African traditional wedding

In the history of marriage customs in Africa, the institution has taken on at least three (3) principal forms:

  1.  Marriage by capture
  2.  Marriage by purchase
  3.  Marriage by choice

Interestingly, research shows that marriage customs in other parts of world have patterns that are (or were) very similar to the history of marriage customs in Africa. Perhaps this is even more proof that we probably all do share the same roots… but I digress…

Marriage by Capture

The bride-to-be may be either kidnapped or captured prior to the official wedding ceremony or at some point during. During the wedding festivities, friends of the couple may kidnap the bride and will release her only after the groom negotiates for, and pays, her ransom. The kidnapping can be done multiple times throughout the wedding ceremony and it is up to the groom to notice when his bride goes missing.

In the other type of marriage by capture, the groom’s family and friends abduct the bride. When the abduction comes to light, the groom’s “posse” and the bride’s “posse” meet halfway between their villages (or halfway between their family compounds if they are from the same village),  where they will either engage in a mock battle OR exchange gifts and/or payment for the bride.

Such practices are seen among the Ganda/Bantu tribes of Uganda and the people of Nyanza in Kenya.

Marriage By Purchase

The theory behind this is basically self-explanatory; however there is subtle differences form tribe to tribe in Africa when it comes to the actual execution.

In Zaire, the groom brings two copper rings or an arrow to the bride and her family. Upon acceptance of the gifts the couple becomes officially betrothed. More gifts are exchanged during the actual wedding ceremony, one of which is a knife given by the groom to the bride’s father. The knife signifies that the new husband is now responsible for the wife’s safety and well-being.

Among the Zulu, the groom gives cattle to the bride’s family and father. The theory behind the cattle is that if for any reason the marriage doesn’t work out and the bride has to return to her family, the cattle serve as insurance for her so that she will be able to support herself.

The Nyakysus people of Malawi consider a marriage legitimate only after the bride’s representative has received cattle from the groom. The groom still has to work on his bride’s father’s land for some time. If the marriage doesn’t work out then the cattle can be returned and the marriage will be dissolved.

Marriage By Choice

Also known as a “love match”, this one of course requires very little to no explanation. Both sides they agreed to spend rest of their life together.                                                                                                             There are so many wedding themes out these and we as African have lost our roots in western cultures & forgot our own African themes which can make weddings very interesting. These are so many ideas to make your African wedding interesting.

African flowers

These are species found in Africa use them to create your centerpieces and bouquet and let your African roots take charge.

African daisies

African Iris originates from Kenya

African lily

African Hibiscus

African Quotes on Marriage

We are African and we are good with words include wedding proverbs on your quotes, to make them interesting

E.g: Nigerian quotes’, “The husband is the tie and the wife is the parcel, when the tie breaks, the parcel loosens”.

Ethiopian, ”When in love a cliff becomes a meadow”.

Ghanaian, ”Marriage is like a groundnut, you have to crack them to see what is inside”.

Wedding Attire

Nothing separates us from the rest of the word than attire. You can choose to wear the whole cut fit or add some parts like accessories to the white outfit to honor your African tradition.

African tradition attire

African food &Drinks

Forget the plated food African loves plenty food. Go for buffet full of African dishes and meat. Do not target the bush meat if our tribe accommodates it. How you save the food also matters

e.g.:-You can opt for banana plantain leaves instead of charges plates if you are from HAYA tribe for example.

African Music &Entertainment

Let the traditional music be part of your music list. Invite traditional dancers as well and instrument players if your budget allows.

All in all try your level best to incorporate your roots. We as planners are here to bring your vision to life.

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