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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vietnamese Wedding

I was lucky enough to attend a Vietnamese-style wedding on Saturday. Many things happened that I didn't fully understand because I don't speak the language, but what I did observe was very interesting.

The festivities started at the bride's home with her whole family present: aunts & uncles, cousins, nieces & nephews. The groom & his family showed up in a car decorated with flowers, much like we decorate a newlywed car in the US.

After some formalities between the two families, including exchanging gifts & making speaches, the bride finally appeared wearing a traditional Vietnamese wedding dress. The groom's mother adorned the bride with gold necklace, earrings, & bracelet. Then, the members of both families gave the couple envelopes full of money. I had my own red envelope with money inside ready to give to the happy couple, but never got the chance.

The couple left in the decorated car soon after, & the rest of us crammed into various minivans, & we were off to the reception.

The reception hall was huge & full of people. The above photo only shows about one quarter of the room.

After a show of dancers (apparently employees of the reception hall), the bride & groom took the catwalk up to the stage for the remainder of the ceremony: cutting the cake, sharing a glass of champaign, accepting of toasts. By now, the bride had changed into a Western-style wedding gown. The groom was still in his original suit & tie.

Just like a wedding reception in the US, the guests sat around large decorated tables, ate dinner, & exchanged pleasantries. Well, I imagine that people were exhanging pleasantries. I couldn't understand them. Amazingly, almost none of the guests paid attention to what was happening on stage. They just continued their meals & conversations, unimpressed by the goings on at the head of the room.

After the stage events, the bride & groom stood outside the reception hall, under a heart-shaped arch, taking photo after photo with each guest as they left. I was asked to be in several of the photos. They all seemed very happy that I was there, & I was honored to be their guest.

1 comment:

Hyp0xia said...

You could be writing about any Vietnamese wedding. Sounds like it was the standard affair in every way.

There's usually a place at the reception in which to deposit lì xì. Regular guests don't generally attend the ceremony. I know I had to ask the bride where to put my lì xì when I last attended a Vietnamese wedding.