When I first moved to Atlanta, the first young Nigerians I became friends with were Yoruba. they were some of my closest friends and didn't actually have many Igbo friends until after I graduated college. the friends I had in high school taught me several things about Yoruba culture including the types of weddings they had.
Introduction - Itoro (Mo mi n'mo o)
Besides the bride's family and groom's family, there are two specific contributors:
- Olopa Iduro - also known as the "standing policeman", this is the appointed speaker for the groom's family which is often an elder family member
- Olopa Ijoko - also known as the "sitting policeman", this is the appointed speaker for the bride's family which is often an elder family member.
Taking place at the bride's family's house, her family is responsible for all preparations and costs before the groom's family arrives to state their intent. When the groom's family enters the bride's home, the women will kneel (which is already a general custom) and men will prostrate (lay on the ground) for the bride's parents.
With the families sitting on opposite sides of the room, the olopa iduro and olopa ijoko will sit in the middle. The olopa iduro will introduce the groom and his family and bring forth a proposal letter which will be given to the olopa ijoko. This letter is read aloud and responded to at that time. Generally there is no refusal of any aspects of this letter from the bride's family as it's already known that the couple will marry.
Source: 1 & 2
A prayer is said and foods such as kola nut, ata ire, oyin (honey), and ireke (sugar cane) that represent happiness, peacefulness, unity, and joy are passed around between the guests.* After some additional words are said, the families will begin celebrating with food and drink.
*Depending on the family, they may decide to pass around the symbolic foods or read the proposal letter during the traditional marriage/engagement ceremony.*
Traditional Marriage - Olufemi (Abo)
The two families, as well as many guests (basically the entire village), will gather for the traditional marriage. After a prayer is given, and some additional words are said welcoming everyone, the groom will walk in with several family members and friends so that he may again prostrate in front of the bride's family.
Source: 1 & 2
The bride will usually be hidden before the ceremony with her face covered during the ceremony. When called, the bride will come out, usually with girls who are doing aso-ebi, and kneel before her parents so that they may pray for her. She then will go to kneel before the groom's family so that they may pray for her, as well. At this point, she is unveiled. She will join the groom and place a hat that corresponds with her outfit.
The families are now united and will now partake of food and drink.
Now they're married!!!