(photo credit: Aner Grin)
One-hundred fifty-four Israeli and Russian couples were married in a mass-wedding ceremony in Lanarca, Cyprus on Saturday, according to a Cyprus Mail report. The Israeli organizers and newly-wed couples hoped to get into the Guinness Book of World Records category for mass-marriages.
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The Israeli couples boarded a ship from Haifa port Saturday morning and
arrived in Lanarca, Cyprus in the afternoon. There they were greeted by
family, friends, and local Cypriots coming just to share in the
festivities. The couples were sprinkled with rose water and then bused
to Lanarca's medieval castle for the ceremony, according to a Yahoo
News report. After the ceremony, which was conducted in both English
and Russian, the couples were bused back to port to celebrate before
they went their separate ways, some coming back to Haifa, others
continuing their honeymoons in Cyprus, Greece, and beyond.
The event organizer, Natan Uretsky, said in an interview with AFP, "We
were told by Guinness that the most couples who got married in a civil
ceremony inside 24 hours was 163. We were aiming for 170 but I think we
might have fewer than that, although we are hoping to break the record
once the certificates are counted." Uretsky has been bringing Israeli
couples seeking civil marriages to Cyprus for decades.
Hundreds of Israeli couples choose to get married in Cyprus each year
because the island nation performs both same-sex marriages and
mixed-faith marriages, which are not conducted in Israel.
Lanarca is proud to be Cyprus' most popular choice for foreigners
seeking to get married, although both Ayia Napa and Paphos are choice
destinations. The island nation has also seen a recent boom in tourism,
particualrly among Israeli and Russian vacationers.