When and how did you meet?
Rop: I saw her picture on Facebook and I instantly fell for her smile and decided to inbox. I was surprised when she responded and from there on our relationship started.
Stella: On Facebook! This was on March 26, 2009. He sent me a message and I responded.
So, when did the two of you eventually become close?
Rop: I asked her out and we started dating the same year.
How was the proposal? When was it and how did you react?
Stella: He took me for lunch at Sopa Lodge in Lake Nakuru National Park on June 27, 2015. I had my suspicions that he was going to propose that day but he cleverly threw me so off track that I concluded it was an ordinary date.
After lunch we were idly looking at the lake when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, then a waiter (who had been lying in wait all along) jumped out with a camera and started taking photos! I was so surprised I forgot to say ‘yes’.
Rop: Stella is hard to surprise and I had to be creative with the proposal.
What attracted you to each other?
Rop: Her beautiful smile, hearty laughter, her intelligence and passion for books, and her genuine care and concern.
Stella: His calm, composed nature, his kindness, gentleness and love for God. He is also 100 per cent loyal and very handsome!
What was your budget and how did you raise the funds?
Stella: Our budget was Ksh 700,000 (approximately Shs 25m). We combined our savings and raised the rest from family and friends.
What was the most expensive item?
Stella: Definitely the tents and décor. I had no idea tents were so expensive. The tents alone cost Ksh 13,000 (approx. Shs435,500).
Did you involve a wedding planner?
Stella: No, we did not. We formed a planning committee composed of our close friends. Each member was in charge of a task, which is how we got things done.
What were you doing on the eve of your wedding?
Rop: I spent the day with my best man shopping for shoes and bowties for the groomsmen. In the evening, I was at a friend’s place with my groomsmen. We were just talking and hanging out as we awaited the big day.
Stella: I was busy getting my hair and nails done during the day. Then in the evening I was at my parents’ home with my bridesmaids and a few relatives, mostly chatting and relaxing.
Were you disappointed in any way during the wedding?
Stella: Yes, I did not like how the food tent looked. I also thought the inner lining of the high table tent looked funny.
Rop: I arrived early at the venue and was disappointed that the set up was still going on. I must admit though that they did a good job with the set up.
Where was the reception?
Stella: It was a garden wedding so the reception was at the same place as the service. It was at the grounds of Marist University College, Karen. We decided on a garden wedding because, weather-wise, it was a good month (February) to be outdoors and it was the kind of wedding we’d always imagined we would have.
What did you enjoy the most?
Stella: The church service. Our bridal team looked fantastic, as did the set-up. The exchange of vows and rings made the day real for me. I also enjoyed the cake-cutting part of the reception.
Rop: The church programme ran smoothly and I enjoyed the dance we did before our first kiss. I also enjoyed the food at the reception.
What was going through your mind during the wedding ceremony?
Rop: Stella looked so beautiful; I couldn’t believe I was the lucky man marrying her!
Stella: “Is this real or am I in a dream?”
Did you go for premarital counselling ?
Stella: Yes we did, for 10 weeks as required by our church (Nairobi Chapel). We had several married couples talk to us on various topics- finances, sex, children, in-laws, dealing with conflict, and so on. I think the main thing I learnt was that your spouse comes first in marriage.
Rop: I learnt that communication is very important in marriage.
How many guests did you invite?
Rop: We invited 450. I think 500 or slightly more turned up.
Did you have any debts after the wedding?
A few, but nothing crippling. We were able to pay off what we owed in the first few weeks after the wedding.
Did you think of going for honeymoon as vital?
Rop: Yes, we started paying for our honeymoon three months before the wedding so that we would not end up spending all our money on the wedding.
Stella: It was one of the very first things we started planning when we got engaged. We went to Watamu, on the Kenyan Coast. I highly recommend it.
What is your advice to those planning to wed?
Stella: Firstly, go with God. You will need His strength, help and protection all through the journey of wedding planning. Secondly, have faith. Even if you do not have much you can still have a beautiful wedding.
Thirdly, stand up for each other and learn to use the word ‘NO’ very firmly and as often as necessary! This is because there will be pressure from relatives on either side to do things their way.
Rop: Firstly, God instituted marriage and He is in the wedding business. He will provide everything you need for the day, have faith.
Secondly, start planning early and have both a personal and a wedding budget. Thirdly, it is your day! Have fun even if you notice things that are not going according to plan.
The Rops had a garden wedding because it had always been their dream. The space and weather too favoured their choice. This saved them the burden of moving their guests from venue to venue.
Stella had her wedding dress custom-made in Nairobi by Nkatha of Ihsani Culture. The bridesmaids’ dresses were also tailored in Nairobi by Peggy of Peggy Designs.
Kate’s Bakers made the wedding cake which cost Ksh 30,000 (Shs 1,005,000) for four tiers and a number of cupcakes. The couple cut and served their guests carrot cake and the others were rich fruit cake. It was totally delicious.
Turquoise and burnt orange, with white as a background colour. It came off beautifully. These colours are also vibrant and blend well with nature. Who would want a dull wedding anyway?
Despite the bride’s reservations about the poor decor for the food table, the tents were the most expensive item on the budget. Through wedding meetings, family and their friends’contributions, the couple afforded the fees.
The more comfort on the day of the wedding the better the feeling. The couple chose a Mercedes Benz and Landcruisers for their wedding fleet. This is because they are classy cars and stable on the road.
Date: February 20, 2016
Groom: Kennedy Rop
Bride: Stella Riunga
Wedding /reception venue: Marist University College, Karen, Nairobi
Honeymoon: Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Watamu.
Bugdet: Kshs 700, 000. (approx.Shs24m)