So, you live abroad, you want to have your traditional wedding in Nigeria, but you don’t really know where to start…. Okay.
Planning a wedding isn’t easy, and trying to make arrangements from a location thousands of miles away makes it much more complicated. In this article, we’ll be laying out a few things to consider for those looking to plan their Ịgba nkwụ in Nigeria.
Ịgba Nkwụ (Traditional Wedding)
Although Igbo weddings vary from region to region, generally, weddings take place in the village/town the bride is from. This is an opportunity for her people to honour her and celebrate giving her away to her husband’s community. Even if you and your partner have agreed to get married the community has to acknowledge the union, and there are things that should happen before the big day.
This includes Ịkụ aka/Ohi mmaị (knocking on the door) where the man introduces himself to the family by presenting wine to the parents (or the relatives) of the woman he wants to marry.
Generally, the bride’s father represents his daughter in negotiations with the groom’s family and her umunna (village community leaders). If the bride’s father isn’t present this is usually done by a male relative e.g., an uncle, brother etc.
Once everything is agreed, the umunna will give him a list of items he’ll have to obtain for the wedding day. Depending on the region, some of these customs may vary, so it’s crucial to find out what practices are typical within your community.
When making arrangements for your Ịgba nkwụ, it’s important to make sure matters are communicated with your parents or representatives. Here are a few tips and things to consider:
Start early, give yourself time to plan so that nothing is rushed, and mistakes are avoided. Starting early also gives your guests who are travelling from other places adequate time to plan themselves too.
Depending on your circumstances it may be a good idea to hire a wedding planner. A wedding planner will be able to help guide you through the process. If for any reason a wedding planner isn’t possible, it would help to have a trusted liaison on the ground that can speak on your behalf.
If you don’t know anyone, ask your parents or any close relatives to assist in finding someone in Nigeria who is familiar with your village/town, and will be comfortable negotiating things on your behalf.
It’s also important to communicate as much as possible with your correspondent, sending photos and relaying information will help with decision making.
Consider your situation and decide on an amount that is affordable to you, taking out hefty loans for your wedding day is not worth it. After all, it’s just one day.
Once you’ve decided on the amount, create a breakdown of what you’ll need to spend on and how much it will take from your budget. Spreadsheets to calculate costs are always a good shout.
It may be cheaper or more practical to make certain arrangements in the country you are currently in. For example, having dresses sewn where you are located will allow you to make any alterations that need to be made.
Find out when you can get married. Some communities may have specific times of the year when you can or can’t get married.
Create a checklist of things you need to do and by what time they should be done. Below is a list of things to consider:
- What style is the bride wearing?
- How should the bridesmaids style their hair?
- Will you have a hairstylist, who will it be?
- Do you have a look in mind?
- Who will be the makeup artist?
- Will the bridesmaids do their own makeup?
- What outfit will you wear?
- What material are you wearing? (Lace, akwete, george…etc)
- Will you have a change of outfit?
- Who will be your tailor?
- What will the bridesmaids and groomsmen wear?
- Aseobi? Will there be material uniforms for guests?
- Where are you getting your horsetail, coral beads, jewellery, material from?
- What food will you be serving?
- Who will do the catering?
- What type of cake will you have?
- Who will make the cake?
- Will there be small chops?
Music and entertainment
- Will you have any dancers/masquerade?
- Will you have an MC?
- Will there be a live band?
- Will you have a DJ?
- What type of music will you play?
- How many people will you be inviting?
- Who will you be inviting?
- Who will your parents invite?
- Who is coming from abroad and where will they be staying?
- Will you have a hightable?
- Who will be on the hightable?
Venue, location and decorations
- Where will the wedding take place?
- What is the capacity?
- How will it be decorated?
- Who is doing the decorations?
- What will you be giving people?
- Where will you be sourcing it?
- Will other people like to gift you souvenirs?
Keep expectations realistic, there are certain things that are not native to the area, for example, if you want certain flowers etc you will have to pay the price to import it in or allow for some flexibility.
Special thanks to international wedding planner Nne from: @threescompanyevents
Have you had your wedding in Nigeria recently? Do you have any recommendations for hairstylists, venues, live bands etc, if so please comment with the company page!