Our Favorite Wedding Photos from 2018

Rabat wedding photography by Paragon Expressions

Photographing and filming weddings and newly married couples in Morocco is always an amazing experience. We can only look back on 2018 with an incredible amount of gratefulness that we get to do this for a job. It’s truly a privilege and an honor to photograph what is one of the most important days in someone’s life.

Each couple we photographed in 2018 was special and unique and it was so hard to narrow it down to our favorite photos of 2018! We are grateful for each couple that entrusted us to photograph their special wedding and we hope that these are photos they will be able to pass down to their grandchildren.

We are already excited for all of the weddings we’ll be photographing in 2019. Are you looking for a photographer to photograph your 2019 wedding in Morocco? Find out our availability for 2019 here. 

Sean & Sarah’s Wedding at Tikida Golf Palace

In October, we had the pleasure of doing the wedding photography and video for a wedding at Tikida Golf Palace in Agadir.

The Tikida Golf Palace in Agadir is a beautiful wedding venue and a photographer’s dream when it comes to photography locations.

The bride and groom, Sean and Sarah traveled from their home in London to have their wedding celebration in Agadir. Sean spent much of his life in Hong Kong, but has lived all over the world. Sarah is from Morocco, but grew up in France, which is where she and Sean met a few years ago. With so many places they’ve called home, they had friends and family travel in from all over to celebrate with them! A week before their wedding in Agadir, they held a small ceremony in London where they were officially married.

Pauline at Brooklyn Mama’s did Sarah’s hair and makeup and she looked stunning! We loved Sean’s expression when he first saw Sarah in her wedding gown! Before the wedding started, we were able to do private photoshoot with Sarah and Sean, followed by some family photos. We love when clients plan for these photos before their wedding so we can get some beautiful photos before it gets dark.

The wedding started with a cocktail hour around the pool. It was a great opportunity for guests to mingle and enjoy the beautiful evening. After the sunset, Sarah changed into a traditional takchita and she and Sean made their entrances in an amaria and mida.

Sarah then changed into another takchita for the meal, which included tajine and seafood pastilla. Following the meal there was dancing on Tikida’s outdoor terrace. There was a mix of traditional Moroccan music and popular international songs.

We love how Sarah and Sean created a wedding that included many of the Moroccan traditions but also mixed with some western style traditions. The wedding felt relaxed and intimate, guests from outside of Morocco were able to enjoy and experience many Moroccan wedding traditions. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Sean and Sarah and capturing their Agadir wedding!

Venue & Wedding Planner: Tikida Golf Palace
Hair & Makeup: Brooklyn Mamas
Nagaf: Rachid

*Names have been changed to protect our clients privacy.

 

Abdullah & Fatima’s Traditional Berber Wedding

Berber wedding photography by Paragon Expressions

We recently had the privilege of photographing our first Berber wedding in a village near Taliouine.

We were excited when the bride, Fatima, contacted us a few months ago about photographing her traditional Berber wedding. Because the wedding had some female only customs and traditions, she requested a professional female photographer. We love that our team includes a professional female photographer and hope to add more females to our photography team in the future!

Both of Fatima and her husband, Abdullah’s, families are from this village, though the bride grew up in the Netherlands and the groom grew up in Marrakech. Because their fathers are from the same village, they have grown up knowing each other.

We love Fatima’s passion for the traditions of her village and her desire to help preserve those traditions. More and more, Moroccans are opting for more modern weddings and these special Berber traditions are being lost.

The wedding actually took place over five days and we drove up from Agadir to photograph the final day of the wedding. Upon arrival, we received the warmest welcome and spent some time visiting with Fatima and her family at the family home.

With the whole extended family gathered together, it was a great opportunity to take some family portraits and some candid shots.

As the time neared for the wedding festivities to begin again, the men left for the home of Abdullah’s family and the women stayed and changed into traditional Amazigh outfits.

Later on Fatima made her entrance at the home of the groom’s family and the entire village came out to celebrate. We love that weddings in this village are celebrated by all.

For the next few hours Fatima and her female relatives and friends celebrated with many Berber traditions, each one held special significance and have been passed through many generations. Some of the customs are only specific to this village.

