It’s that time of year again: Church bells, gorgeous gowns, tears… bloodshed. Yes, it’s another Game of Thrones betrothal. Filmed in Northern Ireland, this is a place that’s perfect for romantic getaways – and Purple Weddings.
As boy-king Joffrey prepares to wed bride Marjaery and rule Westeros, the question on everyone’s lips is not who designed her dress or if the dinner will include honey-roasted horseflesh or pigeon pie.
It’s who is going to die?
Getting hitched in Game of Thrones usually implies the opposite of happily ever after. The devastating Red Wedding of season 3 left fans reeling. The Purple Wedding, filmed in Belfast’s Titanic Studios, promises to be just as dramatic.
And what is a ‘Purple Wedding’, you may ask? The author himself George RR Martin has said, rather cryptically, “It’s going to be the wedding of the year, and as memorable in its own way as our wedding last season… It’s what fans call the Purple Wedding, based on the colour of the wine, which plays a big part".
We’re sure wine won’t be the only thing flowing on the day.
In honour of the Purple Wedding, we’ve picked out the most dramatic places for you to have your own Game of Thrones style wedding… minus the carnage, of course.
What: For a real Game of Thrones location, then make it Mussenden Temple. Built in 1785, it stands precariously on a 120ft cliff top, high above Downhill Strand – aka Dragonstone, where the priestess Melisandre burned the seven statues of Westeros as a sacrifice to her God. With sheltered garden paths and cliff tops walks, your trip down (or up!) the aisle will be a real cliffhanger.
Where: County Derry~Londonderry
What: If you’re looking for something more intimate yet impressive, meet the imposing Carrickfergus Castle, which has dominated the landscape for more than 800 years. Built in 1177, this castle houses cannons from the 17th Century. Recently, an excavation uncovered a trapdoor and numerous gunflints. So your wedding might just go off with a bang…
Where: County Antrim
What: For a wedding that’s not like a wedding (stay with us), it’s Hilton Park. Here’s where you can throw a house party instead of a reception, and dance into the small hours in the old servants’ quarters. For large weddings, it’s a marquee, where the grounds are exclusively for you and your guests to enjoy. Think Hilton Park is too classy to suit a Game of Thrones style send off? Wrong. The house’s history could be plot right out of Game of Thrones: family quarrels, fights over land, and fratricide.
Where: County Monaghan
What: The Cooley Peninsula is the setting for possibly the most epic Irish myth of all, the Táin Bó Cúailnge. What’s it about? Think daring queen, fearsome warrior and a rather sought-after bull. The Narrow Water Castle is your destination, and you can get the most dramatic shots at Carlingford Lough, one of only three Fjords in Ireland. For extra drama, arrive by helicopter. Beat that, Joffrey!
Where: County Down
What: And so to the Daddy of them all: Castle Ward, aka Winterfell. Surrounded by an 820-acre walled demesne, Castle Ward is on-trend Stark-style with exotic sunken gardens and 17th Century Gothic architecture. Post nuptials, head to Audley’s Castle, a 15th century tower house on the grounds of Castle Ward. Perched on a small hill, the steep drop down to Strangford Lough below is a knee-weakener. So, too, is the, ahem, 'murder hole' in the stairs. Careful where you tread...
Where: County Down
Looking to scout out some more Game of Thrones Territory? Check out our Game of Thrones Itinerary and explore every amazing location in Northern Ireland. Oh, and as for the honeymoon, we've got that covered right here...