How Traditional Marriages in Nigeria is Done in Different Parts of The Country

This post outlines how traditional marriage is carried out in Nigeria (i.e Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo traditional weddings, bride price, marriage ceremonies in Nigeria e.t.c).


It is a custom that traditional marriage in Nigeria is done before white/church weddings as culture demands. In different parts of Nigeria, traditional marriage involves the following:

  • Introduction of the suitor to the bride’s family.
  • Family requirements of both families involved in the marriage.
  • Picking a date to organize the wedding.
  • Paying the bride price by the groom and handing over of the bride to the groom.

1. Introduction Of The Suitor To The Bride’s Family

This is the first and foremost step to traditional marriage and it is applicable in all tribes in Nigeria (Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa). It is this period that the suitor with his family visits the parents of the wife-to-be and inform them of their intention to marry their daughter.

2. Family Requirement or List of Marriage Requirements by the Would-be Bride’s Family

After a successful introduction of the suitor to the family of the would-be wife, her family then gives a list of items that the suitor or groom-to-be and his kin would have to get before the date of the traditional marriage is fixed. The list could either be written or orally conveyed to by the family of the bride to be. In the South-eastern part of Nigeria, especially in Imo state, the requirements for traditional marriages is usually too expensive unlike in other tribes in Nigeria.

3. Fix a Date for the Traditional Wedding

Picking a date for the traditional marriage is sometimes done together with the presentation of marriage requirements depending on how understanding the family of the would-be wife is. Sometimes, both families can decide that both the church wedding and traditional marriage hold on the same date.

4. Paying the Bride price And Handing Over Of The Bride to the Groom’s family

Depending on the culture of the tribe, the bride price is normally paid on the date of the traditional ceremony. Tribes like Itsekiri, Edo, Urhobo bride price payment is usually done during the wedding proper. On this occasion, the items required from the suitor would be inspected to make sure that they meet the standard requirements, before the bride is released by her family to the groom’s family.

In Nigeria, the tribe with the most expensive bride price is the Igbos as they hamper hard on it before they release their daughters for marriage. After all said an done, a few selected members of the bride’s family escorts the bride to her new home for a short stay while some culture demands that as soon as the dues are settled, the wife can move in with her husband permanently.

How Traditional Marriage Ceremonies are Done in Different Parts of Nigeria

Our research shows that traditional marriages are celebrated similarly in different parts of Nigeria. One striking difference is the list of marriage requirements and amount of money spent for the wedding that is slightly different.

How Traditional Marriage Ceremony is Done in Northern Nigeria

In the Northern part of Nigeria, the bride price in Hausa land is relatively low. It is usually called “Rubu Dinar” (an Arabic phrase meaning “quarter kilogram of gold piece”). This goes in cognizance with Islamic tenents (predominant religion in Northern Nigeria) that paying less amount as bride price guarantees a fruitful marriage.

How Traditional Marriage Ceremonies is Done in South-Eastern Nigeria

It is highly rumored in Nigeria that the reason why there are more mature bachelors in Igbo-land than in any other tribe in Nigeria is the alarming high bride price which runs into several thousands of Naira. The list of marriage requirements for Igbos in Eastern Nigeria is divided into various sections- the umuada/kindred daughters, the umunna/kinsmen of the bride, ndi ozor, e.t.c minus the various gifts of hollandis, wrappers, high targets, palm wine, beers and enough money to dole out. Their wedding reception is usually the highest in Nigeria.

How Traditional Marriage Ceremonies is Done in South-Western Nigeria

Although bride price is low among the Yoruba speaking people in the South-western area of Nigeria, the reception can be highly expensive if the families of either the bride or groom is rich.

How Traditional Marriage Ceremonies is Done in South-South Nigeria

It is now a common knowledge that the ethnic group with the lowest bride price are tribes in South-South Nigeria. As seen, the bribe price for a traditional marriage in Edo state i.e Ehbosa (Ishan) costs as low as 60 Naira while a traditional marriage in Abraka (Urhobo) located in Delta State costs a Hundred and Twenty Naira as bride price compared to what is obtainable in the South-east.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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