The chic venues with the most efficient wedding planners

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    This grande dame has been the heart of Mayfair since the 1800s, synonymous with royalty and A-listers alike – Queen Victoria, Audrey Hepburn, Bing Crosby and Kate Moss have all scurried across its chequered Art Deco floors. It should come as no surprise, then, that weddings here are far from average. Personal touches abound, thanks to planners par excellence, Catherine Spencer and Mathilde Maitre, who will execute a suitably regal affair, with butler service, monogrammed napkins and a bespoke menu featuring ingredients so special that they are flown in for the occasion. There’s even a resident choreographer, Marius Caluser, who helps engaged couples to master a sophisticated foxtrot or a seductive tango and banishes any first-dance jitters.


    Standing tall in Westminster, the Corinthia is housed in a beautifully ornate building, its lobby crowned by a glass dome. Inside, there’s the slick chic of Kerridge’s Bar & Grill and the unbridled opulence of the ballroom (not to mention a possible sighting of hotel regular, George Clooney). On hand to make city dreams come true is head planner Jenna Johnson, who is adored by couples for her proactive approach and encyclopaedic knowledge of wedding trends.


    Once a notorious prison and now a bustling tourist destination, the Tower of London might seem like a rather unusual place for romance. Indeed, weddings are relatively new at this almost 1,000-year-old castle, but they are nothing short of spectacular. At the helm is events trio Laura Drake, Laura Debenham and Jade Jeffrey, who pride themselves on delivering the ‘wow factor’ for every couple and their friends and family. Expect special additions such as a Yeoman Warder to help welcome and usher guests upon arrival at the reception, and a private viewing of the Tower’s most famous inhabitants: the glistening Crown Jewels.


    Tucked away behind the Thames is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Britain. Established in 1673 to grow medicinal plants, the lush green space (home to around 5,000 species) is cherished by Chelsea residents. Events officer and theme creator extraordinaire Megan Taylor ensures every celebration – whether boho, Italian or tropical in style – is memorable for all the right reasons.


    As a living, breathing space, Kew is as unique as it gets – and it’s buzzing with an expert team of in-house events coordinators and operations managers, led by Lucy Barnes and Rachel Lucas (to name but two). Everyone shares a passion for making each event as distinctive as the collection of 10,000 plants within the Temperate House, which is the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world. At Kew, love is always in full bloom.


    From limousine transfers to hand-embroidered table linen, no detail slips through the fingers of wedding virtuoso Samantha Lopez, who has more than 25 years of five-star experience. A bouquet’s throw from Eaton Square, The Goring (in all its chintzy glory) is a firm royal favourite and was the Duchess of Cambridge’s choice for the night before her wedding.

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    This estate on the Oxfordshire-Gloucestershire border has been owned by the Ward family since 1959 and is currently home to Alexander Ward and Melanie Fall. Here, ‘wedmin’ master Charlotte Boston eagerly guides couples around the 2,000 acres, opens her little black book of local contacts (from photographers to caterers) and responds to anxious emails 24/7. That just leaves the bride and groom to sit back, relax and enjoy the manor – it is exclusively theirs, after all.



    No two micro-weddings are the same at this estate in the Scottish Highlands, which is owned by Pippa Middleton’s father-in-law, David Matthews, and frequented by the Middleton family. With Julie Matheson and her team only committing to one event at a time, it’s a bespoke service from start to finish, with cèilidh lessons and round-the-clock butler service on offer – as well as anything else your heart desires.


    West Sussex

    Whether the ceremony is taking place in the magnificent Buck Hall or among the Capability Brown designed gardens, Viscount and Viscountess Cowdray’s estate (the home of British polo) promises an enchanting experience. No request is too great or too small for go-to specialist Amber de Savary, who not only takes care of the day itself, but the entire stay. Over a glass of champagne, Amber talks through every last detail and will arrange anything from a pre-wedding meal to a hot air balloon ride to a full itinerary of activities for guests to enjoy on the estate.



    As the daughter of owner Tamaris Kenyon, creative director Anneka Sellers knows this estate like the back of her hand. She brings the je ne sais quoi to every celebration, filling the house with candles and photographs of the couple ahead of their arrival. She is also a dab hand at grand entrances, arranging luxury car hire or even helicopter transfers for guests. Built in 1848 for Rev David Barclay-Bevan, of the Barclays banking dynasty, this is the country estate experience at its very best.



