Nigerian Weddings

Answers to Questions About Igbo Traditional Wedding Processes

Are you planning an ibo wedding? Do you have questions regarding the igbo traditional wedding processes or any stage of the customary marriage ceremony? We’ve got the answers here. Sometimes, confused grooms, ask for clarification from their non-igbo friends and are told a mix of myths and opinions about the igbo traditional wedding. So, in this post, you will find answers to some of the questions in your mind. You will also see a video illustration of an ‘igba nkwu’ ceremony. Read on.

By the way, this is part 4, and the final stage of the series “Stages & Process Involved in Igbo Traditional Marriage Ceremony” – you can find part 3 by clicking here.

Common Questions Grooms Ask About Igbo Traditional Weddings

Here are answers to common questions that grooms and even some igbo bride-to-be ask about the igba nkwu marriage procedure:

#1. So, At What Point Is the Wedding Complete?

By igbo customs and tradition, the igba nkwu ceremony is the traditional marriage solemnization ceremony. During the ceremony, the bride and groom are officially declared man and wife, and groom can take his bride home.

#2. How Many Visits in Total is the Groom Required to Make Before the Igba Nkwu?

How many times would a groom make official introductory visits before the traditional wedding/ igba nkwu? Here’s an important note about visits for the 3rd and 4th Igbo traditional marriage rites, the ime ego and the igba nkwu nwanyi respectively: both may be done in one day, if you (the groom) can, and prefers – but with prior discussion with your inlaws.

  1. Visit #1: Iku aka – you come to inquire from your fiance’s parents: ‘am I permitted to marry your daughter’. If you receive a ‘yes’, then you would be visiting again for the ime ego stage.
  2. Visit #2: Consent from the bride’s kindred/ extended family
  3. Visit #3: Ime Ego (bride price payment).
  4. Visit #4: Igba Nkwu (traditional marriage ceremony and reception) –

You (the groom) may want to do a total of three visits (instead of four), by doing the ‘ime ego’ plus the igba nkwu on the same day. UK and USA grooms prefer doing their traditional engagement this way; however, most men like to go save up and come back for the igba nkwu.

TRENDS: We usually see grooms who live far away doing everything in one single visit, and we also see a lot of couples breaking the ceremony into two separate days. Both ways are fine. Another trend that we’re seeing is some grooms who live far away doing some of the pre-igba nkwu process in absentia, with their parents and close family members representing him – so that he only comes home for the igba nkwu or for the iku aka and igba nkwu stages respectively.

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#3. What Usually Happens after the Igba Nkwu ?

At the end of the ‘igba nkwu’ ceremony, the groom is expected to take his wife home with him.

In the olden days, the ‘igba nkwu’ was the only wedding ceremony of the Ndigbo, but these days most Ndigbo couples have church wedding (aka white wedding) after their ‘igba nkwu’. Depending on your (groom’s) preference,  the couple may want to have a church solemnization (white wedding) immediatelyy or a day after the ‘igba nkwu’/ igbo traditional wedding or they can choose to have it after a few weeks or months.

#4. What to Wear: The Igbo Traditional Wedding Attire

Of all the above stages of the igbo engagement ceremony, the ‘igba nkwu’ is the one that most brides look forward to, because it is a day for the damsel to dress up like a princess. The bride’s igba nkwu attire is usually a george design double-wrapper and a gorgeous igbo-style lace blouse or the igbo traditional maiden wear (small piece of wrapper on the chest and waist), coral or statement beads necklace and a matching Ichafu head-tie.

The groom is not left out of this dress-up thing, his dons a well tailored traditional wear which its fabric and colours compliments his wife’s; he also wears a long coral bead, and a hat (optional) – the igbo traditional attire for men/ grooms is a special tunic top tailored with a special fabric called ‘isi agu’ (isi-agu is an igbo name for ‘head of lion’ – because the fabric is printed with pictures of heads of lions) worn over a pair of trousers, a red cap or black hat, and a fashion walking stick.

What would your close friends wear to your igba nkwu ceremony? Close friends and family of the bride and groom would wear a uniform attire (popularly known as ‘aso ebi’ by Nigerians).

#5. Who Cooks During the Groom’s Visits?

I always get asked ‘who cooks during the marriage introduction and igba nkwu: the bride or groom’s family?’.

The bride’s family is the host during the marriage introduction and igba nkwu, and so is responsible for catering for the bride’s suitor and his family, during all their visits. However, where the bride’s family is not wealthy, the groom (unofficially) provides her with the money which her parents would use to host his family – helps to keep away any bad taste.

The “Igba Nkwu” party reception costs much because the guest list is simply “everyone” in the bride’s village, plus the groom’s entourage. The main cause of the high cost of having an Igba Nkwu is the cost of feeding the large guests. Usually, the venue is not rented – the bride’s father’s compound.

Igba Nkwu Illustrated in a Nigerian Music Video

On a lighter mood, here’s one music you definitely should play on your ‘Igba Nkwu’ day (Nigeria’s Flavour in his “Ada Ada’ musical video). I like this Nigerian wedding song because the story-line in the video gives a good illustration of the igbo igba nkwu ceremony.

Takeaways: Igbo Traditional Marriage Procedure

This post concludes our series on the igbo traditional marriage customs and tradition. If you read from part 1 to part 4, you should now have a good idea of how to go about preparing to marry an igbo bride – you first propose to her, then you ask for her parents consent, and finally you ask for her extended family’s consent. And you also know that most of the process is customary and symbolic. Once the parties involved give you their consent, you also know the rest of the ibo traditional marriage preparatory stages – the bride price settlement (ime ego) and the formal traditional engagement and wedding party (igba nkwu).

Other Posts in the Series “Igbo Traditional Wedding Customs & Procedure”

This is part 4 and the final stage of the series “Stages & Process Involved in Igbo Traditional Marriage Ceremony” – you can read the other parts by clicking a link below:

NOTE: We love nigerian traditional weddings and would be thrilled for you to send us your ‘igba nkwu’ pictures to publish here on NaijaGlamWedding blog.

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Now, tell me – if you’ve already completed the traditional marriage rites to marry an ibo lady, is there anything we missed in the above guide? And, if you’re preparing to go for the igbo introduction visit to your future in-laws, has this article helped you in any way?

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