Many tribes allowed rulers to have sex relations with a bride just before she was to be given to her husband. The dowry consisted of the presents received in reward for her sex service in the bride’s exhibition hall. 
At first, it was the custom for the man to go to his wife’s people, but in later times, after a man had paid or worked out the bride price, he could take his wife and children back to his own people. 
As civilization progressed, fathers did not like to appear to sell their daughters and used presents instead of money. And upon the later discontinuance of payment for the bride, these presents became the bride’s dowry. 
The idea of a dowry was to convey the impression of the bride’s independence, to suggest far removal from the times of slave wives and property companions. A man could not divorce a dowered wife without paying back the dowry in full.