16 Special Things for African American Wedding


There is something special about African American weddings with celebrations from jumping the broom to tasting four elements. To make it memorable and happy, here are 15 traditions that you can include in your wedding to personalize it so that it pleases everyone with unique experiences.

16 Special Things in African American Wedding


Jumping the Broom

This tradition reaches all the way back to slavery times. Today, this game consists of the bride and the groom jumping over a beautifully decorated handmade broom to publicly signify their commitment to one another. The newlyweds can hang the broom in their home as a reminder of their wedding day and commitment to one another.


Libation Ceremony

As a way to honor the elders in your families and to honor your ancestors, this ceremony has lots of meaning. To perform the Libation ceremony, use holy water or alcohol to pour on the ground in east, west, north and south respectively. Someone should be designated to learn and recite the prayers to say during the ceremony.


Tasting the Four Elements

One of the more ceremonial traditions in an African American wedding is the tasting of four elements, including something sweet, sour, bitter, and hot. This symbolic tasting proves that the newlyweds can stay together through even the complicated times in life as well as the sweet times.


Kola Nuts

The Kola nut is given to the couple during an African wedding. With the nut symbolizing the happy couple and extended family, it means the couple is willing to help heal together as one. The Kola nut should be shared between the newlyweds and their parents.


Tying the Knot

With this ceremony, the bride and groom are tied around the wrists with a cloth or grass that has been braided for the ceremony. The braided grass symbolizes the unity of marriage. The ceremony is conducted while the wrists are tied.


Crossing Sticks

Use two tall wood sticks that represent life force among the trees and the couple will cross the sticks to represent the unity of their love and start their marriage on the right foot.


Knocking the Door

In this ceremony, the groom will knock on the door of his future in-laws and bring them gifts and requests permission to marry. This ceremony brings the families closer together.


Purple and Gold

Choosing these colors for your wedding colors not only adds fabulous and modern feeling, but it is also an African American wedding tradition because they represent royalty in many African cultures.


The Gele'

Instead of using the traditional veil, brides in African culture often use a beautifully colored head band that not only matches their dress but makes them feel like a queen.


Feeding the Family

After the four elements tasting, it's time to sit down and share a meal with the family. Joining the families is important in the African wedding ceremonies.


Cutting the Cord

A symbolic way for the newly married couple to step out of their old individual roles in their family and step into their new family bond is to cut the cord. The oldest sibling from both families will sit on the opposite sides in the front row. When the happy couple is married, they will walk to the cord and cut it before walking away from their ceremony.


Ditching the Diamond

Because many diamonds have been mined in Africa, some brides choose to use a different stone as a symbol of their marriage instead. Ditching the diamond is becoming more popular today.


Cowrie Shells

Cowrie shells were once used in place of money. Today, in African American weddings, they are still included to decorate the brides' head pieces, tables, or anything else they want to.


The Electric Slide

While there are many different historical ceremony dances, one that hasn't died yet is the electric slide. Have your DJ play it and watch everyone get up and slide with the bride and groom.


Kente Cloth

All brides want to have the Kente cloth as part of their wedding. This bright fabric is gold, green, and red in color and is made in Ghana. The groom's vest can be made from this material or you may see it in the bridemaid dresses.


Wedding Hairstyle

If you are an African American bride to be, one thing you would definitely want to consider is the wedding hair, since your hair might be curlier than others. Here are three recommended popular hairstyles that you can choose from. These hairstyles are easy to create. Start experimenting on hairstyles early, so you will have time to redo it if you need to.

  • The traditional styles include pulling the hair up tightly and decorating around the bun. If you don't want the traditional bun on top, you can bring it down to the baseline of the hair. There you can place small flowers around it and decorate it to match your dress.

  • If you don't want to pin your hair up on top of your head, try the traditional braids that are then brought together so they are easy to control and out of the way. This look is very stylish and sophisticated and yet allows you to get through your day without the trials of constantly pinning and refixing.

  • Wearing your hair down and parted to one side or another is a great African American wedding hairstyle. If you don't have a natural part on one side, just take a comb and part it over a few strands at a time until you achieve the right look.