Depending on the number of guests, bride and groom requirements, and a venue, preparing for a wedding in South Africa is estimated to cost from R70 000, for extravagant weddings the cost could compound to hundreds of thousands. 

But for one Pretoria-based couple, this is not something they had to worry about. And it’s all because their wedding was a complete surprise for both of them.

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Nompumelelo Somdaka-Ndesi (28) and Nkosiphendulo Ndesi (32) said their ‘I dos’ in a white wedding a year ago and didn’t pay a cent. In fact, they didn’t even know they were getting married when they woke up on the morning of their wedding day. But they wouldn’t have it any other way because they are now debt-free and building a financially stable future together.

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Here is how the wedding day came about: Nompumelelo and Nkosiphendulo enjoy going to church together so that’s what they did on that morning but after the church service Nompumelelo was tricked to go to her friend’s place. 

“When I got there, I was surprised to see a wedding dress, shoes, a wig and a make-artist. I was shocked when my friend told me that it was all for me and the church had been planning the surprise wedding for a while. Everything fit and the wig was beautiful,” says Nompumelelo. 

Meanwhile, Nkosiphendulo was surprised by a fellow church member with a suit and shoes. They were asked for their sizes separately and had not picked up any hints at the time. The couple was then driven back to church separately and to their shock, there was décor, singing, dancers and it dawn on them that ‘this was a real wedding’. 

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SURPRISE, WEDDING, PRETORIA COUPLE, CHURCH

“When I saw the dancers and the cake, I wondered to myself, ‘how much am I going to pay for this, did Nompumelelo hide this from me,” says Nkosiphendulo.

At first, Nompumelelo was afraid of how her family would react. “I was excited but mostly nervous. I was not sure how my family was going to feel about a surprise wedding. But, when they saw me in that white dress, I could see happiness in their faces.” Both the couple’s parents were invited.

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The couple later learnt that the curch members wanted to gift them with a wedding as they approved of their relationship and felt like they were family.

The couple’s relationship started as a friendship in 2014 and at the beginning of 2017 they got into a romantic relationship. A year later Nkosiphendulo had proposed and they were engaged. “When she said ‘yes’ I was over the moon. We had built a solid friendship over the years. We were able to sit down and talk about real-life issues and I would have done anything to be with her. But the challenge is that I was broke at the time,” he says.

His new wife also knew the situation and understood it. “Having a wedding was the last thing of my mind. I was aware of our financial situation. What I cared about the most was sharing my life with him.”

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The couple says they are not against people who have glamorous weddings, especially if they are planned. 

“We knew having a wedding was not for us, it would put us in financial crisis and we did not want that. We are both so grateful to the Kholo Kingdom Vision church for the beautiful gift of a wedding.”

Some of their family members and friends who wanted to witness their union could not make it as it was a surprise and short notice. That is the only thing the couple would have changed about their wedding day.

Would you be happy to be gifted with a surprise wedding? Or would you arrange a wedding for someone without their permission or knowledge? Share your thoughts with us here.

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