Explore the Beauty of Vietnamese Wedding Customs
10 min

Explore the Beauty of Vietnamese Wedding Customs

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions

A feast for the senses, Vietnamese weddings are a blend of customs, symbolism, and ancient traditions. Both the happy couple and their respective families are prominently featured in these opulent festivities. Don’t worry. We won’t leave ya hangin’. Ahead, 10 super fascinating Vietnamese wedding traditions you definitely don’t wanna miss.


Auspicious Wedding Date: Selecting the Perfect Time

Auspicious Wedding Date

First things first: Picking a suitable wedding date. To pick the ideal time and date, the parents of the bride and groom accompany them to a nearby temple. Choosing the correct wedding date is especially important and needs to have meaning that relates to success. Many factors are considered, such as:

  • Chinese zodiac signs and elements
  • Birthdays
  • Time of births


Engagement Photos: Seeing Your Betrothed’s Wedding Look Before the Big Day

Wedding First Look
Wedding First Look

Imagine the surprise of seeing the love of your life in their wedding outfit before the actual wedding…But believe your eyes! Vietnamese couples see one another in their wedding attire at the engagement photo shoot rather than getting the first glimpse when the bride walks down the aisle. In many instances, the groom even goes dress shopping to help the bride pick her wedding dress. Yep, it’s true. NBD.


The Engagement Ceremony: Making it Official

mam qua, Vietnamese Wedding Traditions
Engagement Ceremony: Mam Qua

Almost step-by-step a mirror of the wedding, the engagement ceremony marks the official announcement of the couple’s intention to marry. The groom’s family will fill up mam qua, gorge red tins draped with red cloths filled with i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e gifts symbolizing prosperity, wealth, and luck such as areca nuts, fruits, cakes, and a roasted pig. The groom has to, ofc, offer these presents before seeing his bride. A fair trade to see his love, amiright?


The Arrival of the Bride: Gatecrashing Fun

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions
The Arrival of the Bride

Okay, here’s the down-low: On the wedding day, the groom, accompanied by his groomsmen, makes his way to the bride’s house to bring her to the ceremony, right? Buuuuuut, there’s a twist. The bride’s family will challenge the groom to take part in a series of playful challenges set by the bridesmaids. The best part? These challenges add a lighthearted and joyous atmosphere to the day and include puzzles, riddles, or physical tasks such as push-ups or jumping jacks. Holy moly. This is to show that he has the strength to take care of his future wife because why not? Don’t worry, he’s got your back, bb.


The Five Bows: Unity and Respect

Vietnamese wedding traditions
The Five Bows: Ngu Qua

Two words: vows and vibrance. During the wedding ceremony, the couple performs the Ngu Qua, the Five Bows ritual. They bow before their parents, grandparents, and other elder relatives to show gratitude, seek their blessings, and honor their wisdom. Each bow represents a significant milestone in life-birth, teething, marriage, and finally, death. Plus, this ritual symbolizes unity, respect for elders, and the continuation of family values. Let’s be real: It’s a heartwarmingly beautiful moment that emphasizes the importance of family and filial piety.


The Tea & Candle Ceremony: Honoring Ancestors and Seeking Blessings

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions, The Tea & Candle Ceremony
The Tea & Candle Ceremony: Honoring Ancestors and Seeking Blessings

Calling all tea and candle lovers! The to-be-wed couple bows and offers their parents tea while expressing their love and appreciation. The elders accept the couple’s marriage by sipping the tea and providing guidance for a long-lasting, happy union. The groom is then introduced to the family’s ancestors by offering incense to them. Finally, the couple lights a dragon and phoenix candle to commemorate the bonding of their union. In contrast to the phoenix, which stands for luck, love, happiness, and social standing, the dragon is a symbol of life and expansion.

And JSYK, the bride’s family will also offer gifts to the couple afterwards. Traditionally, they are red envelopes of money, other congratulatory gifts, and words of wisdom such as a large gold-plated sign called Song Hy, or “double-joy” bestowed on two people and two families. In our honest opinion, this is one of the most compelling and emotional components of a Vietnamese wedding.


The Wedding Attire: Colors and Elegance

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions, Ao Dai, Khan Dong
The Wedding Attire: Ao Dai and Khan Dong

All we gotta say is that one of the most eye-catching aspects of the Vietnamese wedding is the Ao Dai wedding outfit. The bride typically wears an elaborate and vibrant red Ao Dai, often adorned with intricate embroidery and patterns. The groom complements her elegance with a matching blue silk Ao Dai or a modern suit inspired by traditional designs. The vibrant colors of red, gold, and pink are favored, symbolizing luck, happiness, and prosperity. To top off the already perfect outfit is the Khan Dong, a circular headdress. Just ridiculously beautiful in a dozen different ways. Agreed?


