Emily Subira, an international relations expert and Julius Ssekajja, a graphics designer and artist at Sauti Events met in June, 2015 at a youth conference in Dar es Salam. Emily had ushered him to the event and four days after the conference, they parted ways but their hearts did not. They wedded on August 13, 2017.
How did you meet?
Julius: It was at a youth conference in Tanzania where Emily welcomed me on the first day and I felt she had a different touch of welcoming people. We sat together for lunch and I felt free and comfortable while speaking to her yet I was in a strange land. We kept in touch even when I returned to Uganda.
So when did you become close?
Emily: After the conference, we kept the communication flowing and he was open to me. He told me everything about himself and it was up to me to either accept or reject him. I could not reject him because he was transparent. Two months later, he returned to Tanzania and we started dating.
Julius: I had never interacted with someone too often like I did with Emily. I would call and text her countless times everyday, there would always be something new to talk about. Even with the distance, I already felt close to her.
What attracted you to each other?
Julius: She is intelligent, innovative, God fearing, respectful, and hardworking. She is exposed and I do not think there is anything that would be new to her. Her being serious was a credit for me. I needed a person who would challenge me but also have similar goals. We have a mutual goal to make Africa a global village through cross border projects.
Emily: Julius is transparent, God-fearing, a good communicator, a man of his word and my personal comedian.
Did Julius propose to you?
Emily: In August 2015, he returned to Tanzania the first time after the conference. We had a date but he did not propose. He just declared that he was going to marry me. It was a nice feeling though because he sounded very natural.
How was it meeting his family?
Emily: it was more of a spiritual journey and a serious decision. I trusted God and had no fears for first time impressions. Coming from another country, his family might have thought I did not know how to kneel like it is in Buganda but I did.
How did you come up with the wedding dates?
Emily: We had done all our events in August but were a year apart; the declaration, introduction in the same month. I wanted to first complete school at least a month after. Then, my relatives would be on holiday at the same time so as to attend my wedding.
How did you raise your funds?
Julius: We had about 52 per cent of the budget by the time we were planning for the wedding. Then we got contributions from well-wishers.
How were you able to raise that much?
Julius: We started saving a few months after the introduction.
How were you able to control the number of guests?
Julius: We had so many friends but did not make a lot of noise about the wedding. Besides the family members, we only told a few people who would support us.
Weddings are usually hectic. Did you involve a wedding planner?
Julius: We are both events managers; not for weddings though. Ours was the first one but we knew about the good service providers who would provide what we wanted and we had to sort out what would be essential and within our budget.
What was your happiest moment?
Emily: on the morning of the wedding, he called me and told me to keep calm and be happy; that I should not pay attention to whatever did not go well.
Were you disappointed in any way?
Emily: There was no decoration in the church, it looked very plain. But I had to ignore whatever happened because this was my day.
As an artist and painter, have you ever painted a picture of your wife?
Julius: No. I do not believe that painting such a picture is necessary because I have a vivid picture of her in my heart and mind.
How did you cut costs?
Julius: Our wedding venue and reception were close; we did not hire bridal cars but instead bought fuel for our friends’ cars both at the wedding and reception. We asked the service providers to only provide what we needed so we did not have to pay for the things we did not need.
Where did you get the attire?
Emily: For both my wedding gown and changing dress, I bought the material from downtown in Tanzania, had my design and took it to the tailor. The maids also made their own dresses.
Where did you take your pictures from? Looks like a nice setting for photos. Why did you choose it?
Emily: At Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo. It was my husband’s choice because of the ambiance and it was on the way to the reception venue from church.
Realistically, it was convenient and we wanted to keep all events within the same locality.
How did your parents react when you told them you were marrying someone from a different country?
Julius: My maternal relatives were excited but my paternal relatives were shocked because of the cultural differences and a few family members attended.
Emily: My parents were happy and okay with it.
How did you choose the entourage?
Julius: They were my friends and each one could afford a suit. To cut costs.
Emily: Two of them are my siblings and two are my best friends. They were people who knew, understood and supported my wedding. They would pray with me and calm me down whenever I got stressed.
Did you have any debts after the wedding?
Julius: we were so happy that at the end of the wedding day, we had no unpaid bills. We sat at the venue first to relax because we spent the night at the reception.
What was the cost and flavour of the cake?
Emily: We had fresh cupcakes baked on the same day of the wedding. We had so many big cupcakes with different flavours and whoever attended the wedding went away with a cake. We also had eight giant cupcakes and all this was at a cost of Shs1m.
What advice do you give to those intending to wed?
Emily: Put God first, pray with and for their partner. Be who you are because even where there very many expensive weddings, yours may not be like theirs even when you have the money. If possible, you should do the hair, dressing and make-up from home. Do not forget to wear a perfume and smile because God has made it happen.
Julius: Know your budget and what you can afford. Only deal with people who support you and avoid negative people. Do not over rely on people for your expenses. Have some savings towards the project then your friends or relatives can just top up for you.