Asoebi is one of my favorite parts of Nigerian weddings and events. I love seeing the beautiful colors and patterns throughout the venue. Asoebi is a lovely tradition seen at Nigerian events in which groups of people wear matching cloth to indicate their close relationship to the celebrants.Asoebi when translated to English means family cloth.
Strangely enough, Asoebi can be a sensitive subject because people can become offended if they don’t get invited to participate or if you don’t participate in their own. Others may even find asoebi a burden.
I personally see being part of the asoebi as an honor and recommend participating as long as your circumstances allow. Asoebi are the designated few requested to usher in the new celebrants and stand out in their crowd.
Tips for Planning Asoebi:
- Choose one of your friends that you trust to handle things from start to finish to coordinate this for you. This could be a really detailed part of the wedding and there are usually lots of questions, so have someone else take care of it.
- Determine and purchase the material, head tie, etc in advance .
- Ask the coordinator to determine how many people are interested in buying (some people ask only certain people to buy and others open it up to all their friends. It’s all up to you. Remember though, that some people get really offended if they are not asked and others may feel burdened if they are.)
- Your friends typically will pay for the clothes. If you want something really expensive, though, you may want to consider paying for part of it. Nowadays there is not just ankara but lace, velvet, silk, brocades etc. My advice is to go for the style you like but keep affordability in mind for your guests.
Tips for what to do with your Asoebi AFTER the wedding:
- The great thing about Asoebi is that you are free to become your own fashion designer. You can get your seamstress to create a showstopping piece with added material, or you could create a simple yet classic skater dress that never goes out of style. Frequently, Asoebi can collect dust in your closet if you don’t go for a classic look that could be worn elsewhere.
- Another great idea is to wear it to another event such as showers, naming ceremonies, anniversary parties and weddings without their own asoebi.
- Asoebi is sometimes looked at as a fundraising effort for the bride and groom so a small increase to the purchase price is normal. Over the years I have paid $50-$100 for 3 yards of asoebi material. This can range from Ankara to fine lace.