Vietnam culture has incorporated many European wedding traditions, but still the Vietnamese version is somewhat different from the others. First of all, family ties in Vietnam are very strong. Therefore, a wedding is a really big event, to which numerous relatives are invited. Often, all the friends and acquaintances are invited to the wedding, so don’t be surprised if you pass by a Vietnamese wedding and get invited to participate. 300 people at a Vietnamese wedding is a normal thing, while the rich can afford to invite even more people.
The celebration takes place in cafe, restaurant or hall in a hotel. Since it is warm in Vietnam, it is often an outdoor cafe or just a decorated area. Sometimes in villages wedding tents are just put in the middle of the street. So the neighbors have to pass on mopeds right through the aisle between the tables to get to their houses. Although it is unlikely that they would manage to pass, because they are immediately invited to the table to drink for the newlyweds.
Reception halls are nicely decorated for weddings. A beautiful arch welcomes the newlyweds, the canopy or fence is decorated with fabrics (often white and red), chairs are often tied with bows.
Usually in the hall there is a stage and a podium. The reception is held by a host. The traditions include the newlyweds cutting the cake together. The guests can leave their wishes in a special album.
We have selected for you a few photos of wedding halls for people with different financial backgrounds (the first two are for very wealthy people, the third – for middle class ones, the forth – for those who are not rich), so you can get a real idea of the Vietnamese wedding:
The Vietnamese do not consider the registration ceremony to be very important, but the reception afterwards is a truly special event. The bride for can change some dresses during the reception. Apart from a white dress, she can put on red, pink or bright yellow dresses (and for sure, some of them are traditional female Vietnamese ao dai costumes).
At the beginning of the reception, the bride and groom stand at the entrance to the hall and welcome numerous guests, who gift them money in special envelopes. At the entrance there can be a special box in the form of a heart to put gifts in. In this case, the costs can be fully recouped, and if the relatives of the newlyweds are generous with gifts, the husband and wife can even gain something.
While the bride and groom meet the new guests, their friends and relatives have fun, eating and drinking beer. The dishes depend on the financial situation of the newlyweds and their families. Regular daily dishes (rice with chicken, spring rolls, lao soup, etc.) can be served, as well as seafood and barbecue (the Vietnamese have special clay braziers for barbecues, usually put on the floor or on the tables, if they are specially covered with metal sheets).
There are more beer than champagne on the tables. Sometimes the only drinks offered for guests are just beer and iced tea. After all, beer is a cheap drink, and the more expensive drinks are for wealthier tables.
Karaoke is often sung at weddings. It’s worth mentioning that karaoke is generally a very popular entertainment in Vietnam. There are special clubs where people gather to sing, and many even have equipment (and huge speakers) at home. Vietnamese songs are usually romantic and melodic, although not very pleasant to most of the Europeans. Of course, the wedding is not complete without singing some of the favorite hits.
Wedding photo shoot
Wedding photo shoot is a must for every Vietnamese wedding. It’s a special pre-wedding shoot for a bride and a groom only.
The Vietnamese take the photoshoot very seriously. A whole team can work together with a photographer: lighting technicians, make-up artists, assistants who manage the bride’s dress, and sometimes even a “director”, who orchestrates the shooting process using a megaphone.
The bride changes a few outfits for a photoshoot. They can be modern white wedding dresses, as well as traditional Vietnamese ao dai costume.
Beautiful locations are chosen for the shoots, such as the seacoast, areas near the temples, beautiful natural landscapes, famous squares and monuments in the city. During the reception, the photos are shown to guests on a large screen. Often a large poster with the bride and groom greets guests at the entrance to the reception hall along with the newlyweds themselves.
Examples of wedding photo shoots:
Photographer and videographer are often invited for the reception itself, to get photos and videos as a memory.
Foreigners are rare guests at Vietnamese weddings, though the Vietnamese sometimes invite their colleagues and friends from other countries to the celebration. Even some casual acquaintances can be invited for the webbing, so if you’re ever in Vietnam, you have a chance of taking part in one of this receptions, since the Vietnamese are very friendly, open and hospitable people.