Ever dream of exchanging vows with your loved one in Mediterranean “Mamma Mia!” style, and then cringed at the thought of organizing such an event? Well now you can actually start planning it, shudder-free, thanks to BookYourWeddingDay, an online platform launched last March that facilitates civil weddings in Greece and Cyprus.
“The process was a complete nightmare until recently,” Maria Evripides, founder and CEO of the Nicosia-based company, told Kathimerini. “Interested parties had to submit their request to the relevant authorities via a travel agent or a local representative, and would have to wait as long as eight weeks for a response.”
Other than an emotional strain, the delay also sent costs soaring, as air fares and hotel rates got more expensive the closer they got to their preferred date, weighing on the overall wedding budget and dampening couples’ enthusiasm, said Evripides.
“I thought this was an obstacle that had to be overcome by us dealing with the red tape for our clients,” added the tourism expert. “Based on the data, on average, each couple brings 30 people to their wedding and the average length of stay is 10 nights.”
Greece and Cyprus are both very popular for destination weddings. “Beyond the sun and sea, couples from the UK in particular look to get married away from home, where they have to pay a huge municipal tax that comes to about the same price as an entire wedding at a cheaper destination,” explained Evripides.
The platform has been a great success so far, having booked 2,020 weddings for 2018 and 2019 since March. The majority of couples want to get married on Kos, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini and Skiathos – in that order – while things are looking up for the latter two islands for the 2019-20 period.
Local authorities and the tourism industry have also embraced the platform, according to Evripides. “For the time being, beyond the paperwork, we only arrange the communication between the couple and the venue, not other professionals (the photographer, makeup artist, wedding planner, etc),” she explained.
“The majority of bookings so far have come from Britons, but we are also promoting the project in other countries, including Lebanon, Israel, Russia, the United States, Canada and Australia,” said Evripides.
As part of its growth plans, the website is being translated into Russian and is also planning to expand to Mexico and the Dominican Republic.