The three types of weddings in Nigeria are in a way important depending on how one’s perspective. Although the importance of the three will be discussed in this very post, it is somewhat crucial to know that Nigerians value wedding ceremonies a whole lot.
So if you are a foreigner visiting Nigeria and hoping to get married to a Nigerian, it is important to know whether or not you’ll observe or have all the three forms of wedding depending on your to-be partner, his or her family and the depth of your pocket.
The above is not all too different from what applies to Nigerians as well. It is mandatory to understand what each entails and how best to curb excessive spending.
Three Types of Weddings in Nigeria
In order of importance, these are the three types of wedding in Nigeria:
The traditional wedding in Nigeria is the most important of all the three types of weddings. The reason for this is not far fetched; Nigeria and Nigerians are highly cultural people and one binding factor that can be found among the 250 ethnic groups and over 300 tribes is the presence of culture which is held in high esteem, making it the most powerful wedding type because of the collective mindset of the population.
The traditional wedding involves meeting certain requirements laid down or dictated by the to-be bride’s family which involves a bride price and a traditional rite list which can be as cheap as N30,000 ($82) to bogus amounts such as over a million Naira ($275,000) or more, depending on the family, the ethnic group and the tribe of the bride’s family. We already compiled a list of the tribes in Nigeria with expensive bride prices and we recommend that you check it out.
It is not mandatory that a traditional wedding must be grand and elaborate as many as projected to be over time. One can have it so simple and minimal that one can have it behind closed doors with just a few family members from both sides in attendance. Grand or not, the bride’s family hands over their daughter to the family of the groom during the rite, meaning that they not only consent but also approve and recognize the groom’s family as capable of taking care of their daughter as their own.
A woman is not married if the man she is supposedly married to does not do the needful traditional. As a matter of fact, such a man is not recognized by the woman’s family and the children the couple have belong to the woman’s family except the man tows the path of tradition.
The traditional wedding is so sacred to Nigerians that a man must marry the corpse of a woman in the event that the woman dies while ‘cohabiting’ with a man.
One major disadvantage of traditional weddings is that it encourages monogamy just as polygamy. A man can take on many women and marry them as dictated by tradition.
Legally, the court wedding is the most important wedding type in Nigeria. Although, this form of wedding would not take place if the intending couples do not present witnesses from both families that they indeed consented to the union before approaching a court, which makes the traditional wedding important even in the eyes of the law. Although many young couples have been circumventing this as they go to court with the approval of both families before coming back to have a proper traditional wedding.
The procedure of court wedding in Nigeria is not as hectic as the traditional wedding and is not expensive. With just N30,000 anyone can get married legally and focus on other things.
The court wedding in Nigeria does not require large crowds to be in attendance. As a matter of fact, only major key players of both families often witness the process as it is not only brief but straightforward.
This type of wedding is important if you are planning on traveling abroad with your spouse as its certificate is required as evidence that indeed you both are married.
Where the traditional wedding type is deficient is where the court wedding makes up for in strength. Those who observe this type of wedding are not allowed to freely choose or marry another person except they go through the legal process of divorce. Polygamy is forbidden for this type of wedding. As a woman, it is recommended you push for this type of wedding.
The religious wedding popularly referred to as ‘white wedding’ in Nigeria is the least important of the three types of weddings as its observance actually plays no special role other than the excessive show of attires. Although religious people have come to prioritize this because they think or believe it is ‘ordained by God’ and must be done, according to most Christians. Totally false!
Interestingly, this type of wedding will not hold if parental consent is not given or guaranteed. The white wedding has no root in any of the Holy Books and although there have been excuses about how observing this type of wedding means that God is involved in your marriage. Some have taken it a bit further by stating or claiming that their purpose of having a white wedding is to ‘honour God’ with their wedding.
Continuing, religious wedding procedures vary from religion to religion and from denomination to denomination. Whatever your faith is, it is important you consult your spiritual head, such as the pastor of your local church or Imam, if you are a Muslim. For the most part, you are expected to go through a counseling session with your would-be partner and this might take between 3-6 months, in some cases, though rare, a year.
Some Christian denominations go through the pain of getting a court wedding certificate ready if you getting married in their church. This means you might not necessarily have to go to court again.
Note that other than the certificate bearing the seal of the Federal Government of Nigeria, any other certificate issued to you by any religious place holds no value.
Religious weddings are somewhat expensive (expensive here is relative) and can either be the minimal type or elaborate depending on the agreement of both families. From the printing of invites to order of programmes, to catering for the officiating ministers, in some cases, the workers, the attires and most importantly, decorating the religious place.
It is possible to have all three forms of weddings but note that it will not only be expensive but stressful. If, however, you are willing to cut costs and wondering which is important and which isn’t, we sincerely hope the content of this article has cleared certain grey areas you might have had.
We would also love to hear your thoughts and ideas. So, kindly leave a comment below or ask whatever questions you might have. We’ll respond as swiftly as possible. We would also appreciate if you can inform one or two persons by sharing this great content. Ciao!