When and how did you meet your wife?
Mark: I met Nerina through her sister who used to work at a restaurant called Meal In. She told me, “By the way you’ve not met one of my sisters.” When she introduced us, I proposed marriage immediately. She told me it was not possible because she had a boyfriend. I told her, I would wait to be her husband. I have no idea about what made me propose immediately. I just saw her and that’s the first thing that came to my mind. I felt attracted to her and figured if I got to marry her, I would know her later.
Nerina: I met Mark in 2004 through my sister, Olivia. He used to hang out at Meal In in Wandegeya and Olivia was the manager. They were friends. She told him, “I would like you to meet my sister called Nana.” She organised our meeting. In our first conversation he said, “You are the one for me, You are the one I want to marry, you are the one I want as the mother of my children.”
And what was the reaction?
Mark: We started meeting, but I would sometimes dishonour our appointments. Later, we met regularly and had a chance to move in together for about two years. This was almost a year after our first encounter.
We stayed together for two years. Since it was not the right thing to do religiously, we moved out. Then, I kept asking her to marry me. Finally, on a Christmas Eve (can’t remember the year) she said yes. It took us two years to tie the knot.
Nerina: Being the first time you meet somebody and they say that, you think they are joking. I did not take him serious. We dated for about four years and he would keep asking, “When are we going to get married, when are you going to say yes?” I told him I wasn’t ready and he was patient.
What drew you to her?
Mark: She is kind, supportive, and not nagging.
What was her parents’ reaction when you proposed?
Mark: Her parents were forthcoming. I visited her father and we had a good time. We became very good friends in a short time but he passed on soon after our wedding.
How did you propose to her?
Mark: It was Christmas Eve and we had gone to Lindsay Cottages in Lubowa for Christmas, with my family. I was staying with her at the time.
While others were preparing for Christmas Carols and Christmas Eve, I went to her room with a ring and asked her to marry me again. She accepted. I was excited so we went down and I announced to the family and they were excited too.
Nerina: It was on December 24, 2007 at about 5pm. He came to the room I was resting and asked if I was sleeping. He knelt down and popped the question. I was trying to nap. The rest of the family was having quality time.
When did you finally get married?
August 9, 2008.
How did you do it?
Many years ago when my brother got married, he had church service at All Saints Cathedral, the reception at Speke Resort Munyonyo. It was a big affair with several people and fireworks.
I told my mother about my plans of wedding at home. Ten years later when I said I was getting married, I planned we’d put a tent, a gazebo and parasols. We would wed in the gazebos. Nana bought my idea. I asked her to invite 50 people and I told my father to invite 100 people and I wanted 150 people at the wedding
After saying our vows, our guests had a non-alcoholic cocktail while we went to the studio. We converted my father’s garage into a studio. We then had lunch.
I had told them, ‘By 5pm we have to be out of here.’ The ceremony started at midday and we left at 5pm for Protea Hotel where we were to stay for the night.
At 8pm we went to Open House Buganda Road where we had invited our friends to party. There was a lot of alcohol and soft drinks as well as mchomo throughout the night. We left at about 4am but the party went on to after 5am and it had to be stopped because service at nearby KPC was about to start.
What was your most memorable experience of the wedding?
Mark: When I picked her up after cutting the tape at Open House, we cut the cake, served it and then immediately Benon and Vamposs performed for us and we partied. We had no speeches at the open house.
Nerina: I was worried about the weather since the wedding was in the compound. My uncle who had given me away for marriage is not good at keeping time, so I was worried he was going to come late. He was late and I got frantic, ‘if he does not show up then what happens’ because my father could not make it. He was sick in the village. But then he appeared. Our wedding was small and manageable and that is a day I will never forget. We had two different parties the reception at his parents’ home and an after party with peers.
Why did you keep it simple?
Mark: It is because I do not believe in flashy things. I’m a simple man, why should I show off? Originally the plan was to only have one party at home but my brothers said, “Look, you have friends who want to party with you so give them an opportunity to do so.”
They contributed some money and we had the after party. Otherwise, the contract is between my wife, God and I. So, I do not think it should be a big affair.
Did you go for honey moon after the wedding?
Mark: No, we went home in Najjera. We wanted to start the business of family then have honeymoon later.
At what point did you go for honeymoon?
Nerina: We have travelled to different places but that was not honeymoon. Honeymoon will happen when our one-year- old daughter makes three. That is when we will go spend a month somewhere.
Did you have premarital counselling?
Yes, at the Roman Catholic Church then the Anglican Church. At one point, the reverend asked about what religion the children will belong to. When I said they will attend the Roman Catholic Church, he wanted to stop the counselling but then figured it was okay to let life go on.
What is your aice to marrieds and those who intend to get married?
Mark: In relationships, tension is built around finances. Someone might want a new car yet you cannot afford it. You borrow money, buy the car, but because you fail to pay back the money, she gets angry. Before you even walk down the aisle, sit and make a plan because this idea of I’m the man, I am the bread winner is rubbish.
Plan, and say, this is what I earn, this is what you earn, these are our expected bills. How do we split them? If she says no, I want you to do this thing, tell her fine I will do everything, however, you have to understand, I might get laid off one day or lose my limbs and might not be able to take care of the bills. So, will you step in? If she says no, you have to figure it out, then you know there is a problem with her. This way I have found that I do not have many issues because I will not lie that I always have money. There are times when she chips in and pays for my bit and there are also times I chip in for her.
What keeps a marriage strong?
Mark: Compromise. We compromise everything, because when you meet someone and you get married, of course you have not lived with them your whole life, and yes they have weaknesses. Sometimes those weaknesses can break you down so you compromise.
Most important is the first year of marriage, it is the hardest because that is when you get to know your partner. They might not be exactly your favourite things but you adjust and compromise and the marriage will work.
To ensure convenience and comfort, the couple opted to have the church service at home. They used sunshades and gazebos to shelter their guests from sunshine.
Nerina says, her entourage was not big. She had a matron and two bridesmaids Mark’s sister and her sister and a page boy. We both like simple things because we didn’t want too much.
Lavender because it is lovely and has a very nice smell. It was one of the lovely occasions, a wedding that such a lovely plant’s colour had to be put to use.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor