It’s been a little over a week here in Morocco, but our time has been filled with hundreds of new experiences. Earlier last week, I was lucky enough to experience an event I’d never been to before: a traditional Moroccan wedding.

I thought I was in for a normal evening, but the next thing I knew, one sister was fixing my hair, another was smearing on my eyeliner, another was adjusting my chartreuse kaftan (a tradition Moroccan outfit), and the youngest was picking out my jewelry. After a few dozen pictures with my oldest sister, Wi’am, a la senior prom, we were off to her childhood friend’s wedding.

When we reached the tent, I clung to Wi’am like moss on a tree, but it was still pretty obvious that I was the new kid in town. However, once the bride entered, the guests didn’t give me a second look.

She was beautiful and dressed very elaborately. To start the ceremony, she was lifted into a large box and danced around the tent, then placed in front of the groom. The couple ate sweets and drank milk from wine glasses, and the groom decked out the bride in jewelry. The couple then sat and watched the rest of the celebration. Guests danced and took pictures and talked and ate – chicken, bread, pigeon, vegetables, sauces, stuffing, rice, juice, tea, fruit and sweets. The party lasted until seven in the morning.

By the end I had made new friends and seen a different perspective of Moroccan culture. Here were things that I know are in almost every culture but hadn’t yet seen: dancing, flirting teens, blaring music and laughing grandmothers. Even though I was a stranger, I was warmly welcomed and given a taste of the incredible hospitality of the people of Morocco.

Kate is a third-year English and environmental science minor