With sommelier flown in from France, black caviar to every desk and an after party that included white water rafting, it’s no surprise Maria Solodar’s £3million nuptials to Joan Schnelzauer has been dubbed the wedding of the year.
With a picturesque ceremony by the banks of the Zambezi, close to Victoria Fall in Zambia, self-made millionaire bride Maria flew all the food, chefs, pop stars and most guests from her homeland , Russia, to Africa by fleet of private jets for a five day nuptials extravaganza at The Royal Livingstone Hotel.
The internet marketing specialist wed Luxembourg-based international business entrepreneur Joan, 33, and the wines and accompanying sommeliers were delivered from France.
Russian newspaper Komosmolskaya Pravda dubbed it the most expensive wedding of the year.
The web guru began her career selling backpacks on a market in Ukraine, and is now one of Russia’s most spectacular internet success stories.
The five-day event included stag and hen do’s, a dinner with African delicacies, white water rafting, a safari and a huge party with black caviar jetted in from Russia.
The stunning bride wore a Vera Wang outfit for the ceremony before changing into a Zuhair Murad number for the party.
‘Absolutely everything needed to be brought on private jets from Russia to South Africa, from decor to dishes,’ Komosmolskaya Pravd reported.
The Ukrainian-born bride who had forged her meteoric career in Russia boasted: ‘Many said it was the wedding of the century… but I would say it was the adventure of the century.
‘I never wanted a magnificent wedding. I am not about dressing up and putting makeup on, it’s just not my style.
‘I chose one of the first dresses for fitting, and I took the second one without even trying it on.’
‘Making such a holiday out of nothing in a desert is a talent. Even on national holidays in Zambia there was no such scene.’
‘The country refused to let such a big stage in, the kitchen had to wait at the border for three days and arrived only three hours prior to the banquet,’ she said. ‘We brought everything, everything.
‘Food, drinks, chefs… we organised breakfasts with black caviar from Russia, cheeses and the best wine from France, we had sommeliers, cooks, make-up artists, all the guests had their individual styles, every day had its own dress code… the amount of work was heroic.
She later posted online: ‘I knew how important it was for our family.
‘So everything was done for them, in order to unite them all, our family members and friends.
‘This is why we chose such an inaccessible place and also one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen – a safari in the wild, a hotel where zebras, giraffes and roe deer roam freely, and a wonder of the world, the Victoria Falls.’
She said the two families were ‘very down-to-earth and simple’.
The couple reportedly met in Dubai. Guests were serenaded by Russian 1990s band Ivanushki International, along with French stars Helena Segara and Damien Sargues.