Cyprus is among Europe’s most popular wedding and honeymoon destinations. Couples of all ages and nationalities choose this romantic Mediterranean island as the place to make their lifelong commitment and celebrate love. And it’s easy to see why.
According to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), Cyprus is such a popular wedding destination as “everything is under the sun”.
As the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, “Cyprus has legendary connections to romance.”
Other reasons so many couples choose the island for their special day include the fact that it is close to many European countries, has a range of unique wedding venues, ideal weather with sunny days throughout the year, beautiful beaches, a wide range of accommodation options for all budgets –from 5-star resorts to self-catering apartments-, a wide range of activities including water sports, golf, sailing, horse-riding and skiing, experienced and professional wedding planners and also most people on the island speak English.
All towns have their own municipal offices where couples can get their marriage licence and get married.
If a couple prefers a religious ceremony, they must first apply for their marriage licence at the municipal offices and then make arrangements for the ceremony to take place at the religious venue of their choice. For a full list of all municipal offices and religious venues go to visitcyprus.com
“The number of weddings that take place in the capital, Nicosia Municipality is around 500 to 700 per year,” says Petrina Kakoulli, of the Nicosia Citizen’s Bureau Communications Office.
The most popular venues are the gardens of Nicosia’s Town Hall and Famagusta Gate.
Other venues include Nicosia’s municipal pool, Pallouriotisa old market, Melina Marcouri Hall and Mills Cultural Centre.
Kakoulli said weddings in Nicosia are particularly popular because of the beautiful venues offered but also because of convenience in terms of getting the paper work done.
She said all state services such as ministries and embassies needed to register wedding documents are located in the capital.
More information on www.nicosia.org.cy, telephone 22797000 or email [email protected]
Ayia Napa municipality Cultural Officer, Maria Tofini Tsantila said about 1300 weddings take place at the municipality each year.
The most popular venue is Ammos (Kampouri) beach.
Other venues are:
· Cape Greco with its breath-taking sunsets
· Aoratos Venue (Juniper Tree) the most photographed tree in Ayia Napa
· Thalassa Museum for couples who want sophistication and elegance
· Poseidon Palace, a traditional place by the fishing shelter
· Ayia Napa Town Hall and the Amphitheatre of the Town Hall (except July and August), a classic venue
· Ayios Epifanios (Main Venue): Cross on the Hill, Cave of Ayios Epifanios and outside the Old Church of Ayios Epifanios. All three options enjoy panoramic views of Ayia Napa.
There are also a number of hotel wedding venues.
Weddings take place Monday to Friday, from 11am to 4pm or from 5pm to 6.30pm (with extra fee). Saturdays (by special request, with additional fee until 2pm).
The wedding fee is €281.92 (subject to change according to the law). It must be paid in cash by all couples whether they have a civil or religious ceremony.
Ayia Napa Municipality is authorised to issue Certified True Copies of the original marriage certificates.
There is an additional fee for civil ceremonies at the hotels or at other venues.
For fees please contact the Wedding Department at 0035723816309 or by email to [email protected]
For more information call 0035723816309, 0035723816307, 0035723816327 or visit www.agianapa.org.cy
The natural beauty of the Protaras-Paralimni area could well have been created especially for weddings and honeymoons.
Blessed both with Europe’s earliest sunrise and romantic sunsets as well as crystal waters and golden sands, Protaras is, according to its municipality, the ideal place to spend the best day of your life.
As well as the specially modified site at Paralimni Town Hall, other available locations include a traditional house and outdoors areas by the waves including the Pernera Blue Waters location.
Ceremonies at the Town Hall take place in a specially modified space that can hold up to 100 people. It includes covered chairs, a white carpet and tastefully decorated piano adorned with flowers and crystal candle sticks.
Profitis Elias Gardens is a location characterised by romanticism and calm. Seasonal flowers add a burst of colours that will make your photos of this memorable day even more special. Chairs at the venue are covered as is the stone seating. Flowers and candles will adorn the marble table on site. The location also has access for those with mobility difficulties and toilet facilities. For a traditional flavour, a 19th century house in the old centre of Paralimni may be the place for you. Restored to its former glory, the house’s picturesque interior courtyard boasts traditional Cypriot archways.
The location also has toilet facilities and is accessible to those with mobility difficulties.
Visit www.cyvirtual.com/heartcy/paralimni/traditional_house/traditional_house.html to enjoy a virtual tour.
Pernera Blue Waters is an idyllic location. Couples can choose this venue and wed by the waves, just metres away from the pedestrian walkway.
Flower arrangements will decorate the entrance to a venue that can welcome up to 40 guests seated on white chairs with standing room for a few more. The site is accessible to people with mobility problems while an added advantage is being able to enjoy music of your choice during the ceremony. The toilet facilities at the close-by Pola Costa Hotel Apartments are available to the wedding party and guests and are also accessible people with mobility problems.
Visit: http://www.cyvirtual.com/heartcy/paralimni/pernera_blue_waters_wedding_venue/pernera_blue_waters_wedding_venue.html for a virtual tour.
