In order to copy or use the African weddings as inspiration, it is best to take a look at some of the things common to modern African weddings. As the African culture is pretty diverse, what with the number of tribes, we will select only a few of the general features. Many cultures have two occasions, the pre-wedding (introduction) and the actual wedding. We will consider the features of the pre wedding in this article, and how to use these ideas in a more favorable way.
The Pre-Wedding or Introduction:
- In African culture, marriage is not only about the union of man and woman; it also involves the joining of two families. The introduction is the official first step in that direction.
- Obviously, this is not the first time for either side to meet; this is the official… well, introduction of family members. In fact, for the Baganda from Uganda, it is the second time the families meet. They have an occasion known as a kukyala where a few members from each family meet. The nuclear families of the bride and groom, along with other close family members are the only ones who attend this occasion. Ghanaians have something of the kind, known as “the knocking”, except gifts are carried and it is only after the groom’s “knock” is accepted that his family is let in. For both cultures, the wedding is planned from then onward.
- In most African cultures, the introduction is a pretty big event, where both friends and family (family, though, is a must) are invited. In some cultures, that is when gifts are presented to the bride’s family. Usually each family has a seating area designated to them and has a spokesperson appointed. In Nigeria, the one representing the groom’s side is called the Olopa Iduro and the one representing the bride’s family is called the Olopa Ijoko. The food and attire are mainly traditional. And since most of the proceedings are public, things like dowry are settled prior to the event though at times they are presented at the introduction.
Inco-operating the above into your wedding:
- Since family is important in African weddings, how about you
- You can begin by arranging a modern introduction of sorts, to be held before the wedding. Have an occasion where either side of the family meets and has a meal together. Think of this as the first step towards the union of two families. You do not have to make it as big as your African counterparts do. Though, if you can afford it…
- Have the guests wear traditional attire; if you feel like (though leave the option of culture open). And prepare African traditional food alongside some other western foods – we cannot be too sure if all will like the African dishes.
With these few and simple pointers, those of you who feel like throwing an introduction can do so without all the stress that comes from throwing two parties. In the next article, we will see how the modern African bride, having thrown an awesome introduction, throws a wedding reception.
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