Friday, November 21, 2014

Dubrovnik Wedding Ceremony Venues

I know I usually write this blog about real weddings but after speaking to many of our clients it turns out they would love to see bestseller Dubrovnik wedding locations in one blog.
So here it is. A list of top Dubrovnik wedding ceremony venues. Each one writes its own story and captures hearts of those for whom they're meant to be.
Which one will be yours?


1. SPONZA PALACE, DUBROVNIK- 
In the end of Placa (Stradun) street, beside Luža, on the left side of the square centered with Orlando column the monumental Gothic-Renaissance Sponza Palace found its rightful place. Sponza is one of the most beautiful palaces in the City, which has preserved its original form. Built 1516-1522, its form suggests possible appearance of the majority of public and private palaces in Dubrovnik before the earthquake of 1667.
Members of the Academia dei Concordi founded at the close of 16th century by the group of poets, met in the large hall of the first floor. That was Dubrovnik's first institution of literary life.






Sponza palace derived it's name from the word for the spot where rainwater was collected (Spongia-”alluvium”) according to the former use of the spot it was built on.
In the time of the Republic this palace housed the custom office and bonded warehouse, hence it was often referred to as Divona (from dogana - ”customs”).
The Sponza Palace was the seat of a number of state offices. The palace also housed the mint, the bank, the treasury, and the armoury.
This complex palace was designed by protomagister (chief architect) Paskoje Miličević. The project was completed in 1522. It is a large rectangular building with an inner courtyard. An open porch communicates with the square in front; another porch opens on the first floor in front.


The building is a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles, which was typical for the conservative Dubrovnik Republic of those times.


The fact that the city measures were true is captured on the inscription on the arch:
FALLERE NOSTRA VETANT; ET FALLI PONDERA: MEQUE PONDERO CVM MERCES: PONDERAT IPSE DEVS
(Our weights do not permit cheating or being cheated. When I measure the commodities the Lord measures with me.)

Nowadays the Sponza Palace is the home of the most important cultural institution of Dubrovnik - the archive. The archive found its home on the first floor.

Sponza palace has a unique role during the special opening ceremony of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Actors inpersonating the Rector and the members of the Council Minor sit on the upper porch of the Sponza palace and greet the actors that have come to the City to entertain and amuse the public with their music shows and theatre plays. After many skill demonstrations by the actors and a long discussion from the side of the council, the ceremony always ends as the Rector grants the actors free access to the City and gives them the keys of the City in order for them to put up their shows and entertain the public.









When it comes to weddings, Sponza Palace really is one of the most popular choices, and seeing the photos, it is self explanatory why- it truly has it all- monumental feel, classic, romance and elegance. It's open roof top is a perfect touch of fresh air and blue skies and it's walls speak a story that deserves to be a part of your special Story. 
It can be used both for ceremony and for wedding receptions and it's a perfect option for you if you are looking for Dubrovnik's trademark with a touch of history, tradition and abundance of class and elegance. 

2. LOKRUM ISLAND- DUBROVNIK: The first mention of Lokrum in writing came in 1023, in connection with the founding of the Benedictine abbey and monastery.
According to legend Richard the Lion-Heart was cast ashore here after being shipwrecked in 1192 while returning from the Crusades. The vow he made to build a church on the spot where he came ashore should he be saved was kept at least in part. Although he came ashore in Lokrum, at the request of the people of Dubrovnik, he agreed to have the church built in the city itself.


In 1859 Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg, then the owner of the island, came to Lokrum. He had a mansion built in the shape of a tower and a marvelous garden laid out, crisscrossed with pathways.
The very name of the island of Lokrum shows that even in ancient times there were plants from the far corners of the world growing here (Lokrum comes from the Latin acrumen, sour fruit). The tradition of bringing in exotic plants and gardening that existed from the time of the Benedictines to that of Maximilian Ferdinand was continued in 1959 with the foundation of the Botanical Garden. Most of the plant varieties derive from Australia and South America; of particular interest is the collection of eucalyptuses, cactuses and succulents. In 1964 the island of Lokrum was declared a Managed Nature Reserve, and in 1976 a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve. There is a little lake called the Mrtvo more, Dead Sea, on the island, linked with the open sea, and suitableforchildren and non-swimmers to bathe in. On the Lokrum hills there is a fortress called Fort Royal, built in the shape of a star by the French in 1806; it gives marvelous views of Dubrovnik, Cavtat and the islands. From the port of Dubrovnik it is just a pleasant ten minute voyage to Lokrum; an armis stretch away from the city, this favorite excursion spot is also set far back in the middle ages.