Welcome Photos and Table Visits: The Role of the Bride & Groom on the Big Day

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions
Welcome Photos and Table Visits

The bride and groom stand near the reception entrance and take “step and repeat” photos with each of their guests as they enter. The bride and groom visit each table to welcome, thank, and pay respect to their wedding guests, who present them with envelopes prepared with cash. (this is quite common in many Asian weddings). The celebration officially starts after the bride and groom have finished their rounds! The rest of the wedding reception often follows a similar format to a Western reception, including:

  • A first dance
  • Parent dances
  • Toasts
  • Cake-cutting
  • Dancing


The Reception: Celebrating with Feasting and Fun

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions
Wedding Toasts and Dinner Feast

FYI: It’s raining food at Vietnamese weddings with the dinner feast being an average of 8 courses of Chinese food, served family-style and available throughout the night. Oh, heck yes. This delectable Vietnamese cuisine often consists of crunchy spring rolls, banh mi, pho, sticky rice, boiled chicken, and braised meat. To top this off (uh, yea, there’s more), guests also raise their glasses in toasts to the newlyweds’ happiness with the bottle of Remy Martin cognac often found at each table. Younger guests may even play drinking games. Make sure you come with an empty belly. Just sayin’. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.

Also worth noting: at Vietnamese weddings, good is imbued with symbolic meaning. For example, weddings often feature phu the or su se cakes, which are made of flour with a green bean, sugar, and lotus seed filling. Always sold in pairs, these tender square cakes are encased in green dong leaves that represent eternal love and tied with scarlet ribbons, a symbol which represents the binding force that unites a man and woman. Oh– and did we mention that when the first slice of cake is cut, they feed each other some bites of cake to express their commitment to each other (awww!!)? 


Lion Dancers: Premium Entertainment

Vietnamese Wedding Traditions, lion dancers
Vietnamese wedding Showcase Lion Dancers

Fact: Lion dancers coupled with traditional music ensures a joyful and festive atmosphere. Many Vietnamese wedding receptions will showcase lion dancers, and trust us, they’re ah-maaaazing. These dancers wear gigantic lion costumes similar to the dragon costumes you see during the Chinese New Year. The lion dancer performance blesses the newly married couple, wishing them a long and joyful marriage. *Lets out an audible ‘ooooo!’*

Lively and full of color, Vietnamese weddings are a beautiful blend of cultural heritage and love, creating a breathtaking experience for everything involved. Vibrant decorations, heartfelt ceremonies, AND oh-so mouthwatering food? What’s not to love? So, if you’re ever invited to a Vietnamese wedding, brace yourselves and be ready to immerse yourself in a world of rich customs and traditions that will leave a lasting impression on your heart. Wins all around, we tell ya. Go ahead and get to attending one—ya know you want to.

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5 min

10 Drop Dead Gorgeous Indian Wedding Traditions

Indian Wedding Traditions

Found: An absolutely stunning wedding celebration that is brimming with a diverse and intricately designed palette. Lavish Indian weddings are back and bigger. than. ever. From the delicious wedding fare to the exquisite dress and décor to the Indian bridal jewelry, no two Indian weddings are the same. They’re the flawless blend of cultural heritage and modern influences, where traditions dating back centuries are somehow seamlessly woven into the joyous festivities. Behold: the unique rituals and traditions that make Indian weddings an unforgettable (and timeless, we must add) multi-day affair.

01. Give Your Skin a Serious Treat With Haldi

Meant to bring good luck, the bride and groom families gather separately to spread a thick yellow paste made with oil, water, turmeric, and chick flour over the couple. Bad news? This magical mixture goes everywhere. We’re talkin’ over the skin, clothes, and hair. But let us tell ya, we are not mad about it whatsoever. Because the good news? It’s meant to brighten the bride and groom’s skin tone while bestowing blessings upon them in preparation for the engagement party. Bonus good news? This neat ritual has proven to reduce stress, leaving both brides and grooms alike feeling ~ super ultra ~ relaxed and ready to tackle absolutely anything that comes their way on their wedding morning! 

Indian tradition, Haldi

02. Let Your Hands Do the Talking at The Mehndi

Indian brides have been adorned with henna for over 5,000 years. Taking place one day before the nuptials, this ceremony involves applying unbelievably gorge henna designs on the bride’s hands and feet. We’re suckers for elegant decorative art and the details are just *chef’s kiss*. While the designs reflect floral motifs that bring good luck, love, and fertility, it’s also typical to conceal a partner’s name in the artwork and watch as they search for it afterwards; this practice is thought to symbolize how patient their marriage will be. Legend has it that the darker the mehndi design looks later, the stronger a bride’s bond will be with her husband. Noted.

