Dream come true. The Wamalas dreamt of their wedding day as a big celebration. When they learnt about the lockdown, they postponed their big day for more than six weeks hoping to host the 1,000 invited guests. The couple told their story to Beatrice Nakibuuka.
When did you start planning for the wedding?
Eli: Last year after I had realised that Racheal is God-fearing, hardworking, and a good singer in the church choir. I proposed to her on September 3, 2019.
What do you like about Eli?
Racheal: He is God-fearing, focused, and humble. There is a bit of age difference between us but it is because I preferred to marry someone that I know can understand, take good care of me and also correct me.
How would do you describe your wedding day?
Racheal: Colourful. Given the restriction about the number of people that had to attend we were honoured to have about 25 people in church. Others stayed in the church compound until the service ended.
Why wed in the lockdown?
Eli: There could not have been a better time than this. We had postponed the wedding for more than six weeks – from April 19, hoping that after that time people would be free to go for public gatherings. It did not happen.
We then realised that it is the two of us who make the wedding. We needed a few friends and relatives to bear witness to the celebration and we would legally be married.
Was it easy having such an event during this time?
Racheal: Yes, and it was cost-effective. Few friends would be angry at us for not inviting them to the wedding because they knew the crisis countrywide. The planning was easy and the budget was just for a few people.
We probably will make another reception party and invite all the friends at the end of the lockdown.
What happened after the wedding?
Racheal: We asked the people who were supposed to do our décor to decorate our home. We hosted about 50 people that celebrated with us.
There was a meal for these people, we cut cake and the event ended by 6 pm. We stayed at our home and plan to go for our honeymoon after the lockdown.
How did you raise the funds?
Eli: We had some savings but had also told most of our friends about our kukyala, introduction and wedding, and they contributed.
We formed a WhatsApp group and while some of them contributed through mobile money, others contributed in kind.
Were you able to have all your events as planned?
Racheal: Not on the exact dates as planned. Also, the guests were few compared to our original plan.
The introduction was held on March 22, and some people could not make it to Mukono because public transport was hard at the time. We ended up having an indoor introduction with a few relatives.
Was it easy getting permission to move?
Eli: Yes, because the tension had been reduced and private cars were allowed to move at the time although only allowed to carry three passengers.
Did you have any debts at the end of the day?
Eli: No. In fact, most service providers owe us because by the time we went into the lockdown, we had started depositing on most of the items on the budget.
We wanted our reception to be at Namboole so we had deposited some money for booking the place. We also had paid some money to the caterers and decorators. It is a loss we incurred and we could not ask for refund because their offices were closed.
When did you get the attire?
Racheal: Eli and the groomsmen had bought their suits before the lockdown. I did not know where to do my makeup and hair because the salons were all closed.
A family friend offered to do our hair at Shs 300,000 and linked me to someone at Unique Bridals. At Shs 1m, I got a package that included my gown and changing dress, as well as dresses for the matron and each of the bridesmaids.
Where did you do your premarital counselling sessions from?
Eli: By teleconferencing with Pastor David Simwogerere. We had two hours a week for seven weeks. It was a matter of buying data and getting a quiet place.
How did you like it?
Eli: It was convenient. I learnt that God makes a marriage and once you both submit to Him through prayer, everything goes smoothly. Also, communication is vital in marriage.
Racheal: I learnt that marriage means being accountable to someone and that you need a friend that you can share with your fears, and joys other than your father or brother. I also have to be open to my husband as I would be to a friend.