Organizing a wedding can be a very taxing endeavor; especially when it comes to the financial aspect of things. Striking a balance between what you wish your wedding to look like, and what you can realistically spend is never as easy as it sounds. Herbert Habumugisha, an accountant by profession, shares how he navigated the situation for his wedding.
Born and raised in Kisoro district, South Western Uganda, Herbert is currently residing in Kampala as he pursues his professional accounting journey and business.
“Higher prices of goods and services than budgeted for was one of the key challenges we faced while planning our wedding. Being an accountant, I was always skeptical about the expenditure for our function. I never wished to take any loan in the name of a fancy wedding, so I made sure I was in control of most of the key financial decisions. With a budget of shs 16 million, our expenditure was cut to 8 million and the event was successful with all services available and no debts!” He says
“The budget was cut down by making sure we were not over luxurious, for example initially we had budgeted for eight bridal cars with each costing three hundred thousand shillings, but we used four. Reason being we had few maids and groomsmen and there was no need of hiring many vehicles. Another part was on catering services, initially we had on the budget a town based hotel to provide that service but on review, it was discovered that there was a local catering group that would provide a similar service at much lower cost.” He adds
“Another sensitive part was on tents and decorations, initially we had budgeted for 15 tents with their seats. Each tent with seats would cost shs 130,000 but we cut this down to six tents because we deliberately invited few people to the function. Since the tents had been reduced, decoration of more than shs 4,000,000 was also cut down to shs 1,400,000. Also with reduction on number of invited guests, the amount of meals and drinks was cut down causing a drastic reduction in the budget.”
Herbert shares his love journey,
“Growing up, I always wished to have a God-fearing lady as my wife, one who could easily understand me, my background and obviously a forward-looking one. Personal dignity and integrity are some other attributes I held dear. Mercy Owomugisha proved to possess those qualities!”
“I met her in high school, and actually came to know her when we were in senior one but asked her to be my girlfriend towards the end of O-level; which she accepted. I was 15 and she was 13 years old when we first met! We had joined senior one at Muhabura Shine Secondary School in Kisoro district. We had had a background together obviously as classmates and in scripture union so she never hesitated to identify with me.” He narrates.
“Honestly, her looks attracted me first. She was a choir lady and always smart, very humble in and out of the classroom. Being a leader in school, I had always wished to identify with a girl who did not have any record of misbehavior. One of the reasoning behind that was to try to hide what was going on between me and her to the school administrators given that relationships were discouraged in school.”
“What I love most about my wife is that she is an understanding, God fearing and courageous lady. Her prayerful nature has brought us this far. She is a very reserved character who respects everyone around her and is always encouraging and influencing good character with purpose amongst all people she associates with.”
Herbert then proceeds with the growth of their love,
“After highschool I travelled to Kampala to pursue my academic career whereas she pursued hers from our home district. We promised to remain faithful to each other even when we were so many kilometres from each other. We agreed to consider preparing our marriage after campus.”
Despite relationships often failing as soon as distance comes between them, the lovebirds stayed committed,
“When she finished her bachelor’s degree in education (Swahili language), we embarked on turning our efforts towards marriage. The process began in 2020, after eight years of knowing each other and five years seriously courting, trying to know more about each other.”
On April 16th 2022, James proposed to Mercy at Itanda restaurant and grill, located along Bombo road in Kampala. It was a surprise event organized by him alongside some of their high school and university friends plus workmates.
“Up to now Mercy terms that event as a ‘shock’ not a ‘surprise’! She definitely said YES and on December 3rd 2022, we wedded at Kisoro Town Baptist Church. We then headed to Teddy Bears Primary School playground in my home town of Bunagana for our wedding reception.”
“It was a day of anxiety and excitement obviously with some fatigue caused by two months of preparations. We were excited that finally we were to become husband and wife in front of the church, parents, friends and relatives. My plan had always been to make a cheap but memorable wedding event. So after me and my wife harmonized about possible dates of our marriage, we talked to the church authorities to harmonize with them and December 3rd was the date. After that we embarked on reaching out to our friends informing them of our plan. They were positive so we mobilized the funds to make the event colorful.”
About their function, the accountant narrates,
“Generally, most of the things on our function were unique and at a relatively lower cost, the dresscode of the maids and the groomsmen appeared unique as per the reports from those who attended. Because the reception was in a relatively rural setup, we had a reception of more than 800 people. The day before the event was a tiresome one, as I kept following up with the service providers alongside the chairperson of the organizing committee, making sure the venue was set up to my expectations and many other activities that I deemed necessary for a successful event. The day after the event was reserved for rest and to relax our minds before we embarked for the journey for our honeymoon.”
Their outfits were all procured from Kampala. The couple opted for ready-made suits for the groom and best man, while the suits for groomsmen were designed and tailored by IVNEAT fashions, and so were the changing suits for the entire team.
About how he has found marriage, Herbert confides,
“The difference I can observe now is that I feel fine to be at home with my wife, even when there are football matches because I am a football fan yet she is not. So, I adjusted and we are at peace. We are building our love the more given that we had a long-distance relationship and it is fun. Every wedding is always unique in its own way, it’s definitely not easy to have a wedding exactly like ours.”
The newlywed accountant has a message to everyone currently planning a wedding,
“What I can advise people is to touch where they can reach, to plan wisely and more importantly agree with their partners about the kind of function they want to have. In the aftermath it will be both of you to face life together. Do not succumb to the pressures of wanting to please others for one day and displease yourselves for the rest of your marriage.”