I went to a wedding with one of my friends a couple weekends ago. Since I’ve talked about what weddings are like before on the blog I want to focus on something different this time – the fact that this marriage was an arranged one. A lot of people have asked me how common arranged marriages are in Morocco, and while I don’t have any statistics on it, it seems that they happen fairly often, especially in rural cities and towns like Azilal. This wedding was the first time I’d really gotten to talk about how a marriage gets arranged – my friend explained a couple things to me over the course of the evening, which I thought were interesting enough to share.
The first thing was that the wedding was in Beni Mellal (a city about an hour and a half away), so I figured we’d meet up and catch a taxi the morning of the wedding. But the day of the wedding, I got invited instead to the bride’s house. I was pretty confused until my friend explained to me that the groom was from Beni Mellal, and it was his role to come to Azilal to pick up his bride to bring her to his house in Beni Mellal where the wedding would be. The family and friends followed along behind them.
Later in the evening I asked my friend how she knew the bride, and she told me she knew both the bride and the groom. With a little smile she said, “I’m actually the one who introduced them!” I was fascinated, because while I know many marriages here are arranged, I haven’t heard a whole lot about how the arranging actually happens. It turns out my friend rents an apartment from the groom’s mom, and one day the mom asked her if she “knew any nice girls in Azilal”. So my friend talked to some girls she knew and asked them if they were interested in getting married. The ones that said yes invited my friend, the groom and his mom over for tea. Then the groom and his mom picked the girl they liked best… and that’s that. I’m sure there are some extra steps in there, but as I understood it that’s more or less the process.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this whole explanation for me was the obvious pride my friend had in being the one to introduce the bride and groom. At the very end of our conversation she even told me she thinks it’s better to get married that way, because arranged marriages have a higher success rate than other marriages. I guess the reason I found this all so interesting was because I’d automatically assumed she would be against arranged marriages. In the end, this was a great cross-cultural reminder for me – just because it’s something I’d never want to do, doesn’t mean everybody else feels the same way.