The marriage process in Morocco is a bit difficult for foreigners to understand. Between the customs, laws and foreign fees, attempting to tie the knot in this country isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re still keen on sealing the deal in this North African country, or just interested in how to go about it, here are some of the basics you need to know.
First, because all marriages in Morocco are carried out strictly under Islamic Law, the process can be fairly complicated. There are many rules and regulations to abide by under Moroccan authority, which can be costly.
Sources claim that requirements seem nearly impossible to fulfill. Among some of the necessary documents you’ll need are: an identity card, passport, proof of income, birth certificate, proof of occupation, proof of residence, police check and validation by Moroccan police and character reference. Any of these documents that are not written in Arabic will need to be translated and signed by an official government translator.
Before a marriage ceremony can be performed, the Moroccan authorities will ask for you to submit a certificate—Capacite de Mariage—stating there are no impediments to your marriage. While this certificate is being authorized, your Embassy may also issue you an Attestation de Nationalite, or a confirmation of nationality. In total, these certifications alone will cost you about US$50.00-$75.00.
The most important aspect of getting married in Morocco, however, is that under Islamic law, you will have to abide by appropriate Moroccan authority—the Aduls. The Aduls call for exclusively Islamic marriages—both husband and wife must be Muslim. If not, they must convert before the Moroccan government will recognize the institution. What’s more is that a woman will be harshly judged if she stays overnight with her husband-to-be. Traditionally, men and women are to be completely separated from physical contact until married.
With arranged marriage numbers dwindling, Morocco seems to be moving from traditional practices. The culture still embraces several time-tested customs, however. For example, the traditional Morocco wedding can take up to seven days, not counting many other ceremonial rituals that usually take place before the wedding day. Many Moroccans take heritage seriously, actively participating in habitual customs. These marriages often cost a lot—between four or ten times the per capita income. But recent tough economic changes in the country have caused relationships to change in the Arab world. It has become increasingly difficult for those who come from a low-income household to get married.
Although marriages are typically on the higher end of the price spectrum, a modest marriage is still possible in Morocco. With the burden of paperwork, however, you should seriously weigh the pros and cons before planning to marry in Morocco.
Written by Amanda Sandlin.
Photo by Frerieke.