Traditional Nigerian Wedding Gifts

Written by kristy ambrose
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Traditional Nigerian Wedding Gifts
Ornaments that include seashells are common at Nigerian weddings. (Africa ornament image by Dancer 01 from

In the present day, even though many of the more traditional aspects of a Nigerian wedding are incorporated into a more modern, western style ceremony, Nigerian weddings retain their vibrant colour and extravagant ceremony. The protocol regarding behaviour, clothing and gifts also continues to be rigorously practised. Today, guests and relatives give a newly married couple presents that are non-traditional, but traditional Nigerian wedding gifts are closely connected to the future prosperity of the bride and groom and the happy joining of two families.

Engagement Gifts

The traditional Nigerian wedding begins long before the ceremony takes place. The ceremony brings the families together and it is recognised that the marriage would mean the connecting of two families. The groom's family gives the bride's family gifts of livestock, yams, tobacco or money. In more traditional marriages, a goat is slaughtered for the bride, and the blood is used as a libation and poured at the doorstep of her hut. A wedding feast will follow days later to make the union official.

Traditional Nigerian Wedding Gifts
Tobacco was commonly given to the bride's family before the wedding ceremony. (tobacco feild image by OMKAR A.V from

Palm Wine

When the bride first arrives at the wedding feast with her maidens, her groom is hidden among the guests. She first greets her father, who gives her a cup of palm wine and challenges her to find the hidden groom. During this game, other men will ask the bride to give them the wine, but it is only for the groom. When she finds him, he is presented with the palm wine as a gift from the bride.


Money is an appropriate and traditional gift at any time during the engagement and ceremony. Any type of currency -- dollars, marks, euros, or the Nigerian "naira" -- is a big part of the gifts for the occasion. The engagement and wedding parties are often elaborate and expensive, providing food, drinks and entertainment to all that wish to attend (in traditional Nigerian weddings, the whole community is welcome, invitations are unnecessary). The guests take into consideration the future happiness of the bride and groom, including their financial well-being.

Traditional Nigerian Wedding Gifts
Money is always a popular and appreciated wedding present. (money image by Valentin Mosichev from

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