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. 

Kevin & Sarah’s Elopement Photography in Marrakech

marrakech elopement photographer

Elope in Marrakech – It was an honor to do the elopement photography in Marrakech at a private riad where Kevin and Sarah promised each other forever.

The excitement and anticipation they had for their first look is one of our favorites to date! Like out of a scene from a movie, Kevin stood on one end of the balcony, while across from him Sarah opened up one of the floor length windows.

For their first look, Sarah surprised Kevin with the song from Romeo and Juliet, “Kissing you”. Could there be a more perfect song for a balcony entrance?! And the expression on Kevin’s face when he first saw Sarah was just so full of emotion and awe.

After their first look, they went up to the roof where they exchanged the vows they had each written for each other. Quite honestly, they were some of the most meaningful vows we’ve heard.

With palm trees and quintessential Marrakech rooftops in the background, a soundtrack played of songs that are special to both of them and their relationship. At the end of their ceremony, they jumped over a broom together, which is an African American tradition dating back to the 19th century.

After the elopement we did a romantic photoshoot in their private riad. We love photographing elopements in Morocco, as there are so many beautiful private locations perfect for an intimate ceremony.

It was a tremendous honor to photograph such a significant day in their story together. We loved getting to know them and found them to be the most genuine and kind couple. The love that they have each other has deep roots and is the kind that impacts those around them. Everytime we look through their photos we find ourselves just grinning. Capturing love stories has to be one of the best jobs!

Are you to planning to elope in Marrakech? We’d love to be your Morocco elopement photographer!

 

Mujeer & Sana Wedding in Marrakech

We looked forward to photographing and videoing Mujeer and Sana’s Marrakech wedding for a long time! And it exceeded expectations.

Sana and Mujeer are an incredibly sweet, sincere and warm couple. They met while working in Dubai and for Mujeer, it was love at first sight. After some pursuit by Mujeer, Sana also fell in love. Despite their different backgrounds, Sana is Moroccan and Mujeer is Indian, these two are such a perfect fit and the deep love and respect that they have for each other is so evident.

The entire wedding day Mujeer was just beaming whenever he looked at his bride and Sana absolutely glowed.

Wedding days usually have one or two surprises. This sunny Marrakech Saturday turned into a cold and rainy day a few hours before the wedding. However, they say that rain is lucky for a wedding day! And the rain certainly didn’t put a damper on the celebrations.

Mujeer and Sana’s wedding was held at the Four Seasons Resort in Marrakech. Guests traveled in from India, Dubai, Europe and the US to celebrate with Mujeer and Sana, along with family and friends from all over Morocco.

The Four Seasons Resort has some beautiful locations for photos, even when it’s raining. Before the guests arrived, we did a private session with Mujeer and Sana. Sana wore a beautiful traditional Indian gown and later a kaftan for these photos.

For their wedding, they chose many of the Moroccan traditions like the amaria, presentation of gifts from the groom, the negafas and of course, dresses from different regions of Morocco. They had a live band and later on a DJ. There was traditional Moroccan music, Indian music, and international favorites. Guests burned off all of the delicious food with lots of dancing.

The celebration ended close to dawn with the cutting of the cake. It was an honor to capture Sana and Mujeers special and we wish them all happiness in their life together! 

Kai & Alice’s Destination Photoshoot in Marrakech

Marrakech Engagement Photoshoot

There was so much to love about Kai and Alice’s destination photoshoot in Marrakech! For one, it combined two of our favorite Marrakech trademarks—the Palmeraie and the medina. Secondly, their photoshoot felt like time with friends. Thirdly, well, just look at the photos! This adventurous couple is up for anything – including an early morning photoshoot with some feisty camels.

These two met in university and after five years of dating, they will be tying the knot in February. They will also have celebrations in their hometowns in China. After hearing from friends about the magic of Morocco, they decided to take a break from wedding planning and holiday in Morocco.

We loved Alice’s idea to juxtapose their wedding-themed outfits with the desert like vibe of the Marrakech Palmerie. We were even more thrilled that Alice brought along a veil to complete the look.

The Palmerie in the early morning is positively magical. Kai and Alice are completely smitten and needed no encouragement from us to cuddle. As the sun began to rise, we added a camel to complete the desert look. As we were about to leave the shoot we discovered that Alice’s ring had fallen off her finger at one point during the shoot. This led to a beautiful, spontaneous moment. After a few minutes of searching, Richard found the ring and secretly gave it to Kai. Kai then surprised Alice by proposing to her all over again. You just can’t plan these intimate moments! 

Alice and Kai made an outfit change into traditional Moroccan attire and we headed into the medina. Alice had henna done the day before to complete the look. Even in Marrakech, Sunday mornings are pretty lazy and we loved having the tiny empty streets to ourselves. The Marrakech medina is full of unique spots for photos, from intricate doors to colorful rugs to quintessential Moroccan red walls.

We wish these two all the best for their upcoming wedding in New York!

Heading to Marrakech on holiday? Contact us to photograph your time in the red city!

 

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!