Akan Traditional Marriage / Engagement List in Ghana

Are you planning on getting married any time soon? Or do you have plans of getting married to an Akan person in Ghana?

If YES, then on behalf of the entire team here at Asetena.com we want to congratulate you on your decision. As a wedding/engagement gift, we have decided in this article, to show you the Akan traditional marriage/engagement list in Ghana.

Marriage or engagement ceremonies in Ghana are performed differently from the other countries in the world and even the African continent.


In Ghana, there are more than 100 tribes (according to uVolunteer.com) and each tribe has its own traditions and beliefs. Under each tribe, the way and processes involved in their marriage or engagement ceremony are different from the others.

In this guide, we decided to tackle just one tribe and that is the Akans. The Akans are known to be the biggest tribe in the country and as such, have the highest number of members.

This reflects even in the languages spoken in Ghana as you and I can attest to the fact that apart from the official language, English, Twi is the most spoken language in Ghana.

The traditional Akan marriage/engagement ceremony is one of the most important ceremonies in the Akan community. As such, it involves proper preparation and consultation with the elders and the in the community and the head of families of both the bride and groom-to-be.

After the Akan traditional marriage/engagement, the couple will then proceed to court to sign the marriage documents. If they wish, they can choose to do the “white wedding” or the church wedding as it is known by most Ghanaians.

In Ghana, the Akan traditional marriage is recognized in the constitution under the Customary Marriage and Divorce Law PNDC Law 112 (1985).

Types Of Marriages in Ghana

According to the laws and conventions in Ghana, there are three (3) types of marriage in Ghana and these are:

  • Customary marriage;
  • Ordinance marriage and;
  • Islamic marriage.

Now, let’s briefly look at each of them.

Ordinance Marriage

Marriage under the ordinance is the civil union available to any Ghanaian to take advantage of. This type of marriage has been misunderstood by many Ghanaians as a Christian or religious marriage.

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This type of marriage is governed by the Marriages Act (Cap 127). Also, this is the only type of monogamous legal means of getting married in Ghana.

Under this type of marriage, the two (2) would-be couple are required to give notice of the date of the marriage to the district marriage registrar. Once they do so, a marriage notice will be published by the district registrar for 21 days.

After the successful publishing of the marriage ban for 21 days and no objection is made, a marriage certificate will be issued. A licensed marriage officer will be required to officiate the marriage within three (3) months or the certificate will no longer be valid.

Customary Marriage

This type of marriage is the union between a man and a woman and involves the performance of certain traditional customs. The Akan traditional marriage falls under this category of marriage in Ghana.

The specific processes and procedures involved in this type of marriage are unique to each tribe. No law requires every tribe to do perform this marriage under a specific process.

But, the common practice is that the two (2) families, i.e. families of the groom and the bride-to-be will meet and exchange pleasantries and the groom will pay the bride price. Customary marriages in Ghana are polygynous, meaning a man can marry as many women and he may wish.

Islamic Marriage

Just as the name suggests, this is a type of marriage that is performed in accordance with the Islamic rules and regulations of marriage. Islamic marriages are also polygynous, meaning a man can marry as many women and he may wish.

A week before the marriage ceremony takes place, the would-be-couples are required to notify the Registrar of Mohammedan marriages and divorces. Otherwise, the marriage will be declared null and void.

Akan Traditional Marriage/Engagement List in Ghana

Just as stated in the customary marriage, there some specific processes involved in the Akan traditional marriage.

One of such steps is where the groom-to-be and his family would visit the family of the bride-to-be to demand the marriage/engagement list. Once this list is provided, the family of the groom-to-be would be required to provide these items during the engagement or traditional marriage ceremony.

Below is a list of some of the items included in the Akan traditional marriage list

  • A bottle (s) of Gin, Schnapps, Whiskey, or two or all of the three
  • Six pieces of traditional cloth for the bride
  • The dowry/bride price
  • Some money, cloth and a pair of sandals for the bride-to-be’s mother
  • Some money, a piece of cloth, and whiskey for the bride-to-be’s father
  • Money for the male brother (s) of the bride-to-be popularly known as “akontasikan”
  • An engagement ring
  • Engagement Bible
  • Some money as start-up capital for the bride-to-be
  • A new suitcase containing cloth, shoes, headpieces, lady wears, and gifts for the bride
  • Cooking utensils for the bride-to-be to use at her new matrimonial home
  • Some jewellery for the bride-to-be
  • Enough food and drinks for the guest at the occasion


The Akan traditional marriage/engagement list varies from one family to the other. This means that the family of your bride-to-be might give you a different list other than this, but you should expect most of these things on our list in them.

Also, make sure you seek proper consultation from your family heads before you make any decision. When you are going for the list you need to have at least one of your family heads.

This shows respect and it will also show your seriousness and respect for the bride-to-be’s family.

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