Phase 1 – The First Introduction/Knocking On The Door
(Ikụ Aka n’ Uzo)
The groom pays a visit to the bride’s family and informs them of his intentions to marry their daughter and his wish to bring his family to meet them. On the appointed day, both families first congregate at the bride’s home.
The groom will be accompanied to the bride’s residence by his parents, grandparents, a few other family members, and some alcoholic beverages. While awaiting the arrival of their likely new in-laws, the bride’s parents and a few other family members get ready.
It is typical for the bride and groom’s family to not expect a response to their invitation during the first family meeting. However, both families will share a few alcoholic beverages and a meal before parting ways.
Phase 2 – The Family Background Investigation
The primary objective of the inquiry stage is to provide both families with the opportunity to learn more about one another through external inquiries to people who are acquainted with the families in the villages and cities where each family resides. Even if the bride and groom are getting married abroad, where they first met, the investigation will still happen here at home.
The two families each conduct their own investigation without the bride’s knowledge, and frequently the groom starts his before he pops the question and before the first family get-together.
Phase 3 – The Follow-Up Visit For The Discussion Of The Bridal List (Ihu Isi Nwanyi)
The bride’s family is required by tradition to give the groom’s family the specified bridal list. The bridal list includes representation from the bride’s parents, the bride’s village, the men (Umunna), the ladies (Umuada), and the young adults (Umu youth). The bridal list includes a variety of items, including:
yam tubers (amount varies with each community)
Large bags of rice A certain amount of soft drinks and bibulous drinks
gifts of money
The kola nut
Tobacco Fishing Head Big Stock
the onion bags
a salt container
beans in bags
A couple of George wrappers, upscale ankaras, and ties
two sets of footwear
a minimum of one bar of soap
an enormous basin
for the mother, jewelry
Talcum powder, large, and more
Phase 4 – The Dowry Negotiations (Ego Isi Nwanyi)
In order to offset the cost of asking their daughter to marry them before the traditional wedding ceremony, the bride’s parents used to offer the groom a predetermined amount of money as dowry. Some members of both families might not be able to (or might not want to) agree to the price.
The two families would get together as per tradition to talk about the dowry amount. There is no predetermined sum for the dowry; rather, the two families will negotiate the amount when it is brought up.
Phase 5 – The Traditional Wedding Ceremony (Igba Nkwụ)
A key component of the traditional Igbo wedding rite, known as Igba Nkwu, is that the bride brings the wine from her father to search for her husband (The Wine Carrying Ceremony).
Additionally, some Igbo tribes may place greater importance on the traditional wedding ceremony than on the civil or church wedding, which has a more western flavor. After finishing their traditional marriage ceremony, some couples may want to have a civil wedding or church/religious wedding for legal purposes with the government or not.
Asoebi – The Bridal Train
With the backing of her family, the bride would select a handful of her female relatives and unmarried friends to serve as her Asoebi (the bridal train). These women would dress in matching Asoebi costume to accompany the bride in processions throughout the occasion.
During the preparations, the bride will get ready for her special day while hiding inside the home and waiting to be called out to greet the visitors.
Following a prayer, the bride’s family presents drinks and kola nuts to the groom’s family. Following some statements from both families, the bride will emerge to welcome the guests.
The bride welcomes each visitor before leaving the chamber while dancing and singing with her Asoebi women. Food and beverages are being supplied to the participants while the celebratory program goes on with other entertainment. Shortly after, the bride would return to the scene to find her parents and reveal her husband to them.
The Wine Carrying
While the groom is hidden and dressed in a new costume, the bride will dance toward her parents with her Asoebi women and bow before her father. Before giving his daughter a cup of wine (palm wine) to sample, her father will remind his daughter of the intentions of the potential husband and his family. Then she is told to find the potential husband and offer him the last of the wine.
The bride searches among the guests while holding the wine glass for her fiancé, who is customarily anticipated to be skulking among them. She approaches him after him, kneels down, and gives him the remainder of the drink. The groom accepts the drink and downs it completely before contributing any money.
Phase 6 – New Home Sendoff Gifts By The Bride’s Parents(Idu Ụlọ)
The bride’s parents are expected to give their newlywed daughter house presents in the Igbo culture to support her in the beginning of her new married life. We refer this this custom as “New Home Sendoff Gifts.”
The bride’s family may be able to provide their daughter with a wide range of gifts, such as a refrigerator, kitchen appliances, bedding, air conditioning, cooking pots, money, a car, a new house, and much more.
The bride’s parents might choose to help their daughter start her new married life by giving her the New Home Sendoff Gifts the evening of the traditional wedding, a few days later, or after the religious wedding.
Phase 7 – Bride’s Family First Visit To The Newly weds’ Home (Imata Ụlọ Di)
After the couple has returned from their honeymoon, the bride’s family will make their first trip to their daughter’s new home (the modern custom nowadays). This is a customary Igbo method for the bride’s family to ensure that their daughter is content and well-cared for at her new home and to confirm her address in case of an emergency.