TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. Emmanuel Miiro, an IT specialist at Ggaba Community Church and Lilian Nassiwa, a social worker, wedded at Miracle Centre Cathedral on November 2. The couple met on social media and started living together shortly after they met, writes Beatrice Nakibuuka.
How did you meet?
Emmanuel: I saw her picture on Facebook and liked her. I sent her a friendship request which she accepted so we became Facebook friends. While I liked her and wanted to have a relationship with her in real life, she seemed never interested. Even though all my messages went unanswered I never gave up pursuing her. One day, she posted a picture while she was at a party. I liked it and went into her inbox and requested that we meet.
Lilian: I knew he had a child and in my view everyone with a child was married. I avoided him because I did not want to be a homewrecker. When he pleaded for a meeting, I agreed to it but I cautioned him to be himself.
That evening, I found him standing by the roadside waiting for me. It was a bit humbling so I told him that we find a place and sit so we could talk. I thought we were going to catch a bike but he had left his car somewhere. “I hope you did not borrow the car to impress me,” I joked. We sat and talked at length.
When did you become close?
Lilian: He was very consistent from the day we met. He would pick me up from my workplace and everyday he bought me a new outfit which I would wear when we went out.
The first day, I went back home at 2am but I had to change into my work clothes first and one day, I met my mother in the sitting room waiting for me. I got so embarrassed but that did not stop me from going out with him the next day. Within a week, I was convinced that I loved him. He started introducing me to most of his friends and relatives but I was a bit hesitant to go to his home.
Emmanuel: After a week, I wanted her to come and see my home but she refused. I asked my friends to convince her to come to my home and finally she agreed to and when she came, she stayed. She went to her home only to celebrate Christmas but I went and picked her even before she had lunch. We instead had lunch together at my mother’s home.
What did you tell your parents?
Lilian: I would feel bad about going home so late and yet was not ready to leave him but I did not tell my parents that I was staying with someone. I just disappeared and never returned home but there was a colleague who was staying near home. I think she would tell them that at least I was well and still working.
I still felt bad about what I had done but I did not know how to discuss the subject with my very strict mother. After two months of staying with him, I went home and lied to my parents that I was renting because my boss wanted me nearer to my workplace but the expression on their faces showed they knew I was lying to them. Fortunately, my boyfriend suggested that we visit my aunt to start the process for the traditional marriage ceremony, which relieved some of the tension. We visited in April 2018 and he suggested we introduce in June the following year.
What attracted you to each other?
Emmanuel: She is a very calm woman, humble, respectful, God fearing and very supportive. Even when times were hard, she would encourage me that they would pass.
Lilian: He is very consistent. His word has been the same since the time we met. He is also trustworthy and God fearing. It was a plus for me since we are the same religion.
What was your budget and how were you able to fund it?
Emmanuel: Our budget was about Shs 25m I tried to organize meetings but I noticed that people do not like attending meetings. I created about three WhatsApp groups and did a one on one resource mobilisation. I got so many people pledging.
Lilian: I was unable to attend the meetings because I was expecting. I got nausea in the early stages which inconvenienced me a lot. I left everything to him.
How did you cut costs?Emmanuel: A friend offered the reception venue free of charge; other friends offered us bridal cars that we used for the entourage. We also limited the number of people that attended the wedding. We planned for 150 people although at the end we had about 200.
What disappointed you?
Lilian: I had to meet the extra costs for the wedding gown because the one I had booked did not fit me because I had gained weight. They had to bring more gowns from which I had to choose.
Also, the cars for the entourage were washed on the morning of the wedding so there was a delay in picking us up from where we dressed up. The car that I sat in broke down on our way to church and it took time to repair. We actually arrived late for church but thank God there was a wedding before us that took longer than scheduled, which worked to our advantage.
Emmanuel: I was greatly disappointed because it rained heavily for over three hours. The decorator had offered to do an open palette wedding but the area that had been decorated flooded up.
We had to wait from Speke Resort Munyonyo where we did our photography. My friends had to first clear the water and then redecorated the pool area at around 5:30pm. We ended up having the reception at the poolside, which was not our initial plan and the reception started after 7pm.
What have you learned about marriage so far?
Lilian: Marriage is responsibility to my family, his family and our newly created one. It is a life commitment that should not be broken easily.
Emmanuel: It means trust. Even before we got married, we had to open a joint bank account because I trusted her but also since I had to be open about my finances. We had to learn how to save.
What advice do you give to those intending to wed?
Emmanuel: Not everything that is expensive is quality. You can find some good service providers at a low cost.
Before you even get there, have a date in mind and stick to it. Have a dream of what you want your wedding to look like.
Lilian: Plan your events early because many people disappoint at the last minute. You need to have some savings and do things that are within your means.