Traditional Vietnamese wedding ceremonies are soooo different from the average "Western" wedding and as promised, I'm sharing about Kym's brother's traditional Vietnamese wedding that we attended in our recent holiday in Vietnam.
At Kym's brother's wedding, the ceremony began with the groom's family going to the bride's home where she and her close family were waiting. When we arrived, both families went to a room with an alter at one end, and stood on either sides of a large table covered in gifts to the bride and groom. Each gift was a different bouquet or platter of food to symbolise the feast and celebration about to take place.
Once everyone was in the room, the bride and groom's fathers introduced each member of their families. The bride and groom's mothers then adorned the bride in jewellery, gifts for the occasion. The bride's father then led the bride and groom in a prayer, facing the alter, to receive a blessing from ancestors and recognise the couple as now being married. The blessing was the last essential part of the wedding ceremony. The ceremony concluded with the bride's family giving the newly married couple gifts, primarily money and gold, which help the couple to 'get started' in their marriage.
The ceremony was simple and meaningful. The legalities of marriage in Vietnam are not included as part of the ceremony, and can take place separately with a bit of paperwork. What's essential at the ceremony is the presence of the family members to acknowledge the new commitment taking place.
The equivalent of the Western 'reception' took place immediately after the ceremony. It was short and sweet with a massive banquet over the space of a couple of hours, as well as some entertaining Hollywood-inspired moments, including indoor fireworks, a rotating platform for the bride and groom to toast on, and a whole lot of dancing to a great band. The reception is an opportunity for wider members of the families, and the community, to recognise the couple as married. For this reason, eloping in Vietnam is not an option- the paperwork doesn't matter as much as the family and community being present and validating the wedding.
Have you ever been to a wedding in a different culture to your own? What did you think?