On a day in June I was lucky enough to marry my beautiful wife Olga in an English Castle.
The wedding had the added complication of a multinational guest list!
A number of the most important guests were Russian speakers, unfamiliar with English wedding traditions.
When my wife originally suggested bringing in a specialist from Russia to assist with the day, I must admit I was unsure! It turned out to be one of the best decisions we made.
Ivan was wonderful... there is no other word for it!
He not only managed to act as an expert interpreter, but also his tireless work as the Russian MC during the day ensured everyone knew of the parallel traditions that they would have experienced were we all in Russia. This was hugely popular with the guests and really went towards bringing the UK and Russian sides of our family close together.
However, his most wonderful work was the help and encouragement he offered to my 15 year old son, Harry...
Harry had his heart set on delivering a speech of welcome in Russian and English (an incredibly complicated thing for a young man to do on this nerve wracking occasion) and not only did Ivan translate the words but coached and gave him the confidence to stand up in front of a room full of guests to deliver what will be one of the most emotional speeches ever and one that filled me with such pride as a father - for that, we will always be eternally grateful.
Ivan, you not only provided a fantastic service that day, but I'd like to believe that you also became a good friend