Before you make the “ime ego” visit, you need to ask your future in-laws for the customary engagement list of items to bring along – usually, ‘the engagement gifts list’. This is a customary list of things a groom should bring when asking to marry a bride, and the items in the list differs slightly from place to place in igboland.
During the ‘ime ego’, the groom’s father and family elders will present the bride price. They may also present the engagement gifts at this time if the igba-nkwu is on the same day. If not, the engagement gifts would be presented on the day of the igba-nkwu ceremony.
The ‘ime ego’ (bride price/ dowry) usually involves lengthy negotiations regarding the value of the wife-to-be, and sometimes there would be quarrels, disagreements and begging between both families – what do you expect, it’s money matters! Why is that? The bride’s family usually starts “pricing” their daughter high by amplifying her accomplishments and virtues, and then the groom’s family would present a counter offer – pricing back and forth until both parties come to an agreement of a final amount/ worth of the wife-to-be.
Once the dowry is paid, the groom’s family would discuss the date and plans for the traditional wedding (Igba Nkwu) ceremony day, before they depart.
The tradition of paying bride price dates back to thousands of years, and not only in Igbo-land or Nigeria. Wikepedia defines the bride price as “an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom“.
Visit #4: Wine-Carrying Ceremony (Igba Nkwu)
Including the Igba Nkwu (wine-carrying) ceremony process would make this post too long, so click here to read all about it.
Initially, I wanted to write about all stages of the groom’s visit here but I realized it would be too long, so I thought to make a separate post on the ‘igba nkwu’ stage of the igbo marriage introduction – click here to read about the process a groom goes through to plan an igbo marriage introduction.
Making that First Visit to Your Igbo Inlaws
You can see that the igbo traditional engagement process is not as impossible as non-igbo people think it is. Now that you know what it entails, it’s time for you to man-up and make that initial visit to your future inlaws, and take it from there. At least you now know the things to budget for, as per your visit to your bride’s village home.
So, that’s it from us on an introduction to expectations from the groom – how many times he needs to visit the bride-to-be’s family and what he is expected to bring. To fully understand the rest of the process before and up to the igbo traditional engagement, bride price and traditional marriage, be sure to read the rest of the articles in this series – look up and see the links to parts 1, 3 and 4..
This post is part 2 of a 4-post series on the Igbo traditional marriage process (a guide for grooms), and you can read the other articles here:
- See Part 1 – Overview of the entire Igbo traditional marriage ceremony
- See Part 3 – Igba Nkwu (Wine Carrying)
- Part 4 here – FAQs
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Now it’s your turn to talk back to me. Let me know if I missed any steps required in the igbo traditional marriage rites for the groom. Or, if you have a comment or feedback – let me hear it in the comment box down below.