Shipwreck backdrop to Peyia weddings

PEYIA MUNICIPALITY has launched a new wedding venue which offers a unique experience for couples tying the knot.

Found close to a stranded ship which ran aground in Paphos in stormy seas two and a half years ago, ‘Gliki Nero Bay’ was officially inaugurated last Friday. Officials describe the spot as ‘magical’.

Marriage officer Maria Yiangou, who has officiated at thousands of weddings held in Peyia over the last 20 years, said the new wedding gazebo at the sea caves at Peyia in Paphos offers something completely different for couples from all over the world.

“This is an amazing and magical place with stunning panoramic views and will offer an alternative for couples who don’t want to get married at the town hall or elsewhere,” she said. “There is space for about 30 people to sit under the structure and an area for far more outside.”

The wooden structure can be decked out in flowers and wedding paraphernalia. It’s hoped the new venue will further boost the municipality’s coffers.

A wedding at the Gliki Nero Bay will cost 600 euros, the same price as at a hotel or villa, says Yiangou.

“This amount includes the couple’s licence and certificate,” she said, adding that either she or the municipality’s other marriage officer, Stella Demetriou, carry out the services.

The new venue is situated at the sea cave area of Peyia, an area of outstanding natural beauty and close to the Sierra Leone-flagged, EDRO III, which has remained stranded on the rocks since December 8, 2011. The Albanian-owned cargo vessel, built in the late 1960s, was leaving Limassol port in early December 2011, bound for Rhodes. Its engine encountered technical problems during bad weather, and the ship was forced onto rocks off the coast of Paphos.

Although it has been cleared of all waste and fuel, embarking the ship is no longer permitted as it has been declared dangerous and there are warning signs in place. But it is still proving popular with locals and tourists who visit the area to view the stricken vessel.

Last year 650 weddings took place in Peyia said Yiangou, and brought in around 220,000 euros for the municipality.

“Weddings are an important source of income for the authority and we hope to increase the amount over the next couple of years.”

Yiangou says around the same numbers of civil weddings will be carried out in the municipality this year, but figures for 2015 are already showing an increase.

“We are also already taking bookings for 2016 and 2017,” she said.

Most of the couples choosing Peyia to tie the knot are British, although Yiangou said for the first time this year, the Russian market is increasing. Forty ceremonies involving Russian nationals have already been booked this year so far.

“I love my job. It’s wonderful to be part of so many couples’ special day and each ceremony is different. It’s an exciting time and everyone is so happy,” Yiangou said. “I believe that our new venue will be very popular.”

By Bejay Browne

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