Sunday May 20 2018

When you are with the right person you know it

Love at first sight: Aly and Sylvia Alibhai on

Love at first sight: Aly and Sylvia Alibhai on their wedding day. They have many things in common such as their love for music, movies, sports and video games 

By EDGAR R. BATTE

How did you meet?
Aly: We were good friends for three years before we started dating seriously. Then after dating for a couple years we discovered that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

Sylvia: We met in 2011 at a mutual friend’s party. We were brought together by our passion to have fun and enjoy life. Aly had the courage to come and say, ‘hi’ to me when he saw me ordering a drink. We chatted for a few minutes after which he asked if we could exchange phone numbers. I agreed and he called me a week later.

At what point were you convinced that you had met the right one?
Aly: Sylvia is beautiful but when I discovered how intelligent, motivated and independent she is, that is when I realised she was a woman I could spend the rest of my life with. Being close friends for a couple years before we starting dating also helped.

Sylvia: I liked Aly from the first day I saw him even if we did not start dating right away, while I was Miss Uganda. When I went to live in the USA we stayed in touch. When I moved back to Uganda we went on our very first date and I knew he would be a great guy for me.

What drew you together?
Aly: We have so many things in common such as, our love for music, movies, sports, video games and events. We used to hang out three or four times a week. However, we did not completely move in together until after the wedding.

Sylvia: We connected at so many levels. It was a long and slow process. We never rushed anything. We spent so much time with each other.

What memories do you have of your dating phase?
Aly: We were honest with each other. We kept no secrets and were both very forthcoming with our feelings about each other.

Sylvia: The dating phase was so much fun. Aly used to take me with him to his international events and they were so much fun. We dated out of the public eye for a while; people only knew about us after a year of being together.

When did the conversation to get married start?
Sylvia: When you are with the right person you just know it. While dating we would talk about marriage and what we thought about it and we reached that point in our relationship where we knew we could not live without each other. And then, one day Aly surprised me with a proposal.

How did you propose to her?
Aly: I proposed on July 25, 2015. I got P-Square (now defunct Nigerian music duo) involved in the proposal by asking them to record a video clip dedicated to Sylvia where they sang her favourite song No One like You. After, they said, “Listen carefully to Aly. He has a special message for you.” I played this on my TV at home and then, got down on my knees, holding a diamond ring and proposed to her. She said, ‘yes.’ I had also made reservations for a romantic dinner that night. The rest is history.

How did you feel when he proposed?
Sylvia: It felt unreal. I could not believe that the moment I had waited for had finally come. I thought he was playing with me. I was so confused especially with the P Square thing. Aly had to calm me down and make me listen again to the video and he proposed all over again. I was so happy. I was really in disbelief and it took a while to sink in. That is one of the best days of my life.

What did you learn from premarital counselling?
Aly: We both enjoyed this counselling. It was done by Sylvia’s uncle who is also an ordained pastor.

Sylvia: With over 20 years of marriage experience he had some really great words of wisdom he gave us that we are now living by.

What was your wedding like?
Aly: She wanted a big wedding and I gave her one. We had a whole week of celebrations that included different ceremonies. I had almost 100 family members and friends who flew in from all over the world.

Sylvia: The main wedding took place at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa. We booked nearly the entire hotel for the weekend.

What took the biggest share of the wedding budget?
Aly: The wedding rings, venue, decoration, food, drinks and wedding outfits, especially Sylvia’s outfits. She had four dresses in total and I had three outfits.

Sylvia: Hospitality and accommodation also took a share. We had booked nearly the entire resort inclusive of the hotel rooms.

What did you wear for the wedding?
Sylvia: I had two main outfits – a white custom-made wedding dress by a Canadian designer and a white and gold Indian sari also bought in Canada. Aly also wore two main outfits; a tuxedo by Hugo Boss and a cream and gold Indian outfit all bought from Canada.

Why Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa?
Aly: We wanted something out of Kampala where our international guests could enjoy a tropical destination-style wedding and where everyone was in one place. Most of our guests checked in for three days and the resort offered lots of attractions for them such as, the golf course, spa, swimming pool and boat trips.

Sylvia: We had considered getting married in Canada but we finally settled on Uganda. It ended up being the perfect choice because many of my friends and family got a chance to visit Uganda for the first time.

Which salon did you go to?
Sylvia: Everything was done on location including hair and makeup. We had a big bridal suite that came with the hotel wedding package.

How many guests did you plan for?
Sylvia: We planned for 400 guests and they all showed up. We even hosted a post-wedding brunch with all our guests.

What gifts did you receive?
Sylvia: We received a lot of gifts and they are all very impressive. However, the gifts from Aly’s parents will forever be memorable.

What was your colour theme and who decorated the venue?
Aly: Most of the wedding was white with a touch of blush, pink and gold. We used the Talent Africa event and decoration team to execute the wedding. It was very advantageous that I run an events and entertainment company so I made sure we got a great deal from Talent Africa.

Who was the best man?
Aly: My best man was one of my best friends named Rodney. We both moved to Uganda around the same time. The other people in my entourage were my younger brother Zain and my friend Zahid.

Who was the maid of honour?
Sylvia: It was my big sister. She is married and we are very close. My entourage also included my other sister and my best friend.
What made you most happy?
Sylvia: Some of the memorable moments where; the nuptials, the Indian welcome ceremony, the speeches and the after party.

What did not go according to plan?
Sylvia: Some service providers did not keep time. However we did not let it get to us. We ordered champagne and enjoyed the moment as we waited for them to arrive.

What advice can you share with those planning a wedding?
Aly: Always have respect for each other, find time to talk about your issues and keep the love burning.

Sylvia: Make planning the wedding fun. My girls and I had so much fun as we planned the wedding that we really missed it when the function ended.

What advice can you share on making marriage work?
Aly: We do lots of things together. We go to the parks, watch movies, go for drives, go to dinner and take family trips and holidays as often as we can.

What are your future plans?
Sylvia: We plan to protect our marriage and hope to grow old together. We hope to raise our son to be the best human being possible. Also, we are planning on having another baby in the near future.

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