In the Alt Empordá, north of Catalonia, there is one of those magical places where everyone dreams of getting married, the Peralada Castle.
A majestic medieval castle of the XIV century located in the highest part of a noble villa that hides wonders such as the monumental church of Carmen, a spectacular Gothic cloister, a historical library with more than 100,000 volumes, the wine museum or the glass museum.
If we add some lovely gardens and lake to this incredible medieval fortress, an attractive gastronomic menu and a personal client treatment, we have, in Peralada Castle, the perfect place to get married in a unique and unforgettable way. This amazing place for your wedding in Catalonia.
As we do not want to miss out on this wonderful artistic complex, we have traveled to the town of Peralada, in the center of the Empordá plain, to meet with the manager and to show us this impressive place and all the possibilities it can offer us for a wedding.
If you want to come with us and travel through time to get to know more about this charming and elegant space, join us through this trip to the Middle Ages in Peralada Castle.
We arrived in this privileged environment strolling through the trees of some well-kept gardens. We found one of the most beautiful landscapes we could ever imagine, the Renaissance facade of the Castle of Peralada, covered by a thick blanket of green vine and crowned by its two high crenellated towers, reflected, with unparalleled beauty, in the placid and calm water of the garden lake.
We observe the swans that, in accordance with the peace that emanates from this place, rest on the surface of the lake. The flowers and the fresh grass, under the last rays of the afternoon sun, accompany us to the grand gate of Peralada Castle. There, the manager awaits us.
- Good afternoon. Welcome to Peralada Castle.
Good afternoon. What a wonderful place. The balconies, the battlements …
- Yes, and the interior is the same, we can go for a walk while you ask me everything you want to know about us.
Perfect, thanks… Could you tell us a little more about this emblematic place and its history from the 14th century to the present day?
- It’s a long story, so I’ll try to summarise it. We go back to 1285, when during a war against France the first castle of the Viscounts of Peralada was destroyed. Instead of restoring it, they decided to build a new castle outside the wall. The lands that the current museum occupies, were given to them by Carmelite friars to make their convent there. The only condition was a reversal clause signed in 1293, which allowed the viscounts to recover the lot, if the friars left the convent.
In 1835, with the confiscation of Mendizábal, the friars left Peralada. The convent was abandoned until in 1854-1855 when the counts recovered the property. In the 1870s, the last three brothers of the Barcelona family who lived in Paris decided to settle in Peralada and when they arrived they found a medieval castle, which had nothing to do with the French palaces in which they were accustomed to living, so they decided to turn it into a French fashion Palace, provide it with amenities such as water, electricity and gas and build the park, commissioned to Duvillers. The current museum became a free school for the children of the town.
When the three brothers died, all without descendants, the property of Peralada passed to the Marquis de la Torre, who used the castle as a summer house, so you can imagine at what point were the cultural activities that the counts had encouraged.
The Marquis de la Torre died in 1923 and the castle was put up for sale. Miguel Mateu y Pla, an important industrialist from Barcelona, bought it. Since then the Mateu family did nothing but recover and expand the cultural legacy of this space, installing their collections of books, glass, ceramics, etc. After the death of Mr. Miguel Mateu, the collections passed to his daughter and son-in-law, Mrs. Carmen Mateu and Mr. Arturo Suqué, who also founded the Castell de Peralada Private Foundation in order to stimulate, organize and promote all kinds of cultural activities, especially in the field of music and performing arts, such as the Castell de Peralada Festival. Currently it is his children, Isabel, Javier and Miguel Suqué, who continue to lead this enormous legacy that is the Peralada Castle, with its wines, its Casinos and its Peralada Wine Spa & Golf Hotel that we have only 5 minutes away.
What an interesting story! This cloister, with its arches and gardens, and this Gothic church, with its stained glass windows and vaults … is a real wonder. I understand that you have different spaces for the celebration both religious and civil ceremonies, what areas of Castillo de Peralada are destined for these types of ceremonies and how do you manage the ceremonies?
