Some of the best castles to get married in don’t require a passport to visit.
Photography: Courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks1 of 19
There is no need to cross the Atlantic to find a big-day location fit for royalty. These historic buildings, with their grand facades, intricate stonework, and sweeping surroundings, rival their European counterparts, delivering romance without the need to touch down on distant shores.
Photography: Courtesy of Boldt Castle2 of 19
Sitting atop a heart-shaped island, this castle is the masterpiece of a real love story. George Boldt, once owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, built the no-expenses-spared home for his wife, Louise.
Where: Alexandria Bay, NY
What We Love: The Thousand Island region, an area that straddles the U.S.-Canadian border, is comprised of—you guessed it—more than 1,000 individual islands. The Boldt Castle is only reachable by boat, giving guests a Riviera-esque experience.
Book It: From $200 (ceremony only), boldtcastle.com
Photography: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) /3 of 19
The only true castle on American soil, Iolani Palace was the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy until 1893. Today couples can exchange I do’s on the palace grounds and celebrate in the adjacent Iolani Barracks.
Where: Honolulu, HI
What We Love: The site’s “Coronation Pavilion” has a gazebo-like structure where live entertainment can play for partygoers.
Book It: From $1,300, iolanipalace.org
Photography: Courtesy of Searles Castle4 of 19
Gilded Age interior decorator and antiques collector Edward Searles commissioned this 1915 English-style castle to pay tribute to his heritage.
Where: Windham, NH
What We Love: Brides and ‘maids can reserve a second-floor suite for last-minute touch-ups preceremony.
Book It: From $3,000, searlescastlewindham.com
Photography: Carole J. Buckwalter5 of 19
Built as a home for actor, playwright, and director William Hooker Gillette, this 184-acre estate is well-preserved, with its three-mile trail still looping around the grounds and all the original oddities, including 47 unmatched wooden doors.
Where: East Haddam, CT
What We Love: A seasonal ferry that’s designated as a state historical landmark crosses the nearby Connecticut River, and runs to the city of Chester, making for a one-of-a-kind getaway following your I do’s.
Book It: From $285 (outdoor ceremony only), ctrivervalley.com
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Photography: Bob Linsdell6 of 19
Gloucester’s naval beginnings—it was home to America’s original seaport—influence Hammond Castle, which is nestled on the Atlantic’s rocky coast.
Where: Gloucester, MA
What We Love: An indoor sanctuary with stained glass windows opens up to the terrace, while antique war paraphernalia dons the walls, lending a medieval ambience to the 20th-century site.
Book It: From $2,850, hammondcastle.org
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Thornewood Castle—which offers both an indoor and outdoor venue (to accommodate Washington’s rainy climate)—was built to the specifications of Mr. Chester Thorne, one of the founders of the Port of Tacoma, as a gift for his bride, Anna.
Where: Lakewood, WA
What We Love: Even with its old-world architecture, Thornewood still meets modern expectations—from offering lakefront fireworks to having an on-site helicopter landing.
Book It: From $2,950, thornewoodcastle.com
Photography: Courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks8 of 19
Erected by Standard Oil cofounder Feargus Squire in the late 1890s, this gatehouse was part of a larger estate plan that was never completed. Today, the shell of this stone structure stands in the Chagrin Valley of Ohio under the protection of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board.
Where: Willoughby Hills, OH
What We Love: Tall trees surround the 19th-century property creating a picturesque backdrop for portraits.
Book It: From $100, clevelandmetroparks.com
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Devise a full wedding weekend for out-of-town guests complete with a spa day, horseback ride, and winery visit without ever leaving the Biltmore Estate (but if you must, the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains are calling for a day hike). Built more than 120 years ago by George Vanderbilt, the stately property can accommodate a large guest count and even grander nuptials.
Where: Asheville, NC
What We Love: The expansive front lawn is ideal for a ceremony for up to 500 guests with the enormous French Renaissance château as the backdrop.
Book It: From $20,000, biltmore.com
Photography: Bill Badzo10 of 19
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
New York architect James Dakin designed Baton Rouge’s Capitol building. Rather than mimic the federal one in Washington (as so many other states had done), he conceived a neo-Gothic medieval castle sitting on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.
Where: Baton Rouge, LA
What We Love: Black-and-white checkerboard flooring and floor-to-ceiling windows give the space a festive, New Orleans-style air.
Book It: From $1,000, louisianaoldstatecapitol.org
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If you’re looking for ocean views with regal comfort, then try this massive estate, once home to the Guggenheim family and comprised of several castle-like mansions that overlook the Long Island Sound.
