Is a Traditional Wedding the Way to Go?

When I was younger, I had told my friends and family, “I don’t want a traditional wedding,” and my friends cheered me on. I’m older now though and I want different things. I hardly care about a wedding and I’m more interested in the concept of marriage.

One thing I can’t forget is the controversy between traditional weddings and white (Church) weddings. It’s still a topic of discussion among my peers today. All my plans for a wedding were for a white wedding. I never imagined or cared about a traditional wedding even though in the Nigerian culture it is customary to have both a traditional and a white wedding. Nigeria has many different ethnic groups and each group has their own marital custom. I’m Igbo so I am required to wear a certain dress and jewelry and participate in the marriage customs with my groom.

The Igbo Traditional Wedding

In the Igbo culture, the groom asks for the daughter’s hand in marriage from her parents. He is supposed to pay a bride price or dowry to the bride’s family. He is also supposed to provide drinks, palm wine, yam, and other traditional delicacies as provisions for the wedding. The actual wedding ceremony is the wine-carrying ceremony (Igba-Nkwu). During the wine carrying ceremony, everyone is seated and the bride welcomes them. She then takes a cup of palm wine and tries to find her soon-to-be husband in the crowd of people seated. As she does this, other men in the audience try to draw her attention to them. When she finds her groom, she kneels down and offers him the drink. Once the groom drinks from the cup, they are officially husband and wife. Then the bride’s family entertains the guests. This is mainly because, in the olden days, this ceremony was usually done in the bride’s house.

Source: Jumia Travel

Source: Jumia Travel

Source: Jumia Travel


Traditional weddings are often very fun and lively. What put me off it was the dowry given to the bride’s family. It made me feel more like an item to be exchanged and bought instead of a person. The white wedding, however, made me feel the opposite. It made me feel like I was running the show and I wasn’t being sold. I was giving myself freely to the person I chose to marry. I could never fathom any amount of money that could match my value so I wondered, is traditional marriage the way to go?

As a westernized Nigerian, many of us go through this battle between the two. It is a struggle between which one is more important. As we grow up, our opinions may change and we may hope to forgo one for the other. I believe that most of us lean more towards the white wedding and see the traditional wedding as an unnecessary waste of time, money and resources.  These feelings are understandable as I have gone through them myself but I urge you to have a more open mind when it comes to this. The traditional marriage has lost all it’s meaning to our generation. We no longer see the importance of it and its purpose to keep our traditions alive.

Compromise is Key

Yes, the traditional marriage has some aspects that aren’t exactly favorable but it is tradition and sometimes we compromise to keep our culture alive. The white wedding has some things people would like to do away with too. For example, the father giving away his daughter as they walk across the aisle. People see it through more informed eyes now and some women prefer to give themselves away. They don’t like the idea of a man handing them over to another man. I can understand that but let me say right now that even with that knowledge, I won’t trade going down that aisle with my father for anything. It’s tradition and it’s what I’ve always pictured in my head. So using that same idea, a traditional wedding doesn’t seem that bad. As long as everybody is aware that you’re not actually being sold, I think you’re good.

What about you? Do you want a white wedding or a traditional wedding, or both? What plans have you made for your own wedding day?  Gist with me in the comments section below.

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