Getting married in Ghana

Hi all,

We invite all the ones who got married in Ghana or who are about to get married in Ghana to participate in this thread :)

What are the formalities to get married in Ghana? Is it the same for a couple of foreigners of for a mixed couple (between a foreigner and a native of Ghana)?

Are the procedures complicated?

How long does it take to carry out all the formalities?

Thank you in advance for participating,


I got married to a Ghanaian in Feb 2010. We arrived in the country on 13th Feb and went to the Registrar's office with our passports and then arranged our marriage for the 16th Feb. Arrived at the due time and the marriage was carried out with few formalities apart from the need for two or three witnesses.
It is a fairly simple process but have no idea if it is different if both parties are non-Ghanaian

I'm debating if i should go to Ghana to get married. Can someone tell me what i would have to do, how long it takes and is it safe?

If you read my post that will tell you what you have to do. I don't know what you mean by is it safe? Ghana is a pretty safe country for doing most things. The certificate they issue is accepted in other countries as a valid document.

Is the Man living in the US with you or he is living in Ghana?

Hi, getting married in Ghana is very safe and fun. but how fun it becomes depends on whether you are getting married to a Ghanaian or not. if its a Ghanaian, you will have to go through a very interesting customary rites provided your partner has an extended family here. then after you can do the wedding or signing to register you marriage. if you not of Ghanaian origin then its kind of straight forward like hkann said ...

Holy matrimonial comes in diverse ways and forms and in many traditions in accordance to individual tribal beliefs and rituals in Ghana.

Mainly amongst these are:
1.    Christian Marriages
2.    Muslim marriages
3.    Traditional Marriages
4.    Forced Marriages: … woman.html
5.    Trokosi:

The less said about the type of marriages as in clause 4 and 5, the better as the link provided make good reading for those who are vaguely interested.

On Christian Marriages, it is very common and is much practiced and the ceremony is as common as practiced in any country.

Let’s delve a little on traditional marriages in this installment.

Traditions vary vastly among the different tribal set-up and I can only describe one of these in which I have participated and within this tribal set-up to be discussed, it too has different spectrum of interests.

The Akan:
As far as I could remember, the below-mentioned is as close to it except that the ceremony that I went thru incorporated some Muslim rites such as the girl gifts. The gifts are usually in the form of money, handkerchiefs, towels, etc. If she accepts the gifts, then they become lovers.

Occasionally, the man presents gifts to the girl’s family, especially the mother. The gifts usually differ from community to community. They can be yams, meat, cola, tobacco, drinks, and sometimes money. Sometimes, items like leather bags, calabashes, and combs are given. These gifts could be given out on behalf of the man by a relative. The presentation of the gifts is to make the girl’s family recognize the man as a would-be son-in-law.

When the man is ready to perform the marriage rites, he informs the girl’s parents and a day is fixed for the ceremony. On that day, the man’s father sends the bride price. In some communities, kola nuts and money would be sent to the girl’s parents. She is then called and asked three times whether she likes to marry the man. If she agrees, then, the kola nuts are distributed among those present. Each of them takes a bite to show their approval. The money is shared among members of the girl’s family. The sharing of the money indicates that they are all witnesses to the marriage ceremony.

The above was conducted in conjunction; as in my case; with the traditional rites of the Akan tradition based on Assin set-up as below.

A man who wishes to marry, first discusses the intentions with the girl concerned. He has to make sure the girl will agree to marry him before he informs his parents. I need not as I am an expat. Finding out through secret meetings if they will marry each other is known as “kasasie.” The man then tells his mother or an elderly person about his intentions. His mother or the elderly person will in turn inform his father. If the mother feels that the marriage will not be possible for some reason, she will discourage him. When the father agrees, an investigation will immediately start into the girl’s conduct and family background.

When the boy’s parents are satisfied the father, through a delegation, informs the girl’s parents about his son’s intention. This information is known as ‘abowmu bodze’ or ‘opon-akyi bo’ (knocking ceremony). The announcement is made with a pot of palm wine or a bottle of schnapps. Some amount of money is added to the drink. The amount paid differs from community to community. The man may add some extra money to whatever custom demands. This is usually to impress his in-laws that he can really look after their daughter. In some communities, this money is regarded as a “token gift” for the girl’s mother.

