Ghanaian Traditional Engagement Photographer
On a beautiful day in early September, Doris and Brad celebrated their nuptials. It was a truly happy day. It was as full of love as one could wish for the beginning of a life together as husband and wife. J & J Studios was honored to serve as their Ghanaian traditional engagement photographer. This vibrant and joyful celebration made for wonderful photos. Read on to learn about Ghanaian traditional engagements. So please, enjoy the photos we took while you do that!
Ghanaian Traditional Engagement
You may believe that the meaning of a Ghanaian traditional engagement has the same meaning that an American engagement does. However, that isn’t the case. A traditional Ghanaian engagement is another way of referring to a traditional Ghanaian marriage. The Ghanaian traditional engagement can consist of just a ceremony. Or, it can be followed with a blessing or white wedding.
The Knocking Ceremony
The process of a traditional Ghanaian engagement begins with a man informing his family of his wish to marry a particular woman. Afterward, his family performs a “knocking” ceremony at the bride’s familial home. This ceremony is called a “kokooko.” The knocking ceremony is exactly what it sounds like from its name. It’s similar to the practice of knocking on a person’s door so they can welcome you inside a space. The purpose of this ceremony is to inform the woman and her family of the man’s intention to marry her. Additionally, it allows the groom’s family to meet the prospective bride, if they don’t know her already.
In this tradition, the man’s family brings along drinks to the knocking ceremony. These drinks are called “tri nsa,” which roughly translates to “head drinks.” If the bride’s family accepts the drinks, the bride is then asked for her formal consent. If she gives it, they decide on a date for the wedding.
The Marriage List
Next, bride’s family gives a list to the groom’s family. The list includes items such as a new suitcase with pieces of African print, jewelry, a Bible, rings, etc. The bride’s family expects the groom to provide all the gifts on the list on the day of the marriage. In addition to this, the bride’s family asks the groom questions about himself and his family. Some of these questions include inquiries about possible past criminal behavior, or the groom’s marital status.
Ghanaian Traditional Engagement Ceremony
The next step, if the groom answers all the bridal family’s questions favorably, is the marriage itself. The marriage can take place in any nice location. However, traditionally it takes place at the bridal family’s home. Either way, music, and the dancing it inspires, fill the atmosphere even before the ceremony begins.
Next, the bride’s family sits to welcome the groom’s family. The groom and his family enter, bearing in their arms or on their heads the gifts from the marriage list. One member of each family acts as spokesperson. The bride’s family welcomes the groom’s family, and they exchange gifts.
The Bridal Entrance
Once the gifts have been presented, the groom is introduced to everyone present. After that, the bride enters, usually with an entourage of female friends and/or family members. While she and her entourage enter, there is music and dancing all around. The bride wears kente, a type of Ghanaian cloth, and beads. Dressed gorgeously, she then parades for all to admire her beauty. Often, the groom’s outfit matches the bride’s. After her entrance, the bride circulates the room and shakes the groom’s family’s hands to welcome them. Her family introduces her to the groom’s family using a variety of affectionate epithets to describe her.
After the introductions, someone asks the bride if she accepts the groom’s family’s gifts. She must answer “yes” every time the question is posed. This happens to confirm that the bride truly consents to the marriage. After the third “yes” response, she is presented to the head of the groom’s family, called the abusuapanyin. They ask the abusuapanyin to ensure that the bride be kept as well as she is that day. The bride sits with the groom, and guests give them advice. This advice typically centers around the normal issues in a marriage, such as finances and household responsibilities. The advice can be serious or humorous.
After the Ghanaian Traditional Engagement
The traditional Ghanaian engagement ceremony is considered a complete marriage ceremony. However, some couples also choose to have a “white wedding” after the traditional ceremony. For those who choose to also have a white wedding, the marriage certificate is signed at a church or state-recognized wedding venue. That said, another option is to register the marriage at a court or similar location.
Those couples who choose not to have a white wedding after the traditional ceremony can instead include a religious figure in their traditional ceremony. Usually, in these situations, the religious figure prays over the rings, the couple, and the marriage. These prayers are called a “blessing.” They are by no means mandatory, though.
The Wedding Reception
After the ceremony, whether traditional or with an additional white wedding, the feasting and merrymaking begins. Traditional dishes, such as kenkey, waakye, and jollof rice, often make an appearance on food tables at a Ghanaian traditional reception.
In addition to enjoying the delicious food, guests participate in dancing and general fun, while music plays around them. Typically, guests are given gifts or favors, which are often customized. During the reception, the bride and groom also greet and thank their guests for celebrating them.
Congratulations, Doris and Brad!
J & J Studios would like to wish Brad and Doris the best that life has to offer as they embark on their life together. Thank you for choosing J & J Studios as your Ghanaian traditional engagement photographer! It was truly a beautiful and wonderful day. We hope you treasure your photos forever, in a long and happy life together. Congratulations, Doris and Brad!
Whether you’re planning on proposing or are engaged or getting married soon, J & J Studios would love to help capture your memories so you can treasure them forever. If interested, you can contact us using the link provided here. We’ll be thrilled to hear from you about your celebration!