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12 Afro-American Wedding Traditions That Symbolize Unbreakable Bond

An African-American Wedding is rich in culture and traditions. Here are 12 traditions that bring out the unity between the couple and their families, too.


  • Purple and Gold


These are popular African-American wedding colors. In African culture, purple and gold are colors of royalty.


  • The Gele


This traditional headpiece replaces the bride’s wedding veil.


  • Jumping the Broom


The bride and groom jump over an intricately decorated broom to publicly announce their union. The broom is often hanged in the couple’s home as a reminder of their wedding day.


  • Taste of the Four Elements


These 4 flavors are often incorporated in cupcakes and they are cayenne (hot), vinegar (bitter), lemon (sour) and honey (sweet). The couple take a bite of each of the cupcakes to which represent the 4 emotions of married life.



After the couple has taken a bite of each of the four elements, they offer each other’s family members with unleavened bread with the 4 elements.


  • Kola Nut


The Kola Nut has medicinal use. In a wedding the bride, groom and both their parents eat a kola nut. This is a symbol of that both families now have connected lives and will help heal each other spiritually and physically.


  • Crossing Sticks


Each holding a long stick, the bride and broom would cross the stick to symbolize that their new life together will be strong just like the tree where the branches were taken.


  • Liberating


During the ceremony, alcohol is poured on the north, south, east and west as names of family members who have just passed away are called and a prayer is recited. This is done by the oldest member of the family.


  • Tying the Knot


The person officiating the ceremony ties a knot on the wrist of the bride and the groom with a of kente cloth to symbolize the bond between them. This is done before the vows.


  • Cutting the Cord


The newlyweds cut the cord to symbolize that they are breaking ties with their families to start a new life committed to each other.


  • Cowrie Shells


They used to represent money and are now used as decoration on either the headpiece of the bride or on anything else.


  • The Electric Slide

This is the ceremony dance participated by the couple and all wedding guests. The elders will appreciate including this dance in the ceremony.


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