Are you planning your wedding? Here you will find everything there is to know about the Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony in Nigeria. It only takes four minutes of your time and you will know all even the tiniest twists and turns of an ideal ceremony!
The Western Nigerian culture, Yoruba is full of culture, folklore, and colour. Its people are very cultured, contemporary, easy-going, and friendly. They always invent amazing ways to mix old traditions with modern trends. The Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony (which is actually a very big deal) is full of fun, graceful colours, rich contemporary Nigerian music, and luxurious foods. Wedding for them is an opportunity to showcase their best jewelry, handbags, outfits, and even dancing styles.
Traditions rules the bigger part of the whole ceremony. Before the wedding ceremony, the groom usually visits the bride’s family along with his father and some other members of his family. It is an unofficial introduction that happens in a conducive atmosphere to get know better each other.
This unofficial introduction does not demand a lot of effort, except for offering a few bottles of wine and some tubers of yam and so on. The bride’s family usually welcomes the visitors with a some soft drinks and a simple meal. Both families would then discuss and decide on the wedding date.
When the date is chosen, the groom and bride prepare an engagement card that is addressed to both families. This special card usually includes the name of bride and groom, the date of the wedding, RSVP information, the venue or venues, and the wedding’s colour code. For example, the bride’s family can choose a different colour code from the groom’s family and friends. This way, each family will be represented by a different color.
As for the venue, it can be chosen by the couple or the bride’s family. Usually, the choice of a venue must be a compromise between both families. Also, the cuisine of the wedding should be agreed upon by both families. Sometimes the richer family makes a bigger input, still, traditional wedding parties require the united effort of the bride’s and groom’s families.
Traditional wedding decorations
As for the venue, it could be an open canopy, an event center, a large hall, or just an open area. An event planner usually combines selected colours and creates gorgeous decorations. The list of the guests may be up to 250 people or even more. That is why it is very important to pay attention to the cutlery, seating arrangements, and decorations.
Usually, the decorations are made from coloured balloons, floral arrangements, white tablecloths, tapestries of both color schemes, and chairs covered in lace and the wedding colors. An event planner also decorates the high table for dignitaries, and of course, two eminent chairs are placed in front of the crowd. These are for the bride and groom.
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Yoruba traditional wedding cuisine
A festive table and wedding menu are the main aspects of the wedding. By the way, both families can take part in this wedding area. It should be professionally contracted to caterers as they will be able to make assorted meals including such traditional dishes as moin moin (beans that have been washed, grounded, and steamed) and jollof rice.
As for the meals, it could be fried or roasted chicken. Also, there can be fresh fish, fried meat, and catfish as well as small chops like meat pies and sausages. By the way, the main attraction is the wedding cake. But other treats like chin chin, small cakes, and other small traditional delicacies can be served.
When it comes to the drinks, it’s usually the caterers' responsibility. They should refrigerate drinks and serve the guests. The drinks could be of different types, for example, punch, alcohol, brandy, juice, fine wines, bottled water and mineral water.
By the way, the ceremony would be incomplete without young elegant girls (usually referred to as ushers), to lead invited guests to their seats.
Yoruba traditional wedding attire
As for the bride's attire, it is often a variation for the female guests’ outfits. The bride usually chooses lace, damask, Nigerian wax fabric, or any other material that suits her. Her attire usually consists of the Buba (a loose-fitting top), Gele (the head tie), and an Iro, which is a large, ankle-length piece of fabric knotted around her waist.
When it comes to the Yoruba traditional wedding colours, they could be coral, white, or gold. these days, it has become very popular to mix colours, for example, white-blue-gold, yellow-violet-gold, white-coral-green, etc. The Yoruba bride usually goes with the one that reflects the colour theme her family has chosen, but it should also blend perfectly with the groom's outfit and look gorgeous.
Also, a bride can wear different accessories such as beads, gold chains, gold earrings and bangles. A Yoruba bride always has the perfect makeup, that finishes off her gorgeous look.
As for the groom, he could wear an Agbada, which is always a two-layered chunk of fabric such as the aso oke. His attire could be made from cotton and damask, or he can wear lace and wax fabric (Ankara). His attire could be of the colour his family has chosen and also, it should blend with the bride's outfit.
Yoruba traditional wedding entertainment and cake
When it comes to the entertainment, there is usually a master of the ceremony, which could be a member of the family or a professional. This master of the wedding ceremony usually coordinates the entertainment by representing the DJ or live band and follows the pre-planned programme. All that is left is to feast, dance, and be merry.
According to the Yoruba wedding traditions, the bride should choose the cake. Usually, she finds the right one that blends with the wedding theme. Actually, it can be made of chocolate or a multi-leveled butter with regular icing-sugar. Also, Yoruba traditional wedding cake could have little statuettes of the couple or a simple inscription. One of the main traditions of the wedding is cutting the cake.
Also, an integral part of the wedding is the presentation of gifts. Usually, among the common gifts are golden wrist watches, gold earrings, wax fabric, alligator pepper, bitter kola, kolanut, a bag of rice, a bag of salt, and a even a cow ( nowadays this gift can be substituted with the money equivalent).
Well, as you can see, Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony in Nigeria is very amazing and gorgeous. Among all the varieties of Nigerian weddings it seemed to be the most exciting and colourful. It has so many traditions, which will bring joy and make every participant happy. What do you think?
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