A fairy tale wedding castle sets the scene for the ultimate castle experience because the location is a real wedding castle without parking lots, a front desk, tourists in shorts and the hustle and bustle of a busy hotel.
A private wedding castle setting is probably the most romantic location a couple could choose for their wedding. As guests descend the long drive and entrance to a private castle they will be immediately transformed into an ancient time.
The major differences between a luxury castle hotel and a private castle are privacy, cost and service. A private castle gives a couple and their guests the most private and authentic castle wedding experience. The couple and their guests would have the run of the castle and the castle grounds whereas at a luxury castle hotel, the couple would only be allowed in public rooms, individual guest rooms and areas of the grounds open to the public.
Often luxury hotels prohibit wedding attire inside or on the grounds unless the couple has taken exclusive use of the hotel for their wedding day. A luxury castle hotel would require that a couple to take exclusive use (rent every room in the hotel) if they wish to have a private wedding. In England, a standard hotel room in a luxury castle hotel can start at $500 a room, making a single night’s fee as much as $50,000 for the hotel rooms only. A typical private castle would start at $5,000 a night. However a hotel’s fees include much more than the location itself.
In a luxury castle hotel your typical room rate would also include breakfast, maid service, turn down service, concierge, etc. In a private castle you would have to pay additional fees for a chef, servers, maid service and a personal concierge. These fees can cost as much as $2,500 a day depending on the size of the staff.
When taking a private wedding castle, my first advice to a bride is to allow the location to be the atmosphere. Rarely does a private castle need to be decorated and simplicity is the key. Large flower arrangements should be kept to the main entrance hall and large mantles in formal rooms. Doing large arrangements throughout takes away from the authentic atmosphere and makes the location look “over done.” Instead allow music to decorate. There is no better way to create an atmosphere than to hire excellent musicians.
I would recommend the following:
• For guests arrival to the castle have a harpist playing in the main formal living room of the castle.
• For the morning of the wedding have a pianist play at the entrance to the castle.
• For the ceremony I recommend a string quartet.
• For the vin d’honneur I recommend the string quartet continue.
• For the reception I recommend a band followed by a DJ in a separate room.
I usually recommend that they take a peek at the location during off-peak season when airfares are as cheap as $300 round trip. This expense is worth every penny. It will give you great peace of mind and will allow you to take very specific notes about the location. Remember to take notes, ask lots of questions and be sure to ask what was the best wedding at the location and why.
While the average American wedding can easily cost $30,000 for just one evening, our clients are finding they can spend less and celebrate for four days with their [spin]closest|close circle of[/spin} friends and family in a wedding castle including top of the line, hands on coordination.
The music you select for your castle wedding will help set the mood and tone of the ceremony. Whether you opt for a harpist, harpsichordist, pianist, live music can provide you with a wonderful atmosphere your guests are sure to remember. If your budget doesn’t include room for live musicians, there’s always the option of prerecorded music.
Ceremony music includes:
The Prelude: As the guests arrive and are seated, they’ll hear this music, designed to help create the mood and set the tone for the entire event.
Processional: An indication to the guests that the event is starting, this music usually has an even beat (you’re not looking for a beat to dance to, just walk to!) This music will continue as each of your attendants walk down the aisle. As the bride begins her walk down the aisle, the music changes again.
Ceremony: Some ceremonies are held without music; others feature a soloist, duet, or just a favorite song—whatever you like.
The Recessional: Marking the end of the ceremony, the recessional music is played as the wedding party—and the new husband and wife—leave the ceremony.
The Postlude: As the guests begin to leave, the music turns to the postlude, a background music similar to prelude music.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the bridesmaids is a usual request, because it consists of variations on a four measure theme, and it can go on for 20 minutes for a zillion bridesmaids or it can be cut to 30 seconds and still be beautiful; you just add or subtract variations.
Baroque music generally has a kind of dignity that will give your wedding a certain refined feel, and there’s a great wealth of it that is superb for wedding castle. String quartets are especially appropriate for Baroque music.