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An Inside Look into Nigerian Weddings

Nigerian Weddings Engagement ring

Nigerian weddings are loud and elaborate. And most importantly, expensive. The wedding event industry in Nigeria is a lucrative one as people are willing to give an arm to make a statement wedding. Here is a detailed inside look into Nigerian weddings.

The Engagement

What’s a Nigerian wedding without an engagement party? Most engagement parties are spontaneous and organised by the boyfriend and friends of the bride to be. The parties are mostly night parties hosted in trendy hotels, clubs or restaurants. The lady is usually unaware of the engagement,  and even if she is, she tries to act unaware.

During the party, the boyfriend brings out a ring box, gets on his knee and pops the question. The effect is always the same. The girls burst into tears and says yes, amidst friends taking pictures for social media. The most creative engagements usually trend for a while on social media.

The Introduction

In Nigeria, parental consent for marriage is crucial. After the engagement, the fiance pays a visit to his lady’s parents. It is unwise for him to go alone. Usually he goes with some drinks, his father, his uncles and some friends.

The aim of the introduction is to formally announce his intention to marry to the girl’s parents. If the visit goes smoothly, a date for the bride price is fixed. If it doesn’t, another meeting is fixed.

There are so many reasons why parents refuse to give consent to their child’s marriage. Ignorance, lack of education,  poverty, superstitious beliefs, tribalism are just a few of the reasons.

The Bride Price

In Nigeria, the bride price is the proof of a marriage’s existence. Traditional, court and white weddings can be forfeited but a bride price is not. It is that important. In most tribes, a woman who lives with a man without a bride price is not considered his wife. Bride prices vary.

Some areas are known for notoriously high bride prices while some areas are known for low bride prices. So how much should a wife cost? Well it depends on the family, age and qualifications of the lady involved. Sometimes the bride price may be low but “the list” demanded by the lady’s family may be the issue.

The list contains items that must be bought before a girl is given away in marriage. The list usually includes yams, wrappers, drinks, goats, palm wine, garden egg, toilet rolls, you name it.The  bride price can create such a stir, as people try to get as much money as they can.

Nigerian Weddings Traditional wedding

The Traditional Wedding

Traditional weddings are colorful. Here you see lots ofcolorful and figure flattering aso ebi styles, lace materials, Hollandis, aso oke, coral beads and horse tails. There are lots of palm wine to go around for everybody, garden eggs, groundnuts and depending on the tribe, native delicacies.

In the Eastern part,  naive soups include ofe onugbu, ofe akwu, ogbono and ofe nsala that is served with fufu, semovita and eba. In the west, ewedu, gbegiri, egusi and pounded yam are sumptuous delicacies. Most traditional weddings have a live band that thrill the crowd with live performances.

There are masquerade performances, dance shows and marriage rites that differ according to tribe and culture.In most traditional weddings, the bride makes at least two outings and has to change her clothes at least twice for each outing.

The Pre-Wedding Photo

Pre-wedding photos are major highlights of a Nigerian wedding. For us, the pre wedding photo is a fashion statement and how we make it matters. This makes wedding photography a major business in Nigeria.

Couples are ready to go all out to make the right statement. There are different poses and characters to take on and the possibilities are endless. Pre wedding photos differ according to style and content and the most creative pre wedding photos trend on social media for a while.

The Court Wedding

Court weddings are becoming popular in Nigeria. As more Nigerian women become educated, they are able to make sound choices that protect them in marriages.

Issues like wife battery and maltreatment are becoming low as more women take charge of their lives. However, Court weddings are not as popular as white and traditional weddings.

The Bridal Shower

Bridal showers are almost a must in Nigerian weddings. Bridal showers are fun, light and often organized by friends of the bride. Bridal showers are themed parties  hosted a day before the white wedding.

Kimono dresses, shorts, white Tees, masks, bunny ears are just a few of the themes commonly used in bridal showers. And of course don’t forget the bridal shower cake. Photos, dance and of course story telling are just a few of the main highlights of the event.

The White Wedding

In Nigeria, most white weddings are held in churches. Marital vows are said, rings exchanged and necessary documents signed.

After the service,  all route leads to the reception area for the wedding party. Usually only a few guests turn up for the white wedding but the crowd at the wedding party is phenomenal.

The Wedding Party

Nigerian white weddings are elaborate. It’s no wonder people give an arm to do one.  Unfortunately, majority of couples end up in debt after hosting one. In a society where bigger is better, people try to compete with each other by getting the most expensive wedding dress,  cake, reception halls, shoes, jewellry, you name it.

On the bright side, Nigerian wedding parties are still fun. The food is delicious, especially the favourite party Jollof rice with chicken and salad. Of course native  soups and  swallow are important highlights and don’t forget the drinks.

In Nigeria, it is customary to spray the couple with money as they dance. It is also customary to present the couple with gifts on the high table.

The Thanksgiving

A Nigerian wedding never ends without a thanksgiving ceremony in church. Which explains why weddings are held on Saturdays and thanksgiving on Sundays.

Thanksgivings are colourful as the couple wears matching traditional outfits to church. It is customary to come with thanksgiving gifts like yam tubers, fowls, plastic chairs and gift money for the ceremony.

Wedding ceremonies in Nigeria will always be elaborate and flamboyant.  We love it that way. After all, love is worth celebrating.