independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

10 dream wedding locations

For a wedding with a difference the ice hotel in Canada Hôtel de Glace offers the wow factor. Photo: David A. Seaver

You've decided to tie the knot - but where do you want to exchange vows? Ian McCurrach has found the world's most picturesque places to say 'I do'.

BA LONDON EYE, LONDON SE1

Reach for the sky on your wedding day and celebrate on the London Eye. Bride and groom and up to 20 guests have their own private capsule decked out with flowers. The civil ceremony is courtesy of Lambeth Register Office, the happy couple being pronounced man and wife when they reach the top. Enjoy a champagne toast on the descent with the whole of London beneath your feet.

Where: British Airways London Eye, Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 (0870 222 2223; www.londoneye.com).

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, NEW YORK

The Four Seasons is the tallest hotel in Manhattan and couples who get hitched here spend their wedding night in a complimentary executive suite with views of Central Park, some from a bathtub designed for two, accompanied by a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and chocolate-covered strawberries. Ceremonies are held in the Metropolitan Suite, followed by cocktails and dancing.

Where: 57 East 57th St, New York, USA.

You can book directly through Four Seasons (00 1 212 758 5700; www.fourseasons.com).

HOTEL VILLA LA MASSA, FLORENCE

Secluded in gorgeous grounds on the banks of the River Arno, just minutes away from the centre of Florence, Villa La Massa is a vast Medicean villa, dating from the 16th century. David Bowie tied the knot to Iman here and there is even a small chapel in the grounds for intimate ceremonies, with seating for up to 25.

Where: Hotel Villa La Massa, Florence, book wedding packages through the Magic of Italy (0870 888 0222; www.magicofitaly.co.uk).

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

Get married right alongside the Great Wall of China on the rooftop of the Commune, a collection of contemporary villas designed by 12 Asian architects and run by the Kempinski hotel group. Exchange vows with views of the Wall tapering away from you and the mountains beyond. Receptions are held in the Club House, which can seat up to 500. Smaller parties are served contemporary Chinese food by a butler in a villa or chalet.

Where: Near the Shiguan section of the Great Wall of China, 50km, from the outskirts of Beijing.

For bookings email: reservations@commune.com.cn

SCHONBRUNN PALACE, VIENNA

Get the full princess treatment at the Imperial Schönbrunn Palace. Built in the mid-17th century as a summer residence for the Austrian imperial family, the palace is one of Vienna's most impressive sights. Ceremonies take place in the private rooms of the Empress Elisabeth. Wedding hire includes flowers, ceremony, facility hire of private rooms and services of a wedding planner on location.

Where: Imperial Private Rooms, Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, book through Austria Travel (01708 222000; www.austriatravel.co.uk), who can also book accommodation, catering and any other arrangements.

ICE HOTEL, QUEBEC

White weddings don't come much whiter than at this Ice Hotel. Everything is made of ice, including a spectacular chapel, which has ceilings resembling a small cathedral. After exchanging vows, head for sparkling cocktails in the Ice Bar, followed by a meal. The N'Ice Club provides music for dancing, and before bed warm up with a dip in the Ice Hotel Sauna. You've missed your chance for this year; the Ice Hotel is only open throughout the winter months. It is due to re-open in January 2010.

Where: Ice Hotel Quebec-Canada, Quebec, Canada (00 1 418 875 4522; www.icehotel-canada.com).

GRAPEVINE CANYON RANCH, ARIZONA

What could be more romantic than a Ranch Rider wedding on horseback in the heartland of Arizona, amid the oak groves, manzanita and mesquite trees? The ranch has great views and locations, so couples can tie the knot in true Arizona style amidst the rolling plains. Accommodation is based in casitas or cabins, with private facilities, air conditioning and a private sundeck for starry-eyed rancher newlyweds.

Where: Grapevine Canyon Ranch, Pearce, Arizona, book through Ranch Rider (01509 618811; www.ranchrider.com).

HAMWARI GAME RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA

Celebrate your marriage with the Big Five on this game reserve near the Garden Route. The happy couple go on a game drive, with the minister arriving to perform the wedding ceremony under a tree on the top of hill, surrounded by the wilds of Africa. After the ceremony, the couple and guests enjoy a further game drive on their way to the boma (reeded enclosure), for a wedding feast under a vast African night sky.

Where: Longlee Manor, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Thomas Cook Signature (0870 443 4482; www.tcsignature.com) offer a three-night wedding package.

GRACELAND WEDDING CHAPEL, LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world, with more than 125,000 marriage licences issued annually. A marriage licence only costs $60 and there's no minimum stay required. Get hitched in the original Graceland Wedding Chapel, one of the most quintessential chapels on the Las Vegas Strip. Follow in the footsteps of many music legends who have tied the knot here, such as Jon Bon Jovi.

Where: Graceland Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, USA. Wedding packages cost from $199. See www.gracelandchapel.com for more details.

INTERCONTINENTAL, HONG KONG

Say "I do" on the terrace of the newly completed Presidential Suite at the Intercontinental Hotel, which has great views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. With five bedrooms, Duplex living room and wrap-around terrace with a rooftop infinity swimming pool, the suite is one of the plushest in the Far East.

Where: Intercontinental Hotel, 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong (00 852 2721 1211; www.hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com).

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