Other licensed venues, according to the municipality’s website, include Capo Bay Hotel, Cavo Maris Beach Hotel, Constantinos the Great, Crystal Springs Beach Hotel, Golden Coast Beach Hotel, Grecian Park Hotel, Marlita Hotel Apts, Odessa Hotel, Pernera Beach Hotel, Silver Sands Beach Hotel, Sunrise Beach Hotel and Vrissiana Boutique Beach Hotel.
So, whether you decide to tie the knot in Paralimni or the more tourism-focused resort of Protaras, you are certain to find a location that fits in with your taste and budget.
For more information, call the municipality’s civil weddings department, Monday to Friday, between 7.30am and 3pm, on 23744268, fax 23744267 or e-mail [email protected] information is also available from the municipality’s website www.paralimni.org.cy/
Aside from offering an extensive range of hotels and restaurants for civil weddings, Larnaca also boasts some unique and beautiful outdoor venues for those who want a ceremony with a difference.
For a wedding steeped in romance and history, the Mediaeval Fort at the end of the Phinikoudes promenade is second to none. Although previously not available for weddings, the Antiquities Department have now granted permission for intimate wedding ceremonies to be held in the castle’s picturesque courtyard or on its upper level, pending an application.
The grand fort was built in the 12th century by the Byzantines and is one of the region’s most defining landmarks. Its combination of ancient stone and lush green foliage provide a stunning backdrop for civil ceremonies with a distinctive ‘Cyprus’ feel, with views of the sea from the top. One bride –who held her wedding there in April this year– describes getting married at the castle as “a fairytale wedding… I couldn’t think of a more stunning venue and was thrilled to be able to have my ceremony in such an amazing piece of old architecture, where real knights and princesses may have also done so many, many years ago!”
Aside from the castle, the newly constructed pier located directly beside it is also a favourite choice for weddings. Extending out to the sea, couples tying the knot here get to enjoy a sea view wedding with an endless blue vista, as well as the added view of the castle. At the other end of the promenade is a larger pier and marina where wedding ceremonies can also be performed to a backdrop of bobbing boats.
The Larnaca Salt Lake is another of the region’s top attractions and also available for a more unusual outdoor ceremony. And if you choose to marry between the months of October – March, the migrating flamingos in their characteristic bright pink flocks will also witness your vows!
As the region’s beach bars and cafes have increased in popularity, so have weddings at these particular locations – especially on the strip of Mackenzie – with couples exchanging vows on the sand, then enjoying a reception at the trendy venues. Whether it is under the sun or under the stars, the ambiance is equally beguiling, and these modern costal weddings enjoy a distinct island atmosphere.
And to complete the magical experience, Larnaca now also has a fairytale white, horse-drawn carriage available to transport the bride and groom to their ceremony in true nostalgic style, which will ensure all eyes are on the happy couple as they gallop through the streets!
For details on any of the venues, horse-drawn carriage and other general information, the Larnaka Civil Marriages offices can be contacted on: 24816564 / [email protected].
Tapping into the town’s magnificent seafront landscape, Limassol Municipality offers couples the opportunity to get married at locations as diverse as a seafront pier, the Limassol Zoo, or even the Mediaeval Castle in the old town centre. Combining romantic atmosphere, the endless blue and open skies of the town’s coast, as well as organised wedding services, Limassol is gaining in popularity as a wedding location in recent years.
“The most important element that sets Limassol apart from other towns is the open space along the seafront; in combination with the sun, sea, the people of Limassol and our vibrant hotel and entertainment scene, Limassol is an ideal location for a wedding,” Christina Christou Director of Civil Weddings and Legal Services Officer at Limassol Municipality told The Cyprus Weekly.
In addition to civil wedding ceremonies at the Town Hall, couples that choose to get married in Limassol are offered a range of beautiful location options including: the Enaerios Pier, the pier at Molos promenade next to Limassol Marina, the Limassol Zoo, Mediaeval Castle Square, by the beach of Olympic Coast, the Municipal Gallery gardens, the Panos Solomonides Municipal Cultural Centre, and GSO Phytidio Sports Centre opposite the sea.
“Public buildings such as the former residence of the District Administrator in the Zoo Garden and the Mediaeval Castle are magnificent buildings. The recent addition of the pier by Limassol Marina as a wedding location also offers a beautiful setting. These venues have character that you cannot find in other towns,” commented Christina Christou.
According to Christou, the new wedding locations are already popular, despite the fact that Limassol Municipality has not yet started actively promoting its civil wedding services. For example, four wedding ceremonies have already taken place at Enaerios Pier: three in 2014 and one last year. The first wedding ceremony at the pier was that of a Nicosia-based Cypriot couple and attracted significant local media coverage.
In total, 270 civil weddings were performed by Limassol Municipality in 2013. This year has to the present seen a 7% increase in demand for civil weddings compared to the same period last year. Under the slogan ‘With Glamour & Class’, Limassol Municipality will soon be launching a marketing campaign to further tap into the wedding tourism segment.
“Our aim is to showcase Limassol and Cyprus in general in other countries, and mainly Russia, Ukraine, the UK, Israel and Lebanon, which are our main markets for civil weddings,” Christou said.
