- Mother’s love. From his mother’s friendship, Hassan Wasswa, a civil engineer met Laila Igitego, a programmes assistant at Auschwitz Institution for Peace and Reconciliation.
- They dated for one month and on May 5, the couple had their introduction and wedding on the same day at Nabale- Mityana in their family mosque, writes PHIONAH NASSANGA.
How did you get to know each other?
Laila: Hassan’s mother and I ran in to each other in a bank. We talked, got to know each other and exchanged business cards. She called me after two weeks. I had kept telling myself I would call but I did not. However, after a couple of visits to her office our friendship grew stronger and during some of our conversations she told me about Hassan and the rest of the family.
Hassan: My mother knew I wanted to marry and settle. One day she invited me for a luncheon saying she wanted me to meet someone she thought was nice and would probably fit my bill. Before, I thought the person was a mutual friend and agreed meet them at the restaurant. We introduced ourselves to each other and had lunch. During our conversation she came off as arrogant. When it was time to go, mummy asked me to escort her and get her contact and long before I knew, it one thing led to another from WhatsApp to a date.
At what point were you convinced that you had met the right person?
Laila: I felt the connection at first sight but I did not ask for his contact when he took mine.
Hassan: On our first date though it was more of a question and answer session. I was carried away by her impression and one moment she made it clear to me that she was not ready to be just friends with me all she ever needed was someone to settle down with but not waste her time.
What drew you close to each other?
Laila: Hassan is God fearing, handsome and principled.
Hassan: Laila is strict when it comes to religion, she has a good character and in the few weeks we dated there is a lot I saw in her that I had not seen in my past relationships. She is beautiful and showed interest, something that made it easy for me.
For how long did you date?
Hassan: One month which I think was enough time for us to know and understand each other.
What memories do you have of your dating?
Laila: Hassan asked me to choose a day for our first date and I declined. This is because I did not want to admit that I had fallen for him. I played hard to get until he gave me simpler terms for choosing the day. “Pick from all days except Monday and Friday,” he said. I chose Thursday comedy night.
Hassan: Although I am not a comedy fan, I found myself going for comedy night.
When did you break the news of marriage to your parents?
Laila: Before telling my parents, I sent a message to my elder brother telling him of the ‘special person’ I had met. Being the strict person that he is, I did not expect a positive response but he sounded happy for me. However, he told me that he needed to do some background check on Hassan.
Hassan: My mother was our greatest fan since she knew about us right from the start and instead of me breaking the news to her she foretold that Leila was the woman I was to marry.
What was their reaction?
Laila: My parents were happy about the idea and since I was working, like any other parents, they expected me to find someone that loves me and settle in marriage.
Hassan: My father thought it was too soon because I had just met Laila. I gave him my reasons and we came to an agreement. He asked if I was financially ready because we were to have the introduction and wedding at ago. When I said I was ready, he was more than willing to support us.
What was it like meeting Laila’s father?
Hassan: I had to first get the consent of her siblings, then met another of panel of about six elders each at a time asking me a number of questions before meeting her father for a final say.
Did you propose to her?
Hassan: No, I used to see video clips on YouTube of men being rejected. Besides, why would I go through that hustle of meeting many people who fired many questions at me then waste time with a proposal? I told Laila I was ready for marriage.
How did you set the date for the function?
Hassan: We wanted our function before Ramadan since it was a few weeks away. Laila suggested May 5, which was her birthday but it brought the function closer and when I thought we would change the date she just did not agree to my suggestion.
Why did you choose your birthday?
Laila: Such functions are more of a woman’s concern. Besides, it is a girl’s dream to have their introduction or wedding on their birthday and I did not want him to ever tell me that he forgot our anniversary or my birthday.
How much was your bride price?
Hassan: The bride price which doubles as the mahr was Shs2m and for the dowry I paid 12 cows.
How did you raise the funds?
Laila: We held meetings at home in Mityana for one month and the turn up was good as family and friends generously contributed.
Hassan: On my part, we had two different meetings one was held by my mother and her friends. The other was between friends and I.
What was the most expensive item on your budget?
Laila: Food cost Shs14m.
Hassan: The dowry; 12 cows.
How many guests did you plan for?
Laila: We planned for 1,000 and expecting 150 guests from Hassan’s side.
Who was your best man?
Hassan: My brother, Hassan Kato, because he could handle pressure that comes with such days. My mother also followed up on everything that was needed for the success of the function.
Who was your maid of honour?
Laila: I had two maids of honour Sharon Kyomuhangi and Shamila Namutebi in case of any eventualities, I had a backup plan.
What was the day like?
Hassan: I was nervous because we had exceeded the number of people they had requested for. I did not know what to expect next. Fortunately, all turned out well.
Laila: We had good weather which I thank God for, all was as planned but my makeup artist was late.
What was the honeymoon plan?
Hassan: Laila knew we were going for honeymoon but I kept the destination as a surprise. Zanzibar it was because I had been longing to visit the place.
What did you enjoy the most on your honeymoon?
Laila: After hosting that big function I needed rest. The ocean shores were de-stressing and we moved to a number of places during the week.
What advice can you share on making marriage work?
Laial: Put God first because He is the top witness. With Him, there is some level of consciousness and it is a time to make things work out not trials.
Hassan: Privacy is key because no one is interested in your problems. If you have issues with your partner, make sure the two of you get to solve it because marriage is between two people not a village or family members. Family can come in to advise.