¡Ay, caramba! A fiesta of love across continents

‘ He asked me ‘Bonita, si or no?’ (Pretty, yes or no?). Obviously I said si!”
‘ He asked me ‘Bonita, si or no?’ (Pretty, yes or no?). Obviously I said si!”

DANIEL Ojeda Gonzalez and Mandi-Rae Wood are planning their big, fat Mexican wedding after she said “Si” (yes in Spanish) to his proposal.

Daniel, 28, who came out to South Africa from Mexico in 2010 to work as an engineer for Ford, met Mandi, 25, at a Zebra and Giraffe concert about 13 months ago.

Like grew to love as the couple got to know each other. “He sent me a friend request on Facebook and the rest is history”, Mandi, a youth pastor at Harvest Christian Church, said.

Daniel said she was just the type of girl he was looking for although he never thought he would end up marrying a South African. And Mandi never thought she would end up with Daniel.

“Never in my life did I think I would marry a Mexican. I had these stereotypes of Mexican druglords crossing the border but having visited the country twice, it has been amazing getting to know them,” she said.

Daniel proposed just after midnight on her birthday.

“He arranged with my flatmate to come at about midnight to surprise me. He had on a bow-tie and sang romantic Mexican songs on his guitar. I thought it was for my birthday so I didn’t think he was going to propose. As he was leaving, he got on bended knee and asked me to be his wife. I was so shocked I didn’t answer. So he asked me ‘ Bonita, si or no?’ (Pretty, yes or no?). Obviously I said si!”, she said.

Mandi recently travelled to Mexico to celebrate with his family where she had a traditional Mexican bridal shower. “The showers are very fancy so I had to get dressed up. I felt like a rock star. Everyone wanted their pictures taken with me and there were about 90 women who did not speak English. The speeches were in Spanish, which I didn’t really understand, but they made me feel welcome to the family. I felt special and loved.”

Mandi is learning to speak Spanish as the couple are not sure where they will end up settling after the wedding in April.

The couple, who are getting married at Lombardini Game Farm just outside Jeffreys Bay, are going to have a few surprises at the wedding to celebrate the two cultures coming together. “We will have a few Mexican traditions at the wedding,” Daniel said.

Daniel is happy to let Mandi plan the wedding. “All I care about is the cake. And the food. She can take care of the rest,” he laughed.

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