Godfrey Bagenyi and his girlfriend Joan had always wanted a Valentine’s day wedding.
It was their ideal day to show their love for each other. So, last week as many celebrated the day in other ways, they made their way to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) on Georgian House and exchanged marriage vows.
At 1pm, the couple arrived separately and took the elevator to the fourth floor where the registrar, Phillip Kalibbala, was waiting to administer the vows.
In a brief, no frills ceremony, the couple exchanged vows amidst soothing music and laughter from friends and family. In under 15 minutes, the ceremonies were completed and Kalibbala, in his early 40s, bent over his desk to sign the marriage certificates.
The young, good-looking and warm Kalibbala said he had already officiated at weddings for seven couples that day, which is the daily average.
However, because it was Valentine’s day, URSB had arranged a special gift for the couples; a candle-lit dinner at Protea hotel.
Kalibbala concurred that civil marriage was becoming popular in Uganda due to the low cost. “The couples that intend to wed are only required to pay Shs 350,000 and then a 21-day notice is pinned up to let the public know about their intentions,” he said.
A little while later, the Bagenyis posed for pictures outside the registrar’s office, with the bride wearing a pink and white gown with a tiara, while her man wore a marching pink shirt with a black suit.
The Bagenyis’ love story started in 2012, after meeting online.
Godfrey was working in Dubai while Joan lived in Uganda. What started as regular correspondences blossomed into love and now the rest is history.
“We opted for civil marriage because it’s faster and easier to arrange in a short period of time. I live in Dubai; so, I didn’t have time to fly in and arrange for the church wedding,” Godfrey said. The couple plans on starting a life together in the United Arab Emirates.