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.
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Overview of 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 Igbo Traditional Marriage Ceremony Stages
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)
- Consent From Her Umunna/ Extended Family
- The Dowry/ Bride Price Payment (Ime Ego)
- Wine-Carrying Ceremony (Igba Nkwu Nwanyi)
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 procedure for each of the above Igbo traditional wedding stages, with the procedures involved.
Parts 1 to 4: Igbo Marriage Procedure Explained
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 start reading:
- 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.
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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.