Nigeria has a population of more than 123 million people, making it the most heavily populated country in Africa. Nigerian weddings are as diverse as its population. The colours worn depend on the style of the bride and groom. Western influences introduced Western-style white weddings in urban areas, while other areas tend toward the traditional, more colourful, African wedding attire.
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The Bride Wore White
Nigerian brides in urbanised cities walk down the aisle of a church wearing a gown of white satin and lace. These Nigerian couples probably live in areas influenced by Christian missionaries. The dress follows tradition in Western cultures, where the bride wears a white gown and the groom wears a suit or tuxedo in white or black.
More Traditional Colors
Brides and grooms who follow more traditional African culture paths will be much more colourful during their wedding ceremonies. A Nigerian bride often wears fabrics imported from India in sun-drenched colours of corals, yellows, reds and browns. Her groom would wear matching garments.
In Nigeria, reds are worn to symbolise the blood shed by predecessors. Gold is worn to symbolise wealth and green, usually a lighter, lime green, is worn to symbolise the vegetation and land in Africa.
The bride's hands and feet may be covered in henna decorations for the wedding ceremony. She would wear a coral beaded headpiece, ankle bracelet and/or necklace for the wedding ceremony.
Traditional African attire does not resemble a Western wedding dress. In a traditional African wedding, the bride may marry in a buba, which is a long shirt made of jacquard that hangs loosely over the body to the waist. That would be coupled with a iro, which is a rectangular sheet that is wrapped and folded to cover the lower part of the body.
The most prominent piece of attire for a Nigerian bride is her gele, her headpiece. This rectangular piece of bright coloured cloth can be folded in a multitude of ways to stand high on her head.
In traditional Nigerian weddings, the groom will be dressed in the same imported Indian cloth as the bride. Like his bride, he wears a buba with matching sokoto, or trousers. The groom may also wear a fila, which is a round cap, in a similar or complementary colour.
For a formal wedding, the groom would wear an agbada, which is a loose gown worn over his clothing that reaches the floor.
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