If you’re a man who is planning to marry an Igbo woman, this post will get you familiar with the Ibo engagement ceremony stages and process and the customary marriage rites a groom is required to complete – it’s not as overwhelming as people say it is. In this post, you will get an overview of the Igbo engagement and traditional marriage ceremony process, as well as see what goes into the Igbo traditional engagement list that the groom should take to his in-laws, so that you’ll know, in advance, what to expect.
The purpose of this post is to give you an idea of what to budget for when preparing for an Igbo traditional marriage ceremony. While this is a guide for grooms who want to marry Igbo women, note that the Igbo custom requires that a groom is required to officially ask his in-laws for the customary engagement list. If your prospective father-in-law is alive, he is the one to ask; if not, ask your fiance’s mother – she knows how to get the list (usually, she’ll ask for it from the elders in the village).
The Igbo traditional engagement ceremony is in stages, but they can be done a few days apart – it all depends on when you (the groom) get the engagement gifts ready. If you’re on a low budget, and your future wife understands, you can skip one of the stages – read on to find out which one that is.
Overview of Traditional Marriage Proposal in the Custom of Ndigbo (Igbo People)
Before I give you the engagement list, I thought you should know a bit about the Igbo marriage tradition. But if not, skip this section and go straight to the traditional engagement list in the next section below.
Before a man marries an Igbo girl/ woman, he must first ask for her hand in marriage, from her parents, as well as her umunna (her extended family, represented by the elders). The oyibo/ western-style ‘marriage proposal on-bended knee to the woman’ doesn’t count – her ‘yes’ to you (the groom) is not really only or final say, you still have to formally “ask” her parents, as well as her kindred (extended family) in her Nigerian home town.
So, it’s not enough to also announce your (marriage-) intentions to her parents. Marriage is a communal thing in Igboland, like everywhere else in Nigeria, so you (the groom) are expected to ask her clan for her hand in marriage in accordance with the Igbo custom and tradition.
The 4 Stages of Igbo Traditional Marriage Ceremony
According to the Ndigbo traditions and customs, the Igbo traditional wedding/ marriage involves the following stages:
- Marriage Introduction/ Proposal/ Inquiry (Iku Aka or Iju Ese) – This happens pre-wedding, and here, the bride and groom’s family get to meet and be formally introduced;
- Consent From Her Umunna/ Extended Family – This is the traditional marriage proposal. As with the Igbo customs, the groom asks for the bride’s hand in marriage, in the presence of her Umunna (direct and extended family, with family elders).
- The Dowry/ Bride Price Payment (Ime Ego) – The dowry is a presentation of the customary list of gifts by the groom to the bride’s family, to ask for her hand in marriage. It is only accepted if the family accepts the groom/ finds him worthy to marry their daughter. The dowry is not an exchange or money to buy the women but has a significance in Igbo culture. Dowry is also practiced in many parts of the World, even during Biblical times.
- Wine-Carrying Ceremony (Igba Nkwu Nwanyi) – This is the traditional wedding reception party.
In order to help our grooms get a good idea of what is involved when marrying an Igbo lady, we wrote a detailed post explaining the processes involved during each of the above Igbo traditional wedding stages, with the procedures involved.
Igbo Traditional Marriage Process Explained in Details
This post that you’re reading is part 1 of the series explaining the Igbo marriage stages, traditions, and customs. We’ve written detailed, easy to understand articles to help you understand how to go about marrying an Igbo woman. Click a link below to get familiar with the process before your big day:
- Part 1 (This Post )- The Igbo Traditional Marriage Ceremony: Stages and Custom (Grooms’ Guide)
- Part 2 – the process, Igbo traditions and customs for marriage introduction and seeking of family consent
- Part 3 – the procedure and customs involved in “Igba Nkwu” wine carrying.
- Part 4 – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Igbo Marriage ceremony rites and processes.
- Part 5 – The Igbo Traditional marriage List and Bride Price
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MORE TIPS AND IDEAS FOR PREPARING FOR AN IGBO WEDDING:
- Igbo Traditional Wedding SONGS Playlist
- Igbo Grooms Attire Ideas: Igbo Grooms Wrapper and Shirt Attire Styles
- 8 Trendy MEN’S Senator Styles with Pocket Square (an Igbo Men’s Fave Style)
- Latest Igbo Traditional Marriage Attire for BRIDES
- Trending Igbo Traditional Wedding Hairstyles and Coral Beads for Brides
Did I miss anything about the Igbo traditional wedding stages or do you have a question? I’d love to hear from you – leave me a comment below.