For you i will. A wedding to most women is one of the most important marriage milestones. But Winfred Twijukye, a businesswoman, declined a number of marriage proposals from Ivan Kato, operations manager at Double Q Company Ltd, opting to have a house in place first. The couple shares with ESERI WATSEMWA memories of their D-day.
When and how did you meet?
Ivan: I met Winfred at St Stephen’s Church in Kisugu in 2007, where I was part of the choir. I was working in Bundibugyo but only came around when duty called.
Winfred: A friend and I had gone for a retreat at St Stephen’s. My friend told me about Ivan but I didn’t buy the idea because I did not think he was serious. However, he persisted and we decided to meet him. He later asked to see me alone.
What struck you about each other?
Ivan: Winfred is beautiful and charming.
Winfred: I van is humble and his persistence kept me on my toes. Much as I tossed him about, I was moved by his appearance and also his ability to hold sensible conversations.
He came off as open, took me to his family and introduced me to his friends. That is when I knew he was serious.
When did you become close?
Ivan: After three foiled attempts to get her contact, her friend finally gave it to me. We then started meeting and dated for close to two years before cohabiting in Gayaza. I believe she had noticed how serious I was.
Winfred: After visiting his home and relatives, I got more attached to him.
Did you propose to her?
Ivan: I proposed to her more than twice but she did not respond. I think she was still studying me.
How did you react?
Winfred: I remember he bought me a ring. I think he wanted to marry me. I told him we couldn’t wed while we were still renting. I needed a house first.
Did you propose to her again after failed attempts?
Ivan: Yes, we had gone to the Ethiopian Restaurant, Kabalagala and I popped the question, “Will you marry me?” I didn’t have a ring this time because I was afraid of her reaction. Surprisingly, she was excited and said she had been waiting for that moment.
Why did you accept this proposal?
Winfred: I had just come back from a business trip in China. My father was ill and I pleaded with Ivan to go see him because I needed him to at least pay my dowry just in case anything happened. He told me he had planned for it.
How did you react to the proposal?
Winfred: I went silent for some time and brushed it off since he likes joking. Since he proved he had decided upon some things. We talked about whom to tell first, the venue, who would be the matron and best man and other nitty-gritty.
When did you come up with the wedding date?
Ivan: Prior to 2016, I secretly saved for the wedding. We went to Kisugu church where we met to confirm the wedding date.
Winfred: We wanted to wed mid-December but the church was going to be busy then. We therefore opted for December 3, since we wanted to be the only couple wedding that day.
What was your budget?
Ivan: Our budget was Shs40m. I had saved about 15m. The rest was contribution by friends, workmates, and family.
Did you involve a planner?
Ivan: No, my sister Lilian Kobusingye was our advisor. A wedding planner would have had cost implications.
How did you come up with the guest list?
Ivan: We agreed that our budget would accommodate 150 guests. Every family member, close friend and workmate was included. Each of us invited 75 guests.
What were you doing on your wedding eve?
Ivan: I went with my best man and collected our outfits from the tailor. In the evening, we dined with relatives who had come from the village. The rest of the preparations were done on phone.
Winfred: After salon, my sisters and I stayed home. We kept chatting and my mum told us stories all night. We spent the night talking about how the day would be.
Were you disappointed in any way?
Ivan: On coming out from the dressing room, we found a different car from what we had hired. Winfred and I wanted a black BMW but instead came a silver Mercedes Benz. We called the service provider, who is a friend but he did not answer our calls. The rest of the cars were also supposed to be black but we received navy blue. We were later on told that the cars we wanted had been taken.
Like that was not enough, we had agreed with the photographers to meet at Lithuli Avenue but we didn’t find them. We had to wait for about 40 minutes. I was restless but my best man had confiscated my phones. We later learnt the photographers had gone for lunch.
Also, a small part of the decoration was not done as asked.
Winfred: Everything went as I had imagined it.
What was going through your mind during the ceremony?
Ivan: It was then that I realised I was a real man and ready to face marriage.
Winfred: I was delighted to see everything and also because my parents were around to give me their blessings.
Did you go for premarital counselling?
Ivan: Yes, we did. We had it at St Stephens for a month. I learnt to put Jesus first in our marriage. Secondly, to be patient and if she wrongs me, I understand and forgive her instead of punishing her.
I also realised I had to quickly apologise in order to ‘cool the fire’ if I erred.
We also learnt to be supportive of each other through thick and thin.
Winfred: I learnt how to; control my temper, handle family and children, treat a man well even when he does not return home in time, handle visitors, control family and ensure it does not control your home and agreeing about certain things.
Did you have any debts after the wedding?
Ivan: No, we didn’t. The only debt I had was marrying her. Being a leader in church, I was under pressure to marry and this debt was cleared.
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
Ivan: We have not yet gone for honeymoon. We are planning to go in December this year because we are very busy people.
Winfred: I want us to go to Munich, Germany but I think he wants to surprise me.
What is your advice to those planning a wedding?
Ivan: They should plan together before rushing to relatives.
Also, they should have a starting point such that those willing to support them have somewhere to begin. Do not plan a wedding with less than Shs10m.
If I was to redo my wedding, I would be strict on service providers and invitations such that you do not access the reception if you are not invited.
Winfred: They should listen to advice because some could be important and have a series of service providers and conduct a background check besides inviting them to meetings so they are not disappointed.
Also, read wedding magazines. They are a wealth of ideas.
The bride and groom preferred to self-drive in convertible silver Mercedes Benz SLK 500. The couple says the colour is elegant and the cars are comfortable which is key for such a once-in-a-lifetime event. Adorned with dotted orange ribbons, the cars matched the day’s colour theme.
This is the day whose significant symbol of love, the ring, is exchanged. Ivan, through their friend in Indian bought himself a silver ring while Winfred opted for gold to break the monotony. They believe imported finger rings are more genuine than those sold in Kampala.
The wedding parties chose Fairway Hotel because it was affordable and there was a promotion; if you had more than 100 guests, you would be given the venue on condition that you buy a plate of food at Shs 50,000. This, to the Katos was pocket-friendly.
The lemon flavoured cake cost Shs1m. They bought it from Devine Events Plus on Kampala Road.
Winfred’s two sisters and two cousins were her maids because she needed people of the same complexion. Her matron was her sister.
The gown from Sister Bridals on Kampala Road cost Shs1.5m. My two changing dresses cost Shs1m each.