On the January 19th and 20th, the eleventh edition of the biggest wedding exhibition in Bulgaria - Balkanica Wedding&Honeymoon Expo 2019 was held in Sofa Hotel Balkan.

This year for the first time in its history there was a foreign accent – the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco presented the wedding customs and bridal dresses of the country. Traditionally, though, the event arouses the interest of couples who have yet to organize their wedding in the following year. During the two-day exposition all interested attendees had the chance of meeting representatives of more than 50 companies, specialized in planning and execution of the wedding. The event was organised by "ExpoLine OOD", represented by Aneta Penny and Irini Batzaka.

Shortly beforehand, at a press conference held on January 16th and hosted by Prof. Lubomir Stoykov – chairman of the Academy of Fashion, the most important and trendy accents of this year’s BalkanicaWedding&Honeymoon Expo 2019 were presented. Mrs. Aneta Penny, who is the publisher of the "Svatba" (Wedding) magazine and co-publisher of "Diplomatic Spectrum", put emphasis on the new additions as among which is the representation of a Moroccan wedding. According to her, a partnership with an embassy for the sake of the event has never been done before. However, she said that plans are being made for it to become a tradition and for different foreign wedding customs to be presented every year.

A special guest of the event was H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui - ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria. She provided the press with a description of the Moroccan wedding and emphasized on the following: "I would like to express my delight that the Moroccan embassy has the honor to be the first one invited to present the wedding traditions and clothing of its own country in this exhibition. Our participation in it is part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the presentation of the Manifesto of Independence, which was a milestone in the process of struggle for the recovery of the Kingdom's freedom and independence and which also symbolizes the determination of the Throne and the people to consolidate its sovereignty and recover its territorial integrity."

The press conference for Balkanica Wedding&Honeymoon Expo 2019 continued with a display of selected bridal gowns from the latest collections of both Bulgarian designers and importers of world-famous wedding brands. Traditional Moroccan bridal dresses were also presented: takshita as well as unique kaftans.

The ambassador shared interesting details about these emblematic for the country pieces of clothing: "The Moroccan kaftans and takshita are of the utmost importance for a wedding because they symbolize the Moroccan originality. There is no Moroccan bride or woman who would prefer to wear anything else to weddings, big secular holidays or family jubilations.

Usually non-Moroccan designers confuse the kaftan and the takshita and mistakenly call both Moroccan kaftan. But the truth is that Moroccan women and stylists differentiate them. The takshita is a dress consisting of at least two pieces. It consists firstly of a kaftan or dfina, which is worn underneath. Secondly, of a fukia, which is put over it and is usually richly decorated with ornaments, embroidery, jewels etc. The takshitas are often worn with silken, golden or silver Mdamma (belts), decorated with gems such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

The kaftan, which can be worn on its own, is simpler and less ornamented. The Moroccan kaftan and takshita  are usually open and gauzy and can be worn with or without a belt.

In the different regions of the Kingdom, the customary stitches of the traditional Moroccan kaftan and takshita have different ornaments. The works originating from Fes, for example, are characterized by ancient originality mixed with silver or golden cord, which is still adored by the town’s women. The style of the capital – Rabat, also known as mahzania (formal), is unique because it presents a delicate kaftan, much like the ones worn by women in the palace many years ago.

Many well-known Moroccan designers have made the kaftan their specialty and exhibit their work during vogue shows in Morocco and other countries. The fashion spectacle "Moroccan Kaftan", which unifies celebrities, designers from all the world over and, of course, the media, is an annual event held during the edition of "Women of Morocco" and is dedicated to the kaftan and takshita. The Moroccan royal family is seriously involved in the preservation and development of the image of this traditional clothing, combining art, innovation and unique culture while still embracing the tradition and elegancy of the Moroccan woman. The kaftan is presently considered the formal wear for nearly all celebrations and events both in Morocco and abroad…

Yves Saint Laurent also contributed to the rediscovery and stylization of the Moroccan kaftan…"

Both during the press conference and the exhibition, dozens of kaftans and takshitas were presented. However, five of them caught the attention with their originality and precise workmanship:

White Takshita for the Bride. An eclectic mix of tradition and vogue, it comprises of two elements. A Dfina (a kaftan worn underneath), touched by the artisan "Maallema" with jewels, placed in mountings, in addition to the embroidery and accents of the master (Таiу Nta3 и Zwackmaallam). It was made with kitane – a white silken thread. The fukia on top is inlaid with different pearls and numerous Swarovski crystals. The lines (sfifa) along the length side of both dresses are handmade from golden thread. The belt is made of kitane and Swarovski crystals and Fakhrun (tortoise), which turns the dress into "high fashion".

