Nigerian Weddings

Questions about Yoruba Traditional Wedding Program | Answers by Shine Events CEO

Are you a non-Yoruba man who is about to marry a Yoruba woman? You definitely need to read this to know what happens in a Yoruba traditional wedding – you don’t want to fly blind on that day. Oh, and if your bride-to-be is not so familiar about Yoruba culture and marriage rites, both of you need to read this to know what your traditional wedding programme of events will look like.  You’ll also discover cool and fun ways to work around typical traditional elements you may not find in your area, especially if you live outside Nigeria.  Scroll down for more.

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The questions in this post was sent in by one of our Yoruba readers who lives in Europe, and is preparing to have her Yoruba wedding abroad. The asker wanted to know ideas to improvise things for where they cannot find some specific resources typically used during a Yoruba traditional engagement.  This Yoruba bride is about to marry an Igbo man.  Since I am not Yoruba, I decided to get my Yoruba friend, Mrs. Sunmisola Nwanze, to provide answers – she’s the most qualified person I could think of.  Besides, having a Yoruba traditional engagement, which was also an inter-cultural wedding (her husband is Igbo), Sunmisola is a Nigerian wedding planner who has years of experience with helping couples organize a stress-free Yoruba trad and white wedding. Scroll down to read the questions and answers.

So, over to Sunmisola (our expert of the day)…

Congratulations to the sister getting married. Like you, my husband is Igbo and I am a Yoruba woman – I got married in a had a Yoruba wedding and as a wedding planner, I have helped many Yoruba brides plan a . So, I will just tell you how best to go about it, and there are fun ways to.

Can I use only 1 Alaga for my Yoruba wedding?

Yes. It’s ideal and more fun to have 2 different Alagas conduct a Yoruba traditional wedding, as there will an exchange of pleasantries, details and communication of the marriage intentions. Also, for inter-tribal or inter-cultural weddings with a Yoruba bride, 2 Alaga are usually used for the ceremony.  The role of the two Alaga is to coordinate communications between each family side.  Alaga Iduro is the name for the groom’s family alaga and Alaga Ijoko refers to the bride’s family alaga.

In a situation where the couple is not able to get 2 alagas, for some reasons, only 1 alaga is used, and it doesn’t spoil anything. What happens is that this Alaga would be required to play two roles interchangeably (as the bride’s family spokesperson, and also as the groom’s family alaga). 

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Must I have a talking drummer for my Yoruba traditional wedding? What is the alternative IF I cannot find a talking drummer where I live?

An alternative to the talking drums is to get a pre-recorded African/ Nigerian Yoruba music. You can also use a keyboard/ piano that has sound effects/ beats  – find someone to set it up for you. You can play either in place of a talking drum at your Yoruba traditional engagement / wedding ceremony.

What is the correct order of these events  at a typical Yoruba traditional weddding  – which comes first and which comes next, with the following 4 activities: cake cutting | eating time | in-laws going to greet bride’s parents | dancing time.

Here’s the correct order in the program, for the above Yoruba traditional wedding events:

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How long does a typical Yoruba traditional wedding (program of events) last?

The entire event typically lasts a maximum of 3 hours.  The separate events in your traditional wedding program of events should add up to about that.

During a Yoruba traditional wedding, when should a couple change outfits to second wedding attire?

For me, during my traditional engagement,  I did not do change to Igbo traditional wedding attire. That was a few years ago, but these days brides are doing multiple wedding outfit changes and it’s beautiful.

The right time for a Yoruba bride to change into a second outfit is after the she has worn her traditional wedding ring, and the cake has been cut.  On her way out for the outfit change, she can take quick pictures with her hubby before returning back to the traditional wedding reception hall.

On her return back to the wedding venue, she should be escorted in – either her groom can dance in with her. Alternatively, she may dance in with her friends (ore Iyawo, in Yoruba language) or with her groom’s female family members.

Must the Groom Change to a Second Traditional Wedding Attire?

Her groom does not need to do an outfit change; he may wear the same attire for the entire event.

For an inter-tribal or inter-cultural wedding with a Yoruba lady, at the point when the bride changes into a second traditional wedding attire, her groom may either remain in the same first attire OR change into his own tribe’s/ culture’s traditional wedding attire.  A fun idea for a groom’s first outfit is a matching Yoruba traditional wedding attire with his bride.

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Still Have more Questions about Yoruba Traditional Wedding Events Programme?

That’s it on this episode of answers to frequently asked questions by non-Yoruba partners of Yoruba brides about what happens in and during a Yoruba traditional engagement/ wedding.  If you’re a groom from non-Yoruba parts of Nigeria or Africa, or from other cultures of the World, hopefully the answers above can help you structure their own traditional wedding day.  Those tips are also helpful for our Yoruba sisters who did not grow up at home and not familiar with how a Yoruba traditional engagement is done.

Now you have an idea on what goes on during a Yoruba traditional wedding. We will provide more helpful tips you can use to plan your Yoruba traditional wedding, hang around to see the follow-up articles.

Did we miss anything? Add to this article by commenting below or simply comment to tell us how awesome we are, or anything about this Yoruba wedding planning tips article.

About Sunmisola Nwanze: Answers in this article was provided by one of our friend, Mrs. Sunmisola Nwanze. She is the CEO SHINE Events in Lagos (they travel anywhere your wedding is). As a specialist Nigerian wedding planner, Sunmisola helps brides-to-be make their wedding day dreams come true by doing all the legworks for you so that you don’t have to lift a finger and still have a glam wedding that your guests will always remember.  She makes finding the best wedding vendors a snap, with her years in the business and territory, she knows the best vendors, waiters and ushers within any budget you have.  To hire Shine Events to plan your wedding, call Sunmisola on 08027736616 or 07033283595 (add country code is 234, if you’re outside Nigeria); BBMessenger 5bfb61ff OR Email her at

Photo Credit: Instagram/ @akintayotimi