Uganda marriage ceremonies usually include the traditional marriage and the religious or civil marriage ceremonies.
The Traditional Marriage
In the Uganda culture, a man seeking to marry will have to pay a visit to the girl’s parents to seek her hand in marriage. He will be accompanied by his father, uncles, siblings and friends. The groom will have to carry gifts for the girl’s parents. The gifts in question vary according to tribe and ethnic group. In some cases, the girl’s parents will demand a list of items that the groom must present before them. In other cases, the parents will leave the choice up to the groom. One thing is certain though, he cannot make this visit empty handed. Typical gifts include: fabric, cattle, goats, money, sugar, furniture and more.
The bride on the other hand will be pampered and will only make brief appearances escorted by an entourage of girls. At the end of the function, the couple are betrothed. In some cultures they are pronounced man and wife. This ceremony is almost always mandatory before the couple can proceed to have the religious ceremony. Evidence of this traditional marriage usually in form of a letter from the girl’s father, will be required by the religious institution where the couple plan to have their Western style wedding.
The Religious Marriage Ceremony
This ceremony takes the form of the Western style wedding. Depending on the religious beliefs of the couple, the wedding will take place in either a church or mosque. The groom will have a best man and sometimes grooms men. The bride will be accompanied by a maid of honour, bridesmaids and a flower girl(s). The couple will make vows to each other and will be pronounced man and wife and presented with a marriage certificate.
The religious wedding ceremony is followed a reception party towards the end of the day.
The Civil Marriage Ceremony
Though not very common, some Uganda couples prefer to have civil marriage ceremonies. These weddings take place at the Registrar General’s office in Kampala. The civil ceremony is also followed by a reception party.