Vietnamese Wedding Traditions and Customs
It is customary for the mother-in-law to bestow upon the bride pink chalk, which symbolizes a rosy future for the couple. The date and time of the ceremony is usually determined by a Buddhist monk or fortune teller.
The wedding consists of several ceremonies including asking permission to receive the bride, the procession to receive the bride, the procession to the groom’s house, the second ancestor ceremony, and the banquet party.
In the morning, the groom’s mother and a few close relatives would walk to the bride’s house with a gift of betel to ask permission to receive the bride at her house. This ceremony was often done in the times of arranged marriages to insure that the bride had not fled from the home and that the wedding was still taking place.
In the procession to receive the bride, the groom and his family often carry decorated lacquer boxes covered in red cloth to represent his wealth and which include various gifts for the bride’s family. There are either 6 or 8 boxes, but never 7 because it is bad luck.
After paying their respects to their ancestors, the bride and groom will serve tea to their parents who will then give them advice regarding marriage and family. During the candle ceremony, the bride and groom’s families union is celebrated and the mother in law of the bride will open the boxes filled with jewelry and dress her new daughter in law in the jewelry.
Finally, the groom officially asks for permission to take his new bride home and they make their way back to his house. During the banquet there is usually a 7-10 course meal and the bride and groom make their rounds to each table to express their gratitude and collect their gifts.
During this time, the bride usually wears three outfits, one modern western wedding gown, another western dress, and finally a traditional ao dai.