Vietnamese Wedding Traditions for the Big Day
For Vietnamese couples planning their bid day, it becomes an even bigger day just because of Vietnamese wedding traditions. As an LA wedding photographer, I can definitely attest that it is quite enchanting to witness the richness of their culture and the touches of Confucian and Buddhist ideologies all come together during the ceremony.
There is quite a lot of color and a lot happens to start with:
Dam Hoi/ Engagement Ceremony
In traditional Vietnamese culture, the engagement ceremony sees the groom’s parents leading a procession to the bride’s family home. During the procession, the groom’s family members bear gifts, always in even numbers, and are stored in red tin baskets called Mâm Qua. These are then covered with red cloth as is a tradition as well. Upon reaching the bride’s family home, her parents offer their approval and invite the groom and his family so the two parties can exchange gifts.
After formal introductions are made and gifts are exchanged, the groom is then given permission to see his bride. Of course, the groom is escorted by the bride’s mother. Once the bride and groom meet up, they will then make their way to the altar and the Tea and Candle ceremony begins.
The Tea and Candle Ceremony
This Vietnamese wedding tradition honors and celebrates the ancestors as well as the relatives. An intimate ceremony of just family, this is a tradition that really brings in strong emotions as it is looked upon as a proper meeting between the families. Incidentally, this is when the couple exchange wedding rings but this is more a modern twist on an ancient tradition.
Once the vows and rings are exchanged, chrysanthemum or green tea is served to start from the oldest family member to the youngest. This tradition is culminated by lighting a phoenix candle and a dragon candle which is a sign that two families are united.
At this point in the wedding ceremony, the guests can start getting excited. In fact, if you have been invited to a traditional Vietnamese wedding, you can skip the previous two ceremonies and head straight here. Those are traditionally for family only.
The Vietnamese reception largely follows the western format where you can see the bride and groom make a grand entrance, followed by a first dance, etc. Some highlights include:
- Welcome photos – It is quite common to see the bride and groom take photos with their guests at the entrance to the reception hall. Guests are also given a copy of the photo as a thank you for attending.
- Table visits – This is when the bride and groom make their way to each and every table for some small talk and photos. The most important people will be visited first and this is also the time when the couple receives small tokens such as money envelopes.
Modern Touches in Vietnamese Weddings
In most Vietnamese weddings, the bride and groom wear the ao dai which is the traditional wedding attire in Vietnam. These are often in vibrant jewel times but modern Vietnamese brides have started wearing this in white. A stylish yet modern twist on the ao dai and the white used in contemporary wedding dresses. Another modern twist on this is the bride changing from a modern white gown into an ao dai during the reception. Other modern twists that have slowly made their way into traditional Vietnamese weddings include the cake cutting and the first dance.
Whether you decide to go for a fully traditional Vietnamese wedding or perhaps adding some modern touches to your celebration, Let’s Make a Memory can help you preserve each and every precious moment. Around LA in Orange County, we know our way around Vietnamese weddings.
Let’s Make a Memory is an award-winning wedding photography and wedding videography studio in Los Angeles. We photograph and film weddings in Orange County and San Diego County. We have been published in multiple online magazines and have been regarded as Top Wedding Photographers by Photography sites. As destination wedding photographers and videographers, we also travel to Las Vegas, Manila, and anywhere in the world to document your wedding.