GETTING MARRIED IN NIGERIA.

Credit: Chimamanda Idongesit

A lot of single Nigerians are looking forward to finding their true love, getting married and living happily forever.

In the western world, it’s a common sight to see partners move in together and live as married couples. This practice is rare in Nigeria, and it’s heavily frowned upon. In fact, this is considered by the majority as a taboo in the country.

Marriage is a union of a woman and a man to become wife and husband. In the Nigerian context, it goes further to include the consent of both parents. Failure to obtain this consent through the payment of bride price (dowries) to the parents of the bride invalidates the Union.

This payment of dowries can be done in a traditional wedding. This could be ceremoniously done or it can be done with just parents and few parties from both sides. Nigerian traditional marriage is just one of the three types of marriages in Nigeria.

The court wedding and religious wedding are the other two types of weddings. The religious wedding could either be an Islamic wedding for Muslims or Christian wedding (white wedding) for Christians. The wedding is a combination of a religious ceremony in the mosque or in the church and then followed by a wedding reception party where all the guests will be entertained.

The last type of wedding is the civil wedding also known as the court wedding. As the name implies, this wedding is held in court. The couples legitimize their relationship under the marriage act of Nigeria with a marriage certificate.

These three weddings can be done at a stretch by couples that are financially capable. On average it will cost at least ten thousand USD dollars (4million naira) to have these three weddings. For young couples that are not financially buoyant, weddings can be stretched into a year or years.

A lot of Nigerians have continuously criticized religious and court weddings and refer to these weddings as a borrowed culture. They argue that before colonization the only recognized form of weddings was the traditional wedding and the financial burden of the wedding was nothing compared to what is obtainable nowadays. In those days, the bride price could be paid with food products, farmlands which made getting married a lot easier.

Now we have define the three types of marriage and the financial implications. For young couples with low budget, what wedding should they prioritize? Which is more important?