The vociferous bang of thousands of exploding firecrackers and magnificent flowing silk dragons dancing in the road.
Sumptuous feasts of auspicious-sounding dishes and sweets.
Red envelopes stuffed with cash and given out to children.
East Asians are ringing in the Lunar New Year in a big way. And many Asian brides select this auspicious time of the year to get married.
Vietnamese people celebrate the lunar year in pretty much the exact same manner as the Chinese people do. There are many similarities when it comes to wedding traditions as well.
For example, Chinese brides, both modern and classic, typically change outfits three or more times on their wedding night.
Vietnamese brides do the same. The bride, in fact, may wear four to five dresses. And the groom changes outfits too!
The traditional Vietnamese wedding dress, known as Ao Dai, is often fashioned in brilliant red and yellow.
It is embellished by intricate embroidery of golden yellow motifs that denote marital bliss and prosperity. It is interesting to note that the national dress for both women and men is Ao Dai, which is worn both for festive wedding occasions and every day use.
The term Ao Dai literally means "long dress" and it is made up of over four layers of silky overlapping fabric, which are pleated over loose-fitting trousers made from the same fabric. It is believed that the more the layers, the more wealth of the wearer. Since this form of dress in a way denotes the financial status of the person who is wearing it, some well-heeled people wear multiple Ao Dai to show off their riches!
Ao Dai has a snug fitting bodice with long slits that run down from the waist and diagonal seams that extend from the neckline to the underarm to accentuate the natural curves of the hourglass figurines.
The brides also opt for an outer robe over the Ao dai for a classic appearance. There are many necklines to opt for such as mandarin collars to complete the picture of this stunning wedding gown.
To redefine conventions, go for the bold low neck style. That will grab attention as you pace down the aisle with your partner hand in hand!
Wedding gowns are almost always red in color though brilliant pink is also used at times.
The exceptional gold trimmings add dollops of exuberance to the wedding garb. Normally the trimmings of traditional motifs, Chinese alphabets or the name of the couple are painted or stitched along the back, cuff and collar.
The bride adorns her head with the typical cone shaped hat made from dried woven leaves or the more popular saucer shaped khanh vanh. The bride and the groom change their gowns at least three times during the wedding.
The wedding trousseau can includes a western wedding gown with white tuxedo, to the Ao Dai and the evening gown with black tuxedo.
Photo courtesy of Quynh
These days, Ao Dai has attained a cult status of an elegant stately costume that accentuates all types of feminine frames. It is a popular wedding option among westerners as well, to infuse an Asian a theme into their weddings.