Weddings abroad are becoming an increasingly popular choice, and Cyprus is up there as one of the top destinations. From the 330 days of sun a year, to the excellent food and relaxed lifestyle, a wedding in Cyprus is the perfect way to start your married life together.
With weddings abroad, you may not initially think about weaving some of the more traditional elements of the country you’re getting married in into your wedding day, but it can actually be a really nice way to mark it – particularly for your guests who are bound to remember it and talk about when they get home. However, it’s not always easy to incorporate some of the local customs and flair into the big day, particularly if much of it is unfamiliar to you. In Cyprus, there is a plethora of cultural traditions you could choose to honour on your wedding day, and our dedicated wedding planners are brimming with suggestions.
If you plan to start your wedding as you mean to go on, why not celebrate your engagement like proper Cypriots?! Traditionally, when a couple is engaged in Cyprus, both sets of parents visit the bride’s house to bless the couple. The groom’s family then makes glistarkes (sesame seed breadsticks) while the bride’s family take on the responsibility of handing out wedding invitations. So throw a party! And (maybe after a few practice bakes) offer your guests some traditional snacks with their invitations. It will be a sure sign of things to come!
Traditional Cypriot Wedding Breakfast
Why not consider a traditional Cypriot wedding spread for your wedding breakfast? Here’s a taster of what you might like to consider:
Prosfora: A traditional bread given to the couple by the Priest during the ceremony. If you’re not going for a traditional Orthodox wedding, you could still make your own and include it as part of your own ceremony or celebrations.
Cypriot red wine: Cyprus is becoming more and more renowned for the excellent wine it has to offer, and traditionally red wine is used in the Orthodox ceremony. If not for the ceremony, why not ensure you have a full supply of Cypriot wine for your guests to enjoy at the reception? Previously dubbed ‘nectar of the Gods’ it’s sure to go down well.
Koufeta: These highly symbolic sugared almonds are traditionally given out to guests at the end of the church ceremony. Representing purity, fertility, new beginnings and a strong union, they are both delicious and lucky.
Koulouria: A type of sweet bread cookie, enjoyed as a snack during the reception.
The Bride: If the wedding is taking place in a village, it is traditional for the bride to wear a conservative gown that covers the tops of the arms. The bride and her party will then walk to the church.
If it is happening in a town or larger community the bride can wear a long or short evening dress before travelling to the church with her father, in either a car, limousine or horse-drawn carriage. Of course, if your wedding is taking place in the comfort of your own villa, there will be no need for horses to transport you!
Before leaving for the ceremony, the bride will often have a red scarf wrapped around her waist and head by her bridesmaids, traditionally to represent virginity. An alternative way to honour this tradition may be to wear a red flower in the hair, or incorporate some red detail into the dress.
The Groom: It is customary for the groom to receive a ‘last shave’ by his best man in front of family and friends, before being dressed while musicians play. The groom also receives a red scarf around his waist, this time to symbolise fertility. An alternative here might be selecting a red tie or cuff-links with red detailing.
The most traditional way to marry in Cyprus would be, naturally, to have the ceremony at a Greek Orthodox church, which is one of our wedding package options. However as is the case for many weddings abroad, a civil service is more common. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some traditional Cypriot customs into your own ceremony.
A Stefana is a headband worn by both the bride and the groom, traditionally made up of olive branches, lemon leaves and precious metals, symbolising the blessings of God, as well as the crowning of a new couple building their kingdom (or home). Nowadays the crowns tend to contain much less plant material, and are instead contain more pearls and crystals. The traditional ceremony dictates that the crowns are joined by a ribbon representing their intact union. Stefanas are easily available to buy and are kept as lifetime keepsakes.
Weddings Abroad – Cyprus Wedding Traditions
Other popular cyprus wedding traditions include the exchanging of wedding rings, performing the Dance of Isaiah and distributing the Koufeta. Additionally, the bride’s single friends will each write their names on the bottom of the bride’s shoes. After a night of dancing, the bride takes off her shoes and looks on the underside. Whichever name remains visible will be the next to get married, according to tradition.
There is also the tradition of ‘pinning the money’, a ritual in which the married couple dance the Newlywed dance, while relatives and friends pin money onto their clothes, traditionally to help them pay for the wedding expenses and ensure their married life does not begin in debt.
Weddings Abroad Made Easy With Villa Mosaica
At Villa Mosaica we understand how stressful planning weddings abroad can be. That’s why we offer a range of Cyprus wedding packages to suit your needs. Our villas are both private and spacious, offering your own pool, easy access to the beach and the perfect setting for a wedding. Our wedding planning service is based in Cyprus, and we can craft your ideal wedding for you, whether it be traditional, Cypriot, or modern. We take care of everything from the planning to the legal paperwork, to making sure the wedding runs without a hitch, so you’re free to enjoy a stress-free, memorable day.