Saying 'I Do' in a Castle: Ideas for a Royal Wedding Experience

A Brief History of Royal Weddings

Since the dawn of time, or at least since the dawn of royalty, humans have been fascinated by the lavish, extravagant, and downright ostentatious weddings of kings, queens, and other assorted blue-blooded types. From the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to the fairy-tale union of Prince Charles and Lady Di, royal weddings have captured the public's imagination and provided fodder for gossip, speculation, and unintentional hilarity.But why should royals have all the fun? In this modern age of social mobility, reality TV, and mail-order titles of nobility, there's no reason that commoners like you and me can't also enjoy the pomp and circumstance of a castle wedding. So, strap on your coronet and fasten your ermine cape, because today we're going to explore some ideas for turning your nuptials into a truly regal affair.

Choosing Your Castle

The first step to planning your royal wedding is, of course, selecting the perfect castle. While there are many factors to consider, such as location, budget, and ease of storming by angry peasants, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
  • The Tower of London: If your taste runs towards the historical and macabre, you might consider exchanging vows in the same spot where Anne Boleyn lost her head. Just be sure to book well in advance, as the venue is popular with tourists and ravens alike.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle: This fairy-tale fortress in the Bavarian Alps was the inspiration for Disney's iconic Cinderella Castle and is perfect for those whose idea of romance includes horse-drawn carriages and singing woodland creatures. Be forewarned, however, that the castle is currently lacking in indoor plumbing, so you'll need to budget for a few extra porta-potties.
  • Dracula's Castle: For couples with a taste for the Gothic and/or the undead, consider tying the knot at the legendary Bran Castle in Romania. Known as "Dracula's Castle" due to its association with the infamous bloodsucking count, this venue is sure to make an impression on your guests, especially if you time the ceremony to coincide with a full moon.

Transportation Fit for a King (and Queen)

Arriving at your castle wedding in style is of utmost importance. Here are some royally-approved transportation options to consider:
  • Carriage: A horse-drawn carriage is a timeless classic that will whisk you and your betrothed away to your castle in elegance and grace. Just be sure to coordinate with your venue to ensure that there is ample parking for your steeds.
  • Hot air balloon: For the more adventurous couple, a hot air balloon is a unique and romantic way to make your entrance. Plus, it's a guaranteed conversation starter for your guests as they watch you float majestically towards your nuptials.
  • Dragon: While admittedly harder to come by than your standard limo or town car, a dragon is the ultimate in regal transportation. If you can't find a real one, consider renting a large-scale animatronic model, or at the very least, commissioning a talented artist to create a convincing mural on the side of your vehicle.

Entertainment Worthy of a Royal Court

No castle wedding would be complete without some top-notch entertainment for your guests. Consider hiring the following performers to ensure a truly unforgettable experience:
  • Jesters: Inject some levity into your celebrations with a troupe of jesters, who can regale your guests with jokes, juggling, and various feats of physical comedy. Just be prepared for the possibility of a pie in the face during the cake-cutting ceremony.
  • Minstrels: Transport your guests back in time with a group of wandering minstrels, who can serenade them with traditional ballads, love songs, and energetic jigs. For added authenticity, consider hiring a bard to recite poetry or compose an epic ode in honor of your love story.
  • Fire-breathers: Nothing says "royal wedding" like a spectacular fire-breathing performance. Be sure to check with your venue and local fire department for any necessary permits and safety precautions, and keep a bucket of water handy just in case things get a little too hot to handle.

Finishing Touches

To really make your castle wedding stand out, consider incorporating some of these royally-inspired details:
  • Throne rentals: Ensure that you and your spouse are seated in the lap of luxury by renting a pair of ornate, high-backed thrones for your head table.
  • Family crest: Design your own family crest to adorn your invitations, programs, and other wedding-related materials. This adds a personal touch to your celebrations and provides a unique keepsake for your guests.
  • Falconry display: If your budget allows, hire a trained falconer to give a demonstration of the ancient sport of kings during your cocktail hour. Not only is this a unique form of entertainment, but it also provides an excellent photo opportunity for you and your guests.
With these ideas in mind, you're well on your way to planning a castle wedding that will have your guests talking for years to come. And who knows – with a little luck and a lot of champagne, you just might end up as the next Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.