What kind of wedding could you have if money were no object? Diana Cambridge looks at the choices.
What’s the dream wedding for next year? Anything with a Scottish flavour, a ceremony held on safari or in the Caribbean will offer the most glamorous experience — according to the wedding gurus. Luxury weddings are definitely in style, especially after the lavish nuptials of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, and of course Madonna.
Says Miranda Newsom, of You and Your Wedding “Brides and grooms are really splashing out to make their day spectacular. Even if they can’t afford a sit-down meal for 200, the couple are deciding where to scrimp so they can really push the boat out on the things that mean most to them, whether it’s a spectacular setting, a five-tier cake or a dramatic fireworks display.”
If money really is no object, then hire a wedding co-ordinator. It will cost you (up to £500 per day), but a professional party planner knows how to manage an event from start to finish: all the bride does is make her wish list and relax.
The best weddings and receptions have a few delightful surprises — magical moments that guests will remember forever, whether it’s a dove release, an unexpected solo from the groom, or guests all lighting up indoor sparklers.
Giving every one of your guests a small gift — perhaps a little camera, cufflinks or earrings, or a small casket of Belgian chocolates, is another generous and luxurious gesture which will push up your bill but make the day fabulous.
Stun your wedding audience by leading the dancing with a choreographed first dance — maybe a tango! Private bride and groom lessons are available from The Dance Connection (020 8520 5213), or contact your local dance school where private lessons should cost around £10 an hour.
You don’t have to have a white cake — gold and silver cakes, dark chocolate cakes, cream chocolate cakes, cakes filled with hand-made chocolates or topped with icing miniatures of all your guests, or covered in fresh flowers and fruits — all these and more can be designed for you. The most elaborate cakes can cost up to £10,000.
Another luxurious trend is the wedding weekend: maybe at a booked castle, National Trust retreat, luxury spa or health farm, Greek island or Swiss château. Most popular is the luxury spa where the bride and her chums can indulge in hours of pampering before the ceremony. For a top spa bridal weekend with all the treats, think at least £1,000 per person.
Couples are splurging on romantic venues for the ceremony and reception. There are hundreds of gorgeous castles and country houses licensed for wedding ceremonies. Some brides like to match the romance of such a scene with flourishes befitting a princess — a horse and carriage, thousands of fresh flowers, tiny attendants in full Scottish or military outfits, fresh rose petals instead of confetti.
Have your dream wedding abroad and enjoy a fabulous holiday at the same time. The Royal Palm hotel in Mauritius is one of the world’s top hotels — some say the very best. Two weeks in the Penthouse Suite will set back bride and groom over £8,000 each. This includes business class flights with Air Mauritius, and transfers in Mauritius by glossy air-conditioned Mercedes limousine. Call 01483 533008 for more details
Why not combine a safari and tie the knot at the same time? Wild Africa Safaris offer 14 nights in Southern Africa plus a luxury wedding at Victoria Falls, with wonderful game viewing in Botswana followed by a relaxing time gorging on fine food and wine in Cape Town.
You fly to Johannesburg and transfer to The River Club at Victoria Falls for five nights on full board basis. Transfer by light aircraft to Kasane and on to Jao for 2 nights and Mombo for three nights — both of these luxurious lodges provide some of the best game viewing in Botswana. Then there’s a flight to Cape Town and a stay at the Relais & Câteaux Cellars hotel for five nights. Cost per person is £4,121 plus £320 for the wedding at The River Club. Call 01483 579 991
Perhaps the most romantic honeymoon would be spent on a cruise ship The magnificent Royal Clipper is the world’s largest and only five-masted Tall Ship, built at the beginning of this century. The 439ft ship combines the grandeur, romance and tradition of cruising under sail with all the creature comforts a bride needs, like air-conditioned cabins and marble bathrooms.
Deluxe suites feature a private verandah and whirlpool bath. Enjoy the first days of your marriage with three pools, health club and spa offering spectacular underwater views of marine life, plus lavish lunches and champagne dinners created on board by top chefs. Caribtours (020 7751 0660) offers two seven night Clipper cruises departing from Barbados, starting at around £4,000 per couple sharing an outside cabin. Included are return scheduled flights to Barbados, champagne and fruit.
If you still have decisions to make about what to wear, think hand-embroidered shoes and bag, diamonds and a designer gown, probably silk and strapless. There’s nothing modest about the money-no-object bride and the Royal Princess look is now the most fashionable.
You can pay up to £10,000 for a wedding dress like Posh Spice and Davina McCall (try The Wedding Shop 020 7838 0171, where these celebs went) but you could also have a made-to-order gown for around £1,900. A tiara is a must — though luckily you don’t have to inherit one. You can buy them from around £89.