Philippe Schneitter and Arina Malyshkova could have met on the streets of London but fate chose to bring them together on a Swiss holiday. From the moment Philippe laid eyes on Arina at the Palace bar in the ski resort town Gstaad in December 2009, he could not look away. Mesmerized, he struck up a conversation and wound up spending most of the evening by her side.
To their astonishment, Philippe and Arina learned that they had been leading parallel lives: both worked in finance, held degrees from the same university, lived in the same London neighborhood and literally worked on the same street.
"OTHERS MIGHT HAVE BEEN TAKEN ABACK, BUT ARINA KNEW IN HER HEART THAT PHILIPPE SPOKE THE TRUTH."
Mere days later, during a New Year’s Eve dinner with his parents, Swiss-born Philippe grabbed Arina’s hand and proudly proclaimed that he had met the one.
Others might have been taken aback, but Arina knew in her heart that Philippe spoke the truth. “It was a little bit cheesy but it felt very right at that moment,” Arina admitted.
After Arina finished her Master’s Degree in 2010, Philippe dazzled her with a celebratory weekend at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire, England. Arina, who owns a jewelry business in London and has since left finance to become a student of the dramatic arts, never suspected the penultimate purpose of the trip.
After a decadent spa day and a romantic country walk, Philippe surprised his beloved with flowers and champagne, then knelt before her with a personally designed ring and a question: will you marry me?
Most brides expect, at best, minimal assistance from the groom when planning the wedding, but Philippe went out of his way to help Arina plan a luxurious three-day wedding getaway to the South of France.
After one minor setback—fifty guests took a bus to the wrong beach—the wedding celebration began with a magical seaside dinner on July 20, 2012.
At Château Diter the following day, with the sun sinking over the western mountains, Philippe’s breath caught at the sight of his bride. “She’s very, very beautiful and she looked amazing,” remembers Philippe.
Following the tasteful, traditional ceremony that included readings in German, Russian and English, the 150 guests literally danced all night long. The idyllic scene and loving atmosphere even lured guests out on the dance floor before the main course was even served.
“We almost didn’t know how to stop them,” Arina laughed. “We definitely knew we succeeded when we saw that happening.”
Not even moving the festivities indoors due to strict local noise ordinances flagged their jubilation. At three in the morning, with several dozen guests still standing, including the bride and groom, a hot dog cart was rolled out to keep the party going.
With scarcely an hour’s sleep, Arina went back into hair and makeup while Philippe played in the golf tournament they’d organized.
After the tournament, which Philippe’s father won, the weekend celebration of love, family and friendship concluded with a brunch for the happy couple and their guests.
Philippe and Arina then enjoyed an unforgettable honeymoon in Asia.
Location: Château Diter, Grasse, France; Event Planner, Design and Caterer: Imaginez…, Cannes, France
Floral Design: Roni Fleurs, Cagnes sur Mer, France; Invitations: The Wren Press, Mayfair, London
Photography: Janis Ratnieks, London, England