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Traditional wedding clothes since the Nguyen dynasty

While traditional clothes of Vietnam have always been very diverse depending on the era and occasion, it is known that after the Nguyen dynasty, women began to wear elaborate Áo dài for their weddings which were modelled on the Áo mệnh phụ (royal Áo dài) of Nguyen dynasty court ladies. The style of the Nguyen dynasty has remained popular and is still used for modern weddings. The difference of the Áo mệnh phụ from the typical Áo dài is the elaborateness of its design (usually embroidered with imperial symbols such as the phoenix) and the extravagant outer cloak. With this gown which is preferably in red or pink, the bride usually wears a Khăn đống headdress. The groom wears a simpler male equivalent, often in blue.

Previous to the Nguyen dynasty, it is likely that women simply wore fancy, elaborate versions of Áo tứ thân.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vietnamese Wedding Video

Vietnamese Traditional Wedding

Vietnamese traditional wedding strictly follows a procedure that has existed for hundreds of years. It reflects the traditional idea of propriety and conjugal life.

In the past, especially among the upper classes, a marriage was arranged not by the couple themselves but by their families based on each side’s economic and social status. The purpose of marriage was not only the settlement of the couple’s life but also the establishment of an alliance between two families. Even today when young people can freely choose their partners, the first step towards marriage is always obtaining formal permission from the two families. Therefore the organization and preparation of a wedding is an important affair in which every family member must contribute (the family here is the extended family consisting of the nuclear family and all the relatives from the father’s side).

A traditional wedding has six stages: nap thai (also called cham ngo in casual speech. The groom’s family visits the bride’s family to formally request permission for him to marry her. The groom has to present his future wife with betel leaves and betel-nuts, the symbol of the unbreakable bond of marriage, as a proof of his sincerity), van danh (also called an hoi.The couple are formally introduced to each other and to their future spouse’s family. This is also a time for two families especially the parents to get to know each other), nap cat (the groom’s family informs the wedding plan for the bride’s family to decide), thinh ky (the bride’s family announces their final decisions about the wedding), nap te (representative of the bride’s family bring what necessary for the bride in the wedding and some gifts to the bride’s family at the appointed time and date), than nghenh (this is the chief part. Wedding rituals are performed before the ancestral altars of two families.

The couple then officially become husband and wife). In the past, omitting any of these stages was a grievous violation of propriety that scandalized the families involved but nowadays only three most important stages (nap thai, van danh, than nghenh) are kept to save time and money.

Traditional Vietnamese wedding rituals and customs are a mixture of native and Chinese cultures and are strongly influenced by Confucian morality. Their purposes are to ensure the conjugal happiness for the couple and to form close relations between two families. The groom comes to the bride’s house with an elder of his family who has had a happy family life to pay homage to the ancestors of the bride’s family and to pay respect to her parents.

Then the bride is taken before the ancestral altar of her husband’s family where she will be “introduced” to her husband’s ancestors’ spirits as the new family member. After that, the couple will share a cup of rice wine and a small dish of steamed sticky rice as a promise to share happiness as well as hardship. After the ceremony is over, there is usually a wedding party with the presence of members of both families and some family friends to celebrate the union of not only the couple but also the two families.

Phan Ke Binh, “The Customs of Vietnam”, Van Hoc Publisher
Huu Ngoc and Lady Borton, “Wedding Customs”, The Gioi Publisher

Order of ceremony

Welcome (Bride’s representative)

Present the gifts (Groom’s representative)

Accept the gifts & open gifts (Bride’s parent)

Incense offering (Father of the Bride)

Present the bride (Mother of the Bride)

Candle lighting (Groom and Bride fathers)

Pay respect to ancestors (Bride and Groom stand at the altar and bow to the ancestors)

Wedding ceremony (Myly Nguyen – Authorised Marriage Celebrant)

* Vows and Ring Ceremony

* Signing of the Register
Congratulations and Jewellery (dowry) for the bride
Tea Ceremony (Groom & Bride serve wine to the parents)
Blessing from relatives and friends

Vietnamese Wedding Today

Today, a lot of Vietnamese couples have their wedding ceremony done in Temples or Churches which is very much similar to American and Western style, including exchanging vows and wedding rings. However, they still maintain Vietnamese traditional ceremony in the bride's home before heading to temples or churches.

A wedding banquet is scheduled in the evening at a hotel or a big restaurant. It is always a delight feast that all relatives, friends, and neighbors are invited. A music band is usually hired to play live songs.

At the banquet, the groom, bride, and their family are once again introduced to the guests and everyone will drink a toast. Dinner will be served at the tables.

During the reception, the groom, bride, and their parents will stop by each table to say thank to their guests. The guest in return, will give envelopes containing wedding cards and money gifts to the newly wedded couples along with their blessing. A lot of weddings nowadays are followed by a dancing party, which is opened by the groom and the bride's first dance. The party does not recess until very late at night. The newly wedded couples then leave for their honey moon.

Vietnamese Wedding Reception

If you are invited to a Vietnamese wedding reception at a Chinese restaurant, here are a few tips to enhance your experience.

