4.11.2011

Marrying in Royal Style at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina


Wedding Photos Courtesy of the Biltmore Estate
Photography by Woodward and Rick Photographers
With only a few weeks left before Catherine Middleton marries her Prince, all eyes are on the city of London as it prepares to host the wedding of the century.   I thought it would be fun to come up with an alternate American location for the royal wedding, and it took me less than a second to name the most perfect destination.   North Carolina is home to one of the most beautiful and regal locations for a wedding in the United States.  Nestled in the state's Great Smoky Mountains, you will find the elegant and stunning Biltmore Estate.

This majestic estate, set on 8,000 acres in Asheville, NC,  is the former mountain home of George W. Vanderbilt.   This ornate, grand 250-room French Renaissance chateau will rival anything in Europe, and having the Blue Ridge Mountains as a scenic backdrop even adds to its allure. 

Official Portrait/Testino
When I visited the Biltmore Estate in 2009,  staff were preparing for a wedding reception that evening on the estate.  I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of the beautiful bride as she left the Inn at Biltmore.  It took all of my willpower and my hubby pulling my arm back not to follow her, and experience her magical wedding.   When I thought about an American wedding post for the blog, I immediately turned to the Biltmore Estate to help me plan the ultimate royal wedding for us.  

Thanks to the estate's wedding consultants working with me,  Hines-Sight Blog readers have a front row seat to William and Kate’s American Wedding at the Biltmore Estate.  With no one footing the bill, it’s going to be the best of the best. 

On April 29, the Prince and future Princess will have an 11 a.m. wedding in Westminster Abby followed by a canapés reception at Buckingham Palace for 600 guests.  At 8 p.m., the newly married couple will attend a dinner and dance given by the Prince of Wales for 300 of the couple's close friends and family.   

In our Biltmore royal wedding, the bride will arrive to the 6 p.m. ceremony in a vintage car.  We have chosen to have the ceremony on the Front Lawn in front of the estate.   Maura Scarmack, Senior Catering Sales Manager for Biltmore Estate, tells me, “Typically, a ceremony would be held in the Italian Garden or on the Tennis Lawn, but another option – and one that is over-the-top is a Front Lawn situated just in front of Biltmore House, followed by cocktails under the wisteria on the Library Terrace (adjacent to Biltmore House) and then a tented reception on the South Terrace which features sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”



At the Biltmore, a bride can arrive in a vintage car or horse-drawn carriage
Photography by Woodward and Rick Photographers

The setting is gorgeous, and in case you want a wedding like ours, facility fees for our royal wedding in this exact location would run the father of the bride close to $25,000 dollars because it is a location upgrade. The Biltmore takes care of everything for you.  The tent, chairs, tables, linens, dance floor, glass, china,  flatware,  parking attendants, and shuttles are built into their facility fees.  The horticulture team will also work with you to decorate your reception area as well, and staff can also further enhance your reception space with draped fabric, specialty lighting, and other enhancements at additional fees. 

 

The Library Terrace is on the right of the house and
is open to the air with Palladian style arches
 I'm glad my daughter is too young to read this or she may get some costly ideas that will make her daddy faint, but we're not sparing any expense in this post.  After the ceremony, guests will move to the cocktail hour on the library terrace of the mansion.  During this hour, guests will mingle while nibbling on butler passed canapés and sip on a signature cocktail.  Many brides choose a cocktail based on the theme or colors of their wedding.    




"The Windsor Knot", signature cocktail for
the wedding
 While overlooking the breathtaking mountains as guest of this wedding, you will taste a signature cocktail that I have named  “The Windsor Knot" for the occasion.   Each glass will be adorned with a small emblem with the couple’s newly bestowed royal title tied on the stem with a sapphire blue ribbon to match the color of the future Queen’s ring.  The recipe for our signature drink is a replica of a cocktail  I had during my anniversary dinner this month and is a new favorite drink of mine.   This wedding cocktail will be delightfully light, and great for a spring evening.  The pale yellow color will look dazzling with the sapphire blue ribbon on the glass for our royal wedding.  The original drink consists of Malibu coconut rum, Captain's Morgan's spiced rum, fresh pineapple juice, and mint for garnish.  Cheers!

Narrowing down our selection to three canapés for the cocktail hour was a difficult choice so I didn't do it for this occasion.  I selected four because the Biltmore will work with every couple to tailor their menu specifically for them.   The Biltmore Estate can also work in partnership with local farmers to customize a seasonal, local  flavor for your menu.  Scarmack named three of her favorite canapés so I went with her expert advice.


Peppercorn-crusted Tuna with Ginger Aioli
Seared Tenderloin with Pickled Red Onion and Horseradish
Brie and Honey Beggar’s Purse


I added Tomato Bruschetta with Boursin Cheese to our menu so there would be another vegetarian option for guests.


Enjoy "The Windsor Knot", your canapés, and the view.   On our next post, you will get an inside look at royal couple's reception on the Biltmore Estate.  You don't want to miss it!


Until next time, I'm going to talk with one of the Biltmore interpreters who is available during our cocktail hour to answer any questions about the house and to tell me some Biltmore stories.  As a guest of this wedding, you did receive an estate pass to visit the estate at your leisure.   I want to learn about some of the hidden rooms.   What about you?




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