Looking Into the Vietnamese Wedding Traditions

Vietnam Wedding Tradition

Over the last few decades, Vietnamese wedding traditions and the concepts of marriage and love have morphed considerably. Cohabitation is now more common and previously taboo concepts such as pre-marital sex, single mothers, and even same-sex relationships are now more accepted especially in urban areas.

One thing that hasn't changed about Vietnamese wedding traditions is the elaborate preparation and complex arrangements that go into planning a wedding. Wedding traditions in Vietnam also play a central role even though many of the customs are dying out.

Pre-arranged Marriages — A Dying Wedding Tradition in Vietnam

In the past, the groom's side of the family would ask a professional matchmaker to go to the girl's family and ask if the girl was available for marriage and if she would be interested in the potential groom. However, nowadays this isn't very popular except in the very rural regions of Vietnam. Back in the day when Vietnamese wedding customs and traditions were strict, pre-arranged marriages were advantageous because they brought families together. This allowed families to pool resources and protect assets.

Divorce is also taboo for most Vietnamese. With the exception of millennials, older generations will generally tough it out and make a marriage work. The divorce rate amounts to millennials is quite high. A study conducted by the Vietnam Institute of Social Sciences shows that 60% of divorces in Vietnam are by in the millennial age group.

Once the match has been made, a first official meeting is held closely followed by the engagement party and then the wedding itself.

The Engagement Party

On the day of the engagement party that is also known as the tea ceremony the bride's family gets dressed and waits for the groom's family to arrive. The groom's family arrives at the bride’s house and assembles outside carrying the gifts they have brought along with them. A family representative of the groom then goes up to the door, knocks, and explains the reason for their presence. The family of the groom then hands over the gifts to representatives of the family of the bride. Vietnamese wedding tradition dictates that a roasted pig should be included as part of the gifts.


The family of the bride then takes the gifts into the home and places them on an altar that has been prepared beforehand. The groom’s family follows them into the home. Once inside, a representative of the groom's family stands up and asks for the permission for their son to marry the bride. A member of the groom's family then shows the gifts to the bride's family. This representative also introduces other members of the groom's family. A representative of the bride's family then introduces members of her family.


Family members of the bride then light candles and burn incense. The parents of the bride then pray and ask the ancestors for permission to proceed with the marriage. This is followed by a prayer by the couple seeking permission from their ancestors. After this, the father of the bride gives a speech signifying acceptance of the groom. Both families also exchange cloths containing betel leaves and areca nut which signifies that the engagement is sealed.


Once this is done, the couple gives tea to the bride's parents and grandparents. During this process, the parents and grandparents will give words of advice to the couple. The same is repeated with the groom's parents and grandparents. Soon after this, the groom's family welcomes the bride with a gift of jewelry. At the end of the engagement party, the couple thanks their parents and the ceremony ends.

The Vietnamese Wedding Ceremony

Vietnam Wedding Tradition

The wedding ceremony is the big day and will typically be held a venue that is able to accommodate a large number of guests. In traditional Vietnamese wedding customs and traditions, the groom's side of the family has the responsibility of providing the resources needed to plan for the marriage. In the Vietnamese culture, this has somehow changed in today's modern setting. These days, it is up to the couple to pay for the wedding. During the wedding ceremony, the couple wears a formal traditional Vietnamese wedding dress, a long gown known as Ao Dai. The food will almost always have pork on the menu.

Unlike weddings in the US and Europe, where the couple will have a registry specifying the kind of gifts they would like and how they like them given, in Vietnam, gifts are given as cash in an envelope. There is usually a box at the wedding ceremony where guests can insert their envelopes filled with money.

Welcome photos are popular at Vietnamese wedding receptions. The couple will stand at the door and have their photos taken with the guests as they walk in. At the end of the ceremony, to show gratitude and respect, the couple walks to each table and thanks the guests for coming.