We often get asked as bloggers in the industry if we attend many weddings and the answer is that unfortunately live reporting on the proceedings doesn’t fall into our remits. However, if we were to become professional wedding crashers today’s celebrations would have certainly been high up on our list of events to attend.
Taking inspiration from bride’s roots, Myroslava and Callum planned a crazy ukrainian wedding with a huge focus on food, drink and family. To make the day all the more memorable, Myroslava also decided to make the wedding as ‘homemade’ as possible, pulling in her friends and relatives to help achieve her vision.
Cue vodka, delicious Ukrainian cuisine, live music, dancing, more vodka, more dancing and – you guessed it – even more vodka!
With images by Shot by Amy.
myroslava says: We got engaged on 20th September 2014 at the Greyhound pub in Coventry. On New Year’s Eve 2014 Callum told me this was the year he would propose so I was on tenterhooks for most of it! We’d been for a cosy lunch in one of our favourite pubs, just the two of us, when he got down on one knee and popped the question. It took me completely by surprise and it was us down to a tee!
We got married on 19th September 2015, almost a year to the day we got engaged. We’re both autumn people but we wanted it to be nice enough to get married outside so September was the perfect time.
We got married at Tarasivka (affectionately known as the Field of Dreams) which is a piece of land owned by the Ukrainian Youth Association of GB in the middle of the Derbyshire countryside. I’ve been going every year for summer camp since I was tiny – I practically grew up in that field with all my friends and Callum has been coming to work at the summer camps with me the past few years. There’s a lot of history there, it’s a beautiful location and we love that it is half way between our hometowns of Coventry and Manchester. We had a Ukrainian Catholic ceremony in the outdoor chapel at Tarasivka.
Our theme was a crazy Ukrainian wedding in the beautiful English countryside! Signposts and alcohol played a big part (our centrepieces were signposts to our favourite pubs and vodka is a massive part of every Ukrainian party) but a handmade, homemade and rustic feel was also central to our day.
We had a rose gold colour palette of pinks, creams and metallics, which was inspired by my beautiful rose gold and pink topaz engagement ring which Callum had custom made for me. The bridesmaids wore pink and gold, and the groomsmen wore grey and sky blue for Coventry City. Everything was finished off with metallic touches.
My dress was custom made by Erica Stacey Bridalwear – I like to be unique so I knew I couldn’t have something off the rail! The dress was a pale shell pink topped with white lace. It was fitted to mid-thigh when it flowed out into a long train, and sat off the shoulder with delicate lace wing sleeves. The dress was finished off with beaded embellishments and Swarovski crystal buttons down the back for a bit of sparkle. I wore it with bejewelled shoes, a custom made flower crown from Gypsy Rose Vintage and a blush tulle veil dotted with crystals.
Callum wore a light grey suit handmade for him in Coventry. It was slim fitting with a scooped waistcoat under the jacket. He wore it with a Liberty print tie and pocket square in shades of blue.
Our bridesmaids wore pink and gold dresses by Chi Chi London, which everyone loved. The pink of their bodices matched the material of my dress, and they finished the outfit with some fresh gypsophila in their hair for a little country feel.
The groomsmen wore grey suits from The Suit Lounge in Coventry and sky blue ties to complement Callum’s Liberty print tie.
Our photographer was the super talented Amy of Shot by Amy, based in Manchester. I’ve known her since her street photography days and I am so proud to have her, not only as our wedding photographer, but as our friend. She adapted to the crazy Ukrainian wedding style like a duck to water and listened to exactly what we wanted from the day. She has such an eye for those special candid moments which are so easy to miss – we are beyond in love with the photographs she took.
I love flowers so finding the perfect florist was really important to me. We used the fabulous Ivy Florist based in Leeds. Sofia there just understood exactly what I wanted. I had a bouquet of roses, dahlias and lots of beautiful greenery as well as wheat and poppy heads for a Ukrainian touch and forget-me-nots, which remind me of my Baba (my grandma). My bridesmaids had smaller versions, and the groomsmen had roses, greenery and wheat sheaves.
Our decorations were all completely homemade and probably my favourite part of our wedding aesthetics. For months our family and friends collected glass jars and spirit bottles – we had over 200 on the day, spray painted, hand illustrated, polka-dotted, wrapped in lace and tied with twine, all completely unique and made by me and my friends. They were filled with hydrangeas, roses, snapdragons, gypsophila and daisies, from the local flower market.
The centrepieces were wooden signs made by Callum and painted by my maid of honour with the names of all our favourite pubs that have played a part in our relationship – they were set in bell jars with moss, petals, gravel and fairy lights, like a little garden. My mum sewed the gold sequin table runners, and along with my best friend’s mum she cut, sewed and dyed more than 500 meters of homemade bunting from Baba’s net curtains which we hung in the trees. The table plan was made with my granddad’s old suitcase and the confetti was made with hydrangea petals from my Baba’s garden. I hand wrote everyone’s names on paper doilies instead of place cards, and made activity packs for the children. I also created hand-illustrated signs for the menu and welcome drinks, which we displayed in antique-looking frames sprayed gold.
