Are you getting married in Cyprus?
You have picked a gorgeous country to tie the knot and I’m very excited to share my experience, in the hope that it will save you some of the frustration and waste of time which I had to endure.
If you’re looking for a list of paperwork you will need, who to contact and how long it will take to get it sorted, I’m afraid I won’t got into these details in here as it’s been already really well summarized on this website.
Even if you can find a list of required paperwork online, I do recommend to double check with the local office where you’re getting married (town hall) as they change might update or change the requirements.
As a rule of thumb, any document from abroad needs to be translated and have an apostile. Also when you get your marriage papers in Cyprus, that needs to have an apostile so it’s legally valid abroad and your marriage can be legally recorded in your home country.
Instead of taking you through the boring paperwork and legal bits, I wanted to share some lessons I learned on my own journey, when I got married in Paphos in 2015.
This came to me as a bit of a surprise, but only Greek Orthodox or Anglican religious ceremonies are recognized by Cyprus as legally binding marriage contracts.
That means if you belong to any other religion (Christian etc), you will have to do a separate civil ceremony in addition to your chosen religious ceremony.
This is exactly what we did in our case.
We of course first investigated the easiest option being the Anglican wedding ceremony, but were astonished to find out it would cost us 700 eur for a priest to show up at our venue for 30 minutes. The whole process felt like a hiring a quad bike in a local tourist office, we didn’t even speak to the priest himself but to the secretary who had leaflets with price tables and everything else. It felt very commercial and simply not right.
After a bit of frustration and research, we found a lovely Evangelic priest in Paphos who was happy to do the ceremony for a fraction of the cost and asked us to donate money to a local charity. The whole discussion was really informal and he felt more like a friend than a priest for hire.
This for me was a huge relief because being brought up in Catholic home, the usual drill for me would be to attend a few months of ‘marriage lessons’ led by a priest (aka a guy who has no place to give marriage advice), followed by days and days going over the process and rehearsing the whole theater.
So as I said we did town hall ceremony first in October with my husband’s parents as witnesses and nobody else. The main event then happened in May when all of our guests arrived.
Town hall wedding is super easy to arrange, you just need to give yourself time to fix any issues with your documents you might have and ensure you’re in the island at least 3 days prior to the wedding date. The ceremony lasts around 15 minutes. If you want ceremony outside the town hall, there is a separate charge (last time it was between 200 – 300 eur).
As I mentioned above, religious ceremonies are not legally binding in Cyprus unless they are Orthodox or Anglican.
Following your marriage you will get a marriage certificate in Greek/Turkish which you will need to get an apostile for (usually from local court) and take home with you to get it registered and recognized.
Some town halls may give you wedding certificate in English so it’s easier to translate to your own language. These are normally issued right on the spot.
From what I’ve seen this seems to be most popular options for people coming from abroad to get married in Cyprus. It gives you the convenience of having your guests stay as the same hotel and spend more time together and I think it accommodates a wide range of budgets.
The disadvantage of hotel weddings is usually complete lack of privacy – the hotels won’t close the garden grounds during your wedding, they might just mark a section of the premises for private use, that’s it.
I’ve seen weddings set up in a small part of hotel garden which was only separated by a short hedge from people sunbathing right next to it. The whole pool area was overlooking the wedding event and it’s very hard to get ceremony photos without having random hotel guests included in the background.
Even smaller resorts with limited accommodation options (Ayii Anargyri Resort) will not close the whole resort for your wedding, so you will end up having people walking in and around while you’re doing your wedding ceremony.
If you’re thinking about hotel wedding, it’s absolutely essential that you visit the hotel in person, see exactly what area is dedicated to your wedding, and imagine the grounds when there are all hotel guests around.
A small hack that I think might help – hotel weddings at sunset seem more reasonable option as most hotel guests will retire to the restaurant for dinner, so you will have a lot more privacy and gorgeous light to take photos.
This was one option I considered myself too until I came to face the practical issues this entails.
I think beach weddings look absolutely stunning but in broad day light under the scorching sun you will get photos that are in no way flattering.
Another issue that again relates to privacy – finding a beach spot with enough space for seats while being away from main tourist hot spots is not exactly easy. Wedding agencies will be able to give you options for these and set up the whole backdrop for the wedding.
One last practical issue – the sea is relatively loud, and dragging electric equipment next to the water edge is not exactly safe. So while you’re reciting your vows, you might be the only ones to hear them and your guests will not get too much out of it. If you’re recording video, it’s also hard to filter out the water sounds so you get a nice crisp sound.
This is just my personal view, I’m sure agencies have plenty of experience organizing weddings by the coast and will be able to address those concerns above.
This was my choice number one for a long time. There are lots of very big villas all around the island with immaculate gardens and some even with access to the beach front.
It’s perfect for a small intimate wedding and you’re in complete control of the costs – you can get your own catering, decorator etc.
They tend to be cheaper than traditional wedding venues but will certainly charge you higher than if you’re renting only for a holiday. Insurance is also a must as things might break easier than you think.
We ended up skipping this option because we couldn’t fully commit to the maximum guest count in our chosen villa.
Other than the above options, you can also get married in Spa resorts, Golf resorts or restaurants.
I’ve seen wedding in Oniro by the Sea, it looked truly lovely and they had the perfect backdrop for sunset photos. Other smaller restaurants also offer option for wedding reception which to me feels a lot more personal and unique.
We have also investigated getting married in spa resort of Ayii Anargyri, but skipped it as it was fairly remote, with zero flexibility and privacy.
We settled on a golf resort of Minthis Hills, which has its own monastery with chapel that had a very romantic feel to it.
The grounds of the resort reminded me of Italy and I loved the fact that it was so green and lush, further up the hill with gorgeous views and not as hot as the coastal places. The drive to the resort is an experience itself, you get stunning views of the surrounding countryside from high up on the hill.
Unlike any of the other venues, we were provided with complete flexibility in terms of budget and our options to customize the menu, wine list, ceremony and decorations. Were very impressed by their friendly staff, quality of food and our wedding planner.
The wedding costs largely depend on your chosen venue and the size of your wedding. I believe it’s still considerably cheaper to do a wedding in Cyprus than for example in the UK, but you do pay premium for any products or services if you mention it’s for a wedding.
If you’re on a tight budget, a private villa with own catering is a good option.
If you want to splurge, a luxury resort on a beach is perfect (I spent my wedding night in Elysium resort in Paphos which looks like an Italian castle and is absolutely glorious for weddings).
The great thing about Cyprus is the fact that good weather starts as early as late April when you get can some great deals in pre-season accommodation options and also ask for discounts for off-season wedding.
Photographers – there are lots of good photographers in Cyprus who are willing to travel to other side of the island to take your photos. I personally really liked Andreas Georgiou (modern reportage-style photography) and Antonis Prodromou.
Wedding transport options – Cyprus wedding bus + local options where you’re getting married.
Wedding Planners – Tie the Knot wedding planners
I hope I covered all there possibly is to say about weddings in Cyprus! If you have any specific questions about weddings, feel free to leave a comment here or email me direct!
PS: Sorry no photos in here as I didn’t want to publish my private wedding pics =)