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The SA Weddings team took a trip down the beautiful Garden Route and stopped off in George to grab a quick cuppa with Christo and Monique Moolman, the 2016 Bride of the Year winners.

We were so excited to catch up with these two lovely people and hear how life has been post winning the crown and all their fantastic prizes, which included a holiday sponsored by World Leisure Holidays and Sands Suite Resort & Spa in Mauritius.

What did you do to become a finalist?

M: Well, actually I didn't do anything really. My aunt entered me into the competition - she was in control of it all. I actually didn't know about the competition until my mom mentioned it one day. She wanted me to enter, but initially I didn't want to. Eventually, my aunt just said "that's it, we're entering you."

I've asked all my friends and clients to vote for me and of course, my family all voted continuously so that I could be a finalist.

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Can you explain your Bride of the Year experience when you first arrived?

M: Wow! We remember every detail - that's how incredible it was. We were actually the first couple to arrive - it was such a welcoming visit and walking into the room was unbelievable. It was such a special moment walking into the room and seeing all the gifts laid out for us - especially our picture! Christo then decided that he wanted to pray for us and it was incredibly special as he just prayed for us to always remain humble.

The rest of the weekend was incredible as well! On the Friday evening we had a lovely dinner and met with the other couples. Another highlight was Saturday morning when we had breakfast and our rehearsal. I was so scared of doing our lift in our dance, but Christo was adamant that we do it and we did.

C (laughing): I must add that our golf experience was quite memorable. All the men went to play golf and I remember being given a right-handed club and I'm left-handed; I also don't play golf, so I wasn't really aware. As I took a shot, there was a play park for kids in the distance and I hit the ball so hard. The ball landed in the play park and all the mothers started to grab their children. It was such a fun experience!

What went through your minds when you heard you had won?

M: Never did it cross our minds that we would win. We came to Johannesburg with humble hearts and the idea of making new friends; it never crossed our minds that we would actually win! We were standing on stage and we honestly thought we might win Mrs Photogenic because our photos were quite different, but then another bride's name was announced.

C: We still cannot believe that we had won! It was so great to do our first dance again - we practiced very hard for it.

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How did you feel about the cash prize?

M: The huge cash prize was totally unexpected! The extra prizes we've received were so incredible as well - from spices, to vouchers, linen, lingerie and massage oil - it was all so unexpected and generous of the sponsors.

Tell us...Have you been on your holiday yet?

M: We are so, so excited! We haven't been on our holiday yet, but we've booked it for our one year anniversary, which is at the end of November! My aunt acutally said I should take my sash and tiara with on holiday for our pictures.

C: We're very excited - we'll take lots of pics!

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Any advice for Bride of the Year contestants?

M: Yes! First thing is get ALL your friends and family to vote continuously for you. My second piece of advice is to enjoy it all. Don't fret about winning - you will not enjoy the moment and the experience. It's such a special opportunity and you have to live in the moment by enjoying it all and most importantly, by meeting new people and making friends

We wanted to walk away knowing we enjoyed every single moment of the weekend, and then we walked away with so much more!

Any last words?

M & C: We cannot wait for BOTY 2017! Thank you so much to the entire SA Weddings team for giving brides an opportunity like this, and for them to experience a second wedding. Thank you for all your hard work - there's so much effort that goes into an event like Bride of the Year.

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