Get Married In Marrakech
Romantic Marrakech is a dream wedding destination.
Exotic Marrakech is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, thanks to its beautiful beaches, rich history and fascinating culture. This imperial city is a blend of old and new, with different neighborhoods, or regions, that offer everything from narrow alleyways and market stalls to elegant villas and modern restaurants. Marrakech (sometimes spelled “Marrakesh”) is emerging as a stunningly romantic wedding destination.
It’s the atmosphere in Marrakech, says Fabrice Orlando, CEO of Cocoon Events Group, that draws couples and their wedding guests, because you can't find it anywhere else.
“It’s almost as if we were living in a different century – we still have donkeys in our streets," he says, "and I guarantee you won’t find that in New York City. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the luxury side of life. As I like to say, expect the ‘donkey experience’ by day and the ‘Mercedes experience’ by night – there’s nothing saying that you can’t have both.”
Orlando, who leads a team of wedding and other event planners, says visitors “love the contrast between the typical city vibe and the laid-back, welcoming environment that Marrakech has to offer.”
Where To Have Your Wedding:
Couples can choose from a variety of wedding venues in Marrakech, says Orlando. "Every time you turn the corner, you’ll find a magnificent new space. The local hotels are gorgeous, but there are also so many other options to consider including private villas and palaces. With the wide selection, the sky is the limit in terms of event design options. The great thing about Marrakech is that, while it is a luxury destination, you can still find offerings at every price point.”
Accommodations for the wedding guests, Orlando adds, may be more affordable than you’d expect. “You can find a great place to stay for as low as 40 euros per night,” with welcoming hosts and staff members who cater to your needs and treat you like family.
When To Go:
While Marrakech can get hot during the daytime, the evenings bring cooler temperatures. “Typically, Marrakech experiences quite a bit of sun with little rain, and luckily, the heat is dry," Orlando says. The weather is usually best from March through May, and October through November, and the city tends to be less crowded then, except for the period around Easter. But don’t be surprised to find room rates are pricey in June, July and August; despite soaring temperatures, most tourists come to Marrakech during the summer. Christmas is also high season for tourists, when daytime temperatures hover around 60 to 70 degrees, and nighttime temps drop into the 40s.
What To Eat:
“With all of the delicious cuisines and flavors it offers, foodies will come to Marrakech and simply decide to stay,” Orlando predicts. “From Moroccan salads to chicken tajine (a spicy poultry stew) to caramelized lamb shoulder, Marrakech foods incorporate a lot of Mediterranean tastes while maintaining a unique identity. Spices are found aplenty in traditional recipes which give local cuisine its distinctive flavor.”
Before or after the wedding, you can dine at fast food outlets or fine restaurants. Temptations also abound at market stalls and on food carts, and delicacies like snail soup, ma'qooda (deep-fried potato balls) and chebakia (Moroccan sesame cookies) are popular. If you want to sample street foods, look for vendors with plenty of local customers, which may be a sign that the food is both good and safe to eat. Observe how the food is prepared before you order, so you'll know what ingredients are being used, and that the cooking equipment and surfaces are clean.
What You’ll Need To Enter Morocco:
U.S. citizens need a valid passport with at least one blank page when they enter Morocco and should keep their passports with them at all times. You don't need a visa unless you're staying for 90 days or longer. Vaccinations are not necesssary at this time.
Before you plan a Moroccan wedding, read about the requirements for U.S. citizens here. Local authorities may ask for additional information or documents, so check with them in advance.
How To Get There:
There are some direct flights from New York City to Morocco, Orlando notes, but you’ll find more travel options if you’re willing to go via Europe. “It is easier to get to Marrakech now more than ever before and our tourism industry has certainly seen the results of this change.”
Top Rated Hotels for Weddings:
Wedding couples and their guests who want five-star palaces and resorts can find many upscale options. If your wedding plans take you to Marrakech for the first time, Orlando recommends staying in the city to truly experience its multicultural sights, sounds, tastes and attractions. “More experienced travelers may want to consider exploring accommodations outside of the city."
The Sahara Palace Marrakech, managed by the Park Hotels, ranks high with wedding travelers. Located in the Palmeraie region of the city, it's a stunning combination of Moorish, Indian and Venetian architectural elements. Guests who book its rooms or luxury suites get spectacular views of the nearby Atlas Mountains, the surrounding desert landscape, or acres of lush gardens and palm and olive groves.
The award-winning Riad El Mansour is a boutique/riad with just six beautifully furnished bedrooms. (Riad means "garden" and refers to a traditional Moroccan-style house or townhouse built around a garden or courtyard.) Situated in the old city area, it offers easy access to the newer neighborhoods, and visitors have praised its outstanding staff and excellent service.
Another hotel that has won awards as a wedding venue, Maison MK, is a six-bedroom hotel with a boutique/riad feel. Couples can order special touches, like a candle-lit bubble bath with rose petals.
For more information on making Marrakech your wedding destination, visit Marrakech in Morocco.
What U.S. Citizens Must Know:
According to the U.S. State Department website, there is a potential for terrorist violence against U.S. citizens and their interests in Morocco. U.S. citizens are advised to keep a low profile and to practice prudent security measures, such as avoiding predictable patterns of travel. The State Department also notes that crime is a serious issue in Morocco, particularly in major cities and areas frequented by tourists. Visit the State Department website to read about other concerns, including Internet romance and marriage fraud. Before you leave home, sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important messages to help you stay safe and secure.