A GLOBE-TROTTING couple who had already been married 35 times in different countries decided to tie the knot twice more in Ndlambe last weekend.
Setting a record for getting married the most times in different places, Lisa Gant, 30, and Alex Pelling, 32, began their adventure in 2011, when they packed up their belongings, closed Pelling’s auto body repair shop, sold their house and gave up their jobs in Manchester, UK.
Since then the couple has been married a total of 37 times in such countries as Canada, USA, Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Peru and now South Africa.
MARRIED AGAIN: Lisa Gant (front) and Alex Pelling relax on a couch in traditional Xhosa dress at the Fish River Sun having just been “married” in a traditional Xhosa wedding at Castaways on Sunday Picture: ROB KNOWLES
Among their more unique and bizarre ceremonies are a vampire wedding in Hollywood, getting married on horseback in Canada and a ceremony incorporating spiders, gnomes andleprechaunsin Honduras.
TotT attended the couple’s traditional Xhosa wedding at Fish River Sun and asked them what had spurred their adventure.
“It just seemed like a very interesting thing to do at the time,” said Pelling. “There were no unique places to have a wedding, and Lisa and I decided to look around first.”
“And we have met so many interesting people,” Gant agreed. “When you go travelling you normally only really meet other travellers. But, we have made friends with the real indigenous peoples of the areas we have visited.”
Local photographer Andrew Elliott heard about the couple’s wish to find a unique location and offered his services to plan a wedding for them in the Eastern Cape.
Two weddings took place – a traditional English/Afrikaans wedding at Oceana last Saturday followed by a Xhosa wedding at Castaways at the Fish River Sun on Sunday, complete with Xhosa traditional dress and accoutrements organised by Elliott and donated by the hotel.
“It has been a lot of work,” said Elliott, “but it was well worth it. However, I’m not going to offer my services as a wedding planner again. I’ll just stick to photography.”
Ironically, even though Pelling and Gant have had weddings around the world, they are not really married.
They originally met in 2000 when they both lived in Yorkshire, and both claimed it was “love at first sight”. At this time they conceived the idea of getting married all around the world. Following a break-up which lasted five years, they got together again in Manchester and decided to implement their original plan.
After what they called a “super secret special wedding” in Manchester, the couple had their camper van, named Peggy, shipped to Canada to begin the first leg of their epic journey.
While they were travelling in Uruguay they received a call from Savannah Guthrie of America’s Today Show who had heard about the couple’s unique approach to tying the knot and invited them to appear live with her on the show, all expenses paid.
From there they also appeared on the Ellen Show with Ellen Degeneres, and were actually married by business magnate and television personality Martha Stewart in New York.
Although they share their experiences with various media throughout the world – it is usually the media attention that attracts sponsors who fund their wedding ceremonies – neither Gant nor Pelling are particularly seeking the limelight.
Their blog site (http://2people1life.com) has a link to Unicef where well-wishers are asked for a small donation to the charity organisation in return for a chance to win a two-person holiday to a mystery destination to join the couple at a wedding ceremony.
“We are just looking for that perfect place to hold our real wedding,” said Pelling. “At this time we have offers from 70 countries to visit them and hold another ceremony there. It sometimes gets a bit competitive.”
Next the couple will travel to Durban, and then through Africa and into Europe. When they have completed their journey they will decide on the most appropriate and unique venue and actually get married for real.