Amidst a crowd appeared the beautiful bride. Her face glowing from the candle lights around the pool in the courtyard of the splendid Riad Alkantara in the heart of the old medina in Fes. Honouring both tradition and fashion she was dressed in a breathtaking, black and white coloured caftan and when she called out my name to greet me, it took me at least fifteen seconds to make the journey back to reality from the hypnotic state of admiration I was in. Beside me I heard a discreet ‘wow, she is a princess!’ and from that moment on Zohra’s main objective that evening was to be at least within sight of the beautiful bride.
Traditionally the hands and feet of a Moroccan bride are decorated with henna before the wedding ceremony. On this evening, under the high and beautifully decorated ceilings of the riad, the princess bride sat on an antique velvet couch while her hands were painted with fine elegant patterns.
The next evening was the night of de wedding celebration and the married couple arrived each in a silver sedan chair carried by four men. Family and friends accompanied the couple along the red runner carpet to the ballroom where the couple was carried around and around for everyone to admire while woman yelled the high pitched wedding ‘youyouyouwi’s’ behind their hands. Once the couples feet were back on the ground they were seated on a sparkling silver throne. The band played on, the drums beating faster and faster while people moved their hips rhythmically and clapped their hands to an exuberant climax.
Traditionally the bride changes her gown several times during this celebration and each time her new creation is shown while she is carried around the ballroom in a golden sedan chair. Each new outfit seemed more magnificent than the previous. Between all the dazzling decorations, delicious courses, rhythmic music and sensual dancing the couple celebrated their wedding in a true 1001 night fairy tale setting.