A Whimsical Destination Wedding at Beldi Country Club in Marrakech, Morocco
To say Lauren Bonds (29 and a marketing manager for Marriott International) and Jacques Plaa (34 and a director of investment banking at HSBC) had been bitten by the travel bug would be an understatement. Since their first trip together to Marrakech, Morocco, in 2010, the pair have visited 37 countries. “When it came time to begin ‘plaanning’—see what I did there?—our wedding, we knew Marrakech would be the perfect place to begin the biggest and best adventure of our lives: marriage,” Lauren says.
Beldi Country Club, a charming casbah-style hotel, provided an unforgettable backdrop for the affair with its acres of olive trees, lush rose gardens, traditional architecture and views of the Atlas Mountains. “ 'Beldi' is the Moroccan word for ‘traditional’ and is often used to describe authentic craftsmanship. This hotel was built with the most authentic of materials and methods,” Lauren says. “In addition to boasting its own hammam [a Turkish-style bath], two pools and mini souk, it also offers an open-air raid [an interior courtyard], a space that is perfect for events.” The wedding’s overall aesthetic was derived from the setting, with Lauren and Jacques establishing a whimsical Moroccan-chic vision with the help of their event design and floral team at Boutique Souk. This translated into a base of white, cream and metallic hues, interwoven with pops of olive green and Majorelle blue. As a tribute to the locale, the couple worked with Catherine Sullivan of Chicago’s Charm Studio to create stationery modeled after Moroccan tiles, and olive branches and white roses were incorporated throughout.
After an intimate garden ceremony officiated by a close family friend, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed a fun-filled fete in Beldi’s riad. A canopy of Moroccan boule lanterns twinkled overhead, while ivory votive candles cast a warm glow over the reception tables. “One of my early directions to Rosena of Boutique Souk was for there to be lanterns everywhere—and boy did she deliver,” Lauren says. “It was truly magical.” Natural white-linen tablecloths gave way to hurricane vases filled with clouds of baby’s breath and blue and white ceramic bowls overflowing with full white roses. To distinguish the head table apart from the rest, Boutique Souk built two small olive branch and rose arches, each bearing a gilded lantern, and ditched the tablecloths in favor of a mirrored tabletop, which brought a wow factor. After a three-course meal of rustic Moraccan fare, Lauren, Jacques and their guests headed to the inner courtyard for dancing, a fire show and dessert. “We also set up a hookah lounge next to the dance floor and served late-night shawarma wraps to keep the party going into the wee hours,” Lauren says. A tip from Lauren and Jacques: “Select a location that has meaning for both of you. It’s also important to keep an open mind, because the wedding day will never go completely smoothly.” —Libby MacCarthy