The Vietnamese Traditional Wedding is totally different from American and Western style. It is one of the most important ceremonies in Vietnamese culture with influence from Confucian and Buddhist ideologies.
It is usually includes quite a few formal ritual observances because it is not only an important day to the couple but also to both families. In general, there are 3 main ceremonies:
1. Le dam ngo (The parents meet each other)
Le dam ngo actually is a simple meeting between two families. The groom’s family asks the bride’s family to let the couple dating. The couple will have time to understand each other as well as they want before married.
In general, this meeting is a chance for both families to talk and know about each others. The groom’s family do not need to bring luxury gift, they just have to bring areca nuts and betel leaves. In Vietnamese customs and traditions, betel and areca is considered as betrothal gifts.
2. Le an hoi (Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony)
Vietnamese strongly believe in date and time which will bring to them the best luck. That’s the reason why the parents always go to the fortuneteller what date and time is best for their children, hoping everything will go smoothly.
Le an hoi usually happens 1-2 weeks before the wedding. The groom’s family visit the bride’s family with round lacquered boxes known as betrothal presents. The betrothal presents are carried by unmarried girls or boys. Boys represent for fiancé bearing the gifts and girls represent for fiancée receiving the gifts. The gifts include: areca nuts and betel leaves, husband-wife cake, wines, tea, fruits, stiky rice and other delicacies which covered with red cloth. One of the most important gift is the whole roasted pig which placed in a large tray.
After receiving the gifts, the young couple prays in front of the bride’s family altar to ask for approval of fiancée ancestors, then they give each others engaged ring. Then both family enjoy the party which prepared by the bride’s family. It is also expected that some of gifts are returned to the fiancé family for luck before the fiancé family leaves.
3. The Wedding ceremony
On the wedding day, the groom’s family and relatives go to the bride’s house with a lot
of gifts wrapped in red papers. These gifts are same with those of the engagement: areca nuts and betel leaves, husband-wife cake, wines, tea, fruits, stiky rice… The persons hold these trays are also carefully chosen, usually they are happily married couples.
The bride will dress red traditional wedding Ao Dai. Men could be in their suits or men traditional AoDai.
After the introduction of both families, the groom’s families ask permission for their son to marry his bride. The master of the ceremony (usually a respected person among the bride’s relatives) instructs the bride’s parents to present their daughter. Then the bride then follows her parents out. The couple should pray before the altar ask their ancestors for permission for their marriage, then express their gratitude to both groom’s and bride’s parents for raising and protecting them. Then, they bow their head to each other to show their gratitude and respect toward their soon-to-be husband or wife. The couple receipt gift from each other family such as golden bracelets, necklace, ear rings,… The wedding couple now on start a new family.
After the wedding ceremony is over, there will be a party at the groom’s house. Some traditional Vietnamese wedding party is celebrated at their houses and other is celebrated in the restaurant.