SECTIONS

I got my man's heart through his stomach

Joseph Okoth with his bride Isla Ambiyo         Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri

BRIDE: Isla Ambiyo

GROOM: Joseph Okoth

GUESTS: 300

VENUE: All Saints Cathedral

BUDGET: Sh200,000

DATE: November 18, 2016

 

FIRST DATE

ISLA: We first met in 2012 in church at Moi University where we were students. Our first conversation revealed that he was a foodie and he expressed that he would want to have dinner in my room. It was not unusual for friends to come over for dinner, especially those from church.

JOSEPH: From the way she cooked and served the dinner, I thought she could make a good wife, but never really said anything to her, though I made fun of the fact on my blog. What pleased me most is that as she made the rice, she covered it with a cloth.

 Being a foodie, I know that rice tastes better this way than when it is covered with a lid. She was also very graceful and unashamed of her walk in God. I was totally sold.

ISLA: The dinner was a fortnight before the 10-month long holiday, so any thoughts he had of pursuing a relationship were dashed. However, as the holiday wore on, our friendship grew over phone conversations and by the time school was on again, we were in a relationship.

 Barely a month into school, insignificant things about him started irritating me, leading to our break-up. I would later realise that the little annoyances had nothing to do with him, but with the fact that I had caved in to the pressure of his constant asking to be in a relationship. That was in 2013.

JOSEPH: I anticipated the break-up for a voice in me had cautioned me against being scared of losing her. I told her that I love her enough to care more about her happiness than mine, and if that meant breaking up, then so be it.

She was shocked at how easily I was letting go and she started crying. After campus, we reconnected in January 2015 upon learning that we were both in Nairobi. I knew she would not consider a relationship, but asked her out anyway. As expected, she said no, and told me that I needed to move on.

ISLA: A week after he asked me out, I changed my mind. I figured that I needed to settle down. Every quality I prayed for in a husband-to-be pointed me to him. So I went back and let him know I’d had a change of heart.

Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri

THE PROPOSAL

JOSEPH: It took me a month to plan the engagement via WhatsApp with a few friends. I informed her pastor that I would like to propose in church with spoken word poetry, an area I am experienced in. On the day of the proposal, I told her that I was launching a spoken word piece in church where the cameras would capture the entire process. That covered my tracks. Of course, I asked her to be there as she was my greatest support.

ISLA: I was so excited, I even invited a few of my friends. He did the spoken word, but the last four lines were a proposal. I did not see it coming. I could not imagine he could do that in front of the entire church.

Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri

THE DRAMA

ISLA: My biggest struggle and concern was how to tell my parents that I wanted to settle down with a guy who was in full time ministry, with no corporate job, raising support from friends to earn a living. On the wedding day, we hosted double the number of guests we had budgeted for.

 As a result, we came back from the photo shoot to find guests at a larger reception hall that should have cost us Sh50,000 more, but thankfully, we did not have to pay for it.

JOSEPH: I had not intended to propose so the engagement ring I got was a tad larger than her finger. She was more than glad to get rid of it. Also, it had been raining the week leading to our wedding and even rained on the d-day.

Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri

WITH HINDSIGHT

ISLA: Having the wedding in the evening and on a Friday saved us a lot of stress and finances. Instead of food, we served snacks.

We made our wedding all be about service. We opted to let friends be involved and be a blessing to us with their gifts and skills. Nothing except the venue was hired. Most of the services including decor, the vehicles, cake, make up, gown and snacks were offered by friends and friends of friends.  

Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri