With its grand chateaus and ancient cathedrals, Prague is something of a windfall for romantic wedding venues. One need look no further than the plethora of Prague wedding agencies for evidence of the Czech capital’s appeal as wedding destination. Of course, with a little legwork and perseverance, it’s entirely possible to have a simple, elegant wedding of your own making. We’ve compiled a round-up of essentials from dresses to cakes and everything in between to make your big day as easy as it is enchanted.
Wedding agencies vs. DIY
Given the amount of time and effort involved in coordinating a wedding, many forgo the do-it-yourself route and turn to a wedding planner to help with everything from the paperwork—instructions on what you’ll need, assistance with translations, taking you to various local offices, etc.––right down to the flavor of the cake. The basic, no-frills package (ceremony conducted in the language of your choice at the registry office with simple champagne reception following) costs around 30,000 CZK. For those with a bigger production in mind, wedding planners will book a venue for the wedding, order invitations, consult with you on flowers and décor, arrange transport for the bride and groom, and handle all the reception details (food, music, photography, wedding cake, etc.). Wedding agencies should be booked, at the very least, six months in advance. Then again, it’s entirely possible to manage the paperwork and necessary reservations yourself, though without knowledge of Czech it can be tricky. Some trusted wedding planners include Absolute Solutions, Bohemia Weddings, Exclusive Weddings, and White Prague Agency.
Explore an expo (or two)
Whether you’re considering a lavish affair or a smaller more intimate gathering wedding, expos are a great starting point especially for DIY weddings. The annual Prague Wedding Fair, held in January, is geared toward assisting expat and foreigners in achieving an unforgettable day. Taking place in the ballroom of the Grand Bohemia Hotel, the event gives couples a chance to taste cakes and wine, browse rings and dresses, and speak with DJs, florists, and caterers. The annual English-friendly wedding fair at the Diplomat Hotel (typically in February) has a similar line-up of exhibitors. Both events promise plenty of brochures and samples to help you get a jump on planning.
The Czech Republic has a rich jewelry tradition. In Prague, Halada and Köttner are German luxury diamond companies with Czech roots. Cartier, ALO Diamonds, Carollinum, Boucheron Paris, and Tiffany & Co. (making its Prague debut in July) dominate the high end. Retofy and Primossa are Czech retailers known for their wide selection of engagement rings and wedding bands. If you seek affordable style, Benet Gold, located on Sokolovská Street, itself somewhat of a jewelry district, does traditional wedding bands for a range of price points. Prefer something less traditional? Designer Vera Novakova‘s modern bands in a variety of edgy finishes are surprisingly wallet-friendly. Note that most jewelers require about 30 days to size and engrave your rings.
A variety of venues
The options for ceremony venues in and around Prague are wonderfully varied. Chateau and castle wedding packages typically include ceremony, reception menu, and accommodation for the wedding party. A number of these regal venues allow you to choose services a la carte, meaning just the ceremony may be conducted at the venue for a lesser fee. Some popular wedding chateaus in Prague and the vicinity include Chateau Libeň, Chateau Mcely, Troja Chateau, Zámek Loučeň, and Martinický Palace.
In the warmer months, Prague’s gardens and parks, including Kempinski Garden, Island Garden Žofín, Prague Vrtba Garden, Lebedur Garden, Viniční Altán, etc. provide pristine settings for the exchange of vows. And for religious ceremonies, glorious chapels and churches characterize the Czech capital —Vysehrad, St. Nicholas, St. Thomas Augustine Monastery, St. Jiljí (Church of St. Giles), and Sacre Couer among them. A few quirky alternatives: One of the city’s many towers, Vltava River boats, or Prague Beach in Smíchov.
The least expensive option is likely your local oddací síň or wedding hall. Once you’ve filed the necessary paperwork in the matrika (parish registry) for your district it is available to you for a nominal fee. Of course, not all wedding halls may meet your aesthetic expectations, though some districts do offer a choice of venues.
