Igbo Traditional Nigerian Wedding Planning

Your prince charming has popped the big question “Would you marry me...and you said yes. He put a beautiful ring on your finger and you are his fiancée, what next. Planning a wedding is a herculean task especially Nigerian weddings, considering traditional engagements and after party. There is no perfect time than now even though the lovely nuptial date is not yet set. Having a checklist makes the process much easier and stress free, so let us go through the bridal checklist.


Announce your changed status:

It is important to announce your changed status to your close friends and family so they can share in your joy. It also keeps other roving bachelors away, which reduces the temptation to stray. Your groom also has an important part in the announcement by formally seeking your parents’ consent. The process is not complicated especially if your parents are informed of his formal visit.


 The groom can fix a certain date and come with his friends and a senior family member. The introductions are informal and in a friendly atmosphere where he states his intentions. This informal introduction should- not be confused with traditional introduction because that is a completely different ball game. Traditional engagement is capital intensive and follows strict guidelines and rules while involving both families.



Understand the customary traditional wedding rites:

Depending on the bride’s ethnic group, the traditional rites differ and are different in execution. The bride should help the groom understand the requirements or the groom can hire a professional to guide him. Traditional engagements involve bride price, list of items, certain dressing and comportment and other requirements. Having a checklist reduces the stress involved in fulfilling the traditional aspects.



Bride price and engagement list:

The engagement list and bride price depends on the ethnicity of the couple. Some ethnic groups in Nigeria have zero bride price but the engagement list is high. Other ethnic groups have the reverse high bride price and moderate engagement list. The bride’s family provides the engagement list prior to the engagement ceremony. The groom’s family should start buying the items listed on the list early enough and leave the perishable goods until a day to the event. Buying the listed items early reduces the cost over a period than purchasing all the items at once.



What kind of wedding do you want?

The three major ethnic groups in Nigeria have three major marriage rites acceptable to the government. Customary marriage, traditional marriage, and religious unions like Christian/ Muslim weddings. The bride and groom to be should determine which wedding they want. They may decide on traditional engagement and church wedding or customary union at government registry.


 Such crucial decisions are not left to the couple but are subject to the family’s approval. Other important considerations involve the duration of the nuptial like how many days between engagement and wedding ceremony. The most practical solution is to have the engagement and the wedding on the same day. Engagements are rather lengthy so putting the engagement after the church or registry.



Religious wedding considerations:

Religious weddings like church wedding and Muslim wedding are dependent on the availability of the church, pastor, or cleric. Make sure all provisions have been met and a definite date agreed to by the holy men. Some church wedding require couple counseling, active, membership, and dues paid including medical tests. The requirements differ from religious organization to the next so make sure everything is in order.



The date of the wedding:

The date of the wedding is the most important aspect of any wedding for proper planning. When the day is set a venue of your choice is the next step. The size of the venue depends on the number of guest you invite; the more guest the bigger the venue. The bigger the venue the more money it would cost to accommodate your well-wishers.


Once both families have agreed on a date and the venue booked then the next step is invitation cards. As a rule, it is better to send out invitation cards at least a month to the wedding. Any time earlier and your guests might forget the date, sooner and it might be inconvenient to some guests. On the invitation card is the bride and grooms name, family names, RSVP, location of the wedding, date, time and color scheme for the day.



Aso-ebi wedding outfit:

Traditional Nigerian wedding are incomplete without the uniform Aso ebi, a material chosen by the bride and groom. Aso ebi materials are usually wax print materials made up of beautiful designs. The material might have a single or dual color theme depending on the choice of the couple. They can be monogram, bright colored, or multi colored material.


 The material can also be woven, tie and dye or any cloth of their choice. Most material chosen for wedding are moderately priced and supplied by the bride to family and friends (at a cost). The color might not necessarily be the same as the groom’s family but the couple-wear identical apparels and color scheme.


Great care and detail should be put into the brides design because it is her day and she should be glamorous and shine. It goes with the wedding gown, which can be new, used, or sown by the bride. New gowns are pricy and proper thought should be given to finances, the groom can buy a suit or tuxedo if he so wishes for the white wedding. The traditionalengagement also requires certain native accessories like beads, bracelets, and hairpieces.



Wedding party:

Whatever wedding arrangement you choose white wedding, traditional engagement or civil wedding you will have guests. The guests need to be entertained so provision is made for food, drinks, venue, entertainment, and music. You choice of music depends on your budget and choice either a DJ or live band. It is better to give the food to professional caterers and ushers to reduce you stress. Make a checklist of the type of food you wish to serve your guest and ask for ideas from the caterer. The number of guests you invite would determine how much money is spent on drinks and food.




Nigerian wedding involve the entire families and friends, with proper arrangement the day will go smoothly. Making early plans and spreading cash involvement over a period helps reduce cost. You can search for discounts and promotional priced goods to reduce the heavy cost of weddings. Do not forget to use your checklist once the wedding day is set, good luck and happy marriage life.


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