I’m an illustrator by day so I wanted to put my own special stamp on our wedding and so I hand-drew the design for our stationery myself, hand-illustrated everyone’s favours and wrote our favourite romantic quotes on glass jars as part of the décor. My favourite bit was probably designing our wedding guide. There are loads of traditions involved in a Ukrainian wedding so I hand-drew a ‘survival guide’ to get our guests through the day. I was inspired by the style of the Daily Prophet newspaper from Harry Potter and I put a lot of love into the detail – it was so nice to see people really getting into it!
Our wedding stationery was really important to me and as an illustrator I wanted my drawings to look as good as possible so we used Precious Design, who are a family run business that create bespoke wedding stationery, to produce our paper goods and we loved the results. They really listened when I explained my crazy ideas and they kept us in the loop for every part of the process. Everyone loved our stationery and it really set the tone for our big day.
Our favours were shot glasses which I hand-illustrated with every guest’s name, our initials and our wedding date. A key part of a Ukrainian ceremony is Perepiy – the receiving line when every single guest has a shot with the bride and groom – so it was nice that the guests had something practical! For the kids we painted wooden egg cups with their names.
Our cake was made by the talented Laura from Yolk – she is based in Hackney but it was well worth the journey for that baking! The bottom layer was Victoria sponge, the middle layer was lemon and lavender with homemade lemon curd and the top was chocolate. It was all iced with pale yellow vanilla buttercream and finished with wreaths of beautiful fresh flowers inspired by the Ukrainian floral headdress, complete with rainbow ribbons. We wanted everyone to really enjoy the cake so we had it for breakfast with our guests and a case of champagne the next morning!
As mentioned, there is a lot of drinking involved in a Ukrainian wedding so the key is to keep eating! For our wedding breakfast our guests enjoyed a hog roast and paella from a giant pan, something I’ve loved since I lived in Valencia, followed by all kinds of cakes and sweets. Polish sausage called ‘kobasa’, Ukrainian rye bread and gherkins were laid out for guests to pick on throughout the day to keep everyone going. In the evening, we served curry which is one of our favourites and had been homemade by our friends’ parents the day before. We also served traditional Ukrainian dumplings known as ‘varenyky’ which are filled with cheese and potato and served with hot onions and butter – these were all handmade months before by ladies from the Manchester Ukrainian community and frozen for the big day. They made more than 1,500 and it was a perfect chance for everyone to try a bit of Ukrainian cuisine.
We love brass bands so we were over the moon when we found Twisted Tubes, a modern brass band who play pop covers, to provide the entertainment at our wedding. They went down an absolute storm but my highlight of their set (and one of my highlights of the entire wedding) was when the musicians came onto the dancefloor with their instruments and played Spice Up Your Life around us – it was one of those once in a lifetime moments! We were also treated to a cabaret by my Ukrainian dance group, Podilya. I got to perform my own dance with some of my bridesmaids and a guest appearance by my new husband, and then all my dancer friends performed Hopak, which is the most famous Ukrainian dance. The atmosphere in the hall was electric and after they danced they got all our wedding guests up to try some moves for themselves.
We loved having our wedding at Tarasivka – the brilliant thing about it, is that it’s a blank canvas! The hall is a big space so we used a company to have it draped like a marquee which made it a lot more intimate, even though there were more than 300 people in there. It was amazing to get married in the great outdoors and I loved being able to put my own unique stamp on the venue.
People are right when they say a wedding is a magical day! There were so many amazing moments – seeing Callum for the first time, the amazing speeches by our best men, bridesmaids and our parents, dancing with all our friends to trumpets playing the Spice Girls – but one of my absolute favourites happened as soon as our ceremony ended. We turned around to walk back down the aisle and I my Baba was sat there; she’s in a care home at the moment and we didn’t think she’d be able to make the journey but my family surprised me by bringing her along! Everyone got quite emotional, especially me. We had all our favourite people there and her being a part of it was the cherry on the cake.
Autumn is a busy time for us and we wanted to enjoy every little bit of our first Christmas together so we decided to delay our honeymoon until January! We’re off to Goa for two weeks and we can’t wait for sandy beaches, beautiful seafood and fourteen days of pure chill out time together.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to live in the moment! I was really calm in the run up to the wedding but a few things stressed me out on the morning of the big day. Having a minute to myself with my new husband flipped a switch inside me that said we only get one day in our lives like this and after that I loved every minute. The little things that go wrong – and they will – will be the funny parts of your story in years to come.
Also, for our wedding we tried to use and support small businesses and I would encourage other couples to do the same. We communicated in person with all our vendors and they went above and beyond to turn our visions into a reality. Almost everything was transported from other parts of the UK but it was well worth it to say we knew exactly who made our cake, exactly who arranged our flowers, exactly who handmade our outfits – all in all it complemented our homemade wedding and made everything that bit more personal.