Boksburg bride at her surprise wedding: ‘It was an amazing experience that I will never forget’
Jo Hefer was thrilled with the surprise wedding that her fiancé, Paul, had cooked up for her. (PHOTO: Studio in frame)
The bride-to-be thought she was modeling her dress at a bridal show – so imagine her surprise when she walked down the venue’s aisle to find her fiancé waiting for her and realized that they were going to get married on the spot.
Three months later, Jo Hefer (39) from Boksburg is still amazed at the surprise her husband Paul (43) prepared for her and says it was a beautiful moment she will never forget.
“It was like a flash mob wedding,” she tells you.
Having been forced to postpone her big day due to Covid-19, Jo decided to cheer herself up by entering a wedding contest she came across on social media that would let her show off her dress.
Before she knows it, she‘d reached the top 50 and then the top 30.
“I then received an invitation to the wedding exhibition to model my wedding dress,” says Jo.
Unbeknownst to her, the planners had contacted Paul and suggested he surprise her with a wedding.
“They said, ‘Look, what would your future wife think of a surprise marriage?’ “recalls Paul. “I thought it was perfect, here we go. I’ve never been able to surprise her with anything, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity.
LEARN MORE | This Cape Town man spent R75,000 to give his sweetheart the engagement of her dreams
The couple have been together for six years and each have a son from their previous relationship.
Paul admits that it was difficult to arrange all the little details without his knowledge, but he finally succeeded.
“Things like bringing in the pastor, preparing his passport photos and the marriage contract. I remember her asking me why I needed these things and all I said to her was, “I’m just showing how ready and committed I am to sort it all out,” adds- he laughs.
When the big day arrived, she and her bridesmaids all showed up at the Thulani Wedding Venue in east Pretoria for the show, ready to model their dresses.
While they were getting ready, Paul, who had agreed to walk down the aisle with her, slipped out and got everyone ready.
It was a very different wedding from the intimate affair they had planned. As it was open to the public, strangers began to flock to the on-site church.
While Jo was primping in the bridal suite with all the other brides-to-be, Paul was getting ready for church to give her the surprise of a lifetime. (PHOTO: Twane Paich Corporate & Lifestyle Photography and Marika Wilkins Photography)
“The place was packed, I was very nervous but it was phenomenal,” says Paul.
Meanwhile, Jo, still oblivious to everything that was going on, was in the bridal suite getting ready with all the other brides-to-be and unsuspecting.
But she found it strange when she arrived at the chapel and the wedding march song that she and her fiancé were planning to use for their actual wedding was playing.
Jo says she knew something was wrong when her stepfather, Eddie Herbst, suddenly appeared beside her to walk her down the aisle. (PHOTO: provided)
“I couldn’t help but ask what was going on,” she said.
LEARN MORE | Johannesburg couple whose winter wonderland wedding photos went viral talk about their special day
Then suddenly, her stepfather, Eddie Herbst, appeared by her side – which was definitely not part of the plan.
As Eddie escorted him down the aisle, Paul got up and went to stand in front with a sign that read, “We’re getting married now.”
“I was halfway through the catwalk and the MC made the announcement. I realized what was going on. My belly dropped, but it was an amazing experience that I will never forget,” says Jo .
Paul says seeing Jo’s reaction is priceless.
“I saw her looking at my painting and the first thing she said was, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ That was awesome,” he adds.
The lovebirds are now planning a celebratory party later this year. (PHOTO: provided)
The happy couple say they are grateful to all the sponsors who helped make their day special.
They are planning to have another wedding celebration on March 5 and they are looking forward to the big party.
Looking back, Paul says he has no regrets about the wedding and would do it again in a heartbeat.
“Doing it like I did for her was special and for me it shows how much I love her.”