A Ukrainian couple married on top of an NYC skyscraper, then 3 hours later flew to Italy for a wedding with their families who fled the war
A Ukrainian couple who live in New York wed at the Top of the Rockefeller Center in May. Three hours later, they boarded a plane to Italy for a second wedding with family who fled the recent invasion.
Daria Sokol, a 29-year-old travel blogger who is known by the social-media handle @daria.newyork, told Insider that she met her partner, Anton Topikha, 34, when she moved to New York three years ago, after previously moving from Ukraine to Washington, DC. Topikha has lived in the US for more than 20 years, Sokol said, although he still has relatives in Europe.
Sokol shared a video of the ceremony with her 20,000 followers on Instagram on May 3, writing in the caption that they chose the Top of the Rock because it’s the “best view in the world.” She wore a long-sleeved wrap dress by the Russian designer Vesna Wedding, and the groom wore a navy suit.
Sokol said her parents weren’t able to obtain US visas when she first started planning the wedding last year, so they initially wanted to have it in Italy — until they realized how much paperwork would be involved. According to the website Weddings in Tuscany, US citizens who wed in Italy must have an affidavit by the American Consulate in Italy, as well as a sworn affidavit from the Italian Consulate in the USA or an Italian court.
The couple ultimately decided to have the legal ceremony in New York, before traveling to the south of Italy that same day, Sokol said. Their second wedding ceremony and reception took place in Sorrento later that week, Sokol told Insider. They had around 34 guests.
The couple married with one witness and a photographer
Sokol said that it was important for her not to have a courthouse wedding, which she said would have been a “grim image.”
“I wanted something that’s very pretty, and I love New York very much,” she said. “My husband does as well, so getting married in front of all of those beautiful buildings in the city was very special.”
Other than their wedding officiant, the couple had just one guest at the wedding, a close friend and photographer who is known by the Instagram handle @ivanshatokhin.
The couple, their officiant, and their witness each purchased a $40 general admission ticket for the observation deck. Sokol told Insider that they didn’t have to pay extra to have the wedding there, nor did they have to notify the building in advance.
“I wouldn’t imagine that you can bring a whole party there, but it was just two of us, plus a witness and photographer,” she said. “We weren’t in anyone’s way.”
Sokol says the first thing her mom packed when she fled Ukraine was her daughter’s wedding dress
On June 14, Sokol shared a video on Instagram of her father walking her down the aisle at her second wedding at Villa Zagara Sorrento, a historical villa in Sorrento, Italy.
She wrote in the caption that she didn’t know if her parents, who are in their sixties, would be able to attend when Russia declared war on Ukraine on February 24.
She told Insider that when her parents decided to flee Ukraine on the fifth day of the invasion, they packed one bag of essential items including Sokol’s second wedding dress, a strapless A-line gown, also by Vesna Wedding. Sokol said the dress had been ordered online and delivered to her parent’s home in Kharkiv before the war began
“The decision to go was made very quickly because they didn’t know whether to stay or leave — people were being shot,” Sokol said, noting that her mother told her they had just 30 minutes to pack.
When it came to important items, Sokol’s mother thought of two dresses: Sokol’s wedding dress and her own wedding gown. Sokol said that her mother exclaimed that “your wedding dress was the number one thing that we packed to take with us.”
Sokol’s parents are now living with her in the US. She said that while they are grateful to be safe, it has been difficult to adjust because they don’t speak English. They have had to “start their lives from scratch.”
“We are very happy that everything worked out and that they are safe,” Sokol said. “That’s the most important thing.”