There appears to be an upward trend in the number of foreigners tying the knot in Malta, particularly since low-cost airlines starting operating to the island. It has become a tourism niche market an wedding suppliers including hotels such as Le Meridien Phoenicia and The Victoria Hotel are offering couples an all-inclusive package that sees them through their stay, their reception and even their make up and hair sessions.
Most couples make the most of the long sunny days and choose outdoor venues, often by the sea. 'Weddings can take place anywhere though', says wedding planner Sarah Young, who introduced wedding planning as a business venture to the island: 'the choice of venues is endless - one of our three hundred and fifty two churches and chapels, the beach, a palazzo, castle, sea-view terrace, garden villa or a contemporary reception hall.' Splashing out is evidently an option. Recently an American couple and their wedding party arrived on a luxury cruise liner and a fleet of vintage cars drove them off to their seven-hour lavish celebration held in a beautiful castle. A horse and carriage took them round Valletta and back to their cruise liner.
Most foreigners tie the knot at s the civil registry, however some, particularly the Irish, take their vows at the altar. Couples are keen to take on local customs, particularly the traditional 'going-away ritual', whether they choose, the karozzin, the traditional flower decorated, Maltese horse-drawn carriage, the more modern sleek and comfortable limousine or even the classic Maltese fishing boat!
The biggest celebrity to have said her 'I do' in Malta was Brigitte Nielsen who wed Mattia Dessi in a lavish reception in July 2006. The union was witnessed by multi-millionaire Ivana Trump. Apparently, a number of high profile weddings have taken place in Malta but none ever get publicised as one of the reasons well-known faces come here to tie the knot is to avoid the limelight.
Foreigners wanting to wed in Malta must abide by a number of formalities such as putting forward a request for the publication of banns at least six weeks before the big day and submitting birth certificates and the declarations on oath. The best source of information is the Government Marriage Registry (www.mjha.gov.mt) that provides an online information pack for foreigners who would like to tie the knot in Malta.