South African couple, Hector Mkansi and Nonhlanhla Soldaat had their dream wedding December 31, right in time for new year, after a video of their proposal went viral in November.
Mkansi, 37, proposed to Soldaat, 28, midway through their meal at a KFC restaurant in South Africa.
Since the video was posted by a Twitter user in November, the video has been shared more than 25,000 times using the hashtag #KFCProposal.
Strangers and brands from across the country were so moved by the proposal that they identified the couple and offered to help plan the big day.
Mkansi and Soldaat met at a funeral in 2010 and have been inseparable since then.
They tied the knot in a small ceremony in 2012, but Mkansi, who is a pastor, says it was not the wedding of their dreams.
“In 2011 our families began lobola negotiations (dowry) and in 2012 we got married in a small traditional ceremony as that was all we could afford at the time… We had the ceremony but I knew this wasn’t what my wife and I wanted,” Mkansi told CNN.
He said he was not happy with the rings he got his wife at the time, so he decided to buy her new ones and surprise her with a better proposal in her favorite place to eat – KFC.
“The team at the restaurant was surprised at the request but they were helpful in creating the big moment. We received our meals and when she looked inside, she found the rings and that’s when I went down on my knee,” he said.
Unknown to them, someone caught the special moment on camera and posted it online.
Not everyone on social media was supportive at first. One woman mocked Mkansi for popping the question at KFC. She wrote that South African men “are so broke” they propose at KFC.
But the positive responses that followed drowned out the bad comments.
“We didn’t even know about it (negative comments) until much later, we are not really bothered by that,” Mkansi said.
“We’re still in disbelief”
KFC South Africa announced on Twitter that it is helping the couple with planning, and even hired an event planner to manage activities around the ceremony.
“South Africa, you guys are amazing! We’ve found the beautiful couple, and looks like we’re having a #StreetwiseWedding y’all. We’re meeting Bhut’ Hector and his lovely bride Nonhlanhla we’ll keep you posted. #KFCProposal,” they posted on their official Twitter account.
Soon after, brands like Audi and Lexus offered to help the couple with travel. Airlines Kulula and Mango also pledged to fly the couple to their honeymoon destination.
Mkansi says he had a small event in mind for the second time around to match his budget. But now, he and his wife cannot believe their luck.
“We are still in disbelief, both of us have to ask each other if this is really happening from time to time. We couldn’t be more grateful to God and every single person that has shared in our little love story,” he told CNN.
He says it is the wedding of their dreams “Our dream has come true, we never in a million years thought something like this would happen to us.”