    Steeped in history, Goodnestone Park was built in 1704 on an estate that dates back to the Tudor period. During the late 18th century, Jane Austen was a regular guest, after her brother married and subsequently set up home here. Today, Lord FitzWalter’s beloved family seat is as handsome as ever, its gardens bursting with rose and wisteria. If this setting isn’t reason enough to book, then house manager Ronald Chuquillanqui, who is incredibly well-connected and always keen to impart his wealth of local wisdom, surely is.



    Built by Horatio Walpole (brother of Prime Minister Robert Walpole), this Palladian power house has been restored to its former glory by owners and interior designer duo Peter Sheppard and Keith Day. A fellow aesthete and veritable events guru, Sarah Softley will curate luxury gift bags or commission showstopping acrobatic displays and light installations. So great is her reputation that brides have come from as far as Hong Kong and Dubai to seek her expertise.



    Home to ‘hedonistic heir’ Anselm Guise, the son of the Baronet of Highnam, this 13th-century house boasts unrivalled views over the river Severn. It’s also where you’ll find three of the best planners in the business. Katrina Seear can turn her hand to anything; Leesa Court has more than 40 years’ experience; and Adele Sharp is famed for her creative flair. All committed to pulling off a smooth operation, they’ve been known to iron the groom’s shirt and help pin grandmother’s headpiece. In short, when they say ‘nothing is too much’, they mean it.



    Athens, Greece

    Sprawled across 75 acres on the glamorous Athens Riviera, Four Seasons Astir Palace embodies a ‘more is more’ attitude with not one, but two exceptional in-house wedding planners. With almost three decades’ experience between them, events duo Elisa Peroli and Ioanna Kouraki make the perfect partnership – Elisa specialising in large destination weddings and Ioanna an authority on traditional Greek celebrations. Unwavering in their can-do attitude, the pair live by the motto every bride longs to hear: ‘If you can dream it, you can have it.’


    Venice, Italy

    Whether you’re booking out the place in its entirety or exchanging vows during an intimate al fresco ceremony, this Palazzo overlooking the glittering Grand Canal oozes romance and charm. And waiting to shower everyone with Venetian magic is events manager Giuliana Franco. Leaving no stone unturned, she thinks of everything, from sun umbrellas and hats for guests to a fleet of gondolas for a private tour of the City of Love.


    Sicily, Italy

    Since the Fifties, Villa Sant’Andrea has enchanted its guests with the timeless glamour of the Sicilian coast. Throughout your stay, from arrival to departure, the Villa’s own events aficionado, Marilisa Bagnato, is at your disposal. Best described as a connoisseur of romance, she can, at a moment’s notice, summon up candlelit dinners or transform the beach into a private cinema, complete with champagne. When it comes to the ceremony, choose between the Pergola, the Mazzarò Terrace or the Cabanas – and you’ll invariably be rendered speechless by the idyllic views over sparkling Mediterranean waters.


    Cap d’Antibes, France

    This legendary Côte d’Azur palace needs no introduction; Marlene Dietrich, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor have all had long-standing love affairs with this chic Riviera retreat. Ready to turn each bride’s French fairy-tale fantasy into reality are dream event-planning pair, Nicole Soechting and Lucie Hervé. Having worked at this high society playground for 15 years, Nicole and Lucie are both adept at perfecting decadent menus and beautiful florals – and their top tip for brides who are feeling a little overwhelmed? Head to the spa for an hour or two and the stress will melt away.


    New York City, USA

    Since 1930, the old-world luxury of The Carlyle has attracted royals, heads of state and A-list celebrities: Diana, Princess of Wales, John F Kennedy and Leonardo Di Caprio have all visited the hotel. Staying true to this Upper East Side land-mark’s signature style, Marina Poole and her team of wedding experts bring elegant grandeur to every event held here. Simply deliver a brief and leave them to perfect the theme, floral arrangements, music, menus and cocktails. The final result? A wedding day that exudes as much glamour as the city itself.


    St Barths, Caribbean

    This island jewel, in a quiet corner of St Barths, offers the most divine sun-drenched setting. General manager Luc Lanza, who has 15 years’ expertise under his belt, will convert the hotel pool into a dance floor filled with wildflowers. For those dreaming of something more intimate, Le Toiny’s private beach cannot be bettered.

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