Tinder couple meets while on vacation in Dubai, spends 9 months apart and just got married in Zürich

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Bonolo and Dereck Simão on a call video call with family at their wedding. Photo by Luca Seeberger
Bonolo and Dereck Simão on a call video call with family at their wedding. Photo by Luca Seeberger
  • Bonolo and Dereck Simão met on Tinder over two years ago and now they are happily married.
  • The newlyweds live in Switzerland where they had their nuptials.
  • Bonolo’s family could not be there but they made sure to incorporate South Africa in the attires they said ‘I do’ in.


With all the dodgy and swindling stories we are inundated with from Tinder, I will be the first to admit that Bonolo and Dereck Simão's love story has shifted my perception and restored confidence in the controversial dating app.

Swiping right has never been this tempting!

The newlyweds met on Tinder while both vacationing in Dubai. And since then they have been together for over two years but a year into dating, Dereck who is Angolan-born Swiss sent his uncles to pay lobola for his South African wife.

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In 2021, Dereck sent his uncles to pay lobola for his Tswana bride. Image supplied

They met at the end of 2019 and the last time they saw each other was February 2020 just before lockdown.

“So we went for nine months apart which was the hardest thing for us. But that time apart built a solid foundation and made us realise that we wanted forever with each other,” Bonolo says.

They recently made their relationship official and got married in a civil union in Zürich, Switzerland as that’s where they currently live.

Although miles away from home, they incorporated Africa into the attires they married in.

“My idea for the civil wedding was simple, classic with a touch of South Africa, a good old South African wedding,” she says.

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Bonolo got married in a dress designed by South African designer Tuelo Nguyuza. Photo by Luca Seeberger

 READ MORE | Inside a perfect farm wedding with a distinct touch of Xhosa culture

South African designer Tuelo Nguyuza designed her dress and his execution was seamless.

“Initially, I wanted a beautifully tailored suit but he insisted I go for a body-hugging dress as it will accentuate my body. We wanted a clean, simple but good quality dress. And I asked him to incorporate beads. I wanted my dress to stand out so I deliberately wanted minimal hair and no jewellery,” Bonolo says.

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She  chose a pixie cut and wore a fascinator and a beaded Alice band to compliment the dress. For the makeup, soft glam: the natural look was the order of the day.

Dereck fell in love with the South African clothing brand Maxhosa that he had to get married in a black and white Maxhosa suit.

“His suit was tailor-made and my beads compliment the pattern of his suit. We knew that we wanted to incorporate a bit of SA’s rich culture and what better way than a Maxhosa & Tuelo ensemble,” she adds.

READ MORE | Wedding: Couple has stunning church ceremony followed by a braai in the garden

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Bonolo and Dereck on their wedding day in Switzerland. Photo by Luca Seeberger


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Bonolo and Dereck on their wedding day in Switzerland. Photo by Luca Seeberger

READ MORE | EXCLUSIVE | The hands that made light work of Zozibini Tunzi's soon-to-be-exhibited 6.6kg gown

Sadly her parents couldn’t make it due to travel restrictions so the day started off somber and to top it off, Bonolo’s parents had loadshedding so they couldn’t get hold of them from the night before until the last hour before the nuptials.

"So I was a bit sad I couldn’t talk to my parents," Bonolo says.

“But I wouldn’t have wished for a better day. When my husband saw me at the civil registry, he was extremely nervous and shed a tear. I was extremely happy and I felt extremely lucky and blessed. One thing that stood out was how happy my husband and daughter were. My husband was extremely emotional throughout the day which made me beam so much,” she shares.

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Bonolo and Dereck on their wedding day in Switzerland. Photo by Luca Seeberger


READ MORE | From ghosting to 'backburner' relationships: the reasons people behave so badly on dating apps

“Love has taught me patience. Taught me everything has a time and place and it will come to pass. Just wait for your turn. My husband is Angolan born but grew up in Switzerland. So that comes with a lot of cultural differences. So our union has taught me to have apathy in understanding his culture, language and country,” Bonolo says.

After their beautiful nuptials, they had a private room at a restaurant in Zürich. His family and friends made the day special.

A traditional white wedding is expected to take place in South Africa in 2023.


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