Keep in mind that wherever you choose to conduct your wedding ceremony, you must file your marriage application at the corresponding registry; if you’re planning a church wedding paperwork must have been filed no longer than 30 days before the date of your ceremony. For more on how to file for a marriage license, see our article here. Popular wedding-ceremony spots should be booked up to a year in advance if you’re planning an early summer wedding. If you can live with a superstition, Czechs say that May marriages will be over in a year, and many sought-after venues are available during this time!
You may choose an all-inclusive venue in which reception and ceremony are held at the same location. If that’s not the case, you’ll need a place to raise a glass of Champagne after saying ano. Reserving a banquet room at an upscale restaurant—some notable fine dining establishments include V Zátiší, Mlýnec, Celeste, Luna di Notte—traditional pub (Na Slamníku, Zlatý Hrozen), or rustic pension or inn (Auberge de Provence, Penzion v polích) is also in the realm of possibility. You’ll start the process by meeting with a manager to book the date, determine the menu, and make a deposit. To get quotes or research venues, Prague Private Dining is a free English-language website that takes the guesswork out of selecting a special-occasion restaurant. For larger celebrations Prague’s superlative hotels, with their opulent ballrooms and quality catering, are an ideal place to dance the night away and many provide custom wedding planning services.
The best dresses…tuxes, too!
Shop for a special dress (or just rent one) at Sali Fashion Studio; Vewe Wedding Agency, Jiřina Tauchmanová, and Emilia Swider, and Helena Mertlova do custom luxury dresses, while surely the best-known is Nevěsta Wedding Studio. For something more affordable, there’s Kleinod Formal Wear, the largest wedding house in Prague. Going the retro route? Kiss My Valentine makes darling replicas of vintage party dresses and the newly opened Diva Design Shop crafts custom gowns and tuxedo creations with funky flair. The Czech clothing retailer Pietro Filipi’s Ceremonia line is a collection of sleek and sophisticated cocktail dresses perfect for bridesmaids or the bride herself. For unique handcrafted hair accessories and veils, Prague’s own Jane Bond is a fashionable find. See our article on suits and formal wear for the groom here.
Just like dresses, hairstyling options ranges from total decadence to simple styles for smaller budgets. Any number of top hotels such as the Mandarin Oriental and The Augustine Hotel offer wedding spa packages. Upscale salons that specialize in wedding hair and makeup include the just opened New You. Many of these prestigious salons are associated with a beauty academy and employ students. Price lists are usually graded to reflect this; ask for a stylist with less experience and you’ll get a better deal. You might also try Prague’s beauty academy, Surface Make-Up where students practice on brave clients. It’s also possible to hire a hair and make-up artist to come to your home and help you get beautiful. Lucie Langerová is an English-speaking beautician with a reasonable price list that includes a pre-wedding trial run. Sephora and M.A.C. do makeup consultations but you are expected to make a purchase.
There are plenty of florists that cater to expats and will gladly design flower arrangements for your special day. Greenpoint is a name to remember in Vinohrady, a full-service shop with online ordering and delivery. English-friendly Eden Flowers specializes in arrangements for weddings as well as glorious bouquets. Interflora services (meaning flowers are delivered internationally the next day) are available at Clivia and elsewhere throughout Prague. If you speak minimal Czech you can go into any florist, květinářství, with a photo of what you have in mind. You’ll often find better prices at far-flung florists rather than centrally located ones. Small orders will take a up to a week to fill; for larger ones more time may be needed.
A sweet slice
The traditional Czech wedding cake is a ring cake, though these days one can come by just about any form of confection in Prague. Aligned with the Czech design movement, Prague City Cake bakes towering wedding cakes in wondrous motifs from Art Deco to 3-D and will also prepare cupcakes for alternative appetites. Sweet Life Bakery boasts an English-speaking owner who will work from a photo and gives couples the opportunity to taste her American-style cakes before buying. Many of Prague’s classic cafes sell special order wedding cakes, including Grand Cafe Praha, as do cukrárny like Ovocný Světozor if you favor the more traditional European cakes.
Lead photo by Whitelight