• Arrival time: The 10-course banquet (and it’s always 10 courses, fewer and you risk seeming cheap, more and you’re pompous) starts two hours after the time announced on the invitation. This is the prime manifestation of the Vietnamese "rubber clock." All Vietnamese know this. If the invitation says 6 pm, they show up at 7:45. It's the pale-faced American guests, who are always punctual, that will arrive at 5:59 to an empty restaurant, and will sit there wondering if those Vietnamese are holding out on them and having a pre-reception party somewhere.

• The audio experience: In all the dozens of Vietnamese wedding receptions I have been to in the past decade, only two had used classical musicians. The rest used pop/dance bands—and bad ones. The rule of thumb is: the worse they are, the louder they play—to mask their mistakes, no doubt. Coming home with your ears ringing is a ritual. So bring your ear plugs. As a matter of fact, bring a whole box of disposable ones. You’ll make a tidy profit at your table.

• The gifts: Vietnamese only give cash gifts (in the form of checks). It’s the one good thing about the Vietnamese wedding. It saves the guests the trouble of having to shop for presents, and the bride and groom the trouble of returning 9 of the 10 electric fans they will get. Now how those presents are presented is another matter. During a break in the ear-piercing music, the bride and groom, their parents, and entourage will visit each table. The parents or their representative will introduce the bride and groom, and one elected person at the table will stand up and give a little speech, bestowing best wishes on the couple. This person is usually the oldest person at the table, so unless you’re eager to give speeches, act young. This is also the perfect time to lie about your age. After this speech, guests at the table will hand over the wedding cards (with the checks inside) to one of the attendants in the entourage. The current rule of thumb for the gift amount is at least $50 per person in the guest party, more if you’re related or really close to the couple. This is one reason the Vietnamese wedding is almost always a positive cash-flow investment for the happy couple.

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions

On the morning of a wedding in Vietnam, the groom's mother visits the bride's family and offers them two gifts. The first is a special plant, that represents respect, and the second is pink chalk, which is the color of happiness.

On his wedding day, as the groom heads to collect his bride, he picks up friends and family along his way. They arrive at his future wife's house bearing wedding presents of jewelry, clothing and money.


Flowers Brides Often Choose

If you are newly engaged and planning wedding details such as silk wedding flowers and unique reception centerpieces then you must read this article. This can be a wonderful, exciting, and challenging time. Like brides to be, you will want everything to be perfect. When planning your wedding you will find it to be a major undertaking.

The process is like another full time job. Brides have many decisions to make. These can be big things to small things. Brides have a budget to consider or their family will. All of this with a time line to get everything done! For brides this is not an easy task. In this article I have simplified the process of selecting flowers. This includes choosing your bouquet style and choosing table centerpieces as well as gifts for the special family and friends.

I have found that brides are requesting more colorful and large bouquets. These range in styles from tussie mussies, to hand-tied bouquets. It is up to the individual taste and creativity the brides want.
Bouquet accessories have become more popular. These can range from clear and colored Swarovski crystal embellishments to semi-precious jewels. I have found more brides are requesting that designers incorporate special family keepsakes like fabrics, heirloom jewels, and other important things into the bridal bouquet.

Brides are choosing bridesmaid bouquets smaller than normal. They in turn are putting their money into their own bouquet. Some brides choose silk flowers as different flowers can be made in similar shades of the primary bridal color. Currently brides are taking the colors from the bridal bouquet and adding them into the reception. Some brides are choosing large party drinks in complementary colors. Or they may choose exotics like single orchids, single bird-of-paradise, and other interesting flowers in set in clear water.

There are more and more brides are giving the reception centerpieces to family and friends as gifts. Many will choose silk flowers because this way the people closest to you will have that keepsake for many years. Here are some flowers that brides are currently choosing for their bridal bouquet:

Miniature Calla Lilies. These come in a multitude of different colors. Orchids. These can range from the exotic to the trendy Hydrangeas. These are a beautiful choice in a few different colors. Roses. These flowers are always a great traditional standby. Lilies. These are less traditional than roses can be combined nicely with non-traditional florals. Gerber daisies. These come in bright colors but are usually only seasonal.

By Victor Epand

Tea Ceremony in Vietnamese Wedding

Tea Ceremony (Groom & Bride serve wine to the parents)

While tea has always been an essential part of Vietnamese life, for commoners Vietnamese tea culture never became as complex or bogged down with rituals as its counterparts in Japan or China. Nevertheless, a traditional wedding is about the only time in a Vietnamese person's life that a formal tea ceremony is essential.
In The Vietnamese Wedding the Groom and the Bride in front of all their family and friends will serve tea (or wine) to their parents. Their parents would take turn to give their blessing, advice about marriage and family to the couple and give the newly wedded value gifts such as money in a red envelop.

The groom then pours tea for the couple, first into one large bowl then into one cup for bride. They drink the tea as they are watched closely by their family and friends. The offer and acceptance of tea is a very important ritual in Vietnamese culture. It denotes the commencement of important interactions and events.
The tea is prepared specially by the host, and to refuse tea is considered an affront.