THE VENUE

The National - News - Luxury - - WEDDINGS -

To make the most of the UAE’s strik­ing sky­lines, more and more cou­ples are choos­ing to hold their wed­ding cer­e­mony or other cel­e­bra­tions aboard a yacht.

“There is def­i­nitely an in­creas­ing de­mand for wed­dings, along with en­gage­ments, pre-wed­ding din­ners and re­cep­tion par­ties,” says Jane Daly, the man­ag­ing part­ner of Eden Yachting. Ves­sel hire with Eden starts from Dh40,000, and the com­pany also of­fers a wed­ding plan­ner and wed­ding stylist who can help you to tai­lor your day with flow­ers, cater­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and en­ter­tain­ment. The happy cou­ple will be driven to and from their yacht in ei­ther a li­mou­sine or Rolls-Royce. It cer­tainly won’t be a wed­ding your guests will for­get in a hurry.

“Last year we ar­ranged a wed­ding for a small group of 20 on one of our su­pery­achts,” says Daly. “It was a beau­ti­ful event, and the cou­ple le the yacht for the ho­tel on a small boat with ‘Just Mar­ried’ on a ban­ner across the back – just as if they were leav­ing a land­based re­cep­tion by car.”

Some 828 me­tres above sea level is Dubai’s most iconic wed­ding venue: the Burj Khal­ifa, where the Ar­mani Ho­tel guar­an­tees a taste­ful event from start to fin­ish. Book the Ar­mani sig­na­ture pack­age (Dh575 per head) and the ho­tel will sup­ply per­son­alised Ar­mani in­vi­ta­tions, a cus­tomised menu based on your na­tion­al­ity and tastes, a hand-fin­ished, five-tier wed­ding cake and even the bridal bou­quet. And you can add an ex­tra layer of lux­ury by pur­chas­ing items from the Ar­mani Prive collection – such as watches, sun­glasses, per­fumes and jew­ellery – as farewell gi s for guests.

But, of course, the main draw of us­ing the Burj Khal­ifa is the in­cred­i­ble photo op­por­tu­ni­ties. Cou­ples typ­i­cally have their pic­tures taken on the pavil­ion, with a view of the Dubai Foun­tain and the Burj in the back­ground. The ho­tel can also fa­cil­i­tate pho­tog­ra­phy at At.mo­sphere, the restau­rant on the 122nd floor.

If your tastes veer more to­wards a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding, High­clere Cas­tle in Hamp­shire, Eng­land – bet­ter known as Down­ton Abbey – is a tempt­ing op­tion. Echo­ing the many fic­tional wed­dings of the Craw­ley sis­ters, a bride can get dressed in a bed­room at High­clere be­fore walk­ing around the gallery and down a sweep­ing oak stair­case to greet her guests. With meals avail­able for up to 140 in ei­ther the din­ing room or the Vic­to­rian li­brary, the en­tire cas­tle and its grounds are avail­able for hire at Dh110,000.

An­other in­ter­na­tional op­tion with a touch of celebrity sparkle is the Castello Orsini-Odescalchi in Rome. A fairy-tale cas­tle dat­ing back to the 15th century, it was the set­ting for the wed­ding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and, more re­cently, for Pe­tra Ec­cle­stone, the For­mula One heiress whose nup­tials cost a re­ported Dh72m.

SASHAY AWAY Should you want a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding, the High­clere Cas­tle in Hamp­shire (which is bet­ter known as Down­ton Abbey), is a charm­ing choice, com­plete with lush grounds and sweep­ing stair­cases.

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