This day was as much a mystery to the Bride Marie-Laure as it was to myself. I didn't know what was going to come next and nor did Marie. The whole day had been planned by Yacines (the grooms) father. It was a wonderful mix of traditional Moroccan wedding and modern wedding. Staying with the grooms family in the lead up to the wedding I was privy to much of the last minute planning details- we met with the dress store that would provide Marie with her dresses, met with the caterer and picked out a tray for Marie to be carried in on. It was an incredible privilege and definitely a "pinch myself" moment in my career.
On the day itself, I accompanied Marie as she was whisked off to have her hair and make-up done upstairs in a tiny little salon in Rabat. Fluent in both English and French, Marie spoke only a tiny bit of Arabic, which made conveying her wishes to go against the Moroccan norm and have "pared back" make-up fairly mute. Many a nervous laugh was had and weird look was exchanged and before we knew it we were being taken next door and left in a tiny dark room that overlooked the dusty carpark. The room was absolutely bursting at the seams with bright, bejeweled dresses, some of which Marie was to wear throughout the evening. Maries two dressers came to collect us, ushered us upstairs, past a number of other brides being fitted for the wedding garb and into a bizarre room full of suitcases, posters and other misplaced items that clearly had no use elsewhere. They proceeded to dress Marie in her first outfit and layer her with jewellery. Then, loaded up with the remaining dresses and accessories, we all piled into the car and headed to the Ryad in Rabat for the wedding. There were 5 outfit changes in total and each time Marie was announced with singing and drumming and met with laughing, cheering and dancing. It is traditional that once the bride is dressed in her outfit that the dressers pose her and her husband for photos- using a spotlight to aid the photographer. Once they are presented to guests, they are ushered to a sofa on an alter and guests are invited to congratulate the couple and have their photo taken with them. It was the most incredible celebration with the eating and dancing lasting well into the wee hours of the morning. Incredibly tiring (did I mention I was also 10 weeks pregnant with twins at the time?!) but an absolute joy to experience.