Yassine & Kira’s Wedding in Agadir

Photography of traditional Moroccan wedding

We first met Yassine and Kira over a year ago when they stopped by our studio to discuss photography for their wedding. What first struck us about them was their warmth and their massive grins as they shared how they met through a language school where Kira was taking Arabic classes and Yassine was teaching at.

Because Kira is from the US and Yassine is from Agadir, much of their relationship has been long distance. But Kira has managed longer stays in Morocco and the couple will be living in the US together. Having done long distance in our own relationship, we can certainly relate to their story! When we met them they were already legally married but had not yet held their wedding celebration. 

Fast forward a year later, and it was the day of their wedding celebration in Agadir. The wedding was held at Salle des Afrah Souss. Kira and Yassine put so much work into all of the details of their wedding and in making it a fun celebration for all of their local and foreign guests. Kira had many friends and family who traveled out from the US, Germany, France, Greece, and Egypt to celebrate with the couple. 

Ossama Berrada did Kira’s hair and makeup at his salon in Agadir. She looked absolutely stunning! As Kira finished getting ready, Yassine greeted guests as they arrived at the venue. 

This was a wedding with lots of dancing – which we loved! Then again, how could guests NOT dance given that the evening was filled with a great variety of music and a number of live bands. Our personal favorite was a Gnawa fusion group led by Mehdi Qamoum. It was the first time we heard this band (or any band like them) and they brought incredible energy to the room! Yassine and Kira surprised their guests with a famous Amazigh band, Oudaden. This was a huge hit for the guests! During this time Kira wore her traditional Amazigh outfit and Yassine’s mother and sisters changed into Amazigh outfits as well. They also had Simohamed Bourwayhe for the Issawa music. 

Kira wore three traditional Moroccan takchitas, the traditional Amazigh outfit (one of my personal favorites!), and a gorgeous white wedding gown. Her negafa was Kramissa, who always does such a stunning job with brides while being so kind and professional. The negafa is with the bride so much on her wedding day that it’s really important to choose one who you feel comfortable with. 

Following a traditional Moroccan dinner, there was a time for speeches. Kira’s father, Yassine’s best friend, Kira’s best friend, and Kira and Yassine all gave speeches. This was one of our favorite moments during the wedding as each speech was so meaningful and all testified to the love that Kira and Yassine share for one another as well as just the caliber of people that they are. 

Towards the end of the evening, Kira entered in her white gown escorted by her father to the same song that her mother walked down the aisle to 38 years earlier. Yassine and Kira’s first dance was sung by Kira’s god brother. Talk about two emotional moments back to back! After the cake cutting, there was more dancing to some of Kira’s favorite songs! 

It was a beautiful evening and it was such a privilege for us to capture!

Thierry & Hasnaa’s Agadir Wedding

Wedding photography of wedding in Agadir

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! 

 

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 photography in Agadir

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.

Wedding photography of wedding in Agadir

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.

Beautiful Moroccan Wedding Photography in Marrakech
Beautiful Moroccan Wedding Photography in Marrakech

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.

Beautiful Moroccan Wedding Photography in Marrakech

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!