Magical Memories in Morocco

Morocco lies on the north west African coastline and offers a wealth of diverse cultures, steeped in history. From high mountains and rocky coastline to vast towering desert sand dunes dotted with magnificent oasis, Morocco is one of the most diverse landscapes in Africa. Yet it seems few people really know what lies beyond the cities of Marrakech and Casablanca.

 

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Discover the real Morocco and explore high-walled kasbahs and wander the labyrinth of alleys filled with souks, markets and well-hidden riads. There are so many magical memories to be made in Morocco – cultural and adventure tours can be arranged through Encounters Travel who will introduce you to all that Morocco has to offer. Making sure you visit some of Morocco’s beautiful cities as well as the mountains, desert and of course, the beach.

 

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Image Source: By JPS68 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Morocco is a land rich in tradition, much reflected in their wonderful wedding rituals and celebrations – making it a very popular choice as a wedding destination. If you’re thinking of getting married in Morocco then you should embrace the culture and incorporate some truly memorable local customs into your wedding preparations and ceremony. The pre-wedding parties are legendary throughout Morocco.  Firstly are hammams, a sauna visit with the bride’s female friends and family, usually two days before the ceremony. This is considered as an act of purification, and accompanied by traditional songs usually performed by the bride’s friends and bridal party. Next is a henna painting ceremony “Hennaya” , a professional Moroccan Henna artist, draws symbolic motifs on the hands and feet of the bride as a lucky charm for her new life.

 

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The official ceremony starts with the custom called Berza. Whereby the bride is shown to the attendants of the wedding in her wedding dress – usually she is surrounded by “Neggafates” a select group of women who are wedding planners, since no wedding ceremony can occur without their presence. Their main task is to help with traditional Moroccan dresses, make-up, jewellery, hair styling etc.  Neggafates assist couples to look their best in their wedding ceremony combining know-how about Moroccan wedding, style and fashion taste with an adequate traditional touch.  Throughout the ceremony, the bride changes outfits, adorning a selection of superb kaftans. The bride can wear as many as up to seven different outfits, with the last usually being a magnificent white wedding dress.

 

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As all marriage ceremonies in Morocco are conducted under Islamic law – the tradition of Islam demands the ceremony begin by reading Koranic verses and songs in praise of the prophet.   Next the guests all gather together, usually in a very large room to welcome the bride, who enters the room via a large ornamented chair – known as the “Amaria”  – along with her groom on another chair. Four strong men carry the Amaria around the wedding room, so that every guest gets to see and wish the couple happiness and good luck for their future ahead.  After a few minutes of being paraded around the room, accompanied by music from a live traditional band, the couple descend from their Amaria’s to sit on a traditional Moroccan throne type sofa, centred in the room, whereby guests are invited to pose with them for wedding photographs.

 

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Image Source: By JPS68 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Morocco has some spectacular venues for a wedding from palaces, mansions, villas, hotels to hidden riads and courtyards, or even the beach.  If you want a romantic and exotic setting for a special day then Morocco has it all.

Non-Muslims can marry in Morocco if they are non-resident. However, a civil marriage ceremony in Morocco is not always legally binding, therefore couples are advised to get a civil marriage agreement and to obtain legal advice in their country of residence before travelling to Morocco for their wedding ceremony.

 

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