7 Unwritten Etiquette of Nigerian Owambes – Ridwan Adeniran

Owambe (also spelt, owanbe) is word that have come to stay in Nigerians tongue. It was coined from the Yoruba phrase "O wa ni be" meaning "it's there".

Owambe (also spelt owanbe) is a word that has come to stay on the tongue of nearly all Nigerians when describing a feast. It was coined from the Yoruba phrase “O wa ni be” meaning “it’s there”. Maybe because Yorubas love to party. The reason Senator Adeleke danced better than Dangote at the latter’s daughter’s wedding. In fact, in a part of Southwest Nigeria, they could run a party for four days straight -bubbling, cooking and dancing through the days.  Owambe says: a party is there. Like saying: it’s happening there. There’s a lot of food and fun there. Most times, it comes with uniform attires called aso ebi. Another Yoruba word meaning “family cloth”. That could be the real identity and sometimes the passport into the venue. You get that?! Now, the party I’m talking about here is strictly wedding. Solemnization of souls who have been convinced they could be partners for life. Over the years, I’ve attended quite a number and I have seen some gaps needed to be addressed.

Let’s roll with some.


  1. Invitation and Preparedness: In most parties, invitation are sent to people by either the couples or family members or close friends. These days it’s not only the traditional way of sending hardcopies of invitation cards. Invitations could come through social media or one-on-one talk. But invitations will always come. It is not an obligation to attend a party you are not invited to. If you make a decision to do, there could be consequences. We all need to know this. A good reason for invitations is to prepare your body, soul and spirit to attend the party. You consider your timetable, check your pocket, ensure your tailor deliver your outfit at least two days before D-day (to avoid stories that touch), try to know the venue earlier if possible (I have arrived at some venues about when the party has ended before. Sobs) and ensure your GIT is in a stable state. If you attend a party uninvited, your self esteem could be scattered. Maybe you won’t even be served food or souvenirs. Maybe you won’t have seat. Maybe you won’t have that party fun. It could dampen your spirit. Likewise, if you go without proper preparation. Kindly be sincere to yourself, it’s good to honour invitations, it’s not compulsory you attend if you’re not prepared or not invited.
  2. Stain table not your outfit: We all need to be careful with food. Especially men. Especially when you wear white or colours that don’t conceal stains. You have the right to spot the table with oil from food. But, if you do on your outfits, chaiiii you too like food. LoL. Your beards also have an affinity to food stains. Don’t spoil beard gang and sweet boys for us with your carelessness. It could actually mean you’ve bad table manners. Now imagine you see a lady you’ve been eyeing for long. And your outfit is all stained with oil. It can destroy confidence. And can portray you in another image. Please be careful with your owó epo.
  3. Moderation and Dignity in your actions: Forget that mentality of no one is here to watch me. Tomorrow, one will be running for a political office and one’s countenance in a single party will work against one. Why drink all the drinks at a party to stupor? Why dance all dance mannerlessly? Why eat all foods being servedto purging level? Don’t fight for jollof rice. It’s over rated. LoL. In fact, Amàlà will bring more meats than jollof in some parties. However, don’t go for what will “run your stomach” Remember, what’s meant for you won’t pass by you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be smart. Why wear what you don’t actually represent? Ladies, don’t wear heels that would hurt your ankle. Watch your countenances. Don’t allow a single day to ruin the future. Be moderate. And protect your dignity even while having fun. It’s very important.
  4. Keep your reviews and mind your business: Guests, it’s not one of your duties to be too serious to publish in a journal your reservation about the couple. No one has been promoted for doing that. Whether the bride is too ugly for the groom; or the groom is too short for the bride; or the family of the bride are too poor; or the family of the groom are classy, are not your business. Attend, eat, watch and keep whatever that’s not important for progress inside you. Also, don’t go to parties to inform single guests why it should be their turn very soon (except you and the person are usual “playful” talkers of such subjects), still be careful with it. Some of us come to parties to take a break from our worries, don’t come and spoil our breaks with your unsolicited prophesies.
  5. Donation: It’s not compulsory to give a donation to the couple, but it could be necessary. Not for them, sometimes. But for your conscience, all times. Especially when you’ve the capacity to do. Even if it’s a bottle of folic acid tablets (very good for expecting mothers), make sure you buy in a pharmacy too. Gift the couple a gift. It could be something memorable. You can also give to the priests or any of those anchoring event especially when they solicit. Don’t just seat down and be eating and laughing like you just won a jackpot. LoL. Give if you’re capable. Give to the small girl selling sweets around the party and those who seek alms too. You might create happiness giving.
  6. Reach the couple: Reach them while in the hall if you’ve access to them or send someone to ask if it would be necessary to arrange food for them. This shouldn’t be exclusive to the best-man and best-lady. They might have forgotten to eat too. Don’t just look couple smiling, they might be hungry too. Most importantly, remember them in your prayers. Reach them after D-day and seek their welfare. Please, this is not a license to ask the reason the bride is not pregnant yet. It’s not part of your duties (except your attention is called). Just send them good wishes always.
  7. Network: It’s no news wedding parties are reunions. Exchange contact with friends you’ve seen for long. Meet new friends. You might even meet your own other half in a party. It has happened before. You’re allowed to promote your business to them. You might even jam one good client.

I wish you fun at today’s owambe. If you are home or at work too, have fun. Just keep these etiquettes. May the couples around the world find happiness in their unions, find solace in their embrace and find a home in each other’s arms.


This is to entertain you and teach some basic morals in gatherings.

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