The girl’s parents ask them to go back and come later for an answer. This enables them to find out if their daughter agrees to the marriage. They also investigate the boy’s conduct and family background. When they are satisfied, word is sent to the man’s family to come forward. It is the custom for a father to pay for the marriage expenses of a son. But these days, most young men give the money to their fathers for the marriage rites.

The father sends a message to the girl’s parents to inform them of the date for the rites. Both parents inform their maternal relatives to send their representative to the ceremony. On the appointed date, the man’s father sends a delegation to perform the rites. The important part of the ceremony is the offering of drinks known as “tiri nsa” (head drinks). In the past, it used to be palm wine, but now it is schnapps. The “tiri nsa” traditionally seals the marriage. Some money is added to the drink. The amount of money given differs from community to community. There is also a customary fee charged to be given to the girl’s mother. Her brothers too are given some money known as “akontagye sekan.” Before the payment of the customary drinks and the fee, the girl is formally called before the gathering to give her final consent to the marriage.

After accepting everything, the girl’s family head pours libation asking for protection and blessings for the new couple. He also prays that the marriage should be blessed with children. The rest of the drink is shared among all the people present to signify that they are all witnesses to the marriage. Pieces of advice are then given to the couple. The man can then fix a day to take his wife home.

There is another important rite which can be performed on the same day or at any time in their married life. It is an amount of money which is known as ‘ti-aseda’ or ‘ti-ade’ paid to the girl’s family. This is what might be termed ‘bride wealth.’ Nowadays, ‘ti-aseda’ is usually to show the man’s appreciation to the girl’s family for giving their daughter away. In the past, the girl’s family used this amount to pay any debt in the family. They believed that using that money to pay such a family debt would give her the peace of mind to enjoy her married life. Where there was no such debt, it was used to buy some property, e.g., a land or a farm for her and her future children. If there was a divorce, the husband could claim the ‘ti-aseda’ or ‘ti-ade’ from the wife’s family.

A day is fixed for taking the bride away to her husband. The bridegroom sends a pot of palm wine or a bottle of schnapps to the bride’s father for permission to take away his wife. The head of family pours libation with it and blesses the couple again.

On reaching her husband’s home, the husband provides her with food items to prepare a special meal for relatives, friends, and himself. This special meal is known as ‘osenka’ or ‘aduane kese’ (wedding feast). It is a marriage feast which is followed by jubilation. Traditionally, the “osenka” was prepared in the bride’s home and sent to the bridegroom’s house where it was shared among relations and friends.

Some of the above is based on extract from

Marriages in Ghana is bespoke with an interesting fact i.e. the marrying couple must be ready to embrace the entire clan as an single family unit, in good times and in bad.

Yikes, forgot to mention the following.

I arrived in Ghana in January of 1990 and married my wife (from the Assin District) in 1998. We finally left Ghana in 2007 to our current location and will be returning to Ghana soon.

So when we got married, the traditional concepts were still very much alive and practiced.

I hope it has not changed much and people need not have to go into I-marriages. lol

what if both parties are not ghanains ???

As long as you have all the necessary paperwork you can get married in Ghana if you are both non-Ghanaians but be prepared for the bureaucracy.


I am planning to get married to my love in November of this year. I am was looking forward to the day but, he is not answering questions so I can understand. What documents do I need to obtain a Marriage License in Ghana. How many days do we need to wait  before we are allowed to marry? I am from the US, will the marriage be considered legal here?

Thank you for any help you can give me.

biography info..passport.. yes it takes 21 days and u can get marry within three months time  if the three month is over without ceremony then certificate is then void

Not sure if they have changed the rules in the last 7 years but we arrived in the country on 13th Feb and got married on 16th! Your passport will be enough. I also needed my divorce papers as it was my second marriage.
The marriage is recognised in the UK and also in Hong Kong for tax and pension purposes.

If an American citizen went to visit their friend in Ghana and decided to get married there, would that give them dual citizenship? In other words,  if an American man wed his wife in Ghana, could she come back to the states with him and be legal...what is the procedure for this?

It doesn't confer citizenship but will allow your spouse easier access to the US as long as you can prove it is not just a marriage of convenience.

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