BRIDE: Betty Gatwiri
GROOM: Richard Moshori Mwangi
DATE: November 8, 2014
VENUE: Evergreen Park, Kiambu Road
Betty: We were both students at University of Nairobi. On the day of our date, I had been studying late. When the group discussion was over, it was way past midnight and the school's mess was closed. So we took a stroll to a fast food restaurant on Moi Avenue where we talked till around 3am before strolling back to the hostels.
Richie: If my memory serves me right, the first date was before that. We served in a Christian fellowship in college called SALT. One day, the team was on a retreat in Olepolos, and it was when I met her uphill exhausted and panting, that I first noticed her. After helping her out, I asked that she be my date for the upcoming SALT dinner, to which she said she would think about it. Eventually she was my date. I danced so much at the dinner that we missed having dinner altogether.
Betty: On the week he was to propose, he stood me up three times. I was so angry that I even asked him to get a bit serious in life.
Richard: On all three times I had stood her up, I had planned to propose, but for some reason, the car I would hire to go pick her up would break down. One of the three days when the car broke down was a Saturday, September 7, 2014, where we were to go out of town to celebrate our monthly anniversary as was our custom. The plan did not materialise and when I turned up at her place on Sunday evening, she was mad and we had a major fight.
Betty: Then came September 16, 2014, which had been a day traditionally set aside by my friends and I to take our guys for a treat. Having been mad at him, I did not want to be anywhere near him and even chased him away before he came to apologise at 7am. He proposed that he takes me for lunch. Off we went to Brackenhurst, Limuru. As we were walking on the nature trail, he insisted that we sit on a bench, but I opted for the swings.
Richard: I knew she loves nature, so the nature trail was my perfect grounds for proposal. I opened up about so much in my life which left her perplexed. Then when I asked her to marry me, she asked me if I was sure what I was getting myself into, prompting me to return the ring to my pocket. After a long talk, I asked her again and she said yes.
Richard: During the dowry negotiations, it is our tradition for the groom to join the other elders in the negotiations, which is not the case with the Meru community. As such, on the day of the negotiations, I was chased from the room.
Betty: The biggest challenge for the wedding was sourcing for providers within our budget. To cut cost and further personalise our wedding, we opted for handmade invitation cards, we did away with flowers and instead had pompoms in place of the drapes and tissue flowers in place of the bridal parties' bouquets.
Richard: On the day of the wedding, the BMW that was to transport the groom got an accident. I arrived at my wedding in a Probox.
Betty: Keep your wedding simple and as much as possible incorporate your own personal style. Do not do things just because that is how they are done. For instance, I traded the veil for a birdcage. Also, plan early to avoid the pressure that comes with running short of time. While at it pray, and avoid taking things personally during planning or else by the time of the wedding day, you will not be seeing eye to eye with your spouse-to-be.
Richard: Prepare for marriage by attending pre-marital counselling classes since the wedding is only a one day event while marriage is forever.
Richard: When she walked down the aisle, I thought I had given her a raw deal. I felt confused but blessed at the same time. She looked amazing. My grandmother dancing at the reception was also a sight to behold.
Betty: The kiss flooded my heart with such unexplainable peace. Initially, I did not see myself pulling through with it since I fear crowds.
PHOTOS: Ben and Gathoni Kiruthi. INTERVIEW: Rose Kwamboka