An Amazigh Wedding!

Last week, I went to a Moroccan wedding. My host brother was marrying a Saharan Amazigh woman, whose sister also got married that day. One of my friends from IES came with me.

Before I went to the wedding I had to rent a kaftan, a traditional Moroccan evening dress. Apparently you can wear any color you want, since the bride has seven different dresses that are each a different color, so there aren’t any rules about what color to wear. The traditional wedding dress colors for the bride are white, red, blue and green, but you can play with it a bit.

Moroccan weddings start at about 9pm, butI didn’t get there until 10:30. About an hour later, the first couple arrived. The bride and groom arrived in a stretch limo, where the bride was transferred to a very sparkly litter and the groom got on a horse. The groom went to stand at the front of the room by the wedding chair and wait while the bride was paraded around for 15 minutes.

Then the bride and groom left to change into their second outfits while the second couple arrived and went through the same introduction. The second dress was a deep green, and the bride sat in the wedding chair while someone drew on her hands with henna, covered in green sparkles.

In between the second and third dress (royal blue), my friend and I got up to dance. My kaftan was too long, so I had to awkwardly hold it up the whole time, but I did ok. Then this man who’d been dancing like a crazy person the whole time danced with me. One of my host sisters told us later that the man had just come back from France, as if that explained his dance moves.

During the entire wedding, these four Amazigh women wearing the exact same kaftans followed the brides around, posed the couples for photos, and wailed at the top of their lungs in Amazigh.

The bride’s fourth dress was bright blue, and again both couples took photos together. This time the focus was the brides’ dresses, especially the hems and the veils.

Then, while the bride wore her red dress, we ate dinner. At 4:30am. There was a vast amount of bread, a saffron-chicken dish, a lamb dish with prunes, a fruit course, and pastries. Later, there was cake. I wasn’t hungry for at least 12 hours afterwards.

The next part of the wedding was the unveiling of the bride (bright orange dress), despite the fact that the bride’s face hadn’t been covered up until this point. Then they sat in their litters on the floor while the attendants danced around them with wooden sticks and fake guns.

At this point I left because I was literally falling asleep at the table. Based on the fact that both brides still had to change into their seventh dresses (both white, like the first one) and eat cake, the wedding probably lasted at least 2 hours after I left, for a grand total of 12 hours.

It was exhausting, but so much fun!