Chances are good that you have a Vietnamese friend within your circle of friends. That friend will eventually get married and invite you to their wedding. This article is to familiarize you with the Vietnamese culture and traditions.
1. Tea Ceremony - Traditional Vietnamese couples hold a Tea Ceremony to give thanks to ancestors and parents of both parties. The groom's family arrives at the bride's house early in the morning, then the groom's representative would ask the bride's parents to accept their gifts and to give their daughter's hand in marriage to the groom. Once accepted, the bride's parents invite the groom's family into their house where the Tea Ceremony would then take place.
In the unlikely case that you are invited to the Tea Ceremony, you CANNOT be late. Tea ceremonies are reserved for immediate family members and very special guests. Respect your couple and show up early.
2. Wedding Reception - Be Late, Be About 30 Minutes Late
Don't be that lonely couple sitting at table #20 looking around and wondering if you are at the right wedding because you are the only one there at 6pm as stated on the invitation. Vietnamese are notorious for being late. Your invitation will say 6pm but reception will not start until 7:30pm. Just think that 6pm is the start of the cocktail hour. Vietnamese use this time for the groom and bride to take a posed photo with their guests as the guests enter the wedding venue. Since Vietnamese weddings have typically 150-300 guests, make sure to not spend too much time congratulating the couple as you line up to take a photo with them so that the rest of the guests can have their chance.
Vietnamese will not have a wedding registry. Checks or cash are much more appreciated as they will help pay for the wedding or help the couple get started with their new life's journey. $100 per guest is recommended since food, drinks, and wedding venue rental alone would cost the couple that much. During dinner time, the parents and often times part of the wedding party will escort the bride and groom to each table to thank the guests and to receive their gifts; this is your opportunity to congratulate the couple and bless them with your gift.
If you love Asian food then you will not be disappointed as a typical Vietnamese wedding will have a 5-7 course meal. Soup, fried soft-shell crab, duck, steak, and fried rice are some of the most common dishes. These dishes are brought to the table and are served in a "family" fashion where each person serve themselves. If you are seated with a group of older Vietnamese, then it is proper etiquette to let them get their portion first, unless they insist otherwise. Use the communal spoon and not your own utensils when reaching into the dishes.
5. Dress Up!
Dressing up for a wedding is fun and exciting. When you dress your best to a wedding, you're showing the couple that you are making an effort. Another good reason to dress well at the wedding is because you will have your photos taken with the bride and groom as soon as you arrive at the venue. You will also get a copy of that photo to take home, so you will want to look your best!
If you or someone you know is planning a Vietnamese wedding and would like some assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us :) Please check out our wedding videos below!