Destination Wedding Venue: The Biltmore Estate in Asheville

Updated 05/04/12


I'm just back from one of the USA's most beautiful, destination wedding venues: the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, once the lavish, 250-room "country home" of George Vanderbilt and his family in the early 1900s. Though you can't get married in the mansion itself (and really, the word mansion seems quaint—it's a palace, spreading over four acres, with a swimming pool and bowling alley), the gardens directly in front are a hugely popular spot for destination weddings: think tented, 300-person extravaganzas, farm to table food, and of course, a ridiculous backdrop.

Smaller, 30-person destination weddings can book the champagne cellar, an intimate stone-paneled room. For the guests, there's the elegant, 213-room Inn on Biltmore Estate, (rooms from $299), a winery, and a shopping village.

But maybe the Biltmore's coolest amenity is the Land Rover Experience Driving School. Pro-instructors will take you off-roading on the estate's 8,000-acre grounds, through mud, ditches, and massive puddles, in seriously gorgeous cars—the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and LR4 (my fave). A lot of guys do this for bachelor party or groomsmen "bonding" activities, but we don't discriminate—it's great for girls, too. (The cost is $400 for two hours for four people.)

Not going to lie, I was a little freaked out at first, but the cars truly do all the work, even when you're tilted to the side at a crazy angle. All you have to do is (gently) push the gas.

Browse our Real Weddings Gallery for more destination wedding ideas.

—Jacqueline Gifford

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