- The church is of course the space of religious ceremonies. For civil ceremonies couples can choose their favorite place among the three gardens: the Forest, the Visual or the Carmen; and the library.
We have already seen the gardens upon our arrival, they are lovely, but do you also have a library? Could we see it?
- Yes, of course, follow me.
What a medieval and Renaissance collections, it must have an incredible value. And these high wooden shelves are really impressive. It must be a unique experience to get married here.
- You can’t even imagine! This space encompasses you, the smell of an ancient book, the warm light and the peace that really emanates that leaves everyone speechless.
From what I understand, you also have a wine museum, where does the wine tradition of Castillo de Peralada come from?
- It comes from Miguel Mateu. When he bought the Castle, one of his main illusions was to recover the winemaking tradition of the XIV century that began the Carmelite monks who lived in the monastery and produced an excellent wine with which they provided the entire region.
A good wine is always accompanied by a good meal. I know you have a good wine list, but how can our couples live an authentic gastronomic experience on their wedding day?
- Here you will find a gastronomic menu that will satisfy the most demanding palates. Our chef, Jordi Plancheria, will surprise you with a market cuisine with wide options that the bride and groom can choose from.
I have proof that you use the best products in the area for your dishes, what is your specialty? Do you work with closed menus or do you adapt to the tastes and needs of different couples?
- We work with a very wide menu and the couple chooses the dishes like in a restaurant, so they end up forming their own menu. Would you like to taste some of our dishes?
Of course, of course … The presentation is a real treat, but the taste is a real delight. Thank you.
- You are welcome, we would like you to get to know the products we work with.
As well as good products, you have good professionals. Castell de Peralada is known for having a wonderful team that advises the bride and groom at all times, what do you take care of at the Peralada to organise the couple’s dream wedding?
- We take care of everything that will happen here on the wedding day, from the reception of the guests, to the reservation of rooms at the Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf, through the placement of details on the table, coordination with the suppliers, the accompaniment of the guests during the wedding, etc.
And, what is the process you follow with the bride and groom from the day they contact you until the wedding day so that the event is unique and perfect?
- We maintain constant contact to answer any questions or advise them, but it is not until a few months before the wedding that communication is done daily to prepare the menu taste test, help them select the best dishes for them, and finally do a complete drawing of what their wedding will look like.
Do you have any type of accommodation where the bride and groom and their guests can stay after the event to visit Catalonia? What do you offer to make their stay a unique moment?
- Yes, we have the Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf 5 *, which is only 5 minutes from here. The Hotel has a Wine Spa, outdoor pool, gym and a golf course, as well as an exquisite gastronomic menu.
If I am not mistaken, your offer is not only based on Castillo de Peralada but you have 34,000 m2 of facilities with a wide range of recreational, cultural and sports activities that your clients can enjoy during their stay. What services and facilities do you have and what is your proposal of complementary activities for our couples?
- In addition to the Wine Spa and Golf that we have already mentioned, the couple and guests can enjoy visits to the Peralada Castle Museum and gardens or to the group’s vineyards and taste our best wines.
An important question, how long in advance do you think the couple should contact you if they decide to make their link in Castillo de Peralada?
- To be sure, you should book it one year in advance.
And, the last and most important question, what difference is there, according to your criteria, between the Peralada Castle and the rest of venues for weddings?
- Everything. Each space is different and special, but the history within these walls and the beauty of every corner are not easily found in other venues.
Thank you very much for all the information you have given us and for the visit to Castillo de Peralada, we have loved it.
- I’m glad, thanks to you for coming to visit us. Do not get lost when you leave, now that it is dark, the sight of illuminated Peralada Castle and its reflection on the lake will make you fall in love.
Indeed, as we cross the castle door back to the gardens and turn our heads, we see an even more beautiful view, than when we arrived. The greatness of this medieval monument illuminated and reflected on the pond has left us speechless. It is something that must be seen in person. We encourage you to get to know and, of course, to celebrate your wedding in this enclave and historic fortress, Castillo de Peralada.
_______________________________________________________________________________________Photos via Castillo de Peralada.