to Long Island, New York. For couples hoping to hold court like kings and queens and host a big day with a capital B, read on for a selection of some of the most lavish castle wedding venues around the world.
1) Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey)
This opulent former Ottoman palace was originally completed in 1867 but was destroyed by a massive fire in 1910 that spared only its outer walls. Renovations in the late 1980s and early 1990s outfitted the estate with ornate baroque features and elevated it to its current status as the ultimate luxury hotel. Its terrace venue sets wedding guests right on the edge of the picturesque Bosphorus waterfront, with a seating capacity of up to 1,200 for those looking to host a grand wedding approaching the size of a small concert.
2) Umaid Bhawan Palace (Jodhpur, India)
With two restaurants, 15 acres of gardens, an indoor pool and spa, and a whopping 70 guest suites, the Umaid Bhawan Palace in northwestern India is wedding venue and indulgent honeymoon all in one. The Taj Hotels group has been managing the estate, which also serves as home to the royal family of Jodhpur, since 2005. Bollywood legend and Hollywood fixture Priyanka Chopra wed American musician Nick Jonas at the storied location in December of 2018, with the Jonas family patriarch officiating. The palace atop Chittar Hill was built in 1929 using no mortar at all; instead, sandstones were fixed together with carved interlocking joints to secure the building’s golden yellow exterior. Umaid Bhawan overlooks the Rajasthan region’s monochromatic city of Jodhpur, where many of the structures are painted the same blue hue.
3) Oheka Castle (Huntington, New York)
The US isn’t a monarchy and thus does not have the authority to bequeath royal titles unto anyone, but Oheka Castle would be a top prospect for any American royal weddings if it did. Between New York City and the Hamptons sits the stately, privately owned manor, the dream of banker and philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn. In 1914, he purchased 443 acres of Cold Spring Harbor property for $1 million and spent two years building the hill atop which the castle would stand, making it the highest point on Long Island. Inspired by the sophisticated style of French chateaux, Kahn spent an estimated $11 million building the dwelling—around $158 million dollars in today’s currency. Oheka boasts impeccably manicured grounds, regal reflecting pools, 34 luxe guest rooms, and a coveted spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
4) Luttrellstown Castle (Dublin, Ireland)
Years before Prince William and Harry’s weddings (in 2011 and 2018, respectively) captured the world’s attention, a different kind of royal wedding was held outside of Dublin in a 15th-century castle: the nuptials of pop icon Victoria Beckham (née Adams) and international soccer star David Beckham. The Spice Girl and Manchester United midfielder tied the knot in an extravagant affair at Luttrellstown Castle that instantly became tabloid fodder, its outfit changes, expensive jewelry, and golden thrones all hot topics of discussion. The Luttrell family occupied the estate for over 300 years, until 1811. Decades later it would fall under the ownership of Guinness family heiress Aileen Guinness, who would oversee its remodeling with an eye toward Baroque and Georgian architecture. The property’s expansive 567 acres host an 18-hole championship golf course, an alpine-lodge-style clubhouse, and sumptuous dining halls fit for larger-scale weddings of up to 180 people.
5) Castello Odescalchi (Bracciano, Italy)
Napoleone Orsini built this fortress an hour outside of Rome in the 15th century. Its Renaissance military architectural style, frescoed walls, and lush gardens transport guests back in time to the years when the Borgia and Orsini nobility called the palace home. Centuries ago, Odescalchi hosted esteemed guests such as Pope Sixtus IV and King Charles VIII of France; in more recent years, it’s served as the swanky backdrop for star-studded affairs, like the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Princess Maria Della Pace Odescalchi retains ownership of the well-appointed structure.
6) Kilkea Castle (Castledermot, Ireland)
Few wedding venues can boast almost nine hundred years of history. The 1180-built Kilkea invites couples to weave their own love story into the rich tapestry of experiences within the palace walls, dating back to its origins as a gift for Norman knight, Walter de Riddlesford. The estate once served as the medieval stronghold of the FitzGerald clan, a dynasty honored with earldom over the county of Kildare starting in 1316 with John FitzGerald. Today the castle operates as a resort, with 140 bedrooms, a spa, landscaped gardens, and an 18-hole golf course spread across its 180 acres of ancient woodland property. Wedding packages start at €125 per person, with a selection of venues ranging from more intimate gathering spaces for groups of around 60 to its elaborate Baronial Hall, suitable for parties of up to 270 guests.
7) Boldt Castle (Alexandria Bay, New York)
Hotelier George Boldt (proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria) set out to construct Boldt Castle as a tribute to his wife, Louise. The structure is located in the Thousand Islands archipelago along the US-Canada border, specifically on the aptly named Heart Island. Boldt halted the build after Louise’s untimely death in 1904. Decades would pass before the Thousand Islands Bridge authority picked up where the heartbroken hotel mogul left off, investing in a $15 million restoration in 1976, reviving the Châteauesque-style building with features like a stained glass dome and elegant marble flooring. The going rate for a Boldt Castle ceremony gives other castle wedding venues a run for their money: The site reservation fee is $250, plus a $12.50 per person admission fee for guests—making for a considerably more budget-friendly big day than the $60,000 spent on average for weddings in nearby New York City, per the Knot's 2022 survey.
8) Iolani Palace (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Built in the late 19th century, Iolani was home to the final royals to reign over the Kingdom of Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani was deposed from the throne in 1893 and subsequently imprisoned in an upstairs bedroom of the palace for nearly eight months. It houses a hallowed royal tomb and a “repository of priceless cultural artifacts,” according to the estate’s website. The palace’s 11 acres host four separate venue spaces for couples to say their I do’s. Iolani’s barracks events space, known as Halekoa, was constructed with coral blocks of limestone and features crenelated parapets and towers reminiscent of medieval European castles. A thorough restoration aimed at recreating the palace’s monarchy-era appearance recovered auctioned items from all over the world, including glassware located in Australia and a table found in the Iowa governor’s mansion.
9) Amberley Castle (West Sussex, UK)
Two white peacocks named Bob and Lily roam the grounds of Amberley Castle, adding to the royal atmosphere set in place by its long history of esteemed visitors—the likes of which include Henry VIII in 1526 and Queen Elizabeth II, who dropped by as a teenager in the 1940s. The property on which the structure was erected was gifted to Bishop Wilfrid in 683 by Caedwalla, the King of Wessex. Amberley currently stands behind 60-foot curtain walls, though the castle traces its origins back to a humble timber-framed hunting lodge built in 1103. Over the course of 400 years, the lodge was transformed into a proper manor house with crenelations and a portcullis. Barrel-vaulted ceilings, mullioned stone windows, and open-flame fires are among the dwelling’s many traditional features. Wedding parties can make use of Amberley’s 19 guest suites, with the property accommodating up to 250 guests with a marquee wedding package, as well as more intimate ceremonies with only 12 of the happy couple’s closest confidants.