A few of the customs observed:

  • At the beginning of the wedding week, a special potpourri is made for the bride.
  • The bride wears around her neck a small pouch of salt and amulet to ward away evil spirits.
  • One of the rituals involves the special braiding of the bride’s hair.
  • In the Chleuh/amazigh tradition the bride is covered so her beauty won’t go ‘away’.
  • The bride is dressed by her female relatives
  • An unmarried boy (relative) cuts a piece of hair that symbolize cutting a ‘tawenza’, an old tradition where only married women wear a tawenza (bangs).
  • In addition to these customs there is also dancing, singing, and of course, lots of delicious food – including tafarnout!

As the women celebrated first at the bride’s home and then in a room at groom’s family home, other wedding guests and the male relatives, including the groom, enjoyed a meal together followed by special entertainment from an Amazigh band and dancers.

It was a rich celebration and it was an honor to capture such an event.

*To protect our clients privacy and the privacy of those in attendance, we are only posting select photos where faces are not visible

 

Mehdi & Narjiss’ Drib Sdak

Drib Sdak photographe by Paragon Expressions

After doing an engagement photoshoot with Mehdi and Narjiss, we were even more excited to photograph their Drib Sdak a few days later.

Their Drib Sdak took place at the home of Narjiss’ parents in Agadir. Mehdi’s family traveled down from Casablanca and other family members came in from France and Tunisia.

Narjiss had her hair and makeup done by Pauline at Brooklyn Mama’s and then headed back to her parents house to finish getting ready. Mehdi got ready with his family and then they all arrived at Narjiss’ parents home. As is customary, Mehdi’s family accompanied him to the house with gifts and singing and Narjiss’ family was outside to welcome and greet them.

Inside Narjiss waited, in a beautiful, traditional Amazigh attire. The look on Narjiss and Mehdi’s faces when they first saw each other was priceless. As is tradition in Morocco, dates and milk were passed around, which are said to bring good luck and fertility.

The first part of the Sdak was held outside in the beautiful garden. Halfway through the ceremony, where the official marriage contract is signed with the Adoul (Moroccan notary) and witnesses, we were surprised by a quick rain shower. Everyone rushed indoors and the ceremony continued uninterrupted there. They say rain is good luck on a wedding day!

After the ceremony, there was tea, sweets, and dancing. Everyone was excited to celebrate!

Narjiss and Mehdi then went and changed into different outfits for the second half of the evening. Narjiss wore a beautiful kaftan and Mehdi a suit.

And then it was time for more dancing – because really, is it a celebration without dancing?!

Later on, everyone went back outside for family portraits and Mehdi and Narjiss exchanged wedding rings.

We loved the intimate feel of this Drib Sdak and being able to capture the joy and excitement of Mehdi and Narjiss’ marriage! There were so many special moments during this night and we were honored to capture them. 

 

Xavier & Diana’s Wedding at Surf Maroc’s Amouage

Destination wedding at Surf Maroc's Amouage by Paragon Expressions

Morocco is a great place for a destination wedding and there are so many beautiful places to have it.

When Xavier and Diana happened upon Surf Maroc’s boutique oceanfront hotel, Amouge, they knew it was the perfect location for their intimate, destination wedding.

Xavier and Diana met five years ago through work and a few years later Xavier proposed to Diana on a seaplane! They live in France and run their own media business together. For their wedding celebration, they invited 40 of their closest friends and family.

Amouge by Surf Maroc has a beautiful backdrop for intimate ceremonies and as photographers, we were thrilled with the beautiful soft lighting in the space. One of Xavier and Diana’s close friends MC’d the ceremony and different family members, friends, Xavier’s son Sasha, and the couple share throughout the ceremony and then exchanged rings.

There was lots of laughter and a few happy tears, and it was evident how excited everyone was for Xavier and Diana.

Following the ceremony there were cocktails out on the beach as the sun set. Xavier and Diana’s wedding reflected their own laidback nature and desire for a relaxed, joyful atmosphere. After the cocktails, guests gathered on the terrace for dinner, which consisted of traditional Moroccan favorites – tajine, couscous, and Moroccan salad, all catered by Surf Maroc.

The rest of the evening consisted of a slideshow presentation and video, the cake cutting, toasts, and the evening ended with dancing under the moonlight.

Surf Maroc provided all of the catering and decorating for the event, and it was absolutely beautiful. If you’re looking for a turnkey wedding destination, check out Amouge.

