Nuptials in Nigeria [Part III: Traditional Yoruba Ceremony!]// Adventures of a Destination Wedding Photographer

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“Nuptials in Nigeria” is a series of first accounts from American-turned-Londoner photographer and inspiration/travel writer Travis Levius.   This was his 1st time on the African continent to photograph an exciting 2-day destination wedding in Lagos, Nigeria. 

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{WEDDING DAY 1 OF 2}

After months of planning and preparing from the States, the time had finally come– the traditional Yoruba engagement/wedding of Busola & Ola!  Surprisingly, I was more excited than nervous to photograph this lively ceremony- much of the songs and speech would be in the traditional Yoruba language, and I was completely foreign to the customs that a Yoruba engagement entailed.  But everything came together wonderfully, reminding me why I’m so passionate about capturing multicultural weddings all over the globe.  This is Day One of two days’ worth of wedding ceremonies (the grand “Main Wedding” photos will debut next in Part IV!)

Let’s Begin!


The ceremony begins with Ola’s (the groom) deliberate, dance-happy entrance towards the main area, surrounded by a jubilant entourage of drummers, his groomsmen and other important guests.

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As a gesture of respect, a Yoruba groom lays prostrate on the ground in front of the bride’s parents and elders to ask for her hand in marriage.  The groomsmen/close friends were to lay prostrate as well, but because of morning rain, there was only (dry) space for the groom.

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The celebration continues after family’s acceptance.  Similar to what is seen throughout the ceremony, there was singing, music and the placement of Naira bills on the “special” person of that moment.

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Soon after, the bride and her bridesmaids/important guests emerges.  Busola (the bride) looked stunning in her traditional Nigerian wedding ensemble as the group danced and sang towards the ceremony area.

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The bride kneels before her family as they give her their blessing and counsel.

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The bride’s mother places the veil back on the bride, for the groom’s father to unveil his new daughter-in-law.

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More celebration!  The bride’s group dances around her in a circle, followed by a prayer for a blissful marriage.

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A wedding letter (placed in the plaque shown below) is read to the guests and then celebrated.

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There is a ring exchange- something that many Nigerians who choose to have a traditional and Western wedding, such as this couple, do twice!

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The bride comes together with her and the groom’s parents.

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Guests make their way to the center of the ceremony to offer Naira bills

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After the formalities have ended, the groom and bride meet and greet all of the family members on each side.

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The bride returns with a new outfit as she dances and mingles with the guests.

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I thoroughly enjoyed (and learned much) capturing this traditional ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria.  The colors, energy and revelry of it all was such a rush; however, this was a small-scale production compared to the wedding extravaganza (of 800+ guests!) that would occur 2 days later.  Check back on MisterLevius.com for the super exciting “Part IV: The Main Wedding”!!

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