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Language Agenda: Wedding and Marriage

By Dr. Mohammed Marzuq Abubakari
Language Agenda: Wedding and Marriage
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Although “wedding” and “marriage” could be viewed as synonyms in general context, they are substantially different in meaning and usage. One thing fundamentally common to the two words is love. Below is the explanation of the differences between “wedding” and “marriage.”


WEDDING is the set of ceremonies and rituals performed in honor of a couple to signify the societal attestation and recognition of a romantic relationship between them. The ceremonial and ritual activities (of wedding) differ from culture to culture, religion to religion, race to race, tribe to tribe.


Contrarily, MARRIAGE refers to the expected life-long love relationship between a man and a woman in a traditional context. In contemporary times, however, same-sex marriages - by gays and lesbians - are accepted in many jurisdictions particularly in Europe and the Americas.

This implies that MARRIAGE is primarily about the life of the two individuals as lovers, while WEDDING is about the ceremony to symbolize public recognition of the life of the individuals as lovers.

Illustrative Sentences

To maximize comprehension, we may consider the following illustrative sentences:


  • Azindoo is in Bawku to attend a WEDDING between Waalida and Hafiz.
  • Yesterday, the WEDDING of Suhudoo and Suglo was an occasion of food galore.

In both sentences above, the “wedding” is a short ceremony NOT a life-long affair.


  • Following intense external influences, the MARRIAGE between Chalpang and Njelwuni ended on a sad note.
  • In African tradition, MARRIAGE is seen as a source of genealogical continuation.

In the two sentences above, MARRIAGE is viewed as life-long NOT ceremonial.

Grammar and Usage

It is significant to state that “wedding” and “marriage” belong to the same grammatical family: nouns. In terms of usage, however, both of them can act as modifiers. This way, they become noun adjuncts - nouns functioning as adjectives and quantifying other nouns. Let us consider some examples in the following sentences:

  • The Maachandi Family has organized a WEDDING party in honor of Waalida.

In this sentence, “wedding” which is a noun functions as an adjective describing the other noun “party.”

  • MARRIAGE issues are complex in modern society.

In this sentence, “marriage” which is a noun functions as an adjective describing the plural noun “issues.”


Conclusively, dear reader, LITERARY DISCOURSE draws the attention of the public to some incorrect phrases in relation to “marriage” and “wedding.” An example is “invitation to one’s marriage.” Since “wedding” is the ceremony, it is only proper that we invite to “wedding” NOT “marriage.” In fact, “invitation to marriage” could be dangerous. For instance, if your wife invites Yong Dasana, a proverbial rapist in Dagbon History, to your marriage (home), the result can be... 🤪🤪🤪🤪

Allah is The Best Linguist


This discourse is dedicated to the lovely daughter of mine, Madam Waalida, and her husband, Mr. Hafiz, on the occasion of their WEDDING. May Allah bless the union. Ameen

By Dr. Mohammed Marzuq Abubakari

Lecturer, University of Applied Management, Ghana

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