The various wedding dresses in Morocco are majestic, fascinating, and rich in regional heritage.
Each country has its own special wedding traditions and ceremonies, and Morocco is no exception. The traditional Moroccan wedding is full of fascinating customs and elaborate processes, from the henna party to the wedding food. Certainly, the most enchanting element is the wedding dresses a bride in Morocco will choose.
Everyone gets dressed up for Moroccan weddings. Female guests wear all sorts of beautiful caftans and takchitas (Moroccan dresses) of various colors, textures, shapes, and ornamentations. The male guests usually wear suits, and the wedding staff also wear kaftans and suits. The groom starts with a suit and often changes it for a “jabador,” and later for a Moroccan male djellaba.
Just like a wedding in any other country, the Moroccan bride is treated like a queen, and undoubtedly dresses the part. From the start of the wedding until the end of the night, the bride dons several different traditional Moroccan wedding dresses that represent different regions. The wardrobe choice tends to give special attention to the bride and the groom’s regions of origin.
Preparing the bride
The “neggafa” is the woman specialist the bride’s family hires to help with the wedding preparations. She carries out tasks such as helping the bride during the hammam day, a visit to the traditional bathhouse. She also helps with the pre-wedding henna party. On the wedding day itself, she does the bride’s hair and makeup, organizing the wedding dresses and accessorizing them with jewelry.
Coming in different colors, patterns, designs, and jewelry, there are seven traditional wedding dresses that a bride in Morocco wears during her big day.
The green and golden caftan
The bride usually wears the green and golden caftan on the henna day. This significant Moroccan pre-wedding tradition happens one or two days before the actual wedding.
The neggafa decorates the bride’s hands and feet with beautiful henna designs, believed to bring good luck. It is a party that both the bride and groom’s family attend. The neggafa or her assistants also decorate the hands of most girls attending with henna tattoos.
The green satin and silk caftan is hand-made with gorgeous beads and stones. It has long sleeves, rich golden embroidery, and is worn with a golden belt (mdama). It can also come in varied shapes and designs, depending on the bride’s personal style.
The white ‘takchita’
Guests at Moroccan weddings arrive early and gather at their respective tables. The groom enters with his family and they all wait for the bride. Her entrance is one of the most beautiful and fun moments of the wedding.
The bride arrives in the “amaria,” carried by four or six men (negaffa assistants), wearing a beautiful white traditional “takchita.” The amaria is an elegant, often elaborate platform. The groom leads the party inside as the bride waves and the guests cheer and clap to the rhythm of the music.
The white takchita is a remodeled Moroccan caftan that is made up of two pieces minimum, and sometimes up to five pieces. The first part is the “tahtiya,” which is a long silky caftan. The second piece is the “fouqia” or “dfina,” which is an open satin dress that is often transparent and held in place with a wide golden belt.
The bride’s first, white wedding dress represents the purity of the future wife. The seamstress makes it with different white fabrics such as silk, tulle, satin, and other luxury materials. They also embroider the dress with different golden designs and patterns, either traditional or modern, depending on the bride’s taste.
Lebsa lfasiya (of Fez)
Lebsa lfasiya is the traditional dress from the Fez region, also called “ebsa lekbira” (the great outfit). Its large size and shape and accompanying elaborate jewelry characterize this type of wedding dress. It can be white, red, or green.
The traditional dress can be difficult for the bride to wear due to its heaviness and large number of components. Despite its challenges, Moroccan brides insist on wearing the dress for its beauty and history, while entering in the amariya.
Lebsa lfasiya is composed of several pieces. The Moroccan caftan pairs with a sort of bib around the neck. Several pieces of jewelry, such as a necklace of white and green pearls, sit atop the bib. The bride wears a white veil and attaches various decorations with pins.
Atop the bride’s head is a large golden crown. Heavy green and gold fabric forms a skirt. The bride places this on her head, attaching it with pins to the white white veil. The gold and green piece falls over her shoulders and the front of her body.
Lebsa r’batia (of Rabat)
Lebsa r’batia is one of the most beautiful styles of caftans. It is characterized by the golden rabati embroidery style, in relation to the city of Rabat. Moroccan women have practiced this embroidery style for ages, and its forms vary across Moroccan cities.
The bride can choose to wear the elegant caftan in either blue or red. Sometimes, she may wear it in two pieces—a caftan and an open dress on top, held together by a golden belt (mdama).
The “mdama” for this dress is often made of silk or precious metals, such as gold, silver, or scarce copper. Precious stones such as rubies, emeralds, and pearls sometimes decorate it.
The ‘sahraouia’ (from the Moroccan Sahara)
The “sahraouia” is similar to the wedding dress worn by Mauritanian women.
The dress is composed of a “Mlehfa,” which is four meters wide and no more than 61 centimeters in length. Like many other wedding dresses in Morocco, it comes in numerous colors and designs. These colors and patterns recall attire that the typical Sahrawi woman wears wherever she goes. The dress is highlighted by splendid traditional accessories and jewelry.
The bride wears a tiara made of amber and seashells. She also wears a necklace of long pearls like a rosary and silver bracelets. Ornaments made of wood and animal horn, and metal fibulae linked by several chains, also accompany the dress. Rings decorated by primitive African influence are another unique accompaniment. And, of course, there are the “khlakhel”—ankle bracelets in guilloche metal that Sahrawi women love to wear.
The ‘Soussia’ (Amazigh dress)
The “Soussia” dress comes from the region of Souss and other Amazigh (Berber) regions, with different colors and traditional patterns. The dress can be different from one Amazigh tribe to another.
In the Souss region, women and girls wear clothes belonging to each tribe and village. This way, people of the region can distinguish the woman’s tribe by her clothing. This applies both to daily clothing or special occasion attire.
The wedding dress is characterized by different accompanying hairstyles. The opulence of the jewelry that decorates the whole outfit is also a unique feature. The pieces are usually made of stovepipe silver with enamel, amber, pearls, or shells and are often large and spectacular.
The bride wears a special caftan style and a white and silver crown called “Tawnza” on her head. She also dons silver bracelets called “Tanbalat” and “tanzite,” and Amazigh earrings called and “Takhersin.” Finally, she puts on a silver belt, and the Amazigh “cherbil” (shoes) called “Edokan.”
The ‘Chamalia’ (from the North)
The “chamalia” wedding dress comes from the North and is mainly composed of the chedda, a traditional outfit from Tangier. It is a traditional costume historically worn by female nobility in the northern coastal city.
The bride traditionally wears Chedda on her wedding day to represent purity and beauty. Like other wedding dresses in Morocco, It can also come in different styles, according to cities and families.
The dress consists of two superimposed majestic caftans that have colorful floral embroidery and is again belted by an “mdama.” A conical headdress made of scarves and jewelry embellish the attire. A browband, earrings, and a cascade of pearls and gold cover the entire chest, down to the waist.
Moroccan weddings are full of joy, diversity, and color. For Moroccan brides, these traditional costumes are a very important element of the special day. Most brides also like to dress in the Western white wedding dress by the end of the celebration. They do so while cutting the cake, in order to realize every little girl’s dream of feeling like a princess.
Sometimes Moroccan brides even add other countries’ traditional wedding dresses in their collection, such as traditional Indian or Chinese wedding dresses, depending on the bride’s personal desire.