Fantasy venues

The Prague Post

Dream weddings are possible all over the Czech Republic

The bride has been dreaming of this day since she was a little girl. The groom is just praying to get through the day.

Picking the perfect spot to exchange vows should be the least of your worries. Luckily, there’s a variety of unique venues in the Czech Republic guaranteed to make sure your wedding is as memorable as you are.

Knowing exactly what you’re looking for is the first step in choosing a place.

“Have a clear idea of what you want, and if you are unclear about something ask questions,” says Monika Brichácková, a wedding planner with Prague Wedding Planners, which has been organizing weddings since 2003.

“Consider your preferences. Is it more about food and wine, or the views?” adds Martin Dobeš, director of PragueWeddings.com, which has done more than 600 weddings since 1998.

Encouraging couples to be realistic is something wedding planners have to contend with as well.

“Many people dream of a castle wedding, but sometimes it’s not the best, for example, during tourist season,” Dobeš says. “Consider the time of year and what else may be going on at the venue.”

If you are going for that whole castle-fairytale motif, be forewarned that there is a big difference between castles that are privately owned and those that are run by the state.

“The difference is mainly in the approach,” Dobeš says. “What they let you do, how flexible they are.”

Most of the weddings coordinated by both agencies are done in Prague, and there seems to be no shortage of venues for couples with all sorts of tastes.

“Old Town Hall and St. Giles Church are our most popular because they are in Old Town,” Brichácková says.

As for the reception, Dobeš recommends the Dancing House or the Four Seasons Hotel. If you want a view, Dobeš adds, try the Golden Well Hotel or the chateau in Letná Park.

Konopište Castle, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside of Prague, is a hands-down favorite for many couples.

“It has a little bit of everything,” Dobeš says. “The chapel is beautiful; so are the surroundings.”

Adds Brichácková: “It’s a historic location. Plus, the rose garden is beautiful for photos.”

Another popular spot near Prague is Chateau Dobríš. Complete wedding organization and assistance in helping to plan your day and a new four-star hotel are just two reasons to look at Dobríš, according to Pavel Krejcárek, director of Chateau Dobríš.

“The unique Hall of Mirrors, 220 square meters [2,368 square feet] of French gardens, the horse stable and the possibility of accommodation and catering,” Krejcárek says, rattling off the site’s many attributes, have also helped to make this a popular wedding location.

For newlyweds Dana and Luboš Kratochvílovi, they found the staff and setting at the chateau in Kamenice nad Lipou south of Prague in the Vysocina area perfect for their summer wedding.

There were a number of reasons the couple decided to go with it.

“We used the elimination method,” Kratochvílová says. “We didn’t want a church or town hall. We chose the chateau, and then decided to get married in the garden.”

Only a ceremony could be held at the chateau. The couple had their reception elsewhere. But they did luck out in their planning, as there was a cancellation for their chosen date.

The chateau is small, and Kratochvílová says not many wedding are held there, so it’s probably not necessary to book too far in advance. They had a very simple outdoor ceremony, with about 15 people in attendance. She said the people at both the chateau and the town hall where they had to register their wedding were friendly and helpful. Kratochvílová had no challenges with her planning and the day went off without a hitch.

It was, she says, “a lovely, beautiful day with the people that I love.”

Dobeš says he finds that people who live in Prague tend to prefer to go outside of the city for their nuptials. And there are a number of benefits for those looking beyond the capital.

“There aren’t as many tourists outside of Prague,” Dobeš points out. “It’s a less expensive destination, it’s different and that makes it more special. Plus, the venues often are more appreciative.”

There are a couple places he recommends. One is near Olomouc. The other is just outside Mladá Boleslav.

“Bouzov Castle, near Olomouc, is a fairytale castle,” Dobeš says. “Kost is a medieval castle [near Mladá Boleslav]. It’s private, and the people are wonderful and flexible, and it’s an all-in-one venue.”

The medieval theme is one that Brichácková has seen an increase in, and Krivoklát Castle is a popular place to do it.

“The bride and groom are dressed in medieval costumes, and then the reception [is held] somewhere medieval, like the Knights Hall in Hotel Kampa Best Western,” she says.

The biggest trend change Dobeš has noticed these days is that couples seem more focused on finding places for their receptions that have good food instead of good views.

“Before, more people were focused on where the reception was versus the food or service they got,” he says. “But now, people are looking to relax and have a good time.”

The most important thing is to remember the special day, no matter where it’s being held. Her wedding day still holds wonderful memories for Kratochvílová.

“I thought my husband would faint; he’s always fainting, and I would have to be strong,” she says with a smile. “But he was so cute and perfect; smiling and holding me so tight. When he said ‘yes,’ he shouted it, and I started crying.”