Pink Takshita. Made of Indian sari silk. The traditional tailored takshita, with no gems is entirely handcrafted by the master, with golden thread. There are ornaments and hundreds handmade buttons along the front side length of the kaftan and fukia. It has taken a long time for this particular model to be crafted, dating from the end of the XVIII century. A higher creation of art!

A Takshita in Red Velvet. It comes from Fes. Long and straight. The kaftans from this imperial city are made of velvet, brocade, plain or embroidered silk. The neckline, cuffs and shoulders are decorated with embroidery of either golden or silver thread which continues along the frontal length of the dresses. The ornaments of the red velvet Takshita are enriched with pearls at the front and back, which gives it a feeling of luxuriance.

A Modern Takshita of Lace in Beige. An exquisite combination of the traditional and contemporary, this gown from Rabat is a genuine masterpiece. Although the modern-day Moroccan designers follow the trends of fashion and design, the distinctive Moroccan character in this model has been preserved in its entirety. The dress is with tight sleeves and a figure-hugging cut. The belt is enveloped in jewels in perfect harmony. Perfect evening gown.

A Takshita of Royal Blue Lam`e. Made of Indian sari silk and a Karite golden thread, with buttons and Berchmane lacing and amazingly beautiful embroidered motifs. The model combines the traditional with light accents of modernity.

The Moroccan woman, more and more demanding, contributes to the modernization of the takshita. Moreover, the colorful additions and types of embroidery reflect the characteristics of the dresses from the different regions of the Kingdom. The simplicity of the design holds its position as a dominating constant. The classic Moroccan modelers devote their energy to the creation of innovative takshita, which are still preferred by the Moroccan women over the works of contemporary stylists.

Now it is suitable to add that, the ambassador herself, and her colleagues from the embassy were also dressed in marvelous kaftans and takshitas both at the press conference and the exhibition.

Following the display of the models, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui gave answers to the numerous questions of the press, concerning the wedding theme.

Mrs. Aneta Penny, on the other hand, shared with them that the number of weddings in a traditional Bulgarian style has been increasing significantly. For those, ethnic Bulgarian costumes and their stylized counterparts are in demand. Such weddings are often organized for mixed marriages as well as for Bulgarians living abroad. Usually, they take place in Bulgaria, in towns such as Zheravna and Koprivshtitsa. That is why, during the exhibition, right across the stand displaying the Moroccan wedding tradition, was placed the one presenting the richness and uniqueness of Bulgarian customs.

The journalists at the press conference and the attendees of Balkanica Wedding&Honeymoon Expo 2019, and the participants, organizers and official guests of the reception on January 19th alike had the chance of enjoying the traditional Moroccan ceremony with mint tea and pastries, offered by the embassy.

Some additional information about the exhibition. This year, Balkanica Wedding&Honeymoon Expo 2019 once again supported "The Pink Foundation" founded by Mrs. Albena Krusheva in the town of Tran. The organization holds extracurricular classes workshops for children of impoverished families. Their crafts were presented on an individual stand at the event.

For more information click HERE.

Photos: "Highlife" and Consulting House "Ot Igla do Konec"

At the press conference, among the models, in the middle – Mrs. Aneta Penny, organizer of the exhibition, Prof. Lubomir Stoykov, chairman of the Academy of Fashion, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria and her colleagues from the embassy.

First row: 
the takshita displayed at the press conference;
the models of Bulgarian designers and importers of foreign brands - Blink Fashion House with designers Radi Lazrova, Mille Bridal, "Odette", with designer Donka Lazarcheva, Alegra, with designers Galya Dolapchieva and Radostina Ilieva, Victoria Bridal;
Prof. Lubomir Stoykov  with the models presented the wedding fashion;
Prof. Lubomir Stoykov and H.
E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui

Second row:
the participants in the press conference /from left to right/
- Mrs. Neli Valkova in the Moroccan embassy, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Prof. Lubomir Stoykov, Mrs. Aneta Penny and Mr. Jan Djadidi - an exhibitor, florist, who presented the trends in the field of wedding decoration and bridal bouquets;
E. Mr. Moayad Fathallah Eldalie – ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Republic of Bulgaria, and his wife Mrs. May Saied, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Mrs. Ekatetina Pavlova - chief editor of "Diplomatic Spectrum" and Mrs. Malica El Haddad - counsellor in the Moroccan embassy; H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui and Mrs. Snejana Todorova - chairwoman of the BD of UBJ /in the middle/ with participants and guests of the exhibition; t
he tea ceremony

Third row:
the cutting of the cake;
moments of the reception with the exhibitors;
Mrs. Irina Serdareva  from "Kushta na Shapkite" (
"House of Hats"); H. E. Mr. Moayad Fathallah Eldalie, Mrs. Aneta Penny, Mrs. May Saied, the Emilia and Qnis Kurkutiadi family – owners of Alfa Brides