Here are some of our favorite moments from Xavier and Diana’s special day…

 

Thierry & Hasnaa’s Agadir Wedding

Agadir wedding photography by Paragon Expressions

After our time with Thierry and Hasnaa at their photoshoot, we were even more excited for their Agadir wedding!

Their wedding was held at Salle des Fetes Al Houda in Agadir. Hasnaa had her hair and makeup done by Ossama Berrada in his studio and Thierry got ready in the home of Hasnaa’s parents.

Hasnaa made her grand entrance to the wedding in a limousine and the wedding started with the traditional presentation of the bride on the amaria, followed by the presentation of the grooms gifts to the bride and the henna ceremony.

Hasnaa wore two other takchita’s and ended the evening in her white wedding gown. Thierry changed between traditional Moroccan attire and a suit. In the midst of all of the wedding activities, these two just beamed at each other the whole night.

Friends and family came for the wedding from all over Morocco and Belgium to celebrate with Thierry and Hasnaa. There was lots of dancing throughout the night, with a break for dinner, which included pastilla and roast chicken.

Throughout the evening, friends and family could take photos at a photobooth, with the option of printing the photos to take back with them.

One of the most special parts of the evening was when Thierry and Hasnaa made their final entrance for their first dance. Hasnaa’s sister is a singer and she sang a beautiful rendition of Ed Sheeran’s song “Perfect” while the couple shared their first dance.

After the first dance, a good friend of Hasnaa’s from Belguim shared a moving speech to the couple. It was the kind of moment where even the photographers are looking for tissues!

The evening ended after the cake cutting and the bouquet toss. It was a beautiful wedding and we wish Thierry and Hasnaa all happiness in their life together! 

 

Ehab and Israa – Destination Photoshoot in Agadir

Agadir Beach Photoshoot by Paragon Expressions Beach Photography Agadir - Paragon Expressions mariage, photographe du Maroc, photographe du mariage, Agadir photographer, Marrakech photographer

A dream destination wedding photoshoot in Agadir, Morocco. The salty air, the crashing waves, the golden light, there’s a reason that the beach at sunset is stereotyped as a romantic location. It just is romantic. In the face of the overwhelming expanse of wild sea and the stretched out sky, there is an intimacy. And when the sun sets and the sky transforms into a moving painting, it’s a beauty that’s meant to be enjoyed with someone else.

So we were excited when Ehab and Israa contacted us about an Agadir beach photoshoot!

Ehab and Israa traveled to Morocco on their honeymoon after their wedding in Northern Sudan. These two have known each other since childhood and we loved hearing their story.

For the photoshoot, Ehab wore a suit and Israa a gorgeous white wedding gown. We love how the elegance of their outfits contrasted with the rugged beach setting. Agadir’s coastline is one of our favorite spots and it’s perfect for a private photoshoot.

Here are some of our favorite photos from our time together.

Heading to Morocco for your vacation or honeymoon? Contact us for a photo shoot in Agadir!

Makeup and hair by Pauline from Brooklyn Mama’s 

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Jamal & Fatima’s Sdak & Photoshoot

Couple photoshoot in Agadir - Paragon Expressions

We had the privilege of taking some of the first shots of Fatima and Jamal, just hours after they signed their marriage contract and officially became husband and wife.

We did special photoshoot with them at the Jardin d’Olhao in Agadir, Morocco. A beautiful setting that is even more magical during golden hour (the last hour before sunset). Jamal and Fatima made our job easy, as they just exude that newlywed glow.

Following the photoshoot, was an intimate dinner celebration with their families. It was a great opportunity to capture some special family photos.

There were live musicians and a delicious traditional meal of pastilla and lamb and finished with wedding cake.

It was a joy being able to capture this special milestone in Jamal and Fatima’s relationship and we wish them all the best in this new season!

* We respect our clients privacy and wishes. Due to these concerns, you will not see the face of the groom.

 

What’s a Moroccan Wedding Like?

Wedding photographer Marrakech Morocco - Paragon Expressions

If you’re not Moroccan, maybe you’ve wondered what a Moroccan wedding is like.

Moroccan weddings are pulsing. The colors. The music. The food. They engage all five of the senses.

Women dress in vibrant kaftans, the light catching on the beaded details and creating a shimmering effect as you look across the dance floors. Lanterns, candles, rose petals, long carpets, chandeliers, and did we mention, camels?

