A recent fam trip with the Cyprus Tourist Organisation saw UK agents experience a range of weddings and honeymoon product on the island. Andrew Doherty asks attendees and tourism representatives for their top selling tips
Whether they’re wanting a glitzy affair at a five-star hotel or a more authentic celebration at a winery or tavern, clients looking to wed in Cyprus have plenty of choice.
A recent fam trip with Cyprus Tourist Organisation saw five agents experience romance product in Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca and Ayia Napa – meeting friendly locals and sampling genuine cuisine and culture. Here they give tips on selling to prospective brides and grooms from their first-hand experiences.
Despite only becoming an agent in October 2018, Jenni Isherwood, a personal travel consultant at Hays Travel, says the fam helped bring her up to speed on Cyprus’s romance product.
“I really want to start selling more weddings and honeymoon packages, so seeing what was available in Cyprus was great. Since returning from the trip, I’ve had a few bookings and a few wedding enquiries too.”
Although she was surprised by the range of hotels available, Isherwood says it was the Nissi Beach hotel in Ayia Napa that stood out.
“The property had a lovely tropical feel with beautiful blue waters and white sand. There were so many venue choices, and clients can customise their big day any way they want.”
Janine Porter, a Co-operative personal travel adviser, agrees, highlighting the hotel’s outdoor spaces as stand-out locations.
“Nissi Beach would work well for larger groups. It offers a selection of areas such as the Rondavel Beach Bar – a lovely octagonal-shaped marquee reserved for wedding parties of 25 to 150 people,” she says.
Other venues include the 500-capacity Taverna Nissi, 80-guest Thalassa Terrace and the Athena Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 250 people. The property also offers the services of a wedding planner, who will guide agents through all the options available to clients, such as menu choices, music and wedding etiquette.
Porter was also impressed by the Elysium Hotel in Paphos. “I thought it was stunning. I loved the fairy- tale-style wedding venue and the accommodation. The staff were so friendly and helpful too,” she says.
For Emma Taylor, also a personal travel adviser at Co-operative Travel, it was the Almyra Hotel in Paphos that stuck in her mind. “I loved the beachfront bungalows – they would be perfect for newlyweds. The hotel had fantastic service and friendly staff, and the views of the sunset were perfect,” she says.
Of course, church weddings can also be arranged, explains Dr Maria Socratous, tourist officer at the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, who joined the group during their time on the island.
“If your clients prefer a religious ceremony, they must apply for a marriage licence at a municipal office before making arrangements for the ceremony at the venue of their choice,” she says.
“There are no limitations for European citizens. Just have clients arrive two days before the wedding to arrange the paperwork or for a wedding planner to do it for them. However, I’m not sure if this will change after Brexit.”
Civil ceremonies are popular too, she adds, with most towns and cities offering venues for non-religious weddings. However, it’s Cyprus’s quirkier locations that have been proving a hit with couples.
“There is a trend for clients to choose non-conventional places for their wedding such as wineries, taverns and village squares,” Socratous enthuses.
Despite preferring Cyprus’s more traditional locations, Porter admits that the Vasilikon Winery in Paphos would appeal to clients looking for a venue that is a little quirkier.
“We had an amazing time there. It would suit a couple looking for a unique wedding. I loved the facilities, especially the veranda with its amazing views. The only thing missing for me was the ocean.”
For a more intimate option, the group spent an afternoon at Our House – a small hillside property outside the village of Vavla.
“The hotel is run by a lovely couple that do all of the cooking themselves,” says Porter. “I really liked the intimacy of the place – the maximum capacity for a wedding party is about 20 guests. The wedding space, in the property’s courtyard, was beautiful too.”
Spaces such as Yiannis Tavern in Kathikas are a huge part of Cypriot culture and are often booked out as wedding venues too, she adds, advising: “Yiannis can hold up to 50 guests. It is quite popular, so I would recommend booking it as early as possible.”
“We offer year-round activities for honeymooners too,” explains Socratous. “For hiking and biking, spring is ideal; for touring the wineries, I would recommend October to December; and for beach activities, May to September is best.”
Taylor cites the island’s diving hotspots, which are a huge draw for visitors, as an ideal activity for more adventurous newlyweds. She recommends agents check out the Edro III shipwreck in Glyki Nero bay.
“You can actually get married in front of the wreck and go diving in the nearby sea caves, although it’s best to check if clients have the appropriate diving qualifications first,” she says.
For Isherwood, the accepting nature of the Cypriots and the ease of getting married on the island is a huge bonus for clients planning to tie the knot.
“Most hotels accommodate same-sex couples as well the municipalities too. Cyprus is affordable and documentation is easy to obtain. However, if clients are looking for a summer wedding, I suggest booking at least a year in advance. I would also check with the hotels, as it may take more time to adapt to more complicated requirements.”
For Porter, the expertise of the hotel’s wedding planners and teams at the municipalities is where Cyprus excels.
“Don’t think that booking a wedding in Cyprus will be stressful – it’s not. The team at each of the hotels have such great local connections and are able to put everything together for you.”
Cyplon Holidays has a Bronze Wedding Package at the Almyra Hotel from £3,920. This includes the wedding licence and registrar fees, a Spa Terrace rooftop ceremony and one-tier cake for 20 people. cyplon.co.uk
Planet Weddings offers a civil wedding from £900 at the Palm Beach Hotel & Bungalows. Clients can choose to have the ceremony Palm Beach Hotel’s sea-facing gazebo in either a sea-facing gazebo or the new Love Hut, including the services of a UK and resort-based wedding planner and registrar to perform the ceremony. Hotel stay not included. planetweddings.co.uk
Olympic Holidays has a Cyprus Gold Wedding Package from £1,288, including the £399 arrangement fee, the services of a destination- based wedding coordinator, transfer to the local town hall from the hotel, a wedding licence and marriage certificate, bridal hair and makeup and a 36-photo album. Hotel stay not included. olympicholidays.com