Traditional Marriage Rites & Process In Igbo Land: How It Is Done

Last updated on April 5th, 2024 at 12:40 pm

So, you have gotten your eyes on an Igbo lady and you both have been seeing each other.

Beautiful! However, that’s not enough you need to rightly, legally and fully own her and show her you love and respect her, her culture and tradition and the way to do it is by getting married to her following the Igbo tradition marriage rites process.

igbo traditional wedding

You need to know all these beforehand including the bridal list and other requirement so you can prepare just know that you need more than an empty pocket to get married to an Ibo lady.

The Igbo ethnic group also known as Ibo occupies South Eastern Nigeria, an area also known as Igboland and includes the first states (Enugu, Abia, Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi) in the South East Geopolitical zone.

This is one of the ethnic groups with lots of ceremonies and these ceremonies are usually colourful and marriage ceremony is one of the most colourful.

Unlike in many places, in Igbo land, traditional marriage is not a thing of just the two families involved, the community is fully involved too.

Also, Igbo traditional marriage rites usually varies from community to community though the difference isn’t much and this guide can be used as a general guide.

The difference is greater usually in the area of bride price (dowry) and bridal list and gifts.


The steps bellows highlight the traditional marriage rites in Igbo land, South eastern Nigeria.


In the Igbo culture, one shouldn’t be forced to marry out of one’s choice and as such, the first step to getting married in the Igbo culture is an agreement between a man and a woman to marry each other.

This is usually after some form of dating and knowing each other.

However, for those not present in the village or where his parents reside and he give them the hand, they can choose a lady for him which he have to accept before any other marriage rite(s) can be performed.


After the duo had agreed to get married, the groom to be make his intention of getting married known to his parents and the lady in question.

His parents together with some members of the family visits the lady parent’s house for the first time and make their intention known to the parents of the bride to be.

The parents of the bride on their own part wouldn’t give an answer, they would tell the grooms family that they need to consult.

After this first visit, both family carryout a background check on each other to see if they want to be associated.

If they find anything bad, the wedding rites/process is terminated though it would have to be during the second visit before they make their plan clear.

The bride’s parent also asks her if she is interested and she make her intention known to her parents.

On the second visit, the groom’s family again, make their intention known.

They also come with gifts such as kolanuts, palm wine (local brew), dry gin and soft drinks.

Since both family had done their respective investigations, the bride family after being satisfied with the result of their investigation definitely will give the groom’s family a warm welcome.

Also on this second visit, the bride is called out by her parents and asked if she is willing and ready to marry the man in question.

After her acceptance, a date for the marriage ceremony known as the Igba Nkwu is fixed.

The bride’s family them prepare a list of items that the groom will bring for the wedding ceremony.

This is known as the bridal list.


The list of items to be brought by the groom and his family varies from community to community and family to family and it is generally to their customs and tradition.

However, the below list should give you a head-on.

The bride list of items usually includes: Gallons of palm wine, Cash gift, Bottle of gin, Kolanut, a goat, Packets of cigarettes (optional), Bags of rice, Tubers of yams, Crates of soft drinks, Stock fish, Bundles of George/Hollandis wrappers and Jewelries.


This is the main wedding ceremony and well-wishers are invited to witness the event.

The groom along with his people and the items he was ask to bring visits the bride’s family house which is the venue of the wedding ceremony.

The bride’s family on the hand awaits their arrival and also cook all kind of traditional delicacy for eating by their visitors and well-wishers.

The most important thing to note in this stage is the presentation and drinking of wine by the groom.

The bride is giving a calabash containing palm wine and asked to give it to her intended husband.

As she passes by young men and sometimes old men, they stretch their hand in a bid to collect it from her (it is a culture thing) but she knows who the palm wine is meant for.

She finally gives it to her husband kneeling down who in turn drinks it.

This is accompanied by cheers, laughter and talks from the audience after which the parents and elders pray for the new couple for the success of their family.

The groom and bride now dance along with their family and eating and drinking starts.

After the wedding ceremony ends, the bride follows the groom’s family to their house signifying she is now a member of that family and a change of home.

In some communities in Igboland, “Idu Uno” is practiced.

This is when the family of the bride officially goes and visit the home where their daughter will be living.

This is done because all the previous meetings and ceremony took place in the bride’s family home.

The bride’s family along with their extended family set a date to visit the new couples.

On that day, they come along with items such as cooking utensils, bed-sheets, boxes, sewing machine, bed, pillow cases, plates, clothes and other things newly married couples need to start a life and family.

This is usually known to ease the financial burden on the newly wedded couple since they have spent enough on the wedding.

Hope you understand every bit of the traditional marriage rites in Igboland.

What do you think about it? Let hear from you!

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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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