Ukrainian couple whose wedding was scuppered by Russian invasion marry in UK surrounded by family photos – Sky News

High school sweethearts Mariia Bilyk and Vitalij Melynik tied the knot in a hastily arranged ceremony – and the couple asked guests to donate to the Red Cross’ humanitarian work in Ukraine.
By Adam Solomons, news reporter
Wednesday 16 November 2022 13:37, UK
Two Ukrainian childhood sweethearts whose wedding was scuppered by war have finally been able to tie the knot in Britain.
Mariia Bilyk, 23, and Vitalij Melynik, 27, wed at Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire on Monday just two weeks after they started planning the ceremony.
The long-time lovers asked guests to donate to support the Red Cross’ humanitarian work in Ukraine and have already raised more than £3,000 for the humanitarian charity.
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Ms Bilyk, a primary school teacher from Lviv, fled Ukraine after Russian troops entered earlier this year and in March joined her fiance, Mr Melynik, who had been living in London for six years.
Mr Melynik and his mother had intended to visit Ukraine to meet Ms Bilyk’s parents to plan the wedding in February, but Russia invaded one day before their flight.
Ms Bilyk travelled to Poland to meet her fiance and they spent several weeks together before she headed to the UK in March.
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She then began working as a cleaner in the home of Hamish Shephard, the founder of wedding planning app Bridebook.
Mr Shepherd used his service to make sure they tied the knot within a couple of weeks and the team reached out to its network of suppliers, who offered their services for free.
“It was such a coincidence,” Mr Melynik told the PA news agency. “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 at, so that’s where they met. 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.
“We had to do a lot of shopping which I hate doing. But it turned out really great.”
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The couple’s mothers were able to attend the intimate ceremony, but their fathers were unable to leave Ukraine due to their age.
They walked down an aisle lined with sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, and past photographs of friends and family members from Ukraine. Their menu included Ukrainian canapes.
“It was honestly really special and amazing,” said Mr Melynik.
“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.
“The things (Mr Shephard) has done for us, all of these ideas and everything, it was just great. Something you won’t see every day for sure.”
Mr Shephard said it was “the most incredible day” and praised the rapid response of the wedding suppliers. Homepage © 2022 Sky UK


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