Exclusive Photos: See Tim Tebow's Wedding to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
Tim Tebow's wedding to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was a dream. The couple exchanged vows on January 20, 2020, right as the sun was setting in the bride's home country of South Africa. The nuptials took place close to a year after Tebow popped the question in his native Florida, where the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was a sensation during his tenure as quarterback for the University of Florida. While the distance between the two locations couldn't have been farther apart, the couple fatefully met in 2018 at a charity event.
"We initially connected through our mutual love for people with special needs," says Nel-Peters, who was crowned Miss South Africa three years ago, and ultimately, Miss Universe in 2017. "My late sister, Franje, was our matchmaker after she was invited to attend Night to Shine in South Africa."
And beyond their shared heart for compassion, it was their faith that ultimately bonded Tebow, a devout Christian, and Nel-Peters. In fact, Atlanta-based megachurch pastor Louie Giglio officiated the couple's wedding ceremony, just months after he presided over Sadie Robertson's nuptials in Louisiana.
The couple decided against having a first look, which ultimately worked in their favor. (The bride cited her entrance as her favorite memory from the wedding.) "Very few things will beat the moment I saw Tim's face for the first time as I walked down the aisle," she muses. "[Second to that] was getting to say 'I do' as we made a promise to forever."
See how Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and Tim Tebow's wedding was uniquely their own as they unveil exclusive details to The Knot.
Their Engagement Spot Was Honored
One challenge in the couple's wedding planning journey proved to be the proposal, which the athlete had a tough time pulling off. "We had so many surprises, but the problem is I had to lie, like a lot," Tebow previously told Good Morning America. "I didn't really like it or feel comfortable, but I had to. And it was worth it." However, he did manage to pop the question in his home state.
Since the wedding festivities were in South Africa, the couple paid tribute to the Tebow family's home base of Florida beginning with the invitations. "All the guests received a personalized white envelope with black modern calligraphy," says Nel-Peters. "And inside the envelope, the black liner included a foiled landscape illustration of where we got engaged in Jacksonville."
The Location Was Sentimental
La Paris Estate was the chosen venue for Nel-Peters and Tebow's wedding ceremony and reception, with a surrounding region known as Franschhoek, South Africa, which is known for its splendid vineyards and farm-to-table experiences along the Cape.
"It's located in the province where I grew up, and it's one that's always been dear to my heart," says the bride. "South Africa is very special to me. I wanted to honor my homeland during my wedding, while showing all of our guests what my country has to offer."
Tebow and Nel-Peters Decided Against a First Look
"No!" was the resounding response from both Tebow and Nel-Peters when they were asked about a possible first look. "South African tradition says the bride and groom must not see each other until the ceremony, so we didn't want to break away from that," says the bride. "We first saw each other when I walked down the aisle."
Which Is Why the Veil Was Important
Nel-Peters wore a custom, sleeveless, white crepe gown by David's Bridal featuring a scooped back, which she paired with a low chignon. It was the veil, however, that was rather meaningful to the bride, who knew she wanted it to be dramatic. In fact, it was a 20-foot-long piece. "I love the symbolic meaning behind it," she notes. "That it resembles purity."
They Had a Gospel Choir
In May 2019, the bride's half-sister passed away at age 13, after suffering from a condition known as cerebellar agenesis, which affects the brain. The couple decided to share the memory of Franje with a performance. "One of my favorite sentimental elements that we added [in] was having the Soweto Gospel Choir perform," says Nel-Peters. The song of choice, by Johnny Clegg, was suitably called "The Crossing." ("To honor Franje," she notes.)
They Mixed Vows—Traditional and Personal
Words certainly matter to the Tebows. "We both incorporated our own vows with traditional vows," explains Nel-Peters. "Because we wanted to make it personal, but there are only few words that can express our love more than 'Till death to us part.'" Loved ones then showered the couple with white rose petals.
A Keto Tier in the Cake Was a Must
The couple's cake-cutting came before their first dance, but that's not the only place where they put a twist on tradition with this special reception moment. "Tim had a tier that was especially made for him and our guests who are keto fans," she says. "Our ten-tier wedding cake was designed and made by Kelly Jayne Cakes and it was truly out of this world!"
The Catering Was a Mix of Their Favorites
While the couple took photos at sunset, guests were dazzled by an assortment of food options during cocktail hour, including a mozzarella roller. "We had 'the mozzarella guy' create fresh mozzarella for our guests with complimentary garnishes," she says. "We had various food stations as well as a beautiful harvest table with delicacies from all over South Africa like homegrown figs, preserves, fruits, homemade jams, homemade cheese, meats and more."
The sit-down meal was a mix of American and South African menu options. Some were homemade inspirations. "We have a special salad that we love making when we're together and we had that served at the wedding," says Nel-Peters. "We had many fun surprises to incorporate both South African and American flavors such as milk tarts, koeksisters, fried Oreos and pumpkin pies."
They Had a Charity Registry
Leading up to Nel-Peters and Tebow's wedding, the couple unveiled requested gifts from their guests on The Knot Registry. Together, the couple walked through their curated selection of products, cash funds and charity donations. "One thing Demi and I like to do is host people: family, friends, team members," Tebow explained. "So even though we had a few must-haves, we really wanted a bunch of products for cooking and entertaining." Charity, of course, has long remained one of the most important parts of the couple's love story.
Photography: Hanri Human Weddings | Venue: La Paris Estate | Dress: David's Bridal | Suit: Gert-Johan Coetzee | Planning and Design: Zavion Kotze-Brereton | Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal | Groomsmen Suits: Indochino | Furniture: Reserved Exclusive | Sound and Lighting: Kilowatt AV | Stationery: Chrystalace | Cake: Kelly Jayne Cakes | Florals: iluba South Africa, Marvellous Orchid, AMP Flowers | Installations: In and Out Events | Bar Service: Shake and Serve SA | Transportation: Mercedes-Benz | Neon Installation: DBD Signs | Favors: 1701 Brand | Dance Floor: Wolfcor | Registry: The Knot