If you are reading this, congratulations on your engagement! Naija weddings are the BEST! Oh yes we said it! If you are looking o=for information on how to plan a Nigerian traditional wedding, you are in the right place! Either you are Nigerian or not, or marrying a Nigerian. Then this guide is probably all you need to make headway.
One of the most popular questions asked by newly engaged couple is the right time to start planning. Traditional wedding as we all know is the most IMPORTANT wedding in the Nigerian culture.
You MUST have a traditional wedding, which is some sort of approval & blessing from both parents and extended family alike.
The best time to start planning your Nigerian traditional wedding is immediately after you get engaged.
How to plan a Nigerian traditional wedding
Find out how traditional wedding are conducted in your culture, and his if different, most if the time, traditional weddings are conducted based on the woman’s culture.
If the couple come from the same tribe then it’s a lot easier to understand and know what to do. If it’s going to be an inter-tribal wedding, it’s even more fun, because that way, both families get to experience both cultures, imagine the wedding attire, customs, traditions, food and all….nice huh?
Things to start doing….just to ensure that there’s no last minute wedding day disappointments, and that the best vendors are available for your dates.
1. Show off your engagement or better still announce it to friends, colleagues, family, everyone that needs to know.
2. The Groom to be will formally ask for his fiance’s hand in marriage, it’s very important as Nigerian parents take this very seriously.
3. Arrange for the Family INTRODUCTION ceremony, this is another highly important thing to do. Introducing each and every member of both families to each other ahead of the proper traditional wedding is part of the planning process.
The family INTRODUCTION ceremony is like a mini engagement too, so do not go empty handed. You have to go with loads of gifts for the brides family. And they are obliged to be extremely hospitable to the groom’s family too.
4. Now the families are introduced. During this meeting, they will decide on a suitable date for the traditional wedding and sometimes the church or “White” wedding. Once the date is decided and everyone is happy with it. Then the planning begin in full swing.
5. Remember, traditional wedding is all about the parents and of course the bride. The custom & traditions followed at the traditional wedding will be that of the bride to be. So if she’s Yoruba, prepare to have a Yoruba Traditional Wedding, if she’s Kalabari, prepare to have a Kalabari traditional wedding and so on.
Photo by 7th April Photography
Inter-racial or Inter-tribal?
Also, if it’s inter-tribal, the same custom and tradition of the bride applies. The only thing that may be different is the choice of attire. Some bride change into the groom’s traditional once they have been married, as seen in the photos below. And then the custom of the groom’s family follows too once the wedding ceremony has been completed and the bride has been handed over to her groom.
Photo by SC George Photography
Nigerian Family Introduction or Traditional Wedding?
6. The couple can decide what type of traditional wedding they want. This are some of the popular traditional ceremonies out there, so you can decide which one would work for you.
i. Introduction & Bride price? This is common among the Igbos
ii. Traditional wedding only? Some skip the entire Introduction ceremony and go through with the trad wedding, which kind of makes sense. Saves time bringing all those people together
iii. Traditional wedding & Introduction? This is common with the Yorubas, they conduct the introduction ceremony after they’ve successfully concluded the traditional wedding. This is only done, when the relatives can’t be brought together twice as people may travel from far and wide.
iv. Oh well, not sure about this, but we heard some do all of this too. If you want you can, it doesn’t make much difference.
V. Now that we’ve emphasised the things to do shortly after engagement and what type of traditional wedding to have. Now, you have to decide if you want to have the introduction ceremony and trad wedding on the same day. The Igbo culture permits same day, as they do a small ceremony indoors with the in laws and have a wedding reception outside. Or do it days/ weeks/ months apart from each other? Keeping in mind how big or small you want it to be.
Vi. Want a big traditional wedding? It’s highly important to get permission of parents. As the Groom, it’s important to ask the bride’s parents for the procedure for the customary traditional wedding rites, how much is the bride price and ‘the customary bridal list’ of things you require to gift bride’s family during the traditional wedding. Also confirm who and who needs to accompany you to the occasion.
Vii. Make sure you pick a budget and stick to it. Make a budget for the traditional wedding, including the customary bridal family gifts list, number of guests, aso-ebi for guests if any and the traditional wedding reception. For Yorubas, the bride’s family pays for the wedding, For the Hausa’s, the groom pays for it all.
Photo by Maigaskiya
Viii. Now, it’s time to go shopping for the listed items in the customary traditional wedding list
ix. Decide on the colors you would like for your traditional wedding attire, decor and aso-ebi colors.
Photo by Ademolaniran
X. Book your wedding venue, or if it will be an outdoor ceremony, book tents or canopy. Book other wedding vendors, caterers, photographers, cinematographers etc….and make sure you share your lovely photos with us too, we would love to see & share them to inspire others.
If you are busy and can’t keep track on things. It’s best you hire a wedding planner to organise it all, while you sit back, relax and have a great time!
For the non Nigerians reading and are planning a Nigerian traditional wedding, please note that the Nigerian traditional wedding is packed full with culture, traditions & customs.
If you are the groom and non-nigerian, know that the traditional wedding is important to the bride’s family and she will expect you to be as supportive and willing as much as possible.
This is one ceremony that makes her your wife according to the Nigerian wedding culture, without it she’s not considered married until the groom completes the customary traditional marriage rites.
Photo by Kunle Ogunfuyi
There it is guys, if you follow the above checklist, adhering to whatever time frame you have set for yourself, then be rest assured you will be having yourself a swell time on your big day.
PS; don’t forget to book a band….recuperate some of the money spent by getting sprayed *wink*