As an international team living and photographing in Morocco, we’ve put a lot of time into learning about Moroccan culture and understanding the wedding traditions.

It’s one thing to observe, it’s another thing to consult with our Moroccan clients and friends for the inside scoop on Moroccan weddings. 

When we talk about Moroccan weddings, we don’t actually mean the wedding ceremony. In Morocco, the wedding ceremony actually happens prior to the wedding celebration. It’s a small event, called the Drib Sdak, where the bride and groom will sign a formal marriage agreement. The event that we photograph is the wedding celebration, which would be similar to a “reception” in other cultures.

Rabat wedding photography by Paragon Expressions

Traditionally (and probably still in many areas) it was important for many neighbors and people in the community to be invited so that they would know that this couple was married. In this culture, it is traditionally frowned upon for singles to be one on one with one another. So the wedding is more than just a celebration of the marriage, but a formal way of communicating that this man and woman are now married.

Morocco is diverse and so there are wedding traditions that vary from region to region and from family to family. The traditions we will share are some of the more common ones.

Rabat wedding photogray by Paragon Expressions

Why Henna?

A day or two before the wedding, the bride may have a henna ceremony. This is where the bride and the women in her family and other female friends will gather and have henna done. Henna represents good luck and the bride may wear a green kaftan for this party. We’ve been given a few answers as to the significance of the color green. The two most common responses are that because green is the color of henna and green represents Islam. In some cases, we’ve seen henna done at the wedding celebration itself.

Drib Sdak photographe by Paragon Expressions

Normally a wedding will start sometime in the evening. It’s said that guests will start arriving after the last call to prayer (which will be after the sunset). When guests arrive at a wedding one of the first things they will be served are dates and milk.

Dates and milk are said to bring fertility and good luck – which is why they are at weddings.

 Throughout the wedding the bride will change into different kaftans or takchitas (traditional Moroccan gown). Normally, she will wear between three and seven kaftans. Each region of Morocco has it’s own kind of kaftan. So if, for example, she is from Fes, she will wear a kaftan that is traditional for that area. Her last dress of the evening is often a western white wedding gown. In most weddings, unless the family can’t afford it, there will be a Negafa. A Negafa is like a wedding coordinator. She will coordinate the brides kaftans, jewelry, makeup, hair and the events that will take place during the weddings. She may also organize the farash and the Amaria (we’ll get to those further down).

Why all of the singing each time the bride enters and leaves the wedding? 

With the Negafa, will be a group of ladies who will assist her. But the biggest role they play is singing each time the bride enters and leaves. They will sing what is like an Islamic blessing. During the wedding the bride will receive many compliments, but it’s important that Allah receives the most praise. So this song will praise Allah as a way of countering all of the praise going to the bride.

Agadir wedding photography by Paragon Expressions

The family of the bride and groom, along with the groom, will greet the guests as they arrive at the wedding. Meanwhile the bride will only make her entrance later on once everyone has arrived.

She will be presented on the Amaria. The Amaria is a small ornate carriage that men will carry on their shoulders (the pictures describe it better than we can). The groom will walk in front of the Amaria, presenting his bride to all of the guests. Later on, the bride and groom may choose to be presented in their own separate, uncovered carriage called a mida.

Many weddings will also have a farash. The farash is much like an elaborate couch. The bride and groom will sit here with the change of every dress. Family members and close friends will come up and take pictures with the couple. When they’re not being presented, dancing or eating, they will sit on the farash.

A large meal will be served around 11 or 12 in the evening. There is a joke that you can tell how many courses will be served either by how many plates you have in front of you or by how many tablecloths are on the table. Some common courses are tajine (often lamb with prunes) and pastilla.

Dancing is a major part of a Moroccan wedding. It occurs during most of the wedding and depending on the family, there may even be a live band and singer. Later on in the evening (around two in the morning), it may switch to a DJ. Normally, everyone who is physically able to dance, dances!

Around three or four in the morning, the bride (now in a white gown) and groom will do a cake cutting.

At many weddings, there will be a “breakfast” served around four in the morning. As photographers, we normally leave the wedding around four or five in the morning after all of the main events have happened and guests are beginning to leave.

Have you ever been to a Moroccan wedding? What did you love about it?

Are you planning to get married in Morocco, contact us to photograph and film your wedding!