Unique Nigerian wedding traditions you probably didn’t know

In Nigeria, a wedding is much more than the celebration of joining the lives of two people into one. It is when two entire families join together as one and a Nigerian wedding is an all-out affair that is full of bright colours, toe-tapping music, and ancient traditions. Because we love wedding traditions from all around the world, here is what we discovered about Nigerian weddings

Time to go shopping

In Igbo tribes, the bride’s family present the potential groom with a dowry list that he must fulfill in order to get their blessing to marry. The list often includes, but is not limited to, clothes, food, white goods, and huge items like a new car. Some families also require hard-to-find items like an alligator tooth.

A bride’s dowry will become more expensive if she has gone to university and holds a degree or doctorate. This has resulted in many potential marriages failing at the first hurdle as the groom was unable to afford the family’s requirements.

Seniority matters

If you have an older sibling, you have to cross your fingers that your brother or sister doesn’t want to live the life of a bachelor indefinitely.

Nigerian wedding tradition says that men, in particular, are not allowed to be married until their older brothers are.

Twice the fun

Nigerian couples often have two weddings, with a cultural wedding followed by a religious ceremony that is often more western in nature. These ceremonies are held days and sometimes weeks apart.

While some brides opt to wear a white wedding dress for their religious ceremony, couples are increasingly returning to their cultural roots and wearing stunning, bright outfits in their tribal colours, the colours of their soon-to-be spouse, or creating a mixture of the two.

Traditional Igbo wedding attire includes a lace blouse, a bright kaftan-like skirt, matching or contrasting coral beads and head tie.

No guest list headaches

When it comes to Nigerian weddings, everyone is invited, so trying to regulate the guest list is a headache Nigerian couples won’t have to endure.

Wedding hosts simply prepare for the largest number of guests possible when it comes to catering, seating, food, and bonbonniere as an intended guest list of 250 could easily double or triple as the word gets out. After all, who wants to miss out on the opportunity to celebrate?

Caterers

The bride’s mother traditionally caters for Nigerian weddings with the assistance of extended family and friends. Food also plays a big role throughout the wedding ceremony, with both sides of the family giving one another trays of food and other gifts to symbolise their connection to one another.

Boogie on down

Music and dance feature heavily in Nigerian weddings and many of the popular wedding songs, including Azonto, Chop My Money, Kukere and Skelewu, have their own dances a la the Macarena or the Nutbush.

When the DJ drops one of these babies, the dance floor is set to fill up with guests of all ages busting out the dance moves. Not to worry if you’re unfamiliar with any or all of them, a quick search on YouTube will give you everything you need to know so you can get amongst it.

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