Today’s post is for the groom out there who is preparing to marry a Yoruba bride and wondering: what are the list of things/ gifts a groom need to buy to take to the bride’s family during the traditional marriage ceremony in Nigeria?, or what does the Yoruba bride price list look like? or even how much do I need to prepare for a Yoruba traditional marriage/ engagement?
So, to provide you the answers, I reached out to a Yoruba man to ask what and what he bought as part of the customary wedding list for his traditional engagement ceremony. I also confirmed from two newlywed Yoruba brides; I asked them about the list of things their grooms brought to their traditional Yoruba marriage ceremony. This post presents my findings – I hope it helps prepare your mind before you receive the traditional engagement list from your inlaws.Photo Credit: Obi Nwokedi, Nigerian Wedding Photographer
Yoruba Engagement List: See What Goes Inside (Guide for Budgeting)
- 1 Bible
- Engagement ring
- 1 box/ suitcase of clothes
- Yams (42 big tubers)
- Palm Oil and Vegetable Oil (25 Litres)
- Honey (1 bottle)
- Kolanut (Obi in yoruba language; 25 pieces)
- Bitter kola (orogbo, in yoruba language)
- Alligator pepper (42 pieces; Atare, in yoruba language))
- Sugar cane
- Maize/ corn Cake (Aadun, in yoruba language)
- Fruits (different types)
- Rice (1 bag)
- Yoruba Traditional Cloth (Aso- Oke)
For items below, the groom can bring as much as he can afford:
- Salt (1 bag)
- Bottled water
- Wine (1 bottle)
- Soft drinks
- Some cash for some traditional customary rites during the engagement ceremony: this includes the bride price, which I am told that is Five thousand Naira (N5,000) in most yoruba villages. The rest of the cash gifts, as I was told. Is about ten thousand Naira (N10,000) and is just a symbolic/ ceremonial thing and not about the money – N500 here and N1,000 there for things such as “owo isigba” (money to open the list of items that the groom brought), “owo ijoko iyawo” (money to bring in your bride), Owo Iya Gbo(money to seek the bride’s mother’s consent) , money to ask for her father’s consent, money to unveil the bride etc. And the traditional MC (Alaga in yoruba language) makes it all very interesting by playfully ‘making the groom pay’ before they unveil the bride, get her parents consent and so on.
How Yoruba Engagement List Varies Slightly From Place to Place
When cow is part of the list: On how the basic engagement list varies slightly across different Yoruba towns and villages, one of our readers (Seun) added that “Some in-laws ask for specific gifts/ contributions towards the traditional wedding reception catering, to support feeding of guests”. Seun continues: “Typical additional items include a cow, a bag of rice, a keg of palm-wine and vegetable oil. The reason for these is to have the groom share in the catering bill at the traditional engagement or reception, so that as the groom provides the cow to be used (for meat), the in-laws would provide the remaining catering/ food items”.
Is cash accepted as an alternative for missing Yoruba engagement list items: I also reached out to ask an old Yoruba woman (a grandmother/ mama) about the typical yoruba traditional engagement list – she told me that some items can be done in cash, meaning that the groom may be allowed to put down a cash value for an item in place of bringing the item.
It’s in bad taste for a groom to go empty handed: The mama says that it is not good for the groom to visit his in-laws empty-handed – he is expected to bring all or some of the items and confirm from the bride’s family if he could bring cash in place of specific items in the list.
The grandma also told me that there may be a slight variation across different Yoruba villages, in what makes up the traditional engagement list, but that many of the items are the same all over.
By the way, you need to plan for how many guests to invite to your engagement ceremony. That depends on whether you want the event to be low key or over-the-top. You also need to consider how much space you have at the venue where the traditional marriage will take place. Just so you get an idea, most couples invite only a handful of their friends and the rest are close family members.
MORE: Top 100 Aso-ebi Styles for Wedding Guests – Ideas for Brides & Grooms
Budgeting for a Yoruba Bride Price and Traditional Engagement
Now, for our dear grooms, if you’re in the middle of going to see your bride’s Yoruba family, now you have an idea of how much a Yoruba engagement ceremony would cost you to. It’s important to get the bride price and your traditional marriage settled as soon as possible before your white wedding; although we are seeing more grooms doing this on the same day as their white wedding or a few days or weeks apart, the choice is yours.
And if you’ve already done your engagement ceremony, is there anything in the list above that was different from your own list? Or were there other items you bought that are not listed above? Also, I’d love to hear what the engagement list is like for other Nigerian tribes – from newlywed brides, grooms, as well as those who already completed their trad engagement ceremonies. Let’s hear it in the comments section below.