We dated for four years, our parents stood by us

The Byamukamas enjoy a photo moment with the bridal party on their wedding day. Photo | Phoebe Masongole

What you need to know:

  • Episode sealed: Benard Byamukama and Esther Kalemwa met at a youth conference at their church. Their meeting was the beginning of love although it took them four years to date. The couple spoke more with Phoebe Masongole. 

Bernard Byamukama and Esther Kalemwa were church mates and part of organisers of youth conference that was scheduled to take place in December 2017 at Kingdom of Grace Believers Church-Kijungu in Hoima City.


The two attended the conference but little did they know that it was going to be start of their love life.

“We saw each other, interacted but that particular time was a normal interaction about  conference issues nothing much,”  Byamukama says. 

  “I did not feel anything for her apart from being a friend. But to my wife, she recently opened up to me that that particular day she saw love in my eyes but could not do anything,” he adds.

And for four years, they remained friends until October 2021 during Covid-19 lockdown when they started dating.

“Social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and phone calls were our major mode of communication because I was in Kampala and Bernard in Hoima,” she says.

 The lovebirds attribute their purity in courtship to their parents.

“The love of my mother-in-law to-be was beyond my expectation. This was after she had realised that we were planning for something better ahead. Also, the care of my sweetheart Essie was just a new experience for me,” he recalls. 


On Easter Sunday in 2022, Byamukama proposed to Kalemwa at Kabalega Resort Hotel Gardens in Masindi with the help of her friends. Byamukama says he had too much fear that maybe his better half would change her mind on him but those around him encouraged him.

“Stella Mugweri, Kalemwa’s friend convinced her to come along to the party. I provided whatever was necessary to ensure she turned up for the party. She accepted,” he says.

“On arrival, Joan Bridals had decorated the place with a banner written on ‘Will you marry me?’ I was on a bended knee to propose. She said ‘YES’.

She was surprised and felt so unique.

“I said yes with excitement in front of our friend as they clapped for us,” she says. After, they organised a pre-visit to Kalemwa’s family so that they get to know each other.

They successfully had their pre-visit on June 10, 2022 in Kijungu, Hoima City which made their parents so happy.


The couple says because they did not want to take long without introducing themselves and paying bride wealth, they started right away preparing to plan their introduction ceremony.

The two agreed and settled for December 10, 2022 and this forced them to work towards achieving that.

 “Before November we had 80 per cent of our budget including most of the things asked by the girl’s family.

 “The girl’s parents did not ask for any specific things but instead asked us to go with the essential things used for introduction in Bunyoro culture plus other additional items based in my capacity. This is what was done,” he says.

Escorted by about 150 people, Esther officially introduced her husband to the family in Kibugubya Village, Kyabigambire Sub-county in Hoima District.


Their wedding was prepared through the use of different strategies including holding meetings in Hoima Town, village, and at church. In addition, social media played a vital role “ we created about three WhatsApp groups; the family, friends, and OBs and OGs to support us,” Kalemwa recalls.

 “We were backed up by a committee under the leadership of Jackson Zziwa, and our parents who worked tirelessly to make the day happen,” Bernard says.

On the D-day they received many guests and the church service was full to capacity. 

“I was eagerly waiting to see my wife march into the church. I was so overwhelmed with joy to see her smartly dressed in white gown and people were singing for her,” he says.

“I was so blessed to see the guests, and my husband looked so fresh and I could not wait to hug him,” she says.

The two exchanged their vows at Kingdom of Grace Believers Church, Kijungu Hoima City.

“We forgot to book a venue  for a photoshoot and we used someone’s compound. It made us feel bad but our photography never disappointed us with his photographic skills,” Bernard relates.

Quick notes

Groom: Bernard Byamukama

Bride:  Esther Kalemwa

Guests: 500 

Main Celebrants: Martin Ajuna and Jackson Zziwa

Gown: Shs500,000

Suit: Shs250,000

Rings: Shs50,000

Church: Kingdom of Grace Believers Church-Kijungu*

Budget: Shs15m

Reception: HB Hotel Hoima City (St Jude Hall)