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How magnificent a venue can you get?

Published date: 31st January 2019


Recently there’s been a new trend with celebrity weddings, or maybe an old one revived, and that’s the use of megadociously magnificent ‘destination’ venues.

The bash that prompted this thought was the union of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin, who with the minimum of showbiz fuss – just a scrum of A-list friends including Matt Damon and Anna Wintour – tied the knot in Venice, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Clooney has an estate on Lake Como (though it’s not exactly next door), and knows Venice from the film festival, but when it comes down to it Venice is just the perfect backdrop for a romantic wedding and for photos of course – cue trips along the Grand Canal, the Rialto, their hotel a 16th century former palazzo, and happy poses outside the City Hall. It may have influenced their choice that the canals help with security considerations.

An interesting twist here – Clooney’s villa on Lake Como (close enough to underarm a stone) was used for the wedding of friends and fellow thesps Emily Blunt and John Krasinki, in 2010. As if the setting wasn’t enough they had a pagoda built for the ceremony. Gorgeous George saw to their security concerns with a no-fly zone over the superb house and grounds.

Russell Brand and Katy Perry (still shocked that didn’t last?) celebrated their wedding in Rajasthan in Northern India, where their venue was the Aman-i-Khas resort, apparently one of the hippest hotels in the world – though the accommodations are tents – vast, luxurious air conditioned tents. On the edge of the Ranthambore National Park the surrounds are spectacular, and thanks to the remoteness the security issue is again made easier for those heavy dudes in shades.

It’s not just a recent custom for the rich and famous to marry in places that are distant from their homes: Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall married on a beach in Bali on November 21 1990. Or did they? When they split in 1999 it was argued that there’d not legally been a wedding, as the civil component never occurred. Whatever, they went through a ceremony of sorts, and Bali is a stunningly beautiful island (and was rather more exclusive then).

And we’re back to Italy, where Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise went all medieval on their venue when they used the 15th century Odescalchi Castle near Rome for their 2006 big day. With a rather pleasing view over Lake Bracciano the event attracted a guest list of around 150 that included John Travolta, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, oh, and Victoria Beckham.

Of course we in Britain and Ireland give good castle too. The aforementioned VB married DB in Luttrellstown Castle in Eire, a gothic pile with 560-acre grounds that make it very tough for the paps to get anywhere near. After they had done the I-dos a flag with the initials VBD was flown over the place (their names with baby Brooklyn’s between to avoid embarrassment). And last but not least Madonna and Guy Ritchie who at Skibo Castle in Sutherland promised to love one another till death them did part in December 2000. Skibo is near Dornoch, the bit of Scotland where if you go further north you hit the sea, another cunning ploy perhaps to fool the paparazzi. With its roots back in the 12th century it’s kinda the oldest building in this little tour, though little if any of that original remains, replaced by Andrew Carnegie who made it his home in 1897, adding on nice extras like a loch.

Maybe those places are beyond the vast majority of us, but if you fancy that style there’s no shortage of castles and equally imaginative venues on our pages, so dip in. You’ll be a celebrity on your big day anyway.

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