The bride price is a monetary payment or some commodities paid by the groom’s family to the bride’s family. Bride prices are always collected first in many Nigerian cultures, particularly the Igbos. Bride price is compulsory for the couple to be granted the right to enter marriages in churches or other secular wedding rites. The bride’s parents will not deem the marriage genuine.
Based on the groom’s financial status, he and his relatives can enter into an unwritten agreement with the bride’s parents in which he settles upfront or agrees to repay what he owes within a certain time frame. While white western nuptials are gaining popularity in Nigeria, traditional weddings and the payment of a bride price continue to thrive.
Concise History of Bride Price in Nigeria
Bride price is based on patriarchal views that ladies are goods that may be freely traded. When a bride price is paid, it is customary for the groom to assume that he really owns his wife because he paid the bridal price. As the wife is viewed as the hubby’s “possession,” this legalises domestic violence and marital rape.
In rural communities, women are frequently obliged to repay their entire bride price in the event of a marriage breakdown. Because most women have limited financial autonomy, they cannot afford a divorce and are frequently locked in abusive and harmful relationships.
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What is in a ‘bride price list’?
You certainly won’t be shocked to know that bride prices vary from place to place, as well as from household to household. The bride’s family produces a bride price list that they expect to obtain to consent to the marriage once the groom declares his intention of marrying a lady and approves the offer.
The groom may get a bride price list organised into four sections: gifts for the extended family’s mature ladies, gifts for the male members of the family, general family gifts, and ceremonial financial gifts. Although the list of presents in each section may vary, the following are the most prevalent categories and products seen in a modern Nigerian bride price list:
- Clothing, which might include dresses, skirts, footwear, handbags, necklaces, designer sunglasses, and other goods that women traditionally wear, is commonly presented to daughters or general gifts.
- Cleaning supplies are items such as detergent, conditioner, fragrance, eyeliner, body creams, shower gels, and even laundry soaps that can be given under any category of gift.
- Food and beverages, which make up a significant portion of gifts to male relatives as well as general gifts. This category can encompass a wide range of things from oil palm, corn, sugar, chicken livers, and coconuts to Lager beer, cigars, and soft beverages.
If they state their demands on the price list, you may need to send cash presents to the family.
Average Bride Price Cost in Nigeria
For one explanation, calculating the average bride price cost in Nigeria is extremely difficult: bride price lists can be so different that one family may be happy to accept a bride price of $1,000 while another family may require the groom to go all out. On average, the bride price should be less than ₦ 900,000, but it can be as little as ₦ 50,000-80,000. The objective is to make the groom show that he is sincere about wedding the bride rather than rob him of his hard-earned money.