Sunday, December 30, 2012

Algeria Wedding - Desert Wedding

Algeria is a Muslim dominated country with almost 99% of the population being Muslim, because of this its traditions will mirror those of Afghanistan an Albania. For the purpose of this wedding, I will put religion aside and focus more on the wedding itself and a ceremony that can be adapted to any religion. The easiest way to do this is to have an outdoor wedding, that way the couple can make the arrangements needed for their religions or specific ceremony.

(Sand Dunes of Algeria)

It is widely accepted that the national flower of Algeria is the sunflower. And naturally that would be the best choice for an Algerian wedding, because of the deep rich colour of the sand, orange would be a great colour for the flowers out in the dessert. However, sunflowers come in different colours so whichever colour the couple would like to choose could be easily changed into this wedding.

(DIY Sunflower Bouquet: Posted by Amber1279 to: Weddingbee Bios)

The Dress:
The traditional wedding dress in Algeria would match that of any Muslim country, (like Afghanistan and Albania). However, a more traditional ''Western'' wedding dress could be a Muslim bride's second dress or a Catholic (or other religion) bride's dress. Again a dress with sleeves or a jacket and a veil would be advised in countries that aren't always open to women showing off their shoulders, arms or neckline.

The Shoes:
The heat and the dessert would naturally make the shoe choice a flip-flop or sandal of some kind. With a long dress, the shoes won't be seen, but for the bride, a shoe high enough to keep the dress just to say off the ground would be best especially if the ceremony is done in the sandy dessert. A sandal, whether it is a flip-flop or not, with a heel (like this) would be a good shoe for the desert.

Makeup, hair, nails, and accessories:
With the flowers for this wedding being mostly orange, a light brown would be a nice colour, or any light natural colours would work fine for a lip colour and blush. For the daring bride, a light orange eye shadow may be nice, or hints of it and a white coating may work well also. For the nails and toenails, anything that appeals to the bride may be incorporated into the theme, a great way to do this would be to add a sunflower design to one or all nails or something of that nature. The same thing applies to a hair style adding sunflowers where ever possible can make any hairstyle match the wedding themed colours.

The Groom:
The groom's tuxedo can be white or black. However, the tie, vest, and other accessories would have to match the colour of the theme (in this case the sunflowers). Men's Warehouse sells tuxedos and there is even a "Build a Tux" option on their website so that colour matching is made much easier. The vest and tie in the example below are called Venice Sunbeam (8858VNSBM) with the Euro tie. It is matched with the Black by Vera Wang collection. A handkerchief in the pocket would be fine if it matches the colour of the tie, but it may take away from the boutonniere depending on the size of both, a great boutonniere for this wedding would be of course a sunflower. And finally, sunflower cufflinks to complete the groom's outfit. 

The Invitations:
When getting married, it is important to think of the guests and where they are traveling from. Anyone coming from out of country or town even should get a Save the Date card especially if the couple really wants that/those guests at their wedding. A Save the Date card gives guests time to make arrangements in order to be part of the couple's big day. The sunflower theme is a great example of a theme that can be mixed and matched. It's not always easy to find matching sets of invitation, thank you cards, save the date cards, reply cards etc, so why not mix and match as long as they all have the theme relative theme. Also when shopping for mixed sets, looking at different sites and stores is key, the invitations for this wedding are from Zazzle, while the seals are from MagnetStreet and the reply cards are from WeddingInvitations123. Often times if there is a large number of out of town guests the couple chooses to add a directions card to tell the guests how to get from place to place (from airport to hotel to ceremony to reception....). These can be easy to make, typing out directions and printing it on white or colour card (in this case yellow or orange) and than simply adding embellishments (stickers or a stamp etc).

