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What to expect at a Nigerian wedding

Photo by Samson Ejim on Unsplash

Weddings in Nigeria are a big deal. Saturday is when people choose to do this because many people do not have work. They can also finally socialise with their family and friends. On some occasions, people go around sniffing for a marriage or wedding ceremony to attend. You do not need to know the couple to be part of the occasion. Attendance is not always strictly by invitation, and so long as you dress up, no one will turn you away. A typical Nigerian wedding usually takes place all day. It starts with the official ceremonies and then moves to the reception and after-party. Some people choose to skip some parts.

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

In Nigeria, there are four types of marriages, and each of them determines how the ceremony is performed. There are statutory, customary, church and Islamic marriages. The statutory marriage follows the English law; traditional weddings follow the native laws and customs; the church marriage is usually done in a church and presided over by a pastor. An Imam presides over an Islamic marriage ceremony. Mainly people in Northern Nigeria perform this type of marriage. Couples usually hire luxury wedding planners to help with budgeting and scheduling. Nigerian weddings are the perfect opportunity for couples and guests to go all out.


Makeup is a critical element of the wedding ceremony for women. On most Saturdays, Nigerian makeup artists are booked and busy. The makeup done on this day is different from any other day, so expect to see both bride and female guests with their faces “beat”. Women wear a tonne of makeup that would last the whole day. The aim is to look unrecognisable. Makeup prices vary depending on the makeup artist’s popularity. The traditional wedding makeup is usually bright and colourful for the bride, and then she would opt for a nude, more natural look for the church wedding. The bride usually chooses a more colourful look for her traditional wedding because traditional weddings are generally very bright and loud.


One thing “Nigerian mummies” and “aunties” know how to do is dress according to the colour and buy the Asoebi. Asoebi is a Yoruba word. “Aso” means cloth, and “Ebi” means family. Put together; it means family cloth. They are simply uniforms that are worn at the wedding by guests. Nigerians wear them on other occasions, including birthdays and funerals. People wear Asoebi at a Nigerian wedding to identify each other. Usually, the family of the bride and the groom would wear different Asoebis. Groups that the couple belongs to would also buy and sew theirs. People can sew any style they wish with the same clothing fabrics, and many people try to be as creative as possible.

Music and dance

A Nigeran wedding party is incomplete without dance and music. During the wedding reception, the bride usually changes her dress to allow her to move freely and dance. There is also a lot of Nigerian afrobeat music. The wedding reception usually begins with the couple dancing and then the groomsmen and bridesmaids dancing as they go in. Many people let go and dance with no home training with the screaming MC in the background. If no MC is screaming at the top of his voice, you are at the wrong venue; that is not a Nigerian wedding. Guests spray the couple with money, and the couple’s friends are careful to pick up all the money. If they’ve got youngsters attending the celebration, they use 360 photo booth hire to keep them engaged and interested to the end of the evening.


I was particular about the Energy at my wedding and I told my grooms men I need all the ENERGY! And they did just that! WEDDING TOO LIT! #EMJO2021

♬ original sound – Dr Craze


No wedding reception is complete without food, lots of food. The regular Nigerian wedding menu includes Jollof rice, Pounded yam, Fried rice, porridge, Moi Moi (bean cake), and Small chops. All the guests must eat even though many people come without invitation. If you do not want the headcount more than the plates of food, you must be ready to get married in secret or hire bouncers at the gate. People take it personally if they do not eat at a wedding.
Here are some funny tweets about food at Nigerian weddings:

Regardless of where you are from, weddings are beautiful ceremonies to experience. You get to see two different people decide legally be together and take the “till death do us part” oath. Whether it is the clothing, makeup, music, dance or food, there is always something from a wedding that leaves a lasting impression in your mind.

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