Q and A on Ghana Customary Marriage and Knocking Ceremony

Today we will be answering common questions about the Ghanaian customary marriage and knocking Ceremony . So it will be great for you to hang out with us for the next few minutes and gain new information on some key aspects of a traditional engagement Ceremony.

How many types of marriages do we have in Ghana?

There are three types of marriages recognized by the Ghanaian law:

(1) Customary marriage

(2) Marriage under the Marriage Ordinance and

(3) Islamic marriage under the Marriage of Mohammedans Ordinance.


What is the Customary Marriage?

The Customary marriage involves a gathering at which the bridegroom’s family makes payment of a bride-price  to the bride’s family, followed by the bride being asked if she will accept the bridegroom as her husband.

Should you Register your Customary Marriage?

It is advisable to register your customary marriage especially if that is the only form of marriage you decide to adopt. This helps the State have records about the existence of this marriage thereby avoiding or preventing disputes that may arise about its validity.

Is Traditional Marriage Legal in Ghana?

Yes. You may register your customary or Traditional marriage by applying to the registrar of marriages in the district in which you live in Ghana.


What is the Ordinance Marriage?

Marriage under the Marriage Ordinance in Ghana is monogamous. This means that  neither party can marry another person unless the man or woman dies or the marriage is legally dissolved.

There  are 3 kinds of Ordinance Marriage in Ghana:

(1) Marriage by a Registrar of Marriages

(2) Marriage by a Marriage Officer/Minister of Religion

(3) Marriage by Special Licence where the Registrar General’s Office waives certain conditions for an Ordinance such as the length of time for notices or permits a venue (other than the Registrar General’s Office, MMDA or church) to be used for the performance of the marriage.


What is Islamic Marriage?

The Islamic marriage is a type of marriage made in accordance with Islamic rules regarding marriage. Marriages under Islamic law may be polygamous and, under the Marriages Act, they must be registered in order to be valid.


What is knocking ceremony?

Knocking in Ghanaian marriage or ‘kokooko‘ is the first step in the marriage process. It is an act of showing respect and is beneficial for the unifying of two families.This stage of the marriage involves the groom and his family members coming to formally ask the bride’s family for their daughter’s hand in marriage.

What is Bride price in Ghana?

Bride price is a cultural practice where payments are made by the groom and his family to the bride and her family.

Contrary to ignorant opinions that refer to the bride price as a “Market Transaction”, the ideal interpretation is an opportunity for the groom to demonstrate that he is a worthy provider for his bride.

Even though, some families may have taken advantage of these opportunity by presenting exorbitant bridal lists, fulfilling the bride price can still be practiced according to everyone’s financial status.


What are the things needed for engagement?

The Groom and his family are usually given a bridal list to fulfill during the up coming Engagement ceremony.

Common items on most Bridal lists in Ghana are:


For the Bride:

These items are usually presented in a suitcase:


6 pieces of wax print cloths

Shoes, clothing and headpieces

Cash gift to help the bride set herself up in a venture


Bride’s Father:

Bride price – often an undisclosed sum of money

2 bottles of whisky or gin

A cash gift


Bride’s Mother:

A piece of cloth

A pair of sandals or slippers

A cash gift


Other items popularly on the list are:

Bottles of schnapps, whiskey or gin

Engagement bible

Engagement ring

Sewing machine

Cooking utensils


Cashg for the siblings of the bride


Who pays the Dowry in Ghana Tradition?

The dowry is the contribution usually  provided by the bride’s family at the time of the marriage. The the idea behind the dowry has always been that of support for the groom in providing for his new household.

Many times this amount is even greater than the Bride price.


How  much does traditional marriage cost in Ghana?

It  is not impossible to have a budget for your traditional wedding, all you have to do is consider the facts that are peculiar to your own situation.

Some factors that can affect the cost of your traditional marriage are:

The bride price requirements

The status of both families

The number of guests you are expecting

You can have a budget of between 8,000 – 10,000 Ghana cedis depending on how elaborate you want your engagement Ceremony to be.


Photo: Sorce Photography.

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