Attending Vietnamese Wedding at Countryside

Vietnamese Broom & Bride. Photo
by trungkien0324 on
 Flickr -CC BY NC-SA 2.0
As a foreigner, it is a delightful experience when you are invited to attend a Vietnamese wedding ceremony. In Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the wedding ceremony normally will be held in fine restaurants, wedding halls or hotel grand ballrooms to show their wealth and appreciation to their guests. How about at the countryside? It is totally a different experience starting from crossing province area, overnight at your friend’s house and of course, unlimited supply of foods.
Just forget all the champagne, big fresh flower bouquets, red carpet, popular MC or Vietnamese celebrities’ appearance. Not even air-conditioned hall and bride-groom photo slideshow on giant white screen, the wedding in countryside is more rural and traditional. The ceremony normally held in front of their house or at big street areas. Days before the ceremony, people will set up some tents with plastic chairs and table and the tent will be decorated with pink or purple colour curtains and fake flowers for decoration.

Night before Ceremony

The night before ceremony, the bride and the broom normally will spend time with their guests, mostly close friends and relatives. They drink beer, soft drinks, eat Vietnamese food and dance all night long. There are unlimited supplies of beer and food during the night and this is how the bride and groom show their appreciation to their guest for making their big day more meaningful. Even the ceremony is in the countryside; the concept of saving face still exists. They are willing to spend money as to show others about one’s honour or prestige in order to be outstanding among others.
To be the only foreigner in the event can be overwhelming. You will be a centre of attraction during the occasion and everybody will over care about you. You are expected to be served with a lot of food in your bowl, such as noodles, porridge, grilled pork and many other traditional dishes. Everybody will be eager to feed you and don’t want to let your bowl empty. What you need to do, is accept what they gave you or politely refuse if you really can’t take it. At every single time of sipping beer, you are expected to say “Mot, hai, ba, Yo!” (One, two, three, Yo!) which is Vietnamese style of “Cheers”.
On that night also, your ears will be blocked with “super-cracky” sound system from open karaoke-ing system as entertainment during the occasion. The fellow older guests will choose to sing Vietnamese folk song (which some foreigners cannot take) and the youth will sing a song from their era. It does not a matter if your voice is not beautiful as Mariah Carey or Ruben Studdard, because beer, food and karaoke are such a great match during the night.
Vietnamese Wedding in Cat Ba Island. Photo by filipappeldorni
(33575168@N07) on Flickr - CC BY-NC SA 2.0

Wedding Ceremony Day

The next day, when you are still hungover from last nights party, this is the important moment for the bride and the groom in their life. This marriage ceremony normally is only for family members and close friends as witnesses of the wedding ceremony. As a foreign guest, what you need to do is just observing and following what others did and again, there will be more food served at the wedding reception.

This is such a great experience for you to enjoy traditional wedding ceremony in the countryside. Before you leave, do not forget to put some money amounted between VND 200,000 to VND 1,000,000 in your invitation envelope and hand it over to the bride as a gift and “good luck” for their marriage.
Phuc and Vy's wedding. Photo by Don Fulano (ultimateslug) on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

This articles was published in The Vietnam Guide on August 14, 2012

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