Our hearts swelled with gratitude as we accepted [the incredible offer from KFC to fund our dream wedding]. My husband and I jumped up and down our living room. From that moment on, our lives became a whirlwind of cameras and attention.
GAUTENG VEREENIGING, South Africa — I’ll never forget the magical moment when my husband surprised me with a spontaneous proposal in front of a crowd at one of our favorite fastfood restaurants – Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).
When I saw him lower himself to the floor and get on one knee, my heart nearly leaped out of my chest. A wave of happiness and excitement washed over me as I processed the moment. Tears filled my eyes and I replied with a resounding, “Yes!” As he stood up to embrace me, it felt like we were the only two people in the world.
The very next day my cousin reached out to say our proposal was trending online. I felt confused. “How can this be,” I wondered. I clicked the link and discovered a bystander filmed my husband’s proposal and shared it with the world.
Suddenly, our love story became a hot topic of debate. Some people mocked his choice of venue and called us cheap. It saddened me that a moment so special could turn into a laughingstock for strangers online. Our intimate moment felt intruded upon by the entire world. We tried not to read too many comments. After all, to me, the proposal was perfect.
We never really cared about fancy locations or grand, expensive gestures. My experience felt personal, spontaneous, and intimate in our own way. Seeing so many people say otherwise felt invasive and sad. Little time passed before a call came in from a local station. They wanted to interview us about our newfound fame. We never anticipated that story would go that far. Initially, we felt uncertain about the interview, fearing being made fun of.
We waited it out for a while, but after a few days another message came. This time, the staff from the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) where my husband proposed to me, made an offer we could not refuse. They saw the videos trending on social media and wanted to provide us with the wedding of our dreams!
Our hearts swelled with gratitude as we accepted their incredible offer. My husband and I jumped up and down our living room. From that moment on, our lives became a whirlwind of cameras and attention. Organizations and individuals scrambled to be a part of our big day, showering us with their support and assistance. All we had to do was show up, and they took care of everything.
We went from not being able to afford a wedding planner to suddenly being guaranteed the wedding we always wanted. It felt surreal. That ordeal left us deeply affected by the incredible humanity and kindness people can display.
Today, everywhere we go, people still recognize us. They ask, “How are you doing,” and “How is your marriage going?” The whole journey illuminated the incredible power of love and the overwhelming support of good-hearted people. It serves as a testament to the fact that love triumphs over all else, even amidst harsh judgement.
This story also holds a vital lesson. It reveals the deceptive nature of social media. Reality remains more nuanced than we can ever know. Some may use social media to paint a facade, but we learned the importance of embracing our authentic selves and cherishing the love that truly matters.
I think a lot of people’s self-esteem and perception of reality risks being negatively impacted by the flawless photographs they see on social platforms every day. It becomes too easy to judge others and ourselves harshly. In the end, that one negative comment meant to spread darkness over our special day, inadvertently sparked a wildfire of positivity. Our hearts overflow with happiness and gratitude, even now. I only wish for others to let go of this pressure to be picture-perfect and accept the beauty in the simple things yet to come.
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