What are Vietnamese Wedding Traditions

What are Vietnamese wedding traditions? They involve more than just two people joining their lives. The families of the bride and groom see a wedding as a time when two families blend together as well. With several lovely customs and rituals that take place at a Vietnamese wedding, the event is a time to witness two lives joining as one.

The wedding date is generally chosen by the parents of the bride and groom based on a number of events, including the age of the couple and astrological signs and portents. Well before the wedding, the groom's family visits the bride's family with gifts of cakes, tea, wine and sweets. The number of trays is important in this tradition, and the groom's family must make sure there are an odd number of trays, since even numbers are considered not as lucky. Each tray is covered with red cloth, also for luck.

The bride dresses in traditional Vietnamese wedding attire, essentially a formal "ao dai" or long dress. The wedding dress is made of silk and fits over loose trousers. Wedding dresses are generally made of many layers of rich material and can be red or pink. An elaborate headdress called a "khan dong" adorns her head. The groom wears traditional clothing in blue. Gold silk thread often decorates both types of wedding clothing, creating the couple's names, Chinese symbols or other images of love and beauty.

On the morning of the wedding, a procession led by the groom's representative (usually a male relative) and followed by the groom and his family, go to the brides house carrying decorative umbrellas and gifts. Fireworks are often lit to scare away evil spirits. Then the couple kneels before the alter in the bride's home and prays to their ancestors for blessings. The bride and groom then serve tea to their parents, and several speeches are given about marriage and family. A candle ceremony is held, symbolizing the union of two people into one life.

At the wedding reception, it is traditional to give money in red envelopes to the bride and groom. This is a custom originally from China that symbolizes prosperity and good luck. Elaborate feasts are prepared, often several courses. Vietnamese wedding traditions about food are largely symbolic, usually representing happiness or fertility. Lobster, seafood and roasted pork and duck are common, with rice dishes, shark fin soup, bean soup sea cucumber and vegetables and noodles.

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