Several Nigerian Wedding Traditions
The traditions and customs of the Nigerian wedding are colorful and festive, and always, always filled to the brim with loud and enthusiastic music, singing, a set of dishes of different varieties, and dances in large groups!
Shola Ade from Designer Wedding Planner Weddings and Events in London shares what she learned while planning a Nigerian wedding for her Nigerian clients.
If you are planning a Nigerian wedding or a wedding that contains Nigerian elements, here are ten wedding traditions and customs that you really need to know:
Before the ceremony can begin, the bride and her family will usually provide the groom and his family with a list of dowry requirements.
In other words, the groom and his family are obliged to provide the bride and her family with all the items on the list before the engagement can be official.
The dowry can include everything from fruits, sweets and clothes to a new car. If the groom is not able to deliver these items, then the engagement really can not take place.
Items Requested By The Bride’s Family:
Some of the items requested by the bride’s family are; bag(S) of sugar, bag(S) of rice, alligator pepper, bitter kola balls, a bag of salt, kola nuts.
Inedible items will also include a BRAND NEW and popular Bible, and may also include expensive materials such as lace, several pairs of shoes, a wristwatch, a gold engagement ring and a headband. Everything is presented and displayed so well that everyone can see it.
Most Nigerian couples or Nigerian fusion weddings will have two wedding ceremonies – the first is cultural and contains most of the traditional Nigerian elements. The second, as a rule, is a religious ceremony or the “white wedding”.
Each ceremony is preceded by a separate officer.
No guest list
Traditionally, Nigerian weddings do not have a guest list. The whole community is welcome and an abundance of food and drinks are available in matter you meet with your entire community.
Very often, when you hear that a distant person whom you may know from your parents is getting married, you will feel that it would be rude not to attend the wedding and spread love.
Then, if a friend invites you to a yoruba wedding, make it available to yourself, since many people are there even without an invitation, because of the food, the pleasure and the music.
An alaga, traditionally a woman, is a Nigerian wedding officer or master of ceremonies whose job is to trick the groom and his friends as enjoyment for the wedding guests.
It is a pure pleasure to see in action in very good alaga.
Woven by loud chants, chants, dances, music and a lot of laughter, Alaga creates a live theater of the traditions of the wedding ceremony, which keeps people completely engaged during the one-hour ceremony.
The bride is then announced at the place of the ceremony, followed by her friends, all dressed in traditional dresses such as Buba ati Iro, the blouse and the long skirt, while they join her in a noisy dance in the hallway.
The bride also goes through some protocols, but the money is only given to her, and not taken, as in the matter of the groom.
She is introduced to the groom’s family before taking her place next to the groom.
At this point, you can consider yourself married. The woman indicates features of the bride by feeding the groom. If you want to contact us to accompany you at your traditional Nigerian wedding
Nigerian brides wear a traditional and ornate headdress called gele. Even bridesmaids and families follow and wear a frozen one to honor the cultural traditions of the day.
The wedding celebration, as a rule, is provided with clothes, including gele (for ladies) and fila (for groom) by a seamstress who coordinates everything to measure.
Aso-Ebi is directly translated as “family clothes”. Nigerian couples choose what their guests wear by assigning a color to the bride’s family and a custom color to the groom’s family.
At the wedding, the couple asked the bride’s family to wear pink, and the groom’s family to wear white. The main family will also have their chosen colors, and often both sets of parents wear the same material and color to show the unity and happiness of the couple coming together.
No Yoruba wedding takes place without Aso-Ebi, where family and friends wear colorful and uniform outfits. This part is actually what many brides, their mothers, and their friends are looking forward to.
Proposal and adoption
Before the wedding, a Nigerian groom is obliged to write a letter of intent to the bride’s parents. This letter is symbolic of a proposal and is presented to the bride’s family.
The letter is usually read aloud by a member of the bride’s family, after which the acceptance is given to the groom on behalf of the bride’s family. The letter is often framed and in an ornate presentation. It is a reminder, and it is read aloud to the assembled guests because it expresses the groom’s request to find the desire of his heart and marry his chosen bride.
During the ceremony, it is important for the groom to bow. The groom, usually with his groomsmen, will lie flat on the ground, with his face on the ground, at the feet of the bride’s family.
This is symbolic for the groom, who honors the bride’s family because he brought up his future wife to the stage when she can get married. During the ceremony, the groom must win the love and honor of the bride’s family and this is one way to do this.
The groom and the groomsmen also bow to the feet of the groom’s parents as a sign of respect. It’s really a show and a great opportunity to be present.
At a cultural Nigerian wedding ceremony, the newlyweds cut a cake! This tradition is different from what we are used to seeing at other weddings when the cake is usually cut during the reception. The cake is cut at the Nigerian ceremony to symbolize rice and sweet happiness.
The food for the celebration after the ceremony is usually provided by the bride’s family. Traditionally, all the food is prepared by the mother of the bride and her family in their family kitchen.
Alternatively, couples can secure the services of a Nigerian caterer who can prepare an authentic, home-cooked meal for guests while walking on and off the dance floor.
“The Trad”, as it is often called, is a great thing and the event can cost almost as much as the wedding itself.
Often couples allow their parents to organize the traditional wedding as a habitual event, and then they have the white wedding they wish. In this sense, the traditional wedding can then have more guests and the couple can limit the number of people attending the main wedding.
More importantly, Nigerian marriages are fun! You will not be disappointed if you have the opportunity to take part in this significant cultural event!