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. 

Abdullah & Fatima’s Traditional Berber Wedding

Photography of traditional Berber wedding in Morocco

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

 

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!

Dan & Vanessa – A Beach Wedding In Agadir, Morocco

Being a wedding photographer in Morocco is such a privilege and it’s always an honor to capture a couple’s special day. 

A native of Casablanca, Dan met Vanessa through work there and the two soon became inseperable! So much so that we discovered their branded name, Danessa.

Dan and Vanessa worked with Annabelle Corti from Comme Une Histoire to plan their special day. 

Pauline from Brooklyn Mama’s did Vanessa’s hair and makeup as well as the bridesmaids. She did an incredible job! We can never stress enough with clients what a difference it makes to have a great makeup artist and hair stylist on their wedding day.

Dan and Vanessa’s ceremony was an intimate and joyful affair, and we love how they blended their own traditions while also adding a few unique touches. September is a beautiful month for weddings in Agadir and it’s stunning coastline makes for a perfect ceremony backdrop. It’s hard to beat the natural beauty that a beach wedding provides.

Following the ceremony their reception was held at the beautiful Paradise Plage. The reception included some traditional Moroccan touches and some great dancing.