Photographer and Videographer:
If Algeria is not the home country of the bride or groom or anyone they know, finding a photographer and videographer will be a tricky task. Asking a local company really isn't the best way to go because a couple that isn't local has no idea who to get and who has a track record of taking great pictures. Asking a person to travel around the world just to shoot pictures and/or video would cost a small fortune. The best thing to do is to ask friends and family if they have any experience with taking pictures (beyond the point and shoot that everyone can master), it would be a lot cheaper if an already invited guest could take pictures for the big day. But just because they are there anyways, offering to pay them a small fee, or asking them to do it as a wedding present could go a long way to getting someone to agree to do it. However, if that is not an option or the bride and groom would rather try and find a professional there is always listings on the internet. The best way to find a photographer on the internet is to see a portfolio of the photographer's work. 

Also, a great addition to any wedding is disposable cameras. This is a great way to get the crowd involved and to see different angles and sides of the wedding.

A wedding ceremony changes based on the couple, because of the past two countries before this in this country religion will not be incorporated into the wedding for Algeria. But, any religion can be celebrated for this wedding by making the required changes and arrangements. Any ceremony would be a perfect substitute here, no matter what the bride and groom choose. Some great options are a candle ceremony, a sand ceremony or just exchanging vows; anything that symbolizes unity would count as a ceremony. 

A great ceremony could involve readings of romantic poems instead of religious ones, the couple can choice poems that they wrote themselves or that they find suits them. They can also choose to incorporate vows, exchanging of rings, or anything else they that is traditional for them. 

Programs are also a great idea for untraditional ceremonies. They make nice keepsake from weddings, and in this case, a program could hold the poems read and the vows said instead of details on the steps taken in the ceremony. It would also help keep confusion to a minimum should the bride and groom decide to do something untraditional.

Out door receptions are hard do to under any circumstances, because of the lack of electricity, the uncertainty of the weather, and the lack of natural light once the sun goes down. Having the reception in the dessert would not be very easy to do or pull off, not only because of the challenges but because of the heat as well. Just like most foreign countries, it is hard to find reception halls in Algeria on the internet. However, it is always better for a couple to go and see reception halls for themselves before picking, especially when there are no recommendations.

Sometimes the best decor doesn't always match the theme. The above guest book has nothing to do with sunflowers except for the pen, but because of the brown ribbon tied to it, the book matches. It is perfectly okay to do this, even if the wedding colours don't use brown (however choosing to use brown in other places would be best to make it look less out of place). The same rule applies for the ''wishing well'', ''money box'', or whatever other word associated with where the guest leave their cards. By simply adding a fake (or real) sunflower and some ribbon, anything that will hold cards can be used for the purpose. 

Table numbers for a sit down meal is always a great thing to have for a wedding. Table number and place cards help minimize the confusion and help avoid having two people sitting close to each other that maybe shouldn't be. 

Every couple and country has different traditions, some throw the bouquet and garter, some have a cake dance, some have a couple's first dance, some have a father daughter dance... Whatever is traditional for the couple is what they should stick with. Love is a universal thing, and if the couple chooses to dance to an Algerian love song, the guests shouldn't mind. Even if no one understands the words, the bride and groom should at least know what they are. Everyone can see love, in the couples eyes, in the way they look at each other, hold each other.... that doesn't need a language to be expressed. 

Algerian cuisine differs slightly from region to region. Algerian cuisine has strong Berber but also Ottoman Turkish influence due to the Ottoman occupation. Algeria is mainly Islamic people and because of this pork is not usually served at weddings because it is forbidden in accordance with Sharia. The khabz, traditional Amazigh flatbread, is the base of Algerian cuisine and is eaten at all meals. An Algerian dish is izane, a spicy lamb sausage, that originate from the Atlas mountains. Other common dishes include berber couscous, chakchouka, Karantita, marqa bel a'assel that is a speciality from Tlemcen and the Chaoui dish chakchoukha. There are many different types of Algerian salads, influences by the French and Turkish, and can include some very individual ingredients such as beetroot or in some salads anchovies. There are also dishes of Spanish origin in Algeria, like the Gaspacho Oranais, an Algerian version of a Manchego dish. Algeria is on the Mediterranean sea and it enjoys the fish, fruits and vegetables that the sea has to offer (Algerian Cuisine). 
For a wedding in Algeria the best way to have a meal is by buffet. This way adventurous guests can try out the local cuisine and other guests can still stick with chicken or beef. There is no way to please everyone, however when it comes to foreign cuisine a safe bet is to always have something most people are used to seeing. 
As dessert, the couple can choose to serve only cake, or have a dessert table. On this table could include local sweets, candies, chocolates, and cupcakes. A great cupcake has to be the sunflower cupcakes. They are easy to make and not hard to assemble. Baking any kind of cupcake, even the box mixes, in a green cupcake tin and than adding dried pineapple ''leaves'' around a black center (made either by mini chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, or dried raisins).
(Image and Idea by

