Collins Okeyo Attito and Ellen Adhiambo Okeyo, both working in the fashion design industry, dated for five years and their patience eventually bore fruits when they recently got married. ESTHER KIRAGU caught up with the newlywed couple who freely shared their love story.
The University of Nairobi was the venue of the meeting between 29-year-old Collins Okeyo and 26-year-old Ellen Okeyo. That was in 2008. “I was having lunch within the campus when a tall, beautiful lady caught my eye,” says Collins. Ellen was a student at the university at the time while Collins was on a work-related assignment. He approached her with a proposal that she joins the modeling industry but she was not interested. He was convinced that she had the perfect body for the catwalk.
Nevertheless, they exchanged phone numbers and this meeting was to become the beginning of a great friendship between them. “I still hoped to convince Ellen to become a model,” Collins says adding that the more time he spent with her trying to convince her, the more he found her to be a respectable young woman with great values. With time, the two became inseparable and their friendship moved to the next level in 2009 when they started dating.
Their first major conflict revolved around Collins’ love for alcohol, but they were able to save the relationship when Collins gave his life to Christ and ditched the bottle. The couple then set their relationship on a Christian foundation and surrounded themselves with like-minded individuals from their church who influenced them positively and became accountable to. The other problem they faced was that Ellen’s family initially didn’t accept Collins. Her siblings were particularly protective of her, being the only girl in a family of five. This brought friction in their relationship and almost led to a breakup.
A proposal amidst moaning…
Collins planned a surprise birthday party for Ellen on September 19, 2010, where he was also going to propose. However, the surprise party at a friend’s house was rudely interrupted by a shocking call from Collins’ father informing him of his sister’s death. The partying mood became one of moaning but after a while Collins composed himself and went ahead with the proposal telling Ellen not to take the ring out of pity but only if she loved him.
Ellen didn’t expect a proposal at this time but knew in her heart that she wanted to marry Collins and so she accepted the ring without hesitation. This temporarily numbed the painful feelings Collins was going through and for a little while there were light moments at the party, with everyone trying to be as understanding and sympathetic as possible. They didn’t have time to celebrate the engagement as Collins had to rush home for his sister’s funeral. The couple waited for two years before their marriage since Ellen didn’t have a job and her family had not yet completely warmed up to Collins.
Wedding full of favours…
The couple started their wedding arrangements in 2013 and dowry negotiations went without a hitch. Unfortunately, Ellen lost her job and with only Ksh 50,000 to their name, it was difficult for the wedding to happen as planned, but they trusted in God to provide. And He surely did. The couple was able to secure beautiful wedding grounds at Paa Ya Paa Art Centre in Ridgeways, off Kiambu Road at a small cost through a friend. God’s favours didn’t stop there. A friend of Collin’s brother offered free décor and the cake, while one of their friends came up with a free public address system. The Master of Ceremonies also came for free and most of the other services were charged at a fraction.
The couple held their dream wedding, with yellow and blue as their theme, on September 14, 2013, surrounded by friends and family. “We encountered God’s faithfulness and bountiful blessings,” says the happy couple.
Photography by Artistic photographers
Published in December 2013