Traditionally, the groom’s parents look for a bride for their son. Before contacting the bride’s parents, they do an investigation to guarantee that the families are not related by blood. They used to go back seven generations, but now they only need to go back five. When this is done, the boy’s parents contact the prospective bride’s parents through a mediator. The mediator visits the potential bride’s family and inquires if their daughter will marry the other parents’ son. The mediator conveys the bride’s parents’ limits to the groom’s parents, who then plan a meeting for both parents at a mutually convenient venue.
Especially in Tigray and Amhara regions, Christian marriages are usually arranged by the bride and groom’s parents after much deliberation. According to tradition and culture, the bride must be a virgin at the time of the wedding. Because the bride’s virginity is highly revered and cherished in Christian marriage, the entire family is embarrassed if the bride is not virgin at the time of marriage. Rural women, in particular, marry when they are younger than their husbands. It was previously common for the bridegroom to wait until he was 30 years old before marrying, in order to emulate Christ’s biblical example of waiting until he was 30 years old before beginning his public ministry.