Vietnamese Wedding Traditions

A magnificent melding of historic and contemporary traditions – that is what you’ll experience at a Vietnamese wedding in the United States. From the Ao Dai (Vietnamese wedding dress) to the elaborate Vietnamese Tea Ceremony, a Vietnamese wedding is a great representation of beauty and cultural richness. At LifeStory.Fim we have had the honor and pleasure to provide photography and cinema for many Vietnamese weddings. Here is what you can expect:

Dam Hoi | Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony

A foundational Vietnamese wedding tradition if for the groom’s parents to lead a procession to the bride’s familial home. There, the groom and his family will ask for the bride’s hand in marriage. En route, gifts are carried by family members in even numbers and kept in red tin
baskets (called Mâm Qua) covered with a traditional red cloth. Upon receiving approval, the groom and his family are ushered inside to exchange gifts and advance with the wedding
ceremony. It is tradition in Vietnamese weddings for the groom to gift a roasted pig to the bride’s family.
Next there will be some formal introductions. Then, the groom will present his gifts to the bride’s family before receiving permission to see his bride. The bride will be escorted (typically by her mother) to meet her bouquet-carrying groom. Together, they will make their way to the Vietnamese alter to begin the Tea and Candle Ceremony.

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Vietnamese Wedding Tea & Candle Ceremony

One of the most important and sentimental parts of a Vietnamese wedding is the tea and candle ceremony. This ceremony melds the celebration of marriage with honoring the family’s ancestors and relatives. The tea ceremony is considered to be the official meeting of both families. Additionally, it is when the bride and groom exchange their vows and rings. After the exchange happens, both the bride and groom will serve green or chrysanthemum tea as a sign of respect. The begin serving the eldest family members first. Next, family members will give the bride and groom money, family heirloom jewelry and words for a long-lasting marriage. The lighting of a big dragon and phoenix candle -symbolizing the fusion of two families – concludes the tea and candle ceremony.

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Ao Dai | Vietnamese Wedding Attire

The Vietnamese wedding dress – or Ao Dai – is one of the most iconic symbols of the Vietnamese wedding. This traditional Vietnamese wedding dress is worn by both the bride and groom during ceremony and/or during the reception as they make their rounds to greet and thank their guests. It boosts a fitted top with floor length panels and a pair of accompanying pants. Along with the Ao Dai, the couple will often wear a circular headdress called a Khan Dong. More recently, Vietnamese brides have chosen to wear white versions of the Ao Dai as a nod to both the traditional American wedding dress and the Vietnamese culture.

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Vietnamese Wedding Ceremony

In addition to the traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony, Vietnamese-American couples often hold another ceremony where the bride wears an elegant white dress and the groom wears a traditional tuxedo. The majority of these ceremonies are performed in Catholic churches, but the type of wedding will depend on the religion of the couple.

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Vietnamese Wedding Reception

Vietnamese wedding receptions usually follow the same format as a typical American reception. The schedule usually includes a grand entrance, first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, toasts, games, desserts, dancing and more.

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Vietnamese Welcome Photos

Welcome photos are very popular at Vietnamese wedding receptions. For these photos, the couple will be situated at the reception entrance and will take a photo with each of their guests. These take-home photos are printed prior to the evening’s end as a thank you gift to all guests.

Vietnamese Table Visits

Table visits are another tradition that happen at most Vietnamese wedding receptions. As another thank you and sign of respect, the couple visits each table to greet their wedding guests. The couple’s most significant family and friends will be visited first. At each table a toast will be given acknowledging the most important person at each table. In return, guests often give the bride and groom envelopes filled with money at this time. When the bride and groom have made all their rounds, the party officially begins.


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