I had always dreamed of having a simple wedding somewhere on the beach, barefoot in the sand, or in the remote African bush. However, the more my then-boyfriend and I discussed marriage and weddings we decided that weddings can be so complicated, especially with our family all over the World, and it seemed such a waste to spend so much money just on one day(when we could put all that money toward starting our life together), when all that really mattered to us was actually being married – and not the big party and effort surrounding a wedding – so we had ideas about a registry office ceremony. Having said that, the moment my fiancé proposed, the registry office idea went straight out the window and we didn’t look back on it!
We decided that it would be unfair not to include all of our family in the celebration of our marriage- but still wanted to keep our wedding simple and in-expensive. I think it is safe to say that NO wedding is in-expensive (as I have now come to realize) – the food is probably the most pricey part of it!
So our next daunting decision was when and where?
I really liked the idea of getting married in Zimbabwe or Kenya (the homelands of my fiancé and I), and we also toyed with the idea of a wedding in England (where we were both currently living and where much of my family lives), but decided that either way one side of our family would have to travel a huge distance to get there and we felt it was a bit unfair on them. So, with my fiancé soon being relocated to Cyprus, and our “logical” thinking, we figured – why not make ALL of our family and friends travel pretty much the same distance and make life a little more complicated and exciting and get married in Cyprus!
Cyprus is (supposedly) the birth place of Aphrodite – Greek goddess of love and beauty- so what better place to get married, and I soon began researching our venue options. We wanted something low-key, away from crowds, preferably a villa on the beach. This was a lot more complicated to arrange, as we struggled to find a villa with a garden big enough to squeeze 100 guests, ceremony and reception into, and tracking down a priest to marry us outside of a church was proving much harder than anticipated, and the only beach available to have a wedding ceremony performed on looked like it was made from tar and gravel.
So, it was time to visit a different ideas – hotels. We really wanted to try and stay away from a hotel wedding, as Cyprus being a heavily populated tourism area, was going to be crawling with British tourists – no thank you! For the time being it was going to be our only option, so we booked many appointments in the popular town of Paphos, Cyprus to meet with various hotel wedding coordinators along the coastline. So we spent two long days trekking down the main hotel strip of Paphos, stopping off at every single hotel, looking around and hoping it would be the perfect spot. We came across some lovely hotels, that although didnt have everything we wanted, would have been able to work for us – however, some of the wedding ceremony venues were atrocious, set right smack in the middle of an all inclusive resort (the type that has discos all day long by the pool and is seething with screaming children, cabaret dancers putting on a show, and oversized tourists wearing far too little) – needless to say we didn’t stick around to hear about the reception buffet menus.
After a busy couple of days, we started our drive back home down the coast, with our top 3 hotels in mind, but we still hadn’t stumbled upon somewhere that we just knew was the place. On our drive home we decided to stop off at a golf resort and hotel to check out the greens for some of our golf-fanatic family members, who we knew would want have a golf day during their time in cyprus for our wedding……and it was THE perfect place. As soon as we saw it we thought we should go and ask if the wedding coordinator could shows us around while we were there. She brought out the huge book of weddings, with menus, photos, cakes, decorations, everything imaginable, and then took us around all of the venues – and we loved it. As we left and continued our journey home, we tried not to get our hopes up as we waited for the wedding quote to be emailed through, as we expected it to cost an absolute fortune (I seem to have an unfortunate knack for picking out the most expensive things- it must run in the family!). After trying to quickly calculate the quotes from several of the other hotels we had visited, we were SO excited when we discovered that our dream venue was affordable, infact cheaper than many of the beachside hotels, and relieved to have settled on our wedding venue.
Next problem, the wedding date. My fiancé and I struggled a fair amount deciding on a wedding date, mostly because his job requires him to travel frequently and unexpectedly- so we had to find a way to work around his job, choose an appropriate time of year (for the weather) in Cyprus, with enough planning time for the big day and advanced notice to our overseas family and friends, and at the best suited time of year for our family to get off work and travel over (especially with a sister and cousin in an important year in school and unable to take time out). We have learned that your wedding is a time when I think you have to (and are allowed to be) a little bit selfish. It is impossible to please everyone and to pick one time of the year that is appopriate for every single one of your guests. SO, we realized we had to give up something – in this case, the weather – and work with what we had as best we could. With that in mind, we chose (well we didn’t really choose, it was our only option) to get married in Cyprus during THE hottest time of the year, the busiest and the most expensive (for tourists, hotels etc.).