Celebrity weddings: they're glamorous, glitzy, and more often than not, totally swoon-worthy. And if they have inspired you to jet off to your very own VIP honeymoon, you're in luck: from lakeside villas in Italy to sprawling French chateaus, and even a historic fort in Florence, here are five celeb wedding destinations you can visit without the hefty price tag.
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin at the Aman Canal Grande Hotel in Venice, Italy (2014)
With famous friends like Matt Damon, Bono, Cindy Crawford and Anna Wintour in attendance, George Clooney and his gorgeous bride, Amal Alamuddin, said their "I do’s" at Venice City Hall, followed by a dazzling reception at Venice’s only 7-star hotel, the Aman Canal Grande.
The hotel is housed in a 16th century palazzo, originally commissioned by a family of wealthy traders. Built directly in front of the Grand Canal, the Aman hotel is deliberately kept intimate with only 24 bedrooms available; rooms start from €850 in the low season.
Tips for us mere mortals: Venice is considered an expensive destination but visit in the low season and you can save up to 40 per cent on accommodation prices. We recommend visiting in April when the weather is warmer than preceding months, and Venice hasn’t been overtaken by tourists yet.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at Forte di Belvedere in Florence, Italy (2014)
In what was supposed to be the wedding of the year (George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s classy Venetian wedding probably usurped its standing), reality TV star Kim Kardashian wed rapper Kanye West. The lavish weeklong pre-wedding extravaganza began in Paris and culminated with the wedding in Forte di Belvedere, Florence. The largest fortress to be built in Florence, Forte di Belvedere was originally built in the 16th century as a sanctuary for the Florence government and the powerful Medici family.
For the wedding, a large tent was built on the sprawling grounds of the fortress, which was rented to the couple at €300,000, to accommodate 200 guests that included John Legend and Andrea Bocelli, both of whom serenaded the newlyweds during the party.
Tips for us mere mortals: The Wests may have chartered two private jets to fly guests from Paris to Florence for the wedding but for commoners like us, Air France and Alitalia offer direct 2 hour flights that start from under €80 for a one-way ticket. While in Florence, join a free walking tour for a better appreciation of the city that gave birth to the Renaissance.
Forte di Belvedere, Via di S. Leonardo, 1, 50100 Firenze, Italy.
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen at Villa Pizzo in Lake Como, Italy (2013)
Soulful crooner, John Legend, married supermodel and Sports Illustrated cover girl, Chrissy Teigen, in a dreamy ceremony held in Lake Como a year ago in September. The bride was the muse behind Legend’s hit song, All of Me, which he performed to teary-eyed guests, who included stars like Stevie Wonder and Kanye West, at the reception in Villa Pizzo.
Villa Pizzo is a 17th century villa with spectacular views overlooking Como Lake. The distinguished historic manor is surrounded by lush Italian gardens, which can only be visited by appointment.
Tips for us mere mortals: Como may be home to some of the fanciest and priciest lakeside villa accommodation but it’s not impossible to stay here on a budget. Eschew swanky Bellagio and stay instead at some of the smaller towns such as Varenna or Menaggio.
Villa Pizzo, Viale Regina 46, Cernobbio - Como, Italy, p. +39 02453770412, e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo at Flora Farms in Los Cabos, Mexico (2014)
Adam Levine, judge on The Voice and well-known “serial modelizer”, broke millions of fans’ hearts earlier this year when he married Victoria’s Secret Angel, Behati Prinsloo. The private wedding was held at Flora Farms, an organic farm situated in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains near Los Cabos, Mexico, and was officiated by The Wolf of Wall Street actor, Jonah Hill.
At the reception, guests were seated in the gardens of the Farm’s compounds around big mango trees, and feasted on signature dishes such as organic pork chops, fresh fish and beet salads. Legendary singer Stevie Nicks and Levine himself sang for guests, while the bride got in on the action too, crooning Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life” for her new groom.
Tips for us mere mortals: Flora Farm has a restaurant, bar and grocery store, and hosts cooking workshops on site. The restaurant, Flora’s Field Kitchen, was rated one of the "World's Best Farmstead Restaurant Experiences”, with celebrities like George Clooney and Ray Romano firm favourites of their farm to table cuisine. While dinner is often booked out months in advance, the Kitchen welcomes walk-ins for breakfast and lunch.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at Chateau Miraval in Correns, France (2014)
With wedding and break-up rumours plaguing Hollywood’s Golden Couple in equal measure throughout the course of their 9-year relationship, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie affirmed their commitment to each other and surprised everyone with a secret wedding this past summer on 23rd August. Surrounded by their 6 children and with only about 20 close friends and family in attendance, the couple wed in a small 13th century chapel on the grounds of their 1,000-acre vineyard estate, the Chateau Miraval.
Located in the village of Correns, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France, the Chateau Miraval is famous for producing the highly sought-after Pink Floyd rosé. Originally leased by the couple in 2008, they purchased it from an American winemaker 3 years later when their lease came up.
Tips for us mere mortals: While the Chateau Miraval is closed to public, there are many other vineyards in and around Provence you can visit for wine-tasting and/or wine tours. Do avoid visiting from 12pm to 3pm as businesses are often closed then for the inviolable “magic hours”, also known as their lunch break.
This article was contributed by Maewyn Tan, founder of Curated Travel, a personalised holiday planning agency based in Singapore.