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Cyprus, a great place for weddings!
by Chrissie Flint


As the 2003 summer season begins, many of the visitors to Cyprus will be arriving for a special reason - to get married. For many couples, Cyprus is the perfect choice as it has long been associated with Aphrodite, Goddess of beauty and love...




For many couples, Cyprus is the perfect choice as it has long been associated with Aphrodite, Goddess of beauty and love and many of the mythological stories and legends promise love and happiness to those who visit, and of course, for couples who live in Cyprus as well! This time of year also sees the beginning of the wedding season for Cypriot couples. Families and friends enjoy a modern style reception in one of the town's restaurants or tavernas, or a village-style wedding with the bride, groom, Koumbaros {Best Man} and Koumera {Best Woman} all performing traditional dances to the colourful sound of the violin and laouto.

Wedding couples come to Cyprus

The wedding business is booming in Cyprus, especially in Paphos where beautiful locations amidst the many archaeological sites make the perfect background to wedding photographs. Glorious sunsets and romantic moments overlooking the pretty harbor all add magic to what is already a very special day and certainly give an exotic touch to the wedding album for relatives and friends to enjoy! Every week many couples arrive in the town to enjoy a relaxing and peaceful holiday and a trouble free wedding day, carefully organized by one of the local Wedding Coordinators, who work for the different tour operators. Cyprus is an increasingly popular wedding destination with British couples, and others from a variety of European countries. An increasing number of couples travel over from Israel so that they can have a civil ceremony.

As well as Paphos, weddings can be arranged in the town halls at each of the different resorts. Beautiful wedding photographs can be taken during the ceremony and afterwards in such dramatic settings as Limassol Castle, where Richard the Lionheart married his queen, Berengaria, in May 1191. The town hall staff warmly welcomes couples staying in Ayia Napa, and after the ceremony the beautiful Monastery is a popular place for the photographs, much to the delight of the scores of holidaymakers! Wedding couples that get married in the tiny resort of Polis Chrysochou, on the island's north coast, often have their photographs taken amidst meadows of wild flowers. The deluxe Anassa Hotel, not far away, like St George's Hotel in Chlorakas {near Paphos}, has its own beautiful small chapel which is just for such special occasions.

For couples wanting a church wedding in Paphos, there is the opportunity to be married in the beautiful church of Ayia Kyriaki {Khrysopolitissa}. This is a Byzantine church dates back to the 12th century, but stands on a site whose history stretches back to the earliest days of Christianity when St Paul in AD 46 preached there converting many of the local people. Today the church is shared by both the Anglican and Roman Catholic expatriate communities for their services and gives a warm welcome to wedding couples.

Why Cyprus?

The couples choose Cyprus for many different reasons. For older couples, often marrying for the second time, it is fun to have a completely different style of wedding ceremony, and there is the choice of a church wedding or civil ceremony in one of the town halls. Other couples are attracted by the island's wonderful mild climate that offers visitors 330 sunny days each year and combine it with a sunshine holiday, often for both themselves and their guests. Everyone relishes the idea of relaxing in a quality hotel and really enjoying a carefree and leisurely time together, rather than the trials and tribulations that are often associated with a big family wedding! An added bonus is that airlines and hotels are always very cooperative and offer generous discounts for large groups traveling together.

For the wedding of your dreams

Many of the younger couples who choose Cyprus for their wedding destination, do so because they can have the "wedding of their dreams" more economically than at home. The cost of
a traditional British wedding is high and



many couples cannot afford such a luxury when faced with high mortgage repayments and other expenses that usually accompany the start of married life. A wedding in Cyprus promises them a really special and memorable day. In the past the Caribbean was advertised as the exotic wedding setting to choose, but again, the cost of the wedding can prove prohibitive especially if family members and friends want to share the couple's special day, and who doesn't! Couples found that their parents could not accompany them not just for financial reasons, but because of the distance involved, working guests have to take quite a bit of their leave, whereas traveling to Cyprus can be comfortably undertaken for a long weekend!

Cyprus offers the same wonderful weather and carefree holiday atmosphere with a wide range of holiday accommodation to suit every budget. Many wedding parties have flexible plans, as the parents of the bride and groom often combine the wedding with their annual holiday and it is not unusual to find a wedding party of more than thirty on board the same flight. Some guests travel out just for the wedding and a few days either side, and more often than not, the whole party leaves Cyprus a few days before the wedding couple so that they can enjoy Aphrodite's magic on their own!

...without all the hassle!

One of the main attractions of a wedding in Cyprus must surely be the relaxing way in which the wedding can be successfully organized in just a short time. The resort Wedding Representatives work hard to ensure that clients' wedding days go smoothly and usually meet the couple soon after they have arrived in Cyprus to explain the legal requirements for the marriage to take place. The couple must fill in a variety of forms that are speedily processed, and make a wedding license application. If the couple is British, copies of the marriage certificate after the wedding are forwarded to the British Consulate in Nicosia for registration in the UK.

Couple planning a civil ceremony marry at the Town Hall, and are delighted to find the mayor's office cool and comfortable with beautiful furniture. Paphos is such a popular place for weddings that a special suite has been made within the town hall for wedding parties, and it is not unusual to be with the Mayor or one of his councilors when they have to hurriedly leave to conduct a ceremony!

...but with all the style!

All the trimmings for the wedding day can be easily arranged in Cyprus. Wedding flowers are much cheaper than in other European countries and the choice of colour and type of flower is breathtaking. Wedding cakes [to a similar recipe!] can also be ordered just a few short days earlier, and for the bride there are plenty of hairdressers and beauticians who would love to be part of her special day! Wedding Receptions can be held in a wide variety of places from the comfortable taverna near by that offers the best of local cuisine to one of the local hotels. In Paphos one of the most popular choices is the Annabelle Hotel, not only because the hotel can offer the wedding party a memorable dinner out on the "Deck", the local photographer enjoys using the hotels marvelous gardens for the wedding photographs! Talking of photographs!

Local photographers can have them ready in a beautiful presentation album in just a few short days and can also provide videos if required, both much more reasonably priced than in other European countries.

Making the day as special as possible!

Everybody wants the wedding couple to have an unforgettable day and for the couples that travel on their own, the wedding coordinators often "double up" as witnesses, ring bearers and confetti throwers! Local hoteliers work hard to give the clients a very special celebration meal and often present them with complimentary champagne and flowers. Often the couple are treated to a room upgrade too which all helps to make their stay in Cyprus a very special one indeed and needless to say on the wedding day guests and staff all jostle to catch a glimpse of the bride as she leaves the hotel! One groom recently had to carry a box of wedding cake back to Heathrow as his bride was determined to keep the British tradition of saving the top tier for their first child's christening! Another couple urgently asked their coordinator for a set of bagpipes to be played, and they were - by a Scotsman who has retired in Cyprus. Needless to say the elderly Cypriot lady who walked past the wedding party looked slightly askance at a man in a kilt!

For people everywhere, the sight of a wedding is always special and a wedding in Aphrodite's island is always a magical one?

Chrissie Flint.

 

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