Multicultural Wedding Spotlight: Nigeria meets China


This edition of Multicultural Wedding Spotlight is a wedding between a Nigerian man and a Chinese woman. In today’s age of cross-continent migration, falling in love and marrying someone of another race and culture is nothing new.

Liza and Olugbemiga (Gbenga) decided that their wedding would be more memorable on an exotic island and Jamaica became the destination. What’s fascinating about this ceremony is, that the Chinese wedding ceremony is similar to that of the Yoruba (Nigeria) ‘bride giving-away’ ceremony.

In the Yoruba culture, the groom and his family must first pay the bride’s dowry before the wedding can take place. In addition, the bride’s family will also give the groom’s family a list of items that must be presented during the engagement ceremony.

The Chinese do the same thing in the form of “Guo Da Li” (Bridal dowry). Isn’t the world a small place? What are the odds that countries who are worlds’ apart share a similar wedding culture?liza and gbenga wedding header

Chinese Wedding Tradition

Before her wedding celebration, a Chinese bride traditionally goes into seclusion with her closest friends. This Chinese custom gives the bride-to-be some time to symbolically mourn the loss of her friends and family.

Some time before the couple are married, the groom’s family carries wedding gifts in red baskets and boxes to the bride’s house. One of the baskets will contain “uang susu” or ‘milk money’. Others will contain personal things for the bride, so that on her wedding day all of her personal belongings will be in the groom’s house.

The bride takes the gifts to another room where they are sorted through. Three days before the wedding day, women from the bride’s family reciprocate, bearing gifts — including some ‘returns’– in red wrappings to the groom’s family.

The Day of the Wedding Ceremony

Wedding anniversaries in China, are carefully chosen according to astrological signs. It is also customary for couples to be married on the half-hour or their wedding day rather than at the top of the hour. In this way, the couple begins their new lives together on an ‘upswing’, while the hands of the clock are moving up, rather than down.

On the morning of his wedding day, the groom is symbolically dressed by his parents. The groom arrives at the house of his bride on the way to the wedding chapel. He brings gifts of cash, wrapped in red tissue, to give to his bride’s friends, in exchange for ‘letting her go’.

In some families, the wedding couple serves tea to both sets of parents while kneeling in front of them. a symbolic gesture of asking for permission. The bride and groom then leave for the wedding site together.

PHOTOS: Beach intimacy

Yoruba Wedding Tradition

We featured a traditional Yoruba wedding a few weeks ago and highlighted, how culture and religion were a big part of the ceremony. Engagements are very traditional and reflect both cultures of the bride and groom.

The bride is kept away from her husband to-be during the engagement ceremony until all formalities have been completed by the groom’s family. Formalities include the dowry, the bridal gift, a fee to bring the bride out, reading of a ‘permission letter’ asking for the bride’s hand by the groom’s family, reading of the acceptance letter from a representative of the bride’s letter acknowledging their request.

Once the bride’s family has accepted the groom’s family’ offer, the bride is brought out with a veil (various material) covering her face. Her husband to-be must not see her face until she has been prayed for by both her parents and her in-laws.

Wedding Destination: Jamaica

Nothing like an intimate Jamaican wedding on the beach.  Not only will your attending guests enjoy the ceremony, they’ll have a vacation that’s bound to be memorable.

Liza and Olugbemiga (Gbenga) chose this picturesque destination to say their vows, not forgetting to bring a little culture to the beach. Before the beach ceremony, Gbenga’s family presented Liza’s family with proposal gifts (“Guo Da Li”) as part of the Chinese wedding dowry.


According to the bride, “The most important aspect of the wedding was being able to represent both cultures.” And represent, they did! From a traditional tea ceremony to four-piece west African attire, there was way too much gorgeousness to go around.Each table was sprinkled with faux, gem rocks and illuminated by LED centerpieces.  However, the highlight has to be the re-emergence of the couple in their traditional West African attire (“Buba” for the bride, and “Agbada” for the groom) custom made in Nigeria.  Seeing Liza in well coiffed headwrap, brings joy to my heart.I think it’s beautiful that an Asian country has an identical wedding culture to an African country thousands of miles away. Perhaps, the world is smaller than we perceive and we all do have more in common than we know.

{CREDITS: Photography by Victor Lee Phography; White Bridal gown by Enzoani; Bridesmaid’s beach attire by Vogue Sposa; Beach Ceremony at The Riu Resort; Bouquets made by Bride; Traditional reception & Catering at Mississauga Grande Banquet Hall; Wedding Cake by Irresistable Cakes}

Featured on WeddingNouveau


16 thoughts on “Multicultural Wedding Spotlight: Nigeria meets China

  1. Just beautiful. So China and Nigeria have similar wedding cultures? Who would have thought that? You learn something new everyday.

  2. This is breathtaking! Culture is a beautiful thing and must be upheld as much as possible. I absolutely love this fusion.

  3. We just came back from Jamaica after our wedding there (I just received a pingback link from your blog to mine), and can also wholeheartedly recommend it. The package worked out ridiculously cheap compared to getting married at home and suited us for a small ceremony with only immediate family and my best man present.

    The weather was great – 2 days before Hurricane Sandy hit! – the staff were simply superb, food top notch… Just wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone thinking of tying the knot who isn’t too fussed about having a massive gathering of family and friends present – you can always have a party when you get home!

  4. Excellent article! I love how both the groom’s and bride’s culture were highlighted. Beautiful wedding and photographs. Nice website you have here.

  5. Hello there, I stumbled upon your website through Google and I’m impressed. There are just too many great articles here. This one is also very lovely. I love weddings and seeing a cultural one is great. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  6. SCREAMS! I love this wedding article!!! This is so beautiful. Yes, we serve tea to our in-laws as a way of asking for the bride’s hand. I just love this. Great job.

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