I remember 31 March 2017 seeing a post on my timeline from a friend I attend church with (Vuyo Nombila) asking us to vote for her friend - which I did. This friend (Magcino Gule) then won the Bride of the Year 2017. I remember following her journey and watching the SA weddings page to see how far she goes.
We entered and wanted to encourage others that marriage works and still is an institution to aspire to. Winning would've also given us an opportunity for an amazing honeymoon.
Campaign! Campaign! Campaign! We took it to the public with the tag line - “in it to win it”. We also sent out a message that love should be celebrated. My husband came up with the strategies while I executed the plans. We also had a group of family and friends help with campaigning to reach their audiences. The church also rallied behind us.
We worked consistently, creating posters and sharing our wedding journey while campaigning for votes. On the 31 March - the closing date- we had an hourly countdown which eventually became an every 15min countdown leading up to midnight. 23:30 to 00:00. It was intense as we were up collecting the last votes!
Firstly, 31 March to 03 April felt like 3yrs ....LOL.
I remember how we all waited in anticipation for the phone call from (021). We were excited because we already had that expectation given the work we put in to secure our spot in the Top 12. Everybody I saw that day had one question to ask: “Did you receive the call from SA weddings?” For us our next step was to get people to come support us at the event.
A fun filled event which turned out to be exactly that. It was like a wedding all over again with an extra touch of pampering.
We were spoilt rotten!
We arrived at The Maslow hotel on Friday afternoon and were all excited to meet each other (the top 12). I had to rush out to write my exams and only came through later. The surprise when I got to the rooms to find all the gifts from the sponsors. The hotel went out of its way to give us an amazing dinner experience and it was lovely interacting with the SA weddings team and the wonderful MC JP.
Saturday morning rehearsals in our Infinity dresses were amazing, not to mention the personalized Bride of the Year T-Shirts. The pampering from Aficology was the added bonus not to mention the friendships made! And of course - the crowning! Wow! The fact that it was my Mom in Love’s (I prefer “in love” instead of “in law”) birthday and that she could experience a glimpse of our wedding since she could not attend our wedding as she was hospitalized. She travelled from Ngqongweni Eastern Cape to experience the event.
Being crowned was not only a joyous occasion for us, but for her as well. She took to the dance floor like a young lady and it was amazing to watch a 76yr old pulling off dance moves. Seeing the amount of family, friends and church members who came to support was so encouraging and being announced at church on Sunday as the SA Weddings Bride of the Year was a definite highlight. Another highlight was when some of the brides to be from my church came to support us at the event as they also planning on entering Bride of the Year 2019.
One of the young ladies I mentor in my mentorship programs was selected to be a model for the bridal fashion show, which was a great way of giving back and making a dream come true. I can’t forget the photographers who made us feel like queens when they did our shoots.
Exciting and Nerve-wrecking at the same time. I remember how I was modeling up and down the change room, rehearsing my moves and ensuring that I have every step correct. The energy from the crowd lifted our spirits and added confidence. There was also the anticipation of what questions will be asked. Pulling off the dance move was our highlight for the ramp and seeing the crowd dance with us. We wanted to add our personal touch to give the judges a sense of who we are and how we do marriage.
I remember a few seconds before we got on the ramp, my husband looked at me and said: “this is it, remember, we’re in it to win it!” I felt good - he felt good and it was wonderful wearing our wedding dress and suit again!
We have planned to go early next year.
Have a determination to win! Work hard till the very last day and have a strategy for collecting votes. Have fun!
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