Stephanie is a fashion journalist and stylist from London with a large family and network of international friends from her time working in Dubai and her fiancé’s recent move to Hong Kong. Anand, a banker from London, recently moved from his job to Hong Kong.
The couple chose Marrakech for its warm climate and exotic surroundings and because they wanted their wedding to reflect their passion for travel. Stephanie had her heart set on a weekend of outdoor dining on balmy evenings and daytimes by the pool with all the family. They wanted two distinct weddings reflecting their English and Indian heritage: a religious, traditional Indian wedding on a Friday evening and a classic white wedding on Saturday.
The Venue: Dar Sabra, Marrakech
Dar Sabra is a boutique hotel in the heart of Marrakech’s exclusive Palmeraie (palm grove). The hotel has a solid contemporary architecture with expansive swimming pools set in Palm and Olive tree-filled grounds. The owner’s impressive collection of contemporary art and sculpture is displayed throughout the grounds to great effect.
Boutique Souk’s production team decorated Dar Sabra for the ceremony and dinner. A traditional ‘Mandap’ was erected for the ceremony, draped in fuchsia pink fabrics with fuchsia and pale pink roses. Guests were seated on transparent napoleon chairs under swathes of pink tenting to protect them from the end-of-the-day sun. Brightly coloured carved wooden fans were placed on the seats – a momento from the couple’s recent trip to Cambodia.
Following tradition, the groom and his family were received and welcomed to Dar Sabra by the bride’s family and friends, with music and much merriment. Stephanie, embracing the Moroccan culture, made her entrance in style typical of a Moroccan wedding; she was carried in on an Amari throne, heralded by trumpeters, adding a definite ‘wow factor’ to the proceedings.
Stephanie was dressed in white chiffon, sequin Sonas Couture sari, Jimmy Choo sandals, and a stunning headpiece from Rene Walrus, with her hair piled high under her veil. At Stephanie’s request, all guests were dressed in traditional Indian saris and kurtas.
The priest, flown in from London, conducted the ceremony in Sanskrit and English. The traditional fire ceremony took on a heightened significance with the sun setting in the background, with guests entranced by the occasion’s colour, vibrancy and intensity.
Guests were kept cool with minted water and watermelon cubes.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a drinks reception with traditional Moroccan canapés and local Moroccan wines. Meanwhile, Stephanie changed into a crimson and peach bejewelled Sonas Couture sari, and the couple made their second entrance to the sound of trumpets and drums.
Guests then dined on vegetarian cuisine in the hotel’s garden, entertained by Moroccan quartets, musicians, acrobats and bellydancers. The tables were decorated with hurricane lamps, candles, fuchsia Atlas roses, and pink Moroccan tea glasses.
A Bollywood-themed DJ set had everyone on the dance floor following dinner.
Stephanie wore a bespoke fishtail lace and tulle dress from the White Leaf Boutique, sandals by Christian Louboutin, and a simple princess cut diamond set, her hair swept back into a classic chignon under her veil. Anand wore a traditional morning suit for the poolside sunset ceremony. Three bridesmaids wore dip-dyed purple fringed flapper dresses.
During the emotional ceremony, Stephanie’s mother read an excerpt from Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’. In contrast, a friend read an excerpt from ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams, and two of Anand’s best friends sang a beautiful rendition of Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love.’
Stephanie and Anand had asked a close friend to conduct the ceremony, giving the proceedings a personal touch. There was not a dry eye in the house.
Boutique Souk’s production team and decorators had transformed the hotel for a second party. The ceremony was set up beside the hotel’s sunken pool area, with dinner arranged around the main pool, while a chill-out shisha lounge and ‘club’ dancing area were situated nearby.
Guests enjoyed a poolside champagne and canapé sunset reception while pictures of the couple and their family were taken against the stunning backdrop of the main house. The classic tunes of Frank Sinatra played in the background.
After sunset, guests were seated for the wedding ‘breakfast’. Tables were decorated with vases of white Atlas roses, shimmering crystals and candles. The grounds were decorated with brassiere open fires, silver Moroccan lanterns and white Chinese paper balls.
Crab, Quinoa and Avocado Tian Carpaccio of Artichoke with Truffle Oil (v) . . . . . . . . .
John Dory served with Julienne Vegetables, Mango and Papaya. Fillet of Beef with Julienne of Vegetables and Green Salad Baked Mushroom Risotto and herb salad (v) . . . . . . . . .
Chocolate Truffle Mousse
After dinner, guests were invited to the poolside Club for the ‘cutting’ of a strawberry, Raspberry and vanilla macaroons tower and the ‘first dance’.
Dancing continued into the early hours and revellers were sustained with a late night Sharwarma bar, and many cooled off by paddling or dipping in the pool!
Guests enjoyed a relaxed pool party brunch at the Dar Ennassim restaurant in the Palmeraie.
Before the brunch, Anand and Stephanie made a surprise camel trek/photo shoot in the Palmeraie, still in their complete wedding outfits, to the amusement and delight of the local villagers!
Wedding Planners Rosena and Fred Charmoy of Boutique Souk, an Irish and French couple who met and married whilst planning other people’s weddings and events in the intoxicatingly exotic Marrakech.
Rosena said, “this was a great project for us. It was wonderful to arrange two very distinct events. We loved preparing the Indian wedding with Stephanie’s chosen fuchsia colour scheme. The colour worked well against the ochre colour of the hotel and its surroundings.
“As a stylist, Stephanie had a very clear direction for us in terms of decoration, floral and cuisine, which was great, and the hotel provided a great canvas upon which to create two very distinct events
Quote from Bride:
“If I were Cinderella and Anand my Prince Charming, Rosena from Boutique Souk was certainly my fairy god mother, casting her magic wand many a time to fulfil all my dreams and desires. And our wedding weekend was just that – a fairytale. It was an incredibly emotional, beautiful and fun-filled occasion.
A stickler for detail, there are not many I would entrust with planning the most important day of my life, but with Rosena and Fred, I knew I was in safe hands. They created a weekend of events that were beyond our wildest dreams and that our guests have not stopped raving about. We’ll all cherish the memories of our wedding weekend for ever.”