5. Groom Should Consult Bride’s Parents for Trad Procedure Overview: Groom should ask bride’s parents for the procedure for the customary marriage introduction ceremony and traditional wedding rites, how much is the bride price and ‘the customary engagement list, which is the customary list of items you require to bring to the bride’s family for the traditional wedding. Also confirm who and who should accompany you to the occasion (because Nigerian custom demands that a groom must not come alone, but be accompanied by close family members).
- You may want to use this opportunity to request for the customary engagement list or ask at a later time.
6. Request for the Customary Engagement List: It is advisable for a groom to personally meet face to face with the bride’s parents to make his intention to prepare for trad marriage known and also personally request for this list. Sometimes, face to face meeting may not be possible within the time leading up to the intended date for your customary wedding.
- For example, if the groom is Nigerian and lives very far away from the bride’s parents (such as overseas), he can ask close relatives back in Nigeria (his own parents or elderly relatives at the village) to help collect ‘the list’ on his behalf.
- OR if the groom lives in a different state or country from the bride, and far away, AND bride lives closer to her parents, the groom may ask the bride to get her parents or her close relatives back home to request for the engagement list from bride’s village elders;
- Whereby the groom is not Nigerian, and so does not have anyone to send to Nigeria to collect the customary engagement list, he may request for “the list” during his face-to-face meeting (in STEP 4 ABOVE) with bride’s family when he makes his intention to start preparing for the wedding with their daughter. (It’s expected that you’d have been introduced to her parents earlier before, and had some familiarization over some time – so that when you come asking for “the engagement list” is not the first time they’re getting to know about you or meeting you).
BRIDE PRICE & ENGAGEMENT LIST INSIGHTS:
- What the Yoruba Engagement List looks like – grooms’ guide
- Igbo Traditional Marriage / Engagement List
- Edo Traditional Marriage List
7. Decide Date and Place: Pick date and place for the customary Nigerian pre-wedding introduction to bride’s family (aka door knocking to ask extended family for bride’s hand in marriage) as well as a date for the formal traditional engagement (aka traditional engagement). Most couples take an average of 12 months (from engagement) to plan their wedding, but a few prefer to get things done quickly in 3-months or less. If that sounds like you, below is a to-do list to keep you organized:
8. Confirm Date with Parents: Confirm parents and family availability on the chosen date for the customary Nigerian traditional wedding rites and ceremony. If the date is not conducive to any of the parents or they have already committed to other activities for your date, consider choosing a different date suitable to all your most important people.
9. Fix a Spending Ceiling (Budget) to Work With: Decide how much you can afford to spend (set a spending limit) and then make a budget for the traditional wedding, including the customary bridal family gifts list and the traditional wedding reception.
*NOTE that how much to spend on the customary engagement list is FIXED and not within your control – the only way to know how much is to take the list to the market and ask prices for each item, and later add up costs.
- Ask In Advance: Before setting a traditional wedding budget, you (both bride & groom) may want to nicely ask your parents and also ask wealthy relatives (Aunties and Uncles) if they are willing to support you financially. If so, ask how much they are looking to contribute. *NOTE: This asking-for-support is only likely to work if you ask them way ahead of time (about 6 months to a year before your planned trad wedding date), as they obviously have other money obligations and need to plan for you.
- Add the Numbers: After you and your significant other has got money gifts from parents and family members, add up the numbers and then add that to what you have to see how much overall money you have to plan your wedding with.
*NOTE (again): With traditional weddings, there are two costs to plan for: (i) money to take care of the engagement list, and (ii) money for the Igba Nkwu (aka trad wedding reception).
- Budget for the Engagement List: You should have an amount set out for getting items in the customary engagement list because it is FIXED based on the list you’re given. You can’t control what to spend here. Focus on saving costs by realistic scaling your Igba Nkwu according to your pocket size. ALSO;
- Budget for Trad Wedding Reception Party (aka Igba Nkwu) – On this one, you can cut costs as you like. How much you spend on this one depends on your taste and how much you can afford. It can be a parlour party affair (yes, many people do it) or a big party or medium size party. There’s no rule – let the amount of money you already own determine how big (or small) your wedding reception should be. If you’re low on cash, consider fixing both your traditional and white wedding on same day. That way, you will save a lot of money, time and stress.
10. Make a Guest List on Paper (Write it Down): Decide if you want to invite your ‘town friends and office colleagues’ to the traditional wedding (if it will be in the village). How many friends will you invite? Remember that food and drinks cost money per invited guests, and so more people means more money to spend. [Read: How to determine how many guests to invite to your traditional wedding];
11. Purchase Engagement List Items: Buy the items listed in the customary traditional wedding list. To save costs, buy items from markets closer to the trad wedding location – and save costs to transport the goods. That means you may travel a few days before the wedding to make the purchase or send money to parents or trusted relatives to shop them for you. You may only buy from your location a few selected items that are cheaper there.