How would you describe Ashley?
Martha: He is God-fearing, a risk-taker, hardworking, loving and handsome.
Ashley: Martha is godly, very humble, cultured, very beautiful, quiet and very observant. I was looking for such a person. When I found her, I knew she was the one.
How and when did you two meet?
Martha: We met early 2014 when he came to office with a colleague marketing their IT product and services. They had been referred to office by one of our members recommending the product and the service.
What was your first impression of him?
Martha: Confident, up-straight, eloquent because he looked young to me, and fresh from university.
Ashley? I liked her personality from the first time. She exhibited humility from our first business interactions.
When did he start throwing sweet words to warm your heart?
Martha: When we first met, he seemed young but confident, eloquent and intelligent. It was strictly business discussion. It took one month for us to start discussing matters outside work.
How did you present your manifesto to her?
Ashley: Strategically. The deal I was chasing gave me a chance to talk to her often. One day I sent her a work-related sms at about 8pm, requesting to call her about their website that we were working on. She accepted. That was the first time I talked to her after work hours. Then I looked her up on Facebook and sent her a friend request which she accepted. We chatted and our conversations grew.
In July, I sent her another sms asking how she was. We chatted until 11pm. Then I kept calling her up and she was not hostile. Of course God was a big factor in our connection. We talked about God, ministry, and life.
I invited her for a worship concert but she could not make it. She promised to honour another invitation at another time. That day, we had gone to pay for their domain and also receive part payment for their website. On August 31, I asked her out for a movie because I had learnt that she loves animations. Surprisingly, she accepted and we had our first date.
What did you tell her when you took her out?
Ashley: I had determined to tell her that I loved her and wanted to marry her. We went for a 3D movie, then went for lunch. I took her to Piato, her favourite restaurant on Lumumba avenue. We spent there about two hours then when we were about to leave, I proposed marriage. I also asked her not to respond there and then.
Our friendship had grown. It was after that first date that we had a second date on September 2 and I took her to the beach. After that, we would meet once a week for coffee at Hotel Triangle on Buganda Road.
How did he introduce the subject?
Martha: After the movie, we had lunch. While we were having lunch he said there was something he wanted to tell me. He first gave history of why he had become a friend then what he had discovered about me and then what his conclusion was. A marriage proposal.
What did you say to him?
Martha: I need time to think about it.
When did you make up your mind?
Martha: After two months. Why did you take that long? I needed time to research on him and know him more than just the physical presentation.
What did you discover?
Martha: I got to know his family background, character, spirituality and his potential. I also learnt his weaknesses while we dated.
Please tell me about it.
Martha: Being protective while walking on the streets, he would insist on being at the edge, holding my hand while crossing the road, taking me out to serene places for my birthday, dinner and lunch for weekends. There were the constant checks through mails and phone calls, and spiritual encouragement. This brought out his spirituality and maturity.
When and how did he propose to you?
Martha: On our first date on a bended knee in September, 2014.
How did the proposal change your relationship and its direction?
Martha: It reflected a serious call for commitment to a lifetime relationship which required serious attention, observation and well thought through answer.
What was your reaction when you made a marriage proposal?
Ashley: She told me that she would think about it. I waited from August until November 28 when she formally accepted my proposal. But I had to ask her again.
How did you prepare for the wedding?
Martha: Our families, friends, church, pastors, and employers took part.
How important was the premarital counselling?
Martha: It wasn’t so important because actually acceptance of the other party starts from there and it’s a litmus paper to test how prepared and ready one is for marriage.
What time did you wake up on your wedding day?
Martha: So early, I slept for two hours. I woke up at 5am.
The most memorable
Ashley: The vows; I had waited for this day all my life, and I always had a mental picture of my wife since I was a young boy. Before me stood the woman I always envisioned.
What went through your mind as you exchanged vows with Ashley?
Martha: What I had in mind was the serious commitment and the fact that I had to mean every word since we were before God. No jokes and lies.
It also made me realise that I had become a full woman, leaving my parents crossing over to another world I had heard about from friends, counsellors, parents and pastors.
Did you have a chance to kiss each other?
Martha: Ha ha ha, kiss? No, it was a holy hug. How is a holy hug done? Just hug like couples do, and not from the sides.
Did anything go wrong at the wedding?
Ashley: Yes, music: we wanted a live band, but did not find a full set. Most of the service providers had hired them out. We only had a keyboard that the band used and they performed well. Jackie Ssenyonjo also sang well.
Martha: The décor service provider did not decorate as we had agreed the previous day. We were only able to raise 80 per cent of the budget, we agreed on the items, but still they did not fulfil their end of the bargain. I hired them because of the friendship our families shared for more than 10years.
What were the main highlights of your wedding?
Ashley: We had more than 800 guests, a number that my wife did not expect. Our wedding brought together long-time friends. Some of the most important people in my life attended; Apostle Alex and Catherine Mitala, Bishop Solomon and Mary Mukonjo, our families, and her pastor. At the Kwanjula, my old time friend, Pr Wilson Bugembe sang, and so did Betty Nakibuuka and Joseph Segawa. Hon. Ken Lukyamuzi also attended the introduction. Our functions were six days apart. That is why I bring in the Kwanjula highlights.
Date : August 29, 2015
Groom: Ashley Wandera
Bride: Martha Birungi
Matron: Germinah Kangave Sava
Bestman Henry Wynn Kakooza
Church: Makerere Full Gospel Church
Reception: Arizona Gardens, Bulange
A family friend popularly known as Hajati from Makindye made a 25-tier wedding cake for the Wanderas at Shs 2m. She is motherly and Ashley had previously taken many customers to her and she discounted the price.
For Ashley, exchanging vows meant a dream marriage come true and Martha felt it was time to be more committed to lifetime relationship. In premarital counselling, they had been told to mean what they say.
The groom wore a blue suit with a red bowtie which looked elegant ad vibrant for the church event. The bride’s gown with a sheer bodice and matching gloves plus a floral tiara did not disappoint.