Bank holiday Monday marked a special day for teachers Alyona and Sebastian Cott, after they flew to Britain for a wedding blessing at Ford.
The couple, who live in Ukraine where Alyona is from, were actually married there on April 26. But with the country in political turmoil and visas virtually impossible to come by, the groom’s British family were unable to attend.
So Sebastian’s mother, Duddo Parish Councillor Rosemary Cott, arranged a blessing at Lady Waterford Hall, and the happy couple arrived in north Northumberland at the weekend for their second big day.
“It’s been a whirl wind,” admitted Seb. “My mum did most of the work getting the venue organised. We only arrived at the weekend.”
The couple were always going to get married, but with the political situation escalating in Ukraine, they decided to do it sooner rather than later.
“It may have been a little bit different had things not happened as they have out there,” Seb admitted. “Alyona’s only got a visa until June, so we needed to do it before then.”
Alyona explained: “We know another couple like us – he’s British and she’s Ukranian. They are married but she couldn’t get a visa. It’s very difficult even if you are married.
“When I got a visa at Christmas it was easy. But this time there were lots of questions.”
Organising their marriage in Ukraine was equally fraught. Seb only got the documents required a day before the wedding. “I’m a British citizen so I had to get papers sent to the embassy and that was closed for several weeks due to all the people shot in Kiev,” Seb said. “It was a tense time.”
He added: “I’m hopeful it will get better in Ukraine, but I don’t think it will. I don’t think we will stay.”