As one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo’s are very rich in culture and tradition – wedding rites are no exception. The Igbo traditional wedding is called Igbankwu or wine carrying a cup of palm wine to her groom.
Prior to the wine carrying ceremony, 3 steps are taken according to the Ndigbo tradition.
- Iku Aka or Iju Ese: In English this means marriage introduction/ inquiry/ proposal. The Igbo tradition does not recognize the modern proposal with rings and everything in between. The groom accompanied by his father or eldest in his family gets to meet and be formally introduced to the bride’s parent – making his intentions of marriage known. This is done empty handed as the groom and family are just coming to inquire.
- Consent from the bride-to-be’s extended family: The brides Umunna i.e. direct and extended family with family elders are to be present as the groom asks for the bride’s hand in marriage. This step is important because any decision taken affects the brides’ final consent. A go ahead gives way for dates for the traditional wedding and bride price list.
- Ime Ego: Ime Ego which means dowry-bride price negotiation and payment is done after second and a consent has been given. The dowry rites are not done to buy the women but it has a significance in Igbo culture even in other traditions round the globe – it can even be traced back to biblical times
- Igbankwu: wine carrying ceremony.
Just like every other wedding, weddings are all about the bride. Fashion wise – it showed be inherently unflawed. Modern Igbo brides generally wear George wrapper and blouse. The key to the whole bridal look is accessorizing. The Igbo bride isn’t fully dressed without complementing accessories such as
- Ihe Nti, Ihe Ak: wrist chains, ring and earrings which can be made of beads or gold plated
- Ihe Olu: Coral beads
- Jigida: wrist beads
- Akpa Aka: clutch bags
- Nchafu: head tie
- Akpuku – Ukwu: footwear
We’ve curated over 50+ traditional Igbo wedding outfit ideas below.