‘Very special for us’: Ukrainian couple marries days after arriving in Manitoba as refugees – Winnipeg


It may not have been the wedding they originally pictured, but a Ukrainian couple has made their love official here in Manitoba just days after arriving in Canada as refugees.

Violetta and Ivan Mikho were married at a church in Stonewall Saturday, 10 days after a whirlwind trip from Europe landed them in the bedroom community, just north of Winnipeg.

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“Everything was so, so beautiful and so, so nice, as in the movies,” Ivan told Global News Wednesday.

“It’s very, very special for us and we’re very, I don’t know how to say English, when it touch your heart.”


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Ukrainian refugee needs

Violetta and Ivan got engaged in Poland in April, while awaiting Canadian visas.

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The couple had — by chance — been in Poland on a skiing trip when Russia invaded Ukraine Feb. 24.

They had originally looked at getting married in Poland, but the couple says the process was too complicated for non-citizens and would have taken months, so they decided to wait a little longer, until they got to Canada.

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A church connection eventually landed them in Stonewall, where the congregation at New Lift Church — and the community outside the church — was ready with open arms.

The couple’s hosts, Rachel Clark and her family played a key part in helping them organize their special day, which was held at New Life Church.

“It was just so exciting. And it was I felt I felt like I was playing many roles that day for Viola,” Clark says.


Ivan and Violetta Mikho in an engagement photo.


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“I was getting to stand in for her mother, for her best friends. And it was an honor to carry that responsibility and to step in for them when I knew they couldn’t be here.”

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Violetta and Ivan chose the bouquet they wanted and the colour of their cake, but other than that, they say the community came together, getting the food ready, preparing the ceremony, and helping make sure friends and family at home could watch live online.

Pastor Rusty Hildebrand says the Saturday nuptials were an open event … drawing in more than 100 people from the church alone. A story in the local paper brought even more people out for the big day.

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Some — including close family — watched the livestream of the celebrations from places like London and Poland.

“I don’t know that any of us had ever experienced a wedding like that where of course, everything happened in both languages,” Hildebrand says.

“They didn’t know how any of this was going to happen, and then here, within a matter of days, you know, we were able to come alongside them and just make this beautiful day happen for them.”


Violetta Mikho with her Canadian host family on her wedding day.


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A family at the church who happens to own a rental house with a vacancy has opened the space up for the new couple, who will move in to their new home July 1.

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The community has also rallied to donate furniture, dishes, and kitchen supplies.

“It’s just been all types of people that have rallied together to love and care for this couple,” Hildebrand said.

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Now that they have had few days to settle into their new lives together in a new country, the couple says they’re still trying to decide what exactly the future holds.

While leaving family behind would be hard, they say, after the reception they received, settling in Canada is something they’re considering.

“Maybe the other option is that our relatives will come to Canada and settle they here,” Violetta smiles.

— with files from Rosanna Hempel 


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Ukrainian refugees arrive to Gimli – Jun 4, 2022

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