If you want a destination wedding that’s truly your own, a private estate or villa can provide the perfect setting almost anywhere in the world you desire. “A private estate is a great option for couples seeking true privacy,” says wedding planner Tara Soloway of LUXE Destination Weddings. “It’s a venue perfect for creating an intimate event with your nearest and dearest, and it’s really a blank slate for a bride and groom with a unique vision.”

Madison Lee of Venue Vault, a collection of wedding venues that includes everything from Chateau Raysse, a medieval castle in France, to Villa Mara beach house in Malibu, agrees. “Whether it’s an intimate wedding of 10 or a big wedding of 250, many private estates have the five-star amenities of a high-end hotel with a lot more flexibility, exclusivity and privacy,” she says.

Unless you can afford to buy out a hotel, you always run the risk of having curious onlookers crashing your affair. Estates and villas, on the other hand, are designed to meet the needs of one client at a time, up to and including housekeeping staff, butlers and catering services.

“Private estates are perfect for small to medium-size weddings, for couples looking to get away from the ballroom, and those who like the idea of an outdoor reception,” says Jamie Ehrsam of Estate Weddings and Events, who has planned weddings in estates like Villa Verano and Cairo Estate in California.

Many private estates offer luxury accommodations for wedding attendees, as well. “Our biggest request is for larger villas that can accommodate all guests, especially with smaller weddings,” notes Soloway. “That way, everything takes place within the confines of the villa.” The Ani Villas in Anguilla, for example, can sleep more than 20, while Calivigny Island, part of the LaCURE Villas collection, has 10 bedrooms on a private cay off the coast of Grenada. Estates and villas give you the ultimate freedom to customize your wedding celebration down to the last detail, but they may also have some quirks, such as minimum-stay requirements. That’s why it’s best to work with a wedding planner experienced with estate and villa events.

“An estate is not a conventional event space, so be creative and open to thinking outside the box,” says Ehrsam. “A planner can assist with all of these obstacles so you don’t have to, leaving you to enjoy the important details.”

Location: Estate Weddings & Events, Cairo Estate, San Juan Capistrano, California

> Written by: Bob Curley