Lokrum island is literally a 10 minute boat ride away from Dubrovnik's old town harbour. It's perfectly shaded and all you can see is nature around you and all you can hear are crickets and the sound of the waved bouncing off the surrounding rocks.
It's a perfectly beautiful and a perfectly serene wedding ceremony venue. 


Great thing about Lokrum is that is has so many potential ceremony locations. The one on the upper couple of photos is definitely the most popular as it gives you the best of all worlds. It's just a short walk away from the boat dock , covered by the palm tree shade and enchanted with peacocks walking around, adding more color and even more fairy tale touch to your wedding.


Then there is the olive tree garden, slightly bigger but just so magical. We used it for different events- from ceremonies to blanket picnics.
It's slightly more informal than the palm garden and gives more space in set up imagination...




If you choose Lokrum as your wedding ceremony venue, you will not fail in any segment. It is simply perfect.

3. GVA GARDENS- DUBROVNIK: Grand Villa Argentina is Dubrovnik’s traditional luxury address, combining exclusivity and attention to detail with spectacular views of the sea, back dropped by pine tree-clad mountains. This five-star hotel in Dubrovnik has a regal, old-world charm. Just minutes from the Old Town, it has been an exclusive enclave in the city for nearly 60 years.
The Villa Argentina was built as a gilded private residence at the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1950s it was converted into a luxury hotel, and it quickly became one of the most prestigious destinations on the Adriatic. Today it offers 131 rooms and suites, each furnished in a sophisticated style, complementing the historic architecture.


The gardens of Grand Villa Argentina are the only green venues in Dubrovnik for wedding ceremonies, making them really one of a kind. The big garden (photo above) called also Wimbledon as it used to be a tennis court, can accommodate 150 people for ceremony. it has amazing sea views and monumental hotel surroundings. it has direct access through hotel and is just steps away from the most amazing lounge bar of Dubrovnik, GVA's Victoria lounge bar, making it a great location with multiple venues which allows you to add more dimensions and thus more experience for your guests.
The pine tree garden of the Grand Villa Argentina has a charm like not many venues do. It's ideal for smaller weddings up to 35 people. One of my favorite photographers would say it is not a photogenic place but you fall in love with it when you meet it in "person". And so it truly is....







This year, for the first time ever, a wedding reception was held on the garden of Grand Villa Argentina, organized by Dubrovnik Event for the wedding of the year, knows as the AGGA wedding.










4. THE PALACE VIEWPOINT: DUBROVNIK
This was my very first ceremony venue I organized a wedding at. 8 years ago. Ever since, it has had a special place in my heart and I just love doing weddings there. Since it's like a small fortress just above the sea, perfect in its shape and location, it is suitable for weddings up to 15 people. Small, intimate and romantic. Just ideal.








5. PALM TERRACE OF HOTEL EXCELSIOR- DUBROVNIK
Since opening in 1913, the Excelsior has become an iconic landmark among the five-star hotels in Dubrovnik. This time-honored building – a blend of old and new – is uniquely located on a cliffside, with magnificent views from every floor, over to the island of Lokrum in one direction and the Old Town in another.

Recognized as one of the finest hotels in the Mediterranean by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper, it is only when you visit that you can fully appreciate the spectacular setting: the tranquil gardens in which to stroll; four fine-dining restaurants, all offering panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea; a private beach, back-dropped by the UNESCO-protected Old Town. Among the luxury hotels in Dubrovnik, the Hotel Excelsior is the benchmark to which others aspire.  








This particular venue is a trademark of Dubrovnik weddings. For ceremonies, drink receptions and finally wedding receptions. It's perfect for it all, with its unique view of the Old town and vicinity of the sea it makes your wedding picture simply perfect.



6. VALA BEACH CLUB, HOTEL DUBROVNIK PALACE- DUBROVNIK
Celebrated as Europe’s finest five-star resort, the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace has it all: great premises for wedding and other special event, luxurious wellness and spa center, high-tech conference rooms, superb gastronomy and spectacular sea views from every room.
Situated on the beautiful peninsula of Lapad, the hotel’s dramatic Cliffside location, below the aromatic, pine-covered Petka woods, affords spectacular views in every direction. From afar, the hotel resembles a huge ship, and the architects have made every effort to ensure that it blends harmoniously with its surrounds, with carefully selected wood and natural stone accents. 






