If a destination wedding appeals to you, consider marrying your beloved in Cyprus. With the mild weather, the beautiful scenery and the delicious food, you have all the ingredients of a dream wedding. In Cyprus, it’s common to get married outdoors in a beach or villa setting, without depleting your life savings in the process.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to make a Cyprus wedding happen, from legal requirements and paperwork to popular locations and Cypriot wedding customs.
The legal definition of a marriage can be complicated to a foreigner. While Cyprus doesn’t legally recognise gay marriage, same sex civil unions and registered partnerships are legally recognised.
Civil ceremonies are common. They must take place in a town hall or other authorised venue. A venue may become authorised by paying a fee and obtaining a license. In fact, couples of mixed religion often choose to marry in Cyprus if they cannot marry at home. Many countries don’t allow civil ceremonies, but will still legally recognise those that were conducted abroad.
Religious weddings are also common in Cyprus, no matter your faith. Catholic marriages are typically preceded by civil ceremonies. Otherwise, marriages in Cyprus are internationally recognised to be legally binding. For Anglican weddings, civil wedding ceremonies aren’t required.
The legal requirements to get married in Cyprus aren't very strict. Most importantly, you
you must apply in-person for the wedding with a marriage officer. You can do so in the municipality where you’ll be marrying. You must provide all required documentation, and be in Cyprus for three clear business days before your wedding day. You’ll need two witnesses for the ceremony.
These rules apply whether you're an expat in Cyprus or a foreigner and whether you’re marrying a foreign citizen or a Cypriot.
You’ll need the following documents to complete your marriage application:
- A valid passport with a minimum validity of six months
- A photocopy (or two just to be safe) of the photo page of your and your fiance’s passport
- A photocopy (or two) of the photo page of each of your two witnesses
- Your birth certificate
- If you plan to change your name, you’ll need a name change deed poll certificate
- A sworn affidavit or statutory declaration from a solicitor for oaths or notary public
If you or your partner are divorced, you’ll also need to provide a decree of the absolution of the previous marriage. If your partner is widowed, you’ll need a death certificate of your prior spouse.
If you’re a non-UK citizen, you’ll require a certificate of no impediment bearing the apostille stamp. The process of obtaining this will require different steps for different countries. Check with your country’s Office of Authentications for specific details.
To apply for a civil marriage or a civil partnership in Cyprus, you must go in-person to the marriage officer in the municipality of your choice. The Union of Cyprus Municipalities gives a great overview of this process.
For religious weddings, you must contact the registered officiant at the house of worship where you plan to marry.
Normally, you must marry within 15 days at the earliest and three months at the latest from the time you apply. Therefore, plan to stay in Cyprus for around 20 days. Alternatively, you can pay a fee to get married within three business days. If you wait until after three months from your application, that application is considered void.
After the wedding, the marriage officer will send a certified copy of the marriage certificate to your home country’s embassy in Cyprus.
For a routine marriage in Cyprus, you should expect to pay:
- €128 (113) for the civil ceremony
- €281 (£247) for the urgency application, which allows your ceremony to take place within three days as opposed to the normal 15
When considering your wedding budget, you and your guests can save money on cross border payments using TransferWise. The Borderless account allows you to hold and manage money in multiple currencies, without steep bank fees or bad exchange rates. TransferWise uses the same real exchange rate you’ll find on Google and applies a low fixed fee.
Many couples opt for an outdoor wedding in Cyprus, because of weather and beautiful beachscapes. Whether it’s in a church, outside, in a villa or within the town hall, if you complete your paperwork you’re free to marry where you please. Agencies and wedding planning companies can assist you with required paperwork and other planning.
The following embassy and consulate websites will give you additional information:
- The U.S. Embassy in Cyprus
- The Australian High Commission in Nicosia
- The British High Commission in Nicosia
- The Irish Embassy in Cyprus
- The Honorary Consulate of Canada in Nicosia
To get a headstart on budget planning, here are some cost estimates for wedding-related items in Cyprus. Some luxury villas and hotels will provide package deals that include food, venue hire and a wedding planner for a set cost. These can average around €5,000 for 30 guests, depending on the level of formality you seek. See below for individual estimates for a 30-person, moderately formal wedding:
|Item||Approximate cost in Cyprus|
|Seven night accommodation at a villa for all Guests||€3,000|
|Paperwork and administrative costs||€200 - 400|
|Dress, Shoes, Accessories||€600|
You’ll often find couples getting married in the following Cypriot locations:
|Paphos Medieval Castle (Kato Paphos)||An old Byzantine fort overlooking a harbour|
|Costas Kaimakliotis Folklore Museum (Aradippou)||A charming centre for Cypriot folklore and tradition. It is quiet and understated|
|Famagusta Gate (Nicosia)||A beautiful historical archway and the chief gate into the city of Nicosia|
|The Enaerios Pier (Limassol)||A picturesque spot surrounded by walking paths and restaurants|
|Cape Greco (Ayia Napa)||A national forest park with sea caves and a small church|
|The Alexander the Great Beach Hotel (Paphos)||A luxury hotel overlooking Blue Flag beach, near the harbour and an archaeological site|
|Larnaca Castle (Larnaca)||A medieval fort with a courtyard on the Finikoudes promenade|
|Town Hall (Nicosia)||Renovated municipal offices for civil weddings|
|Aphrodite Hills (Kouklia)||A resort in the hills of Paphos, near the sea with pools and gardens|
|Ammos Beach (Ayia Napa)||A beach-side wedding venue with a wooden trellis overlooking the sea|
Cypriot culture is rich with tradition. You may want to include some or all of the following wedding traditions in your ceremony:
- Bread - Cypriots often bake glstarkes for guests, and bake koulouria for decorations
- Music - In village weddings, ceremonies often commence at the groom’s house with the playing of traditional songs
- Dance - In Christian weddings, a priest may lead the couple around a table three times to symbolize ancient Christian traditions
- Bouquet - in traditional heterosexual weddings, a groom may wait outside the church with the bride’s bouquet until her father walks her up to him
- Scarves and crowns - traditionally, guests wrap red scarves around the couple and place crowns, or stefana, on their heads
Cyprus is an exotic and beautiful destination for weddings. It’s also a more budget-friendly choice, and because destination weddings there are so common, you’re sure to find lots of companies and websites to help plan your big day.