Middle Eastern Couples Prefer Getting Married In Cyprus

Middle Eastern Couples Prefer Getting Married In Cyprus
Wed 04-06-2014

Middle Eastern couples, especially Lebanese, are choosing to get married in Cyprus instead of their homeland.

The island's appeal is simple: couples of mixed religion can have a civil ceremony that, though not allowed back home, will still be recognised in law.

It's wedding season in Cyprus, and couples from the Middle East are jetting in, drawn not by the island's clerics and consecrated buildings, but rather the opportunity to marry without them. Cyprus has become the civil wedding destination for Middle Eastern couples.

In 1980, 61 Lebanese brides and 78 Lebanese grooms were married there.

In 2013, there were 581 Lebanese ones, and 35 Syrian unions.

Some municipalities, such as tourist-friendly Livadia, report even more startling figures; last year, of the 1,000 or so weddings it recorded, 350 were Lebanese, and 20 were Syrian.

"Once the war in Lebanon ended in the early 90s, mixed marriages between the various communities and religions started increasing gradually in Cyprus," says Maisy Khoury, a Cypriot wedding planner with Lebanese heritage. "For the past 10 years it's been a rising trend."

In Cyprus, a marriage can be completed in a single day. What's more, no one asks after a bride or groom's denominations, and either side can seek a divorce, in contrast to many of the couples' home countries, where only husbands are permitted to file.

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