Vala beach club is I would say most dramatic venue of them all. The rocky beach surrounded by sea and greenery makes you feel like you have your own little peace of paradise. It's a great reception venue as well, and just wait for the moonlight glistening off the night waves...

7. VILLA BANAC, CAVTAT
Situated in the center of the charming village of Cavtat bay, Villa Banac offers you the ultimate experience, embracing the view, palm trees and monumental architecture creating just an ideal wedding ceremony venues. Photos say a thousand words and I said enough :)








8. EAST WEST BEACH- DUBROVNIK
A trendy Saint Tropez-style beachfront club where friends meet and friends are made is the hottest beach in Dubrovnik that takes decadence to another level.
Set at the beachfront overlooking the most spectacular view of the Old City of Dubrovnik it offers all the luxuries a visitor could ever dream of: private sandy beach, trendy bar and stylish restaurant lounging the afternoon or night club for partying night away.





I always say beach weddings are urban legends :) as they truly do require a whole different logistics to any other wedding ceremony. Dubrovnik's weakest link are beach venues but if you are looking for an off season wedding and are ready to make a ceremony a bit later than usual, don't think any longer. Just look at it! So much fun!



9. CHURCH OF ST BLAISE, DUBROVNIK
In the honour of the patron saint, the Church of St. Blasius was erected in the City.
The present day church of St. Blasius was constructed by Venetian architect Marino Gropelli in in 1715 on the commission by the city authorities. The church was built on the place of an old Romanesque church from 1368 that was significantly damaged in the Great earthquake of 1667 and finally destroyed in the fire that struck it in 1706.


The new Church of St Blasius was built in Baroque style according to the prototype of St. Mauritius church in Venice. A large staircase leads to the ornamented main portal and a large dome decorates the roof of the church. The interior of the church is furnished in great detail, and the marble altars are particularly impressive. The centre piece of the main altar is a gothic statue of St. Blasius in gold-plated silver from the 15th century that holds in his hand a model of the City as it looked before the earthquake. The statue is a work of an unknown artist of Dubrovnik gild school and it is the most valuable work of art in the long history of Dubrovnik. Historically the statue is quite important as the model of Dubrovnik in St Blasius hands distinctly depicts how the buildings before the Great earthquake looked like. It is interesting to notice that the statue, including some other valuables, was undamaged in the great earthquake and later in the fire that destroyed the old church which was interpreted as a sign and a miracle.






Among many great venues for a wedding in Dubrovnik, St Blasius church is one of the favourite wedding ceremony churches in Dubrovnik. The rich Baroque decoration inside the church provides for the amazing photo shoot and the location of the church amidst Dubrovnik is perfect, befitting even a royal wedding.

9. CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUS, DUBROVNIK
The baroque stairs connecting Gundulić Square with another square named after the great Dubrovnik physicist Ruđer Bošković are reminiscent of some etymologists who believe that the word baroque originated from the word shell. The one time venue of Shakespeares play Romeo and Juliet, the beautiful stairs very much resemble the ones leading to the Trinit? dei Monti Church in Rome from the Piazza di Spagna. Designed by the Roman architect Pietro Passalacque in 1738, the stairs lead to St Ignatius Church adjacent to the famous Jesuit school Collegium Ragusinum. The Church of St Ignatius - or the Jesuits, as the people of Dubrovnik call it - is the work of the famed Jesuit architect and painter Ignazio Pozzo, who worked on the church from 1699 to 1703.


This complex is considered to be the finest Baroque set of buildings in Dubrovnik, and - according to many - in all of Dalmatia. It is thus not surprising that theatre directors at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival often use this venue as an open-air stage.








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There is much more Dubrovnik offers, and here are some photos to prove it. The above venues are true bestsellers but why not think outside of the box?


Small chappel terrace makes it possible to do a humanist or a civil wedding with a sacral touch.

 Boat wedding! Why not?

Top of the Srdj mountain amphitheatre. As special as it gets. And you can get your guests up here by  a cable car!

Lovrijenac fortress ceremony. It will be worth every step you take up there. Game of Thrones scene used over and over again you will never get bored of. Just spectacular. 

That's it folks :)
For now at least. 
Enjoy the inspiration and happy planning!

*** please contact us at info@dubrovnikevent.com for your perfect wedding scenario :)
Ines