We already know that Oprah Winfrey is the queen of thoughtful gifts and gestures, and she upheld her title back in April when she treated one of her students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa to the ultimate bridal fantasy: She reportedly shut down an entire Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills so that bride-to-be, Lizhuwani Gloria Rapalalani, could search for the perfect wedding dress with her crew. However, Winfrey's wedding involvement didn't stop there. Rapalalani walked down the aisle in Atlanta this weekend, and it was none other than Winfrey who was by her side and gave her away.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that both Winfrey and Elizabeth Burns, a mentor of Rapalalani's from the Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), stood next to the bride at the beginning of the ceremony. When they announced that they were giving her in marriage, the groom, Austin Nelson, began to cry, according to the AJC. The couple were wed before a group of 50 friends and family, who included many of Rapalalani's fellow classmates from the Winfrey Academy.
Winfrey created the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa in 2007 as a way to give girls from the small South African town of Henley access to a quality education. Rapalalani was among the school's first graduates and studied at SCAD after briefly attending Spelman College. In an Instagram shot that Winfrey posted during their wedding dress excursion, she made it clear how dear Rapalalani and other academy students are to her. "I’ve known these girls since they were 12 and 13 coming to my school.
Graduating from college. Grad school. Now our first wedding. Looking for the perfect dress," she wrote in the caption.
Rapalalani had also shared a few pictures from the Saks trip. In one photo, she's holding up a $10,000 design from Berta and joked in text over the image, "Mum O like, 'Nooooo, that can't be it, Glori.' " Wedding photos obtained by the AJC show that Rapalalani finally decided on a sleek gown with criss-cross details on long sleeves (it kind of gives us Meghan Markle vibes). Winfrey wore a flowing gold dress as she escorted Rapalalani.
Once the reverend pronounce the couple husband and wife, Winfrey reportedly cheered, "Africa’s in the house!" and we have no doubt she got the party started. Best guest ever.