Two Ukrainians whose wedding was impacted by their country’s invasion by Russia were able to get married in Buckinghamshire.
After a chance meeting with the founder of a leading wedding planning app, Mariia Bilyk and Vitalij Melynik had planned to become one in their home country this summer.
Vitalij Melynik and Mariia Bilyk on their wedding day on November 14 (PA) (Image: PA)
However, following Russia’s attack on Ukraine which began in February this year, their plans were thwarted.
Buckinghamshire Council lit in the colours of #Ukraine's flag in a show of solidarity. @GlxProductions pic.twitter.com/fmbPop3jbo— Buckinghamshire Council (@BucksCouncil) February 28, 2022
Instead, Mariia, 23, from Lviv, joined her fiancé, Vitalij, 27, who had been living in London for the best part of a decade, in March earlier this year.
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Mariia took on employment as a cleaner once arriving on British shores, and found herself working at the house of Hamish Shephard, the founder of Bridebook, a leading wedding planning app.
Hamish and Bridebook helped the happy couple tie the knot on Monday, November 14, with just a few weeks’ notice at Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire.
Nightingale’s Rainbow stands as a beacon of hope – a symbol of resilience through tough and exceptional times.
Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, including those living in Buckinghamshire. pic.twitter.com/SsN8cy2XH7— NightingalesRainbow💙🌈 (@Bucks_Rainbow) February 25, 2022
Vitalij told PA: “It was such a coincidence.
“Hamish, the guy who helped us with all of this, has a housekeeper and that lady I think she was ill, or she had taken a holiday, I can’t remember.
“So, he called my auntie’s company where Mariia has been working, so that’s where they met.
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“Mariia was cleaning his house, and he just showed up to her and she said we had a cancelled wedding and it’s all really sad, and Hamish showed such great support.
#TextileTuesday and a circle of beautiful knitted/crocheted angels, in the colours of the flag of Ukraine, in the church at Hambleden, Buckinghamshire.
It's chance encounters like this that make church visiting such a rewarding pursuit. pic.twitter.com/MYQCcte5qs— Cathy Rosamund Stillman-Lowe (@SlCathy) July 19, 2022
“We had to do a lot of shopping which I hate doing but it turned out really great.”
The ceremony took place with just a handful of guests which included both the couple's mothers – however, their fathers were unable to leave Ukraine due to their age.
The happy couple walked down a sunflower-lined aisle and past photographs of family and friends from Ukraine, which had been placed on the chairs.
The menu was created by British caterers Goose and Berry and included Ukrainian canapes.
Vitalij Melynik and her mum (PA) (Image: PA)
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He continued: “It was honestly really special and amazing
“Everyone was so friendly, so much kindness and so much support.
“Everyone did an amazing job, they made the hall look fantastic with a lot of flowers.
“It was the most incredible day for all who were involved, and one of the Bridebook team, Hedsor staff and I will never forget.
"We wish the couple every happiness.”
To find out more, visit justgiving.com/page/maria-and-vitalijs-wedding.