The Cake:
The cake should be a very easy part of the wedding. If the bride and groom have a picture of what they want their cake to be like, any baker/cake designer should be able to mimic it. Any cake can be made to match the theme of any wedding by simply adding flowers or ribbon or both. 

The cake topper doesn't always have to match the theme or the cake for that matter. In the picture above the cake topper is the couple's initials but for the couple that wants a traditional couple topper there is some out there with a sunflower theme. The same idea applies to the champagne flutes and the cake server. There are a lot of different options out there, not all of them include the sunflower theme. A great alternative would be just brown and yellow beads on the handle of the cake server and the stems of the flutes, or simply brown ribbons. 

Guest Favours: 
Guest Favours for weddings have become as unique as weddings themselves. A lot of themes can be matched to favours now of days and it's not hard to find something for everyone of the guests at any wedding. In this case, for sunflowers, there are sunflower soapssunflower seed packages, sunflower stickers for the bottom of chocolates and sunflower themed boxes so that any thing can really be given as a gift for a sunflower wedding.

Thank You gifts for parents and the wedding party are a lot harder to find to match the theme, however it's not always impossible. In this case for the members of the wedding party's gift could be a clock in the shape of a sunflower. While the parent's gifts and be a hand painted bowl with a saying and the design of sunflowers on it. 

Centerpieces can often times be the cheapest, and easiest part of a wedding. For sunflowers, simply placing a vase of some sort with a bouquet would be a great centerpiece and wouldn't be nearly as expensive as say a bouquet of roses for each table or something or similar cost. Also a great way to go is for the couple to make their own centerpieces. Fake flowers work great and last long, and there is a lot of ideas on the internet for beautiful, simple, cheap and easy centerpieces that look good.

Thank You Cards:
Thank You cards are always a great thing for a couple to send, especially if they add their own personal touch to it. Whether it is adding a specific comment about the wedding gift the guest gave or by simply sending a photo of the couple, Thank You cards are always greatly appreciated. 

Sometimes it is not possible to match everything to a certain theme. In this case, the Thank You cards are called Classic Daisy, however the daisy looks very similar to a sunflower and because it is a Thank You card, it is usually not even noticed that it did not match the wedding invitations or the theme itself. 

Places to See:
There are many sites to see in Algeria that include 18 museums including Musée National du Moudjahid (a national historical museum), Museum (a Museum dedicated to the ruins of many tombstones and other funerary sculptures) Cirta Museum (a colonial-period museum) Theatre and Museum (a preserved theater dating back to 1902, accompanied by statues and columns in a Jardin Archéologique (an archaeological garden). Bardo Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography (built at the end of the 18th century as a residence of a Tunisian prince exiled in Algeria, today it is home to a collection of urban artefacts including fossils, copper tea pots, wooden furniture and impressive rock carvings and paintings) Palais des Raïs (the Palais is in fact a row of several large waterfront houses, joined up to form a single compound and now home to the Centre des Arts et de la Culture) and National Museum of Antiquities (the richness of Algeria`s heritage is brought home in the understated but well chosen collection on display in the museum). These all are wonderful places too see and only a few on the Lonelyplanet's list of museums to see in Algeria. The Lonelyplanet also has a list of 11 religious, and/or spiritual sights to see in Algeria that include Notre Dame D'Afrique, Grand Mosque, and Basilica St Augustine. The Lonelyplanet also offers a list of Archaeological Sites, Architectural Sites, Market Places, Bridges, Historical Sites, Monuments, Buildings, and Galleries

(Cityscape by: Peter Ptschelinzew for: Lonely Planet)

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