Although some Vietnamese couples prefer organizing modern Asian wedding ceremonies, the vast majority of them decide to stick to traditional ones. And why wouldn't they? Vietnamese wedding traditions and customs are so unique that it would be a shame not to honor them.
Furthermore, in Vietnamese culture, families are involved in the wedding as much as the bride and groom themselves. It isn't particularly unusual as people in this country believe that holy matrimony isn't solely a union between a man and a woman. They believe it's a union of their entire families as well. There are plenty of other beliefs and traditions associated with this sacred day. Here, we have gathered ten of those of the highest significance.
1. The Wedding Date
In most countries, the bride and groom are in charge of deciding upon the wedding date. But not in Vietnam! It's popular for the parents to take the couple to a temple where a monk or even a fortune teller will choose a date for a ceremony. Several factors play into when the wedding takes place, including the Zodiac signs of the newlyweds, their birthdays, and more.
2. The Engagement Ceremony (Dam Hoi)
It's customary for the groom's parents to lead a procession to the home of the bride's family. Upon arrival, the groom and his family will ask for permission to marry. Should they are given one, they will receive an invitation to come inside where gifts are exchanged, and the ceremony can continue.
The members of the groom's family typically carry gifts. Vietnamese people believe that the odd number of presents brings bad luck, so they pay special attention to ensure they have bought an even number. Per tradition, these are stored in red tin baskets, otherwise known as Mam Qua, further covered by red pieces of cloth.
Before he officially gets the green light to see his bride, a groom must show the gifts to her family members. Once that has been dealt with, a bride's mother escorts her to her husband-to-be. The groom then presents his dear with a bouquet, and the couple finds themselves on their way to the altar for the Tea and Candle Ceremony.
3. Tea and Candle Ceremony
Vietnamese wedding traditions and customs, such as Tea and Candle Ceremony, are dedicated to the beloved couple and their elders and ancestors. This particular event is when a formal meeting between two families occurs. It's also the time for the newlyweds to exchange their vows and rings. After that, the bride and groom serve the families with Chrysanthemum tea or Green tea. The couple should always serve the oldest members first to show respect and appreciation. Once everyone has sipped on some tea, newlyweds receive money and jewelry. At the end of the Tea and Candle Ceremony, they light a dragon and phoenix candle, officially symbolizing the unity of families.
4. The Wedding Dress (Ao Dai)
Ao Dai is the name of a traditional Vietnamese wedding dress. Both the bride and the groom can wear it, although the color varies slightly. Brides typically wear a red Ao Dai, while grooms wear a blue one. As an accessory to the dress, they wear a headband resembling a halo - or rather, Khan Dong.
5. The Wedding Ceremony
It's not unusual for couples of different cultures, one of which is Vietnamese, to organize another wedding ceremony after the Tea and Candle one. It gives the bride a chance to wear a white wedding dress and the groom to wear a tuxedo. As far as the venue is concerned, it tends to be influenced by the couple's religion, with Catholic churches possibly being the most popular choice.
6. The Reception
Vietnamese wedding traditions and customs regarding reception don't differ much from those in other cultures. The format is as follows:
- The grand entrance
- Bride and groom's first dance
- Giving toasts
- Cutting cake
- and more.
7. The Wedding Photos
Upon the arrival of each guest, a couple will take a photo with them at the venue's entrance. The photos are, later on, printed out and given to the guest as thanks for showing up and supporting the newlyweds on their big day.
8. Table Greetings
As a token of appreciation, the bride and groom will visit each table at the reception and greet their guests. They will go table by table, giving toasts and paying respects to the most important person sitting at each table. While the couple's at it, the guests will typically present them with envelopes packing money.
9. Cognac, cognac, cognac! Food, food, food!
Vietnamese people are big on alcohol, especially cognac. In fact, it's nothing short of unusual for the tea served to actually not be that, but rather this alcoholic beverage. Cognac and a ton of food are considered a standard part of Vietnamese wedding traditions and customs. As far as food is concerned, there are no less than eight courses served during each reception in most cases.
10. Thoughtful Decor
A wedding venue decor usually consists primarily of two colors - red and gold. These two shades combined are thought to represent ''double happiness'', thus guaranteeing a good start to a marriage. Incense and candles are part of the decor, as well.
Prepare for Life After the Wedding
The ceremony is just the beginning of what awaits you - life together with your significant other. It's hard to say what will happen after it, what you'll do, where you'll create a life for yourself. Japan, for instance, could prove the right place to begin anew with your new partner in crime. And you don't even have to stress about making a move there. As long the experienced international movers are guiding you through the process, simple relocation to this beautiful country is not only possible but also effortless.
But enough about that! If your wedding is fast approaching, now's the time to focus on nothing else but planning your reception! Perhaps, you've decided on including some of the traditional features. If so, taking note of the most common Vietnamese wedding traditions and customs is bound to be of immense help.