- They met on a Sunday at Hope Church Fort Portal in 2015.
- When he proposed for the first time she turned him down but I did not give up.
MARRIAGE IS DEVOTION. Richard Kusemererwa, 26, a clergyman and resident of Bukwali Village in Fort Portal walked down the aisle with Phiona Mulungi Nantongo, 21, on September 23, 2017 at Kabarole Christian Fellowship Church (KFC) in Fort Portal. The couple shares their story with GERTRUDE MUTYABA.
When and how did you meet?
Richard: We met on a Sunday at Hope Church Fort Portal in 2015. Phiona had come to my church for service for the first time when I fell for her.
Phiona: It was 2015 New Year’s Day. A friend introduced Richard to me. She (the friend) told me how he is gifted in praying for people. So, I picked interest in going there to see whether what was said about him was true.
When did you eventually became close?
Richard: I knew the person she had come with and it is her who gave me her details and eventually introduced us.
The next day, I called Phiona for an outing and she accepted. We went to one of the best gardens in Fort Portal where I shared the story of how my parents died of HIV/Aids, how I had been rejected by my family members and grew up as a beggar on the streets.
Phiona: His touching story made me cry. Gladly, he never believed in cohabiting. I felt that he was my dream man.
What attracted you to each other?
Richard: Phiona is beautiful, light skinned, and most importantly she is from a God-fearing family. She is from a church that has a strong foundation in Kabarole and such details could tell who she was.
Phiona: Besides being handsome, Richard is kind and pays attention to every detail. Sometimes, I sympathised with him when I remembered his life story and admired his courage to move on.
How was the proposal?
Richard: When I proposed for the first time she turned me down but I did not give up. The second time, it was a weekend when I invited her for dinner at Dutch’s Hotel in Fort Portal. I had my ring and asked her to show me her left hand during which I popped the question.
Phiona: I rejected his first proposal because I had not yet completed school. After my graduation, he proposed to me again. It was funny but he remained serious. I felt shy and covered my face but I was happy. Such an immemorable day.
Did you go for premarital counselling?
Richard: Yes, I was taught to pray for anything that seems to falter our marriage.
Phiona: I went to my church where they taught me how to handle a family. I also learnt that Jesus should always be the mediator in our family matters.
I was taught how to be patient in any situation that could come our way and always learn one’s weaknesses and strengths.
What was your budget?
Richard: We had planned Shs 60m for both introduction and wedding since they were all set to be in the same week and we raised the funds from church, friends and our families.
What were the most expensive items?
Phiona: The gown which cost us Shs1.5m.
Richard: The cake and venue. Mountains of the Moon Hotel is one of the most expensive places in Fort Portal, they charged us 3.5m.
How many bridesmaids did you have?
Phiona: I had six maids who included, Gloria Tusime, Dinah Mugisa, Claire Namuddu, Doreen Kanyunyuzi, Jackline Kiiza, Liz Karungi. I chose them because their complexion and body shapes match mine.
Who was your best man?
Richard: Pastor Moses Tumusiime, my close friend and by the way, I was his bestman at his wedding.
How did you choose your grooms men?
Richard: I had five groomsmen, one was my brother and others were friends. They included Henry Asingwire, Jackson Byaruhanga, Shurker Davis, Julius Manyira and Chance Herbert. It felt good having friends around me.
Did you involve a wedding planner?
Richard: Yes, Peter Kusemererwa, an expert in wedding preparations despite his advanced age.
How helpful was he?
Richard: He helped us spot good deals from different service providers and advised on what would or not work for our event.
What was your theme colour?
Richard: I chose white and black because they are timeless but did not restrict my groomsmen to that; the reason they wore blue suits.
Phiona: Pink and red and I ensured that my bridesmaids dresses were pink. It is an elegant and feminine colour for such a function.
What were you doing on the wedding eve?
Phiona: We had a party at home and late in the night I went at Algant salon for my hair styling which cost me Shs800,000.
Richard: I was like a crazy man moving up and down to see what had not yet been done and later went to my room and had prayers thanking God for what was going to happen the following day.
What was the most important thing on your wedding?
Richard: The weather was very good and the fact that all guests were fed to their fill.
Phiona: My dream had come true. I always dreamt of marrying a pastor and I felt as if I was in heaven.
Were you disappointed in any way on your wedding day?
Richard: I disappointed everyone after losing keys to where I had kept my suit. I reached church at midday yet the service was supposed to begin at 10am. I found my wife crying.
Phiona: I thought my husband had disappeared. He took long to come to church.
What was the most challenging thing during preparations?
Phiona: Service providers were only after money. They would only demand cash but delivering the service was a tug of war.
Richard: Having two functions in one week. I was worried about the funds for both the functions but with God, all turned out possible despite some glitches.
Where was your honeymoon?
Richard: Everyone could not believe it.
We went to church for thanksgiving and fasting for 20 days since we had been through many challenges.
Phiona: My husband told me that he got a dream when God told him to spend some days in church. And for this, we decided to take our happiness to church.
If you are rewedded, what would you do better?
Richard: I would buy more food and get a more diverse menu, because most people say that a party is about the food and drinks regardless of the beautiful clothes and decorations.
Phiona: I would ask my husband to get my wedding gowns from Brazil and also tell him to take me on honeymoon which is not in church.
What is your advice to those planning to wed?
Richard: Always stand firm and be ready for challenges. God should be their problem solver.
Phiona: They should always be committed to themselves and their God. I myself fought a lot of battles but at the end, I won.
They should not follow some pieces of advice given to them by colleagues because some of them are always negative to developments.
Did you have any debts after the wedding?
Richard: We had few debts and we managed to pay them off in time.
Phiona: My husband paid immediately after our honeymoon.