How to throw a traditional Nigerian wedding
Although customs and traditions vary depending on whether a couple is from a rural or urban area there are a few events which are key to a traditional Nigerian wedding. Common customs include formal meetings between the couple’s families, the offering of a dowry and an engagement ceremony, all of which take place before the wedding ceremony itself. Having a traditional Nigerian wedding is a lovely way for a couple to honour and celebrate their families’ heritage.
Ceremony number one: The introduction
The first ceremony that takes place before a traditional Nigerian wedding is the introduction ceremony. This is where the groom’s family travels to the bride’s family home to present them with a formal letter asking for the woman’s hand in marriage. The groom’s family will often perform traditional dances and offer the bride’s family a dowry in attempt to persuade them to accept the proposal. Although the dowry is a tradition, it is not an essential part of a couple’s engagement in this modern day.
Ceremony number two: The Engagement
The engagement ceremony usually takes place the evening before the wedding. Traditionally the groom’s family would travel to the bride’s family home to hear her response to the letter. Once the bride had accepted the proposal the couple would celebrate with their family and friends. Traditional foods such as palm, yam and sugar play a huge role in traditional Nigerian wedding celebrations. At the engagement ceremony the officiating elder will drink from a cup of palm wine, before inviting the couple to share the drink.
Ceremony number three: The traditional Nigerian wedding
A Nigerian bride traditionally dresses in colourful fabrics which have been imported from India. The dress will be accessorised with a decorative coral beaded headpiece, anklets and necklaces. In some parts of Nigeria the bride will also have her hands and feet decorated with Henna.
Today many Nigerian weddings follow similar proceedings to ceremonies in the western world, however most still include the Kola nut tradition. In African wedding ceremonies the kola nut symbolises a couple’s willingness to help and heal each other. A traditional Nigerian wedding ceremony is incomplete until the couple have shared a kola but with each other and their families.