Official Nigerian Wedding Glossary

Posted September 11, 2019 10:51am

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Have you ever walked into unchartered territory and felt completely lost? This is how some people feel when they attend a Nigerian wedding and are exposed to a whole new world of tradition. 

 Get familiar with Nigerian weddings with these terms:

  • 2nd Dress: This is the show-stopping after-party dress worn by the bride.
  • Access Card: Your one-way ticket to an exclusive gathering of the bourgeoisie of Lagos; if you don’t have this, then you should have an extreme fear of missing out on keeping up with the Otedolas, meeting your future boo and maybe that aunty who holds the key to you ‘blowing’. Get one. 
  • Alaga: The host of a Yoruba traditional wedding who conducts proceedings of the ceremony, often with a comical delivery and demeanour.
  • Aso-ebi: A certain group of people may identify this as “our clothes”. It is typically known as a uniform material, sewed in various or similar styles for weddings, funerals and other family/close-knit gatherings. At traditional weddings, this outfit may be your alternative to.


  • Auto Gele: Simply known as a gele cap; made for those who don’t have time to sit down for 20 minutes while a pretty shape is tied unto their head with one of the latest aso-ebi materials. 
  • Bride Price: The combination of gifts and money given to the bride’s family from the groom and his family before the bride is traditionally handed over in marriage and considered to be another man’s wife.
  • Coral Beads: This may be described as the gold of the south. It is commonly worn in a creative sequence by mostly Southern and Western brides. 
  • Dobale: This is to lay down prostrate on the floor as a form of greeting (to family elders), commonly done by the groom and his groomsmen at a Yoruba traditional wedding.
  • MC: A media personality or self-proclaimed comedian who controls the event lineup and sometimes makes you laugh.
  • Owambe: A society or community party usually consisting of extravagantly dressed adults in matching traditional regalia, commonly known as aso-ebi. 
  • Palmy: The nectar of the amazing palm tree, often served as part of a cocktail or from source as tapped. 
  • Reception Afterpartyy: This is the grand finale of all wedding events; ditch the club this weekend because you have access to a filtered crowd with cocktails, champagne and a selection of after-party treats.
  • Small Chops: A combination of fried dough balls, a plantain medley, Chinese appetizers and the best local chicken suya. At fancy weddings, they add seafood options. 
  • Swallow: Any starchy accompaniment that is served with local soups; also known as comfort food. 
  • Wedding Hashtag: A special hashtag which signifies the wedding itself and makes it discoverable as an event on social media. One-click on such a hashtag reveals all the pictures at different gatherings associated with the couple. It is usually a mix of the couple’s names followed by their wedding year.
  • White Kaftan: This is the attire of the sect commonly known as “Yoruba demons” however, other eligible bachelors and married men from other tribes tend to sport this attire. 

Don’t worry if this is all new to you; even some Nigerians that live in Nigeria are not familiar with all these phenomena!

Written by Feso Adeniji



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