Bellapais Abbey, (The Abbey of Peace), a thirteenth century ruin overlooking the North Cyprus town of Kyrenia (Girne) and the setting for Catherine and Josh’s humanist wedding. Sitting in the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is said to be (in legend) the birthplace of the Greek Goddess of love, Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans). Not a bad location for a wedding!
Cyprus being an island divided, Bellapais is now in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, after the Turkish invasion of 1974 that began in this area. But there is still a sense of previous British rule here. You drive on the left and use three pin plugs. For Josh, he grew up in the southern part of the island and it was the charm of the ‘less developed’ northern half that drew them to get married there.
And of course the sunny, warm weather compared to the UK and their home in Yorkshire…………but.
Catherine got ready in the village of Ozankoy, just down the hill from Bellapais. A smart but dark villa, not helped by the thunderstorm looming over the mountains nearby. Luckily the storm abated in time for the outdoor ceremony (under cover just in case) with a view over the coast. The ceremony actually takes place at the Kybele restaurant, within the grounds of the Abbey. Couples can have portraits in the ruins if they wish. The meal was to be outdoor too, but at the last minute was changed to the restaurant given the threatening rain. Sure enough during the meal, the wind picked up and dark rainclouds reappeared. With dancing to take place in the courtyard of the Abbey House, under a canopy of leaves, would it rain or not? The gamble was made to stick with the outdoor party and it paid off – no rain came. Nothing was going to stop this wedding party from dancing!
Here are a few images from Catherine and Josh’s wedding day at Bellapais Abbey….