Even though there are some changes in society and even in the traditions of Vietnamese people nowadays, the wedding is still one of the most important events in one’s life. Fortunately, I’ve had the chance to attend weddings in Vietnam and in America, so I’ve noticed some differences in the way each start a relationship and the way they prepare for a happy ending-the wedding.
In Vietnam when you are dating a girl and you are thinking about having a serious relationship with this girl, what you need to do is to ask for her parent’s permission first then if they say yes, good for you, but when they say no, you will have a really hard time proving your love for their daughter. The wedding is planned about 6 months to 1 year ahead. During that time they will have the engagement ceremony which is about a few months before the wedding ceremony. They pick out the outfit for the wedding and will take a beautiful wedding album, pick out the rings and they do everything together. This is a huge difference compared to Western culture that the groom is not going to see the bride in her dress until the wedding day as well as taking wedding photos.
Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony
Traditionally, the groom’s parents will lead a procession to the bride’s family home where the groom and his family will ask for the bride’s hand in marriage.
Gifts are carried by family members in odd numbers and stored in a Mâm Quả, or red tin baskets, and covered with a traditional red cloth (They believe that odd numbers and red color will bring good luck to the bride and groom).
The gifts are different but basically here are some things that would appear in any engagement ceremony. They are a special kind of wedding cake (Bánh phu thê), betel and areca, fruits, a roasted pig.
After receiving approval, the groom and his family are invited inside to exchange gifts and proceed with the wedding ceremony. After a few formal introductions, the groom will present his gifts to the bride’s family before receiving permission to see his bride-to-be. The bride will be escorted, often by her mother, where she will meet her groom who will be ready to greet her with a bouquet in hand. The two will then make their way to the Vietnamese alter to begin the Tea and Candle Ceremony.
Vietnamese Wedding Dress
One of the most iconic symbols of the Vietnamese Wedding is the Vietnamese Wedding Dress or the Ao Dai. The Ao Dai is often in red color and worn by both the bride and groom during the Vietnamese Wedding Ceremony and/or during the reception as the couple makes their rounds to greet and thank their guests. In modern weddings, the bride can wear the Western white wedding gown if she wants to but Ao Dai is still the best choice because they are very simple, comfortable and easy for them to move around during the wedding. The Ao Dai has a fitted top with floor length panels and a pair of accompanying pants. With Ao Dai, the bride and groom will often wear a circular headdress called a Khan Dong.
They serve all kind of different foods in the reception. Many couples choose to have the reception at a nice restaurant but some of them still want to have the reception at their house with the help of their family members.
Boiled chicken, steam sticky rice with green beans or our traditional cake Banh chung, salad, soup, spring rolls, Vietnamese ham are the main dishes of the reception. The drinks for the receptions are various too. They do serve alcohol like beers and wine for adults and soft drinks for kids. Another tradition that happens at most Vietnamese weddings receptions is the table visits. As a thank you and sign of respect, the bride and groom will make their way to each table and greet their wedding guests. The most significant family and friends will be visit ed first and a toast will be given acknowledging the most important person of each table. It is traditional for guests to give the bride and groom envelopes filled with money at this time. Once the bride and groom have made their rounds, the party officially begins!
Traditionally, gifting is made in the form of money or gold, a symbol of prosperity, health, and happiness, in a card/envelope. The money is referred to as “money warding off evil spirits” and is believed to protect the person of younger generations from sickness and death.
The wedding cake
You will see wedding cake in every wedding nowadays. Wedding cakes come in a variety of sizes, depending on the number of guests the cake will serve. Cake designers use various ingredients and tools to create a cake that usually reflects the personalities of the couple. They are decorated beautifully with flowers and messages that couples want written on their cakes.
There will be differences in different areas of Vietnam but they all share something in common in the wedding day. I hope those above information would help you understand more about Vietnamese Wedding traditions and Vietnamese tradition in general.