What happens (behind the scenes) after the groom embarked on the ‘iku aka’ (aka ‘iju ese’) visit? Behind the scenes, the bride’s family would usually send out representatives (secret emissaries) to go check/ investigate the groom-to-be and his background, find out where he is from, what he does for a living, about his family (are they good people, etc).
They also research how his family people (direct and extended family members) treat other people, how they treat their wife. Are they wife beaters? Are they caring? Are they fruitful (do they reproduce or is there a history of barrenness)?
They also investigate if there had been any recurring tragedy in the groom’s linage or family history (such as diseases, sicknesses, negative characters, fertility, history of divorce, level of responsibility of the men in that family and commitment to their wife and children, etc) and any other important thing.
The purpose of this type of investigation is for the bride’s family to determine whether the would-be-groom is “capable” and responsible enough to take care of their daughter and future grandchildren.
It is assumed that the groom’s family should also be carrying out a similar investigation on the bride and her family, prior to the introductory visit. Based on this, the bride’s family would give an answer to the groom-to-be’s family.
If the “Iku Aka’ is positive, the groom with his family will receive a list of the other steps involved and an overview of the customary marriage requirements of the bride’s village (this varies slightly from one Igbo town to another).
VISIT #2: Consent From Bride’s Extended Family (Meeting Her Extended Family)
The groom’s first visit is to the bride’s parents. Now, this visit is to the bride’s clan (her father’s people/ her extended family) – to inform her extended family that you are interested in marrying their daughter. This visit should have been pre-arranged with the groom setting up a date with the bride’s parents, who in turn inform his relatives of the agreed date.
This stage is very important because it is only when the groom-to-be receives the consent (of important members and elders of the bride’s extended family) that dates for the traditional marriage rites and ceremony cannot be scheduled, and things would progress from there.
Here, the groom is expected to be accompanied by more people than your first visit (so, endure to not go alone to ask for her hand in marriage). You could have as many as 20 people accompany you.
Gift Ideas a Groom Should Give His Igbo Father-in-Law on First Visit
Igbo etiquette suggests that you don’t go empty-handed; take a few gifts along (such as include kola nuts, palm wine, beer, soft drinks, heads of tobacco and snuff and a goat).
VISIT #3: The Igbo Bride Price Payment (Ime Ego)
Side note: This is technically the final stage if you choose to have the reception after-party (wine-carrying ceremony or Igba Nkwu) right after the bride price payment. However, some grooms fix it at a later date.
After receiving the consent of the bride’s immediate family (in the first visit) as well as of her extended family (in the second visit), the groom can proceed to visit the bride’s family again, with his family members, to settle the bride price (ime ego).
This money is totally a symbolic thing and not the real amount or value of the woman. Many grooms like to get an idea in advance of what the Igbo traditional engagement list and bride price looks like so that they can properly prepare and make a budget before starting to meet the in-laws.
- SEE: Sample Nigerian Wedding Budgets from Other People’s Wedding
- Nigerian Wedding Budget Calculator and Allocation Percentages
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