Skip to main content

Yoruba Traditional Marriage/ Engagement List of Items

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Image Courtesy

New bide

New bide

A comprehensive Yoruba engagement and marriage list

1 The engagement ring

2 A Bible/ Koran

3 Aso-oke fabric

4 Gold wristwatch

5 Pure honey

6 Bag of salt

7 Bag of sugar

8 Alligator pepper

9 Bitter kola

10 Kola nut

11 Palm oil and vegetable oil

12 A bag of rice

13 42 tubers of yam

14 42 large dry fish

15 She-goat

16 Sugar cane

17 A large suit case

18 Beautiful outfits for the bride

19 Umbrella

Scroll to Continue

20 Corn cake(Aadun)

21 Cartons of fruit juice

22 Cartons of assorted drinks

Cartons of Bottled water

Yoruba engagement

The Yoruba traditional engagement list is not unlike that obtained in the eastern parts of Nigeria. The list has fewer priced items than Igbo engagement list and moderate cash sums.

In some cases, the bridal engagement list is relatively cheap and may consist of perishable food items, drinks, and cloth materials. Grooms who intend marring a Nigerian woman should be adequately prepared for financial engagement in the wedding process.

Tradition dictates that several provisions and engagement customs is strictly followed. The groom’s job is to get the engagement list early and plan towards the implementation.

Knowing exactly what is required makes the process less stressful and easy. Therefore, knowing the list of things needed reduces the stress and makes every thing easier.

However, be mindful of the fact that engagement list in Yoruba land varies according to the status of the family and what each ethnic group requests.

size7-solid white gold Engagement ring/Wedding band

Engagement ring

Beautiful engagement ring

Beautiful engagement ring

Beautiful engagement ring

Beautiful engagement ring

Yoruba engagement list items

Religion plays an important part in Yoruba engagement traditions. If the bride is a Muslim she is presented the Koran, Christian a Bible. The engagement ring is also very important and should be of good quality.

Assorted materials are also prominent in both Yoruba and Igbo engagements and the cost depends on the fabric listed. The fabric can be damask, print, George, silk, Aso-oke or any material listed.

An umbrella is included in the list and it symbolizes the groom’s ability to provide a home, shelter and protect their daughter through good and bad times. Other interesting items you can find in the list include cooking utensils like pots, pans, plates, and cups.

The utensils sometimes are given back to the bride and groom after they are married so they do not need to buy new ones. Cooking ingredients like groundnut oil and palm oil are important items in the engagement list.

Palm oil has great traditional significance in Nigerian customs and traditions and is used during important occasions and rites like child naming. Another important item you might find in the engagement list is honey and sometimes sugarcane.

Some very significant items listed are alligator pepper, kola nuts, grains, and fruits. Yam tubers are some of the most important items listed. Failure to provide the exact number of Yams might lead to financial sanctions during the engagement ceremony.

Food grains like rice and a She goat that signifies fertility is included in the engagement list.

Cash sums paid during engagement ceremonies

1 The entrance or admittance fee ( At the gate of the engagement)

2 Money for the male and female members of the brides family

3 Money for the elders of the family

4 Money for the father and mother of the bride to consent to the union

5 Money for the bridegrooms phone calls

6 The dowry

7 Fee paid before the bride enters the venue

8 Fee paid to unveil the bride

Apart from the dowry, the cumulative cash sums are low and just symbolic.

Items in the List

Yoruba traditional marriage items

Apart from the traditional engagement list, certain marriage items are mandatory. Primarily the major items include different monetary sums, like the dowry and other provisions during the engagement and marriage ceremony.

The items demanded by the bride’s family according to tradition are divided into six categories. The categories are the money paid as levies, food items, drinks, fashion items, traditional items, and other items such as umbrella.

Fees and monetary sums

Throughout the proceedings until the bride and groom seat together, various cash sums are paid. The payment are officiated by professional umpires called (Alajo) with one on the brides side and the other on the grooms side.

The cash payments differ slightly but the mechanism the same. Some of the cash payments are the dowry, Owo Isigba, the entrance fee, and unveiling the bride.

Other fees include the bride’s father and mothers consent fees money for the wives, brothers and sisters, and transportation levy for the bride. The monetary sums are usually small amounts and are just symbolic and fun.

Engagement Requirements

Food ProductsMonitary AspectOther Requirements

Bag of Yam



Bag of Beans

Money For Parents

Cloths Materials

Bag of Rice

Money for Family Members


Bag of Salt

Unvailing the Bride

Palm Oil

Yoruba engagement

 A typical Yoruba engagement scene

A typical Yoruba engagement scene


In Yoruba traditional engagement ceremonies, the amount paid as dowry is subject to the bride’s family request. The Dowry could be a paltry sum or a heavy amount depending on the bride’s family.

A large amount is negotiable and a fixed consensus amount agreed to by both families. Some highly educated families hardly ask for any dowry only a symbolic sum that is a low and reasonable.


The dowry is paid in cash

The dowry is paid in cash

List of engagement items

The groom’s family should buy all the engagement items and present them on the occasion. Some of the items like Yam may undergo scrutiny before acceptance. Engagement lists in Yoruba tradition are similar within tribes but might have slight variations.

Before presenting, the items make sure all the listed items are at the venue. Bellow is an engagement list that covers the basic requirements.

1 Fashion items include materials like ASO-OKE, print fabrics and other specified materials. Two headpieces, two handbags, a gold wrist watch for the bride, women’s cloths, and a large suitcase.

2 Traditional items are bitter kola, alligator pepper, palm oil, and Kola nut.

3 Food items involve 42 tubers of yam, a large bag of salt, bag of sugar, peppered corn meal, 42 large dried fish, and a few other items.

4 Other items are an umbrella, decanter of pure honey, and an empty decanter

5 Drinks and beverages in the list include a specified number of wine bottles, four cartons of fruit juice, four cartons of malt and canned beer.

Male friends of the groom and the groom

Male friends of the groom and the groom


Each item presented in a Yoruba engagement has some symbolic meaning associated to the union. Therefore, every aspect is important even the cash levies, and dramatization like formally asking the parents for their daughter.

Another interesting aspect is the letter reading and first feeding by the bride and groom. Yoruba engagements are not pricy but strict rules apply when going through the engagement rituals.

In some cases, cash sums are acceptable as replacement for only certain items. Planning and having your engagement before the white wedding reduces the stress associated with the process.

Yoruba engagement

Articles on Igbo and Yoruba weddings and engagement ceremonies

© 2015 femi


femi (author) from Nigeria on June 30, 2015:

Thanks a lot word55. Happy new month

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on June 28, 2015:

Hi Tony55, I enjoyed your entire hub, including pics and video. Thanks for sharing. God bless you!

Related Articles