Have you always been fascinated by the mystery and romance of Morocco? Then, perhaps an engagement party based on this exotic place is just the right theme for you! Imagine a scene that is inspired by bustling souks, honey-colored brick kasbahs, and the stunning Sahara sand dunes set against the Mediterranean. Are you ready? Let our extensive decorating ideas transport your guests to a far-off, exotic place. Lastly, be sure to check out our blog and shopping finds for more inspiration. » Click to view slideshow
Find a Spacious Location
An indoor venue may be decorated to recreate the luxurious interior of a Moroccan tent.
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Ideally, an outdoor location would set the perfect stage for such a celebration. Such a venue would offer ample space to set up that single, major decor element that would immediately say, “Welcome to Morocco”—a pavilion-style tent or a grouping of smaller tents. If an outdoor venue is not available, or if the weather is unpredictable, a large indoor terrace or veranda with a view of a garden would work just as well. Whether outdoor or indoor, the key is to transform the venue into the luxurious, sensual interior of a Moroccan tent with the right decorating touches—from rich colors to luxurious decorations and dramatic lighting to theme-inspired place settings.
Play With Colors, Luxurious Fabrics, and Sensual Textures
For color, think opulent and rich when choosing a palette for this gathering. Use these tips:
- Bold and vivid hues such as purple, fuchsia, and orange may serve as base colors, appearing in fabrics draped around the interiors and over the tables, in pillows and ottomans, in throws and carpets.
- Gold and jeweled tones of blue may serve as accent colors, appearing in various table details such as luminaries, charger plates, and other elements.
When selecting fabrics, consider the following:
- Fabrics that are a visual as well as a tactile delight—such as lamé, organza, satin, chiffon, even embroidered fabrics—are perfect for such a display.
- Each table, set low in the Moroccan tradition, can be swathed in a tablecloth and runner of these fabrics, and flanked by over-sized pillows wrapped in jewel-toned satin.
- For a more authentic feel, a number of poufs or ottomans made of tooled leather may be added among the pillows.
Continuing the sensual experience of the setting, Persian or Oriental area rugs and throws cover the floor. Their intricate patterns and rich colors typify Middle Eastern decor, while their overlapping and angled placement lends a relaxed, inviting atmosphere to the entire occasion.
Impress With Authentic Details
Many times, it is the little details that truly impress. Some additional touches to consider may be:
- Placing a Kilim carpet as a form of outdoor runner at the entrance to the tent or party venue to welcome guests with a hint of the exotic setting that awaits them. As an alternative, a lambswool rug may be positioned at each tent’s entrance—a particularly inviting treat if guests will be asked to proceed barefoot into the tent’s interior for the party.
- Displaying babouche slippers and tasseled fez hats in strategic spots within the venue, as authentic touches as well as colorful decorative accents. Should actual babouche slippers not be available, jeweled thong sandals are a lovely alternative.
- Filling the party with the heady fragrance of dried rosebuds, broken cinnamon sticks, ginger slices, cumin seeds, and citrus peels presented in small glass bowls; and diffusing the scents of rose, cinnamon, and sandalwood essential oils in burners around the venue.
- Offering guests refreshing mint iced tea or warm, spicy coffee in vari-colored Moroccan tea glasses with ornate gold trimmings; and setting out condiment dishes filled with dried dates, figs, and nuts as appetizers. » Click to view slideshow
Worried about finding decor items? Alternatives can actually be sourced from the crafts of other cultures. For instance, Indian brass work, English or Spanish wrought ironwork, and South American pottery have qualities akin to Moroccan decor that make them acceptable options. Here are some more possible choices:
- For the truly resourceful, Middle Eastern-inspired sconces, braziers, and lanterns might be discovered at a lighting or landscaping supplies center.
- Vessels for romantic tea lights may be as simple as paper luminaria or terracotta wine pots from a home decor store, or even mosaic or enameled plates, or coasters from a discount tourist shop.
- Brass or gold-finished pitchers or teapots reminiscent of Aladdin’s lamp, or colored glass decanters shaped like a genie’s bottle may be unearthed at a flea market or thrift shop.
Amidst all these rich colors, fabrics, and textures, carefully-designed lighting casts both a subdued glow and an inviting air of mystery on the entire scene.
Create a Glow With Lighting Centerpieces
Bright gold accents with jeweled highlights make for a truly magical look.
Lighting is key to capturing that perfect ambiance. The general illumination in the venue is best kept dim, or concentrated in key areas for the guests’ convenience, such as the entrance and exit—and if outdoors, along the pathways leading to the tents. Arriving guests should almost feel like they are being led into a private sanctuary where delightful table-top treasures glistening in the light of lanterns and candles are a welcoming sight.
In place of traditional floral centerpieces, for instance, they may find groupings of glass cylinder luminaries artfully arranged at the center of each table. The luminaries may be simple glass cylinders wrapped half in gold leaf and half in translucent parchment paper, silhouetting Arabic-inspired cutouts when the tea lights inside are lit.
Alongside this centerpiece composed of luminaries, tiny tea lights in bejeweled candle holders (see above photo) bring a gem-like glitter to the table setting, with the glow of each reflected by a bed of colored glass beads. The varying heights of the luminaries and votives also add dynamism to the display. Moroccan tea glasses in red, purple, yellow, and green can serve as tea light holders as well, further enhancing the colors of the table scene.
Assemble Opulent Place Settings
The place settings are another focal point for highlighting the richness and opulence of Morocco. The creative twist lies in incorporating the party favors as appealing place setting elements that guests will be thrilled to take home afterwards.
A frame (left) and an orange and ruby petite crystal frame (right) double as eye-catching place setting elements.
Start with place settings that aptly reflect the event’s color palette of jewel tones accented with gold—from the gold charger plate set with purple rhinestones, to the fuchsia napkin rolled “Persian carpet style” and tied with a tasseled gold cord. A gold picture frame with Arabesque engravings and filled with glittering magenta sequins is both a striking decorative piece and, as hinted by its satin ribbon, a gift for each guest as well. » Click to view slideshow
Blogs Of Interest
Where to Buy
- - Decorate Moroccan Style - from the website of Curbly
- - Marrakech: and the joys of being a personal shopper - from the blog of My Marrakesh
- - Kilim - an explanation from Wikipedia.