By Evie Andreou
AYIA Napa wants to set a Guinness World Record for the number of civil marriages carried out in one session, Mayor Yiannis Karousos said yesterday.
The municipality has made efforts to attract foreign and local couples by adding new wedding venues in idyllic locations that offer impressive photos of the couples’ and their friends’ and families’ Karousos said.
Ayia Napa has seen a 20 per cent increase in civil marriages for 2014 which would translate into to a 30 per cent increase in revenues, Karousos said.
Some 1,400 civil marriages are scheduled to take place in Ayia Napa this year compared to 1,150 in 2013.
The expected revenue hike is down to the fact that most couples choose a location other than the town hall, which sets them back an extra €350 but helps fill municipal coffers. Karousos spoke of the ‘Lovers Bridge’ the town created, which was inaugurated on February 14.
To set the Guinness record, Ayia Napa will have to compete with Larnaca, which has been hosting mass civil marriages for years now in cooperation with the Israeli tour operator Natan Uretsky, which brings the couples in on cruise ship.
The latest took place only last Friday at the medieval castle in Larnaca where 90 couples mainly Israeli and Russian tied the knot, ten couples less than last June’s mass civil marriage in the town.
In 2011 Uretsky was hoping that 170 couples would participate in a mass ceremony also in Larnaca, enough to set a world record, but they came a bit short since some couples did not show up.
Even though there have been mass marriages in other parts of the world with far more participants, a record for the most civil marriage in one go does not exist yet, Guinness said.
In order for an event to be included in the Guinness World Records, the award institute must be notified in advance as it does not accept evidence without receiving an application form first.
Cyprus is a popular wedding destination among Israelis because there are no civil marriage in Israel, making it difficult for those with an non-Israeli partner to tie the knot. Israeli couples who do not want to have a have a religious ceremony at home will also choose Cyprus as it’s close by, and the paperwork is easy to complete.