Context: The informant attended their cousin’s wedding last year which was a three day celebration that included a traditional Ghanian wedding ceremony. The wedding took place in the Unites States, not Ghana.
Informant: “So when you get married in Ghana we call it a traditional wedding so the way my cousin did it is that they did it on Friday. Everyone has to wear all white except the bridal party. The groom has to bring gifts to the bride so it’s usually wrapped up. Sometimes it’s like wine or towels that you would give to the bride. Sometimes there is like a bride prize in which you pay the bride which usually goes toward funding the wedding and stuff. That’s usually how it goes when you’re back home but I don’t know if they still do that here. The groom and his men walk in and put the gifts on the bride side and how it’s set up is that the bride’s family is on one side and the groom’s family is one side and the parents and grandparents are in the front and the couple is in the front. So they ask the bride do you accept to take this man, like do you actually wanna marry him and usually back home they like meet each other’s families and they like introduce each other and then do like their background research on the family and make sure they come from a good home. And then they spend the time asking the bride questions like “why do you wanna marry?” and “how did yall meet?” stuff like that. The families introduce each other and then at the very end if the bride says yes the parents shake hands and it’s kind of like the official engagement. It’s not like an engagement as opposed in like America where the man asks the bride; it has to include the family because Ghana is big on family culture. So then after that it’s usually like a celebration so everyone eats food and like you dance, hangout, talk, mingle with family. And then on Saturday that’s where you have the American wedding with like the white dress. For the traditional wedding they wear Kente cloth and Ghanaian clothing, but then on Saturday they do the white dress and they go to like a church or certain venue and then you have the reception. And then on Sunday, everyone goes to the couple’s church and you say thank you to everyone who came basically because the wedding on Saturday was called End of Church. You thank everybody for letting you use their church and those from the church who came to the wedding. And then people usually go back to the parent’s house and celebrate.”
Collector: “Are there any specific thing done at the traditional wedding that is not in the American one? Is there anything different or just like a fun thing to do?”
Informant: “There probably things that they have to do. I am not familiar with that because I’ve only been to my cousin’s. So, it’s mandatory you have to wear white as the guest. Most of it is usually done in the cultural language which is also something because I don’t speak the language, so I had to have my cousin translate for me. So there’s probably certain things they do that is mandatory. But it is definitely mandatory to bring gifts to the bride and to have the parents there to officiate it and to make sure that you ask the bride if this is who she wants to take and marry. The traditional one is usually longer than the American one but i’m not sure what they ask and what it consists of since it’s in the native language.”
This shows how the process of marriage, finding your partner, and joining families is very important and taken very seriously in Ghana. Since the families have to meet and all be there when the couple gets engaged, it shows that not only is this a matter of love but also the dynamics of the families and how they get along. In other words, not only is the couple getting married, the two families are getting married. I think this also reveals how important religion and community must be as well since they take a whole day to thank everyone who came and the church. Lastly, I think the fact that another day with a typical American wedding was included in the whole celebration goes to show the merging of cultures and identities and wanting to stay true to both. Also, because the celebration was three days in full, I think you could also argue that Ghanians really enjoy their celebrations and that since getting married is a big deal they want to have a really big and long celebration filled with gifts, music, and dancing.