Jewellery designer Bouchra Ezzahraoui's 3-day Moroccan wedding was a feast for the senses
40 nationalities attended this lavish yet traditional wedding in Marrakech's enchanting Palais Selman
NYC-based founder of jewellery brand AUrate, Bouchra Ezzahraoui and her husband, Venture Capitalist Omar Darwazah met at a house party that Omar threw in 2014. They dated for only five months before he popped the question. Hey - when you know, you know - right? "I'm from Casablanca, Morocco but always wanted to get married in magical, red Marrakech," Bouchra tells us of her opulent three-day nuptials.
"We were checking out a few venues and this was the cosiest, most authentic one we could find," she continues of their choice to marry in Marrakech's Palais Selman, an authentic, fountain-filled hidden gem. "Fun fact: Leonardo DiCaprio was there celebrating Orlando Bloom’s birthday when were having dinner at Selman’s restaurant. His girlfriend started playing guitar and we all sang All of Me by John Legend. We knew it was sign."
"Traditional Moroccan weddings are typically a seven-day affair. We wish we had the time and luxury to do a full week of festivities, but that was going to be quite impractical! Instead, we chose to host a three-day event with friends, family and guests from around the world - 40 nationalities attended!"
"Day one was a hammam day and henna party of 250 guests where I had two dress changes. The theme was Voyage en Orient and I got henna on my hands and feet to symbolise fertility and beauty and to bring me good luck in married life."
Day two was the wedding gala night where the theme was 1,001 Nights and Bouchra had an impressive four dress changes, including this exquisite Martina Liana mermaid-style gown. The remaining three were more traditional - two designed by Bouchra herself and the third an elaborate handmade kaftan worn for the Labssa Fassia - the Fassia being an ornament worn on Bouchra's head, intentionally heavy to signify the weight of the household carried on her shoulders.
"Our entrance to the wedding remained a surprise for our guests – both in timing and the schedule of events," Bouchra explains. "The bride's entrance is a crucial part of the Moroccan ceremony and I was placed in an Amaria - an elegant roofed platform that’s carried by four men. They were accompanied by the Negafa which is a troupe of women who chant and sing as the bride enters - the Moroccan version of bridesmaids."
"I wanted to keep what I wore personal and close to our Middle Eastern roots," Bouchra tells us of her choices that included jewellery from her own label, AUrate, as well as pieces she got from her mother and grandmother. "I was very late getting my white dress - three and a half months before the big day! - but things worked out great."
"We ate at a table designated for family members from both sides while a Lebanese performer, Riad El Omr and MC entertained the guests and sang improvised Arabic songs that made references to us by name. The performer had traditional Lebanese drummers and an orchestra accompanying his performance. After dinner we danced with the guests and then quietly exited the wedding for another outfit change."