Yoruba Traditional Wedding – How to go About it | Weddingtin


Yoruba Traditional wedding ceremony is filled with graceful colours and sumptuous meals. Weddings in Yoruba land is an event to point out your best outfits, handbags, jewellery and even dance steps. So it will be wise for you to really prepare before embarking on anything that is worthwhile in life such as traditional wedding in Yoruba land.

Yoruba girls are beautiful and bountifully endowed; apart from that, there are many interesting things about them. There are several stuffs you ought to understand about Yoruba women if you wish to marry them; this could at least prepare your mind on what to expect in the marriage.
Yoruba traditional wedding is separated into different stages. For those who have the intention of marrying a Yoruba woman, here is how to go about it.

The Introduction:

The families of the girl and boy meet long before an engagement ceremony is planned. The groom-to-be visits the family of the girl in the company of his father and other family members. The occasion is an informal introduction without elaborate ceremony but a cordial ambience to know each other. The groom and his family present some tubers of yam and a few bottles of wine; the family of the bride entertained the visitors with a simple meal. From some families during the introductions, they may discuss a little about the traditional wedding ceremony and when it would take place.

The Engagement:

The traditional engagement is one crucial stage of Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony and here is how to go about it; a master of ceremony is contracted called the Alaga ijoko which means the traditional master of ceremony. The master of ceremony could be a member of the bride’s family or an outsider. The Alaga Ijoko is usually a woman and her duty is to properly officiate and coordinate the proceeding of the marriage.

The Alaga introduces the groom accompanied by his age mates and friends which also involves prostrating to the family of the bride to formally request their daughter’s hand in marriage. The groom’s family also hire a proficient MC called the Alaga iduro which means the standing master of ceremony, who follows the groom and family to ask for the bride’s hand in marriage. The Alaga iduro is also a proficient keeper of Yoruba wedding tradition. She could be a family member or an outsider hired for the occasion.

Other side attractions include the letter reading, which is read by a young girl from the groom’s family also asking for the bride’s hand in marriage. The bride’s family reciprocate with their own letter. The engagement is an integral part of any Yoruba traditional wedding in Yoruba land. At this moment items on the engagement list will be presented by the groom’s family. The items vary slightly from different clan and community in Yoruba land but generally the same.

List of Items for the Engagement
  1. Traditional cloth (Aso-oke)
  2. Shoes, wristwatch, and head tie
  3. She-Goat
  4. Sugar Cane (Some people request for bag of sugar)
  5. Palm oil and vegetable oil, 25litres and above
  6. Engagement Ring
  7. Bible if she is a Christian or Koran if she is a Muslim.
  8. Kola Nut
  9. Bottle of honey
  10. Alligator pepper-about 40 pieces
  11. Bag of rice
  12. Box/Suitcase of clothes
  13. Maize/corn
  14. Basket filled different types of fruits#
  15. Keg of honey
  16. Forty large tubers of yam

Bride Price

Bride price in Yoruba traditional wedding has no fix amount of money. During the bride price payment ceremony, the bride price paid depends solely on the bride’s family and is subject to negotiation. However, there are other fees to be paid by the groom or his family; this too is also negotiable. Here is how to go about it;

Owo Isigba (Money for opening the gift items brought by the bridegroom) =N500
Owo Ikanlekun (entrance fee) = N500
Owo Ijoko Iyawo (money given to elders in the groom’s family) =N1000
Owo Isiju Iyawo (money paid to unveil the bride) = N500
Owo Baba Gbo (money for the bride’s father consent) = N500
Owo Iya Gbo (money for the bride’s mother consent) =N1000
Owo Omo Ile Okunrin (money given to all male children in the bride’s family) =N500
Owo Omo Ile Obinrin (money given to all female children in the bride’s family) =N500
Owo Iyawo Ile (money given to all wives in the bride’s family) =N500
Owo Ijoko Agba (money reserved for elders of the bride’s family) =N500

Things to Consider when Planning a Yoruba Traditional Wedding Ceremony

Venue and Invitation

The choice of venue may be left for the couple to make or the bride’s family may choose for them. In totality, choosing a venue, officiating minister/imam, the wedding MC and even the meals served on the occasion are agreed upon by both parties. Sometimes the more financially capable family contributes a larger portion, but the wedding reception or party is a combined effort by both families.

A said date is set for the traditional wedding ceremony, the bride and groom choose an invitation card they felt will be appealing to both families and their guest. Details included on the card will be;

1) The date of the wedding
2) The venue for the ceremony and other activities
3) The name of the bride and groom
4) RSVP information, and
5) The colour code for the day. The bride’s family sometimes chooses a colour code different from the groom’s family and friends so as to more colourful ambience to the wedding .

always inventing clever ways to combine old traditions with more modern themes.