Where: Port Washington, NY
What We Love: The versatility of this property is endless—reserve the entire ground floor of Hempstead House for up to 300 guests. Or choose the Rose Garden located behind this Tudor-style mansion for a warm-weather affair. For a smaller celebration, the medieval great hall of Castle Gould can seat 100.
Book It: From $3,500 (Castle Gould) and $8,000 (Hempstead House), thesandspointpreserve.com
Photography: Fogarty Creative Group12 of 19
The 35-room Scottish-influenced property surrounded in lush foliage allows weddings to take over its grounds and first two floors (with furniture setup included in the rental package).
Where: Omaha, NE
What We Love: The shaded front porch calls for preceremony sippers or postceremony cocktails.
Book It: From $1,600, joslyncastle.com
Photography: Courtesy of Cherokee Ranch & Cas13 of 19
Cherokee Castle & Ranch
The indoor architecture at Cherokee Castle, including the Great Hall’s soaring window arches and the building’s intricate cut-stone walls, rival the natural panorama that the Rocky Mountains provide. Three on-property venues are available for weddings of 250 guests or less, with cozy fires and local catering that will keep your celebration an intimate one.
Where: Sedalia, CO
What We Love: Afternoon tea and whiskey tastings are just two ways to pass the time.
Book It: From $7,000, cherokeeranch.org
Photography: Courtesy of Coral Castle14 of 19
Coral Castle, built from 1,100 tons of the local rock, was constructed by hand over 28 years. Edward Leedskalnin erected the structure singlehandedly in memory of his bride-to-be, who called off their celebration one day before they were set to marry. Today, the castle does not stand in vain; rather, it’s a site where couples make their relationships official.
Where: Homestead, FL
What We Love: The Floridian venue shares an area code with livelier Miami, so guests can enjoy beach pastimes and citified to-dos before taking a step back in time for the celebration.
Book It: From $900, coralcastle.com
Photography: Courtesy of Edsel & Eleanor Ford15 of 19
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Rather than the castle’s interior, the Ford House prides itself on the carefully cultivated exterior crafted by famed landscape artist and conservationist Jens Jensen. It is on these grounds that couples can wed.
Where: Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
What We Love: “Bird Island,” the property’s peninsula created from a sandbar in Lake St. Clair, is home to wildflowers and birds, which can be heard singing throughout the property.
Book It: From $25,000, fordhouse.org
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Photography: Courtesy of Pythian Castle16 of 19
Just over 100 years old, this Gothic Revival style home was built out of Carthage limestone by a fraternal order known as the Knights of Pythias. It was first completed in 1913, and has since changed owners multiple times. Due to its remarkably rich legacy, Pythian Castle is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Where: Springfield, MO
What We Love: Very few modifications have been made to the exterior of the castle, and the original ballroom and theater remain intact.
Book It: Ceremony & Reception package from $1,500, pythiancastle.com
Photography: Carla Gates Photography17 of 19
Built in 1904, Atlanta's historic "Castle on Peachtree" is a Romanesque Revival style mansion with a traditional Victorian interior. Worth noting is the series of stained glass windows that rise above a carved mahogany grand staircase. Be sure to experience the view of the city from the roof (and snap a romantic photo) as well.
Where: Atlanta, GA
What We Love: Receptions can be held both indoors and outdoors—the front porch provides a 16 by 14-foot dance floor space that looks out onto the elegant lawn.
Book It: 4-hour event from $2,500, rhodeshall.org
Photography: Gavin Ashworth18 of 19
Modeled after the Grand Trianon, a baroque pavilion in Versailles built as a getaway for King Louis XIV, Rosecliff was completed in 1902. It was the site of many lavish social gatherings, including a fairy-tale dinner and a party featuring magician Harry Houdini. The house has also appeared in many films, including The Great Gatsby, True Lies, and 27 Dresses.
Where: Newport, RI
What We Love: Inside, the heart-shaped staircase provides a perfect frame for couple photos, and the French-style ballroom has a trompe-l'oeil ceiling of painted clouds. Outside, the canopied terrace boasts fabulous ocean views.
Book It: 4-hour event from $7,500, newportmansions.org
Photography: Courtesy of Skylands Manor19 of 19
Run by Frungillo Caterers
Located on 100 acres of formal botanical gardens, this fifty-four room, granite Tudor Revival mansion is ideal for larger weddings. The gardens can accommodate up to 600 guests, the ballroom up to 220, and the castle up to 300 attendees.
Where: Ringwood, NJ
What We Love: A private chapel overlooking Shepherd Lake is the perfect place to say your vows.
Book It: From $125 per guest, frungillo.com