Page last updated at 00:41 GMT, Monday, 6 March 2006

In pictures: Nigerian Igbo wedding

Relatives and friends of the groom wearing elaborate head ties.

BBC News website reader Dozie Okpalaobieri sent in these pictures of a traditional Igbo wedding in eastern Nigeria, where guests begin to arrive for the ceremonies at 2pm.

Banner reading advertising the wedding venue.

A banner advertising the nuptials known as "Igbankwu" alerts those looking for the venue at the home of bride, referred to here as "Miss Wonderful".

The groom and his family arrive at the bride's house for the start of the festivities.

Next the bridegroom (l) and his father - who carries a fan denoting his status as a chief - and his mother in pink make their entrances.

The bride in orange arrives to welcome the guests, accompanied by her sister.

After kola nuts are presented to welcome the bridegroom's family and all the guests are seated, the bride (c) makes her first appearance to greet her future in-laws.

Traditional dancers from the bride's side of the family prepare to entertain the guests.

Both sides of the family bring along dancers to entertain the guests. Here, the bride's troupe prepare to do the honours while she retires to change outfits.

The bride in a new burgundy outfit with head tie and her attendants in cream.

She then makes her second entrance with her ladies-in-waiting. In this part of the ceremony the bride must hunt for her fiance amongst the crowds of guests...

The bride hands over a cup of traditional wine to the bridegroom.

... when she finds him, she presents her betrothed with a cup of traditional palm wine. By drinking from it he symbolically accepts her into his family and they become man and wife.

Wedding guests.

After this the guests - numbering some 400 people - can relax and get on with enjoying the food and drink laid on for the wedding festivities.

The bride and groom pose before cutting the cake.

The bride makes one more costume change before the cutting of the cake - shaped like a gourd. Note how the groom's hat always matches the bride's outfit.

The bride's sister throws money at the bride on the dance floor.

Then everyone hits the dance floor. Guests spray money at the bride to keep her dancing. The couple leave in the early evening... to prepare for their church wedding a week later.


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