In Morocco, the wedding ceremony gives rise to large celebrations, which can last from three days to a week and are more or less expensive according to the means of the family, but always very visual, with beautiful clothes and jewelry. Indeed, Moroccan women always attend traditional weddings dressed in kaftan, a kind of long dress in silk, satin, muslin, taffeta or other rich fabric, covered with an open jacket sometimes on the bottom of the dress, embroidered, sometimes glittered, all being held by a large belt at the waist. It's a beautiful sight for the eyes. While there are, of course, regional specificities, there are about the same type of rituals to perform.
The day before the wedding, after the bride-to-be, in the company of women from her family, has purified herself in the hammam, the henna ceremony takes place. A specialist, the "hannaya", draws symbolic motifs on the hands and feet of the bride, in order to bring her happiness and prosperity in her future life. The other participating women can also ask to be traced these beautiful arabesques, they are supposed to bring good luck.
Nowadays, in the city, there is a growing trend to associate the fiancé and his family with this party, usually at dinner time. Before the wedding, the fiancé is obliged to offer gifts to his bride: Some are symbolic, such as sugar, which represents a happy life, milk, purity or dates, orange blossom water and henna. Also included are the engagement ring and the wedding ring. The others vary according to the means. You can find fabric coupons, kaftans, shoes, handbags, perfume. These gifts are arranged in very large silver-colored trays, covered with a conical lid, the "tefors".
The guests then go to the bride's house. Men are responsible for carrying the gift trays while dancing, accompanied by an orchestra that animates the whole neighborhood. It really becomes impossible for the neighborhood to ignore the upcoming event!
The party itself takes place in a hotel, a "riad" (traditional Moroccan house, organized around a large indoor patio), a party room, or under a tent. At the back of the room is a fairly high platform, on which are arranged two imposing seats where the bride and groom will sit, which can be observed by all. On one side of the room, the musicians play and sing, an exhausting task, since many weddings end around 5am! Once the guests are placed at their table, the orchestra attacks the pieces of Andalusian music or "châabi" according to the choice of the bride and groom.
The young wife arrives in the audience wearing a kaftan with matching jewelry. She's sitting in a carrier chair, the Amariya, like her husband. They go around the room, accompanied by music and, when they arrive near the stage, they descend from the Amariya to sit, while the guests surround them to be photographed in their company
The bride is surrounded by the "Neggafates", orchestral mistresses of the ceremony and guarantors of the scrupulous respect of the wedding rites. They can be 4 to 5, under the direction of one of them. They take care of the bride by dressing her, the relative of the jewels they lend her, make sure that the folds of the kaftans always fall well for the pictures, direct her in her gestures, minute the ceremony and the change of clothes. The bride goes out periodically to change. The second kaftan is often green, always with matching necklaces, tiara, earrings and bracelets.
Meanwhile, the guests are restoring themselves. Depending on the location, the bride and groom opted for a meal or cocktail dinner. Drinks and delicious fresh fruit juices are served. The meal usually includes a Pastilla (very fine brick leaves filled with a fricassee of pigeons or chicken, almonds, sugar and cinnamon, a tagine (meat and vegetable stew served in a ground dish in the characteristic shape) and fruit for dessert. In some marriages, we eat in the traditional way, with our fingers. The mint tea finishes the meal, accompanied by exquisite Moroccan pastries such as, among others, gazelle horns.
Guests dance from time to time to the rhythm of the music, chat with each other and observe each other.
The evening usually ends around 5 a.m. at sunrise