Yoruba traditional wedding reception

The venue for any Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony can be at an event centre, a large hall, an open canopy, or an open field. Most times the decoration is contracted to an events planner, whose job is to interpret the colours chosen by the couple and their families, using decorations to complement the joyful union. The guest list could number over 350 guests, so proper consideration of seating arrangements, cutlery, and decorations are of great importance.

Decorations consist of colour balloons, tapestries of colour schemes, white tablecloths, and chairs covered in lace with floral arrangements, and ceremonial colours. The decorators fashioned the high table for dignitaries and places two outstanding chairs (characteristically different) in front of the crowd for the bride and groom. With the traditional wedding theme features that includes flower vases and cutlery.

The catering is also not left alone because it is serious business in any Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony. Again, this can be done by both families. If the catering is contracted out, the caterers should be professional in their conduct and able to make assorted meals including jollof rice and moi moi(beans that has been washed, grounded, and steamed)

The chicken could be fried or roasted. There is also fried meat, fresh fish, and catfish as well as small chops like sausages and meat pies. These are done if the finance is available. Small cakes, chin chin, and different tiny delicacies are ancient. Yoruba traditional foods like pounded yam, amala (yam extract), fufu, and wheat meals may also be served, along with a variety of vegetable dishes.

In typical Yoruba traditional wedding, some family members also cook additional meals to entertain their immediate guests, such as neighbours and family friends.

The drinks for the traditional wedding ceremony could be the responsibility of the caterers or can be contracted out to wholesalers or drink suppliers. Their duty is to refrigerate drinks and serve the guests. The type of drinks served could be alcohol, juice, Soft drinks or soda, fine wines, brandy, water, and bottled water. The drink handlers and food caterers supply attendants who see to the needs of the guests.

Not forgetting the Ushers, the ceremony is incomplete without young elegant girls (that could either be friends of the bride or friends of bride sisters) who usher the guests to their tables.


Traditional wedding Attire

The bride and the groom wears their traditional wedding attire which is similar but not necessary the same. Bride’s outfit is a reflection of what the wedding guests will wear especially for the female. She might choose a lace, wax fabric (Nigerian), damask, or any fabric that appeals to her. The outfit consists of which is the head tie known as gale, the tank top as buba, and a large, ankle-length piece of material tied around her waist known as an Iro

The colours she chooses reflects the colour theme her family has chosen. However, ought to conjointly complement the groom’s outfit. The bride can wear accessories like gold necklace, beads, bangles, gold earrings, and shoes to match. Her hair is done by a stylists, face beautified by professional makeup artists.

The groom most times wears an Agbada, which is a two-layered piece of material of heavy dimensions like the aso oke. It may be cotton and damask or he might wear lace, wax cloth (Ankara).The colour combination should complement the bride’s and reflect the colour his family has chosen. Please note that all colours worn during a Yoruba traditional wedding must be complimentary even if the families involved chose different colours.

The Entertainment

The entertainment, funfair and merriment are coordinated by a master of ceremony who may be a member of the family or a professional specialized in handle such ceremony. He or she is different from the traditional female masters of ceremony on the groom and bride’s sides (during the traditional marriage rites). This master of ceremony coordinates the entertainment during a Yoruba traditional wedding, introduces the live band or disc jockey, and adheres to the prearranged program. The marriage rites has been contracted and all that is left is to dance, feast, and make merry.

The music rendered by the band is usually ethnic but combines contemporary popular songs blending with both French and English renditions, Yoruba native tongue, and talking drums. The most popular music genres played at any Yoruba traditional wedding ceremonies are juju music, afro juju music, high life music, gospel music, hip hop, and current pop sounds.

In a Yoruba traditional wedding bride is responsible for the cake or it is the responsibility to contract a baker for their wedding cake. She chooses the size, flavour and colour that best complements the joyful occasion. It could be chocolate or multi-layered butter ice cake or any other. The cake might have small figurines of the couple or a simple writing of the bride’s directives.

On the day of wedding ceremony the baker tells the guests about and the cake’s content and what it signifies in the new couple’s lives just before the cutting.

The bride and groom dances with so much joy to end the traditional wedding. A videographer and photographer get busy. The ceremony is recorded on video and photos taken while the occasion is in full swing. The families, guests, friends, and well-wishers take photographs at the end of the occasion.


Yoruba people are very easy-going, friendly, very cosmopolitan, and contemporary, always inventing clever ways to combine old traditions with more modern themes. Yoruba people have found a way to integrate modern customs into their traditional wedding ceremonies.

In Yoruba land the couple may choose to include a civil union by going for a court wedding. They may also go for a Christian wedding or an Islamic wedding.

Yes!! For those guys with the intentions of marrying a Yoruba lady, now you know how to go about it.

I will be delighted to hear from you all…your comments will be appreciated

Music instrument used in most Yoruba traditional wedding

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