Public areas booked for a wedding ceremony are closed to the public during the ceremony and reception to offer privacy to the couple and their guests. Weddings organised by Limassol Municipality are usually smaller affairs, rather than the large traditional Cypriot weddings. The pier at Limassol Marina can host up to 150 guests, while weddings to the present have featured up to 100 guests.
The Municipality will require certain documents in order to book a civil ceremony, including passport, birth certificate and other certificates depending on the personal circumstances of the couple. The charges for a civil wedding are set by law and include:
· €128 for a wedding notification in cases where the ceremony cannot take place earlier than within 15 days.
· €282 to speed up the wedding date.
· €14 to issue a true copy of the wedding certificate.
· €130 if the wedding is performed during the weekend or outside municipal working hours.
In addition, couples that choose a location other than the Town Hall are charged an extra €500, which includes the following:
· Gazebo with white curtains
· 50 chairs
· White carpet
· White tulle to decorate venue
· 2 tables
· Champagne for the couple
· A decorative miniature olive tree as a gift for the couple
Other municipalities in the district of Limassol are also popular for civil wedding ceremonies. A notable example is Yermasoyia Municipality. In 2012 a total of 422 civil wedding ceremonies were performed by Yermasoyia, and 393 ceremonies in 2013. Options for wedding ceremony locations include any licensed hotel or restaurant in the district of Limassol.
When it comes to being a destination for weddings, you don’t get much better than being the town where the goddess of love, Aphrodite was born.
In addition to the beauty of the district and the wide variety of venues for nuptials, the links Paphos has with Aphrodite make it an ideal spot for the overseas wedding market.
The Paphos Regional Board of Tourism estimates that there are 2,500 weddings every year in Paphos District. It assesses that the sector is worth €3million to €5m annually.
The Cyprus Weekly spoke with the board about what attracts couples to Paphos for their weddings and what plans are in store for the sector.
“Paphos has always been a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons especially from England which is the largest market. It is attractive because it is competitive, affordable and many wedding packages are on offer.
A smaller number of couples come from Russia and Israel and we are working on improving air access from other potential markets. Without the necessary air links, it is impossible to grow. Tourism stakeholders and the municipalities of Paphos, Peyia, Yeroskipou and Polis are aiming at further growth in new markets like Lebanon, Scotland and Ireland.
For this purpose we have developed an action plan for the coming years. It includes participating in several exhibitions overseas, press trips from target markets, development of digital promotional material and a greater presence on social media.
We are also working on our relationship with travel agents who are situated in target markets.
We’re especially excited about the addition of new venues such as the mediaeval castle, museums and other options for a richer selection of spots for ceremonies and receptions.
At the end of the day, we need proper marketing to make prospective couples aware of what Paphos has to offer. We have plans for more aggressive and strategic overseas marketing in the next few years which could lift numbers considerably.”
Owner of Ido Weddings (www.ido.com.cy), Paphos wedding planner Igor Milijic, has more than 15 years of experience in the local sector. During this time, he has regularly contributed ideas to the authorities on how to develop the product to make it more attractive to couples from abroad. Years ago when the idea was still novel, Igor pushed for permission for beach weddings, and was one of the first to have access to scenic coastal spots in Peyia for ceremonies.
He is confident that Cyprus has a great deal to offer for couples seeking a wedding experience abroad in a beautiful and sunny location but acknowledges that there are always hurdles.
“Cyprus is definitely on the map for weddings in the world. Canada has Niagara Falls, America has Las Vegas and Europe has Cyprus. Keeping the high standards in the wedding industry has become the most challenging aspect of creating the perfect wedding day, whilst maintaining the high quality of services during these difficult economic times.”
He says that selecting and developing locations for ceremonies continues to be the biggest challenge for wedding planners and lists some of the spots which prove to be popular.
“Cyprus, in recent years, has brought many new ceremony venues to choose from. In Paphos district alone locations such as the Turkish Baths, the Ethnographic Museum, the castle and, in Peyia, a beach ceremony venue called ‘Live Love’, highlight the fantastic historical background that Paphos has to offer.”
Igor adds that monitoring and regulating the sector would reap benefits.
“Improving service and quality can be further achieved by regulating the wedding industry with licensed, qualified and experienced planners who know what to provide and take pride in their planning preparations. This will also benefit the Cyprus tourism industry as the couple will hopefully want to return in the future to re-new the memories of their romantic wedding day.”
All the pretty brides
There are also a number of wedding planners to help you plan your special day. “All the pretty brides” is one of them, a blog “dedicated to all things weddings.”
Gowns to choose from or ideas & custom made designs to make your own, jewellery, accessories and fabrics, cakes and treats, flowers, special decorating ideas, wedding specialists, themes’ inspiration for your wedding, your bridesmaids, your bachelorette parties, even honeymoon destination choices.
“What drives us is a great sense of elegance and a touch of vintage. We’ll guide you through your biggest life event, hand-in-hand to the finest and the best. Consider us your best friend, we’ll offer you all the inspiration.”
To contact the creator, blogger/journalist/personal stylist Christina Tserkezi email [email protected]