Mehndi Indian Wedding Tradition

03. Dance Your Heart Out at The Sangeet 

Think: a night of endless music, captivating dances, and a sprinkle of cheeky competition between the two families. Of all the wedding events, the Sangeet night is the most exhilarating. Everyone revels in the joy of the upcoming union by performing traditional folk dances and singing songs in honor of the couple. These heartwarming dances are often choreographed.  Fittingly, Sangeet directly translates to “sung together”. Who doesn’t love wholesome, family moments filled with full-blown performances? Is there any better way to release all that wedding planning stress and have fun with your loved ones? No, we think not. 

sangeet Indian wedding traditions

04. Arrive in Style With The Baraat

Hear us out: the groom’s arrival at the bride’s venue is a striking festival in and of itself. The Baraat is a lively procession where the groom arrives on a stunning horse or in luxury car, accompanied by his family and friends dancing to the beats of the dhol, a traditional drum. Talk about a dramatic entrance! A special rice toss called akshat is used to greet the groom’s fashionable party. The groom is then adorned with a floral garland and given a dazzling plate with a lit lamp called an arati. Sometimes, a tilak, or a dot on the forehead, is also administered. An iconic entrance? Abso Freakin’ Lutely!

Joota Chupai Indian WEdding tradition

05. Let the Wedding Ceremony Begin with Varmala

Symbolizing their acceptance of each other as life partners and warmly welcoming each other into their families, the bride and groom exchange breathtaking floral garlands. We’re obsessed with the lush beauty (and not to mention, smell) of these flowers. The bride and groom’s brothers, close family members, and friends toss in a bit of spice to the occasion by carrying the couple on their shoulders and swaying back and forth while exchanging garlands, making it an even more unforgettable challenge. Geez Louise. Well, you know what they say: nothing good ever comes easy. 

Varmala Indian Wedding Garland

06. Indulge in a Little Chaotic Fun With Joota Chupai

Ever had the craziest urge to steal a groom’s shoes as soon as he takes them off to enter the sacred stage because why not? Yea, us too. If you’re into pulling the groom’s leg, well, er – shoe in this case, here’s the down-low: the sisters, cousins, and bridesmaids of the bride are the culprits and hide the shoes after stealing them STAT. On the other hand, the groom’s family is expected to ensure that the females do not succeed. FYI, the aim is to get some money from the groom. Eventually, the groom begs and the girls ask for a handsome sum of money—20, 50, even 100 dollars—in exchange for his kicks before they’re released to him. Let’s. Freaking. Go. 07.

Joota Chupai Indain wedding Tradition

07. Awe at the Gorgeous Mandap

Orchestrated with a plethora of unique themes and color schemes, the enchanting Mandap is a temporary structure constructed for the purpose of the marriage ceremony. Occasionally, the grand structure is elevated and always supported by four pillars which represent each of the four parents. A small fire is lit in the centre of the Mandap which represents Agni, the Hindu god of fire that gives life to marriage. Trust us, your upcoming wedding photo’s for Insta are begging you to have a shoot there. BEGGING. Like, oof! Have you ever seen a Mandap adorned with flowers, greenery, fabric, crystal, and more? 10/10. 


08. Get Blessed By the Gods With The 7 Steps of Saptapadi

To signify the strength of their friendship, the bride and groom have their garments tied together– typically the bride’s veil and the groom’s sash. Following this, they walk seven circles around the sacred fire, each representing a unique blessing they desire the gods to gift them. These 7 sacred Mangal Pheras beneath the Mandap include taking vows of love, loyalty, and mutual respect with each encircling. Honestly, does anything sound more holistic? 

Saptapadi Indian Wedding traditions

09. Shower Rice Over Each Other With Talambralu

How fun does showering your bride or groom with a delicate mixture for a hot sec sound? All you need is rice, turmeric, saffron, or even pearls, and you’re set to go. Think about the satisfaction! You know we’re right. But most importantly, this tradition signifies fertility, prosperity, and happiness for the couple’s future life together. And we’re totally here for it.

10. Have Your Breath Taken Away By The Bride’s Lehenga or Sari

Chasing her dreams while honoring her roots at the same time, the new-age Indian bride isn’t just a showstopper anymore, she is also slaying as the showrunner. Rarely settling for anything less than perfect, an Indian bride’s attire is just as ornate and traditional as the groom’s, with intricate beading and delicate fabrics. The bride might wear a Lehenga or Sari in shades of red, representing good luck and happiness, or gold, representing commitment and fertility. Her attire is sewn with 24-karat gold thread and adorned with jewels. That combo of beautifully embellished shining mirrors, crystals, and sequins is ofc, totally fabulous, and everything you could want in a wedding dress. Un. real.

Lehenga or Sari Indian Wedding Traditions

With their kaleidoscope of colors, lively music, and intricate rituals, Indian weddings are truly a sight to behold. It’s a truth universally acknowledged. Just sayin’. And while the physical, spiritual, and emotional union of two people is the very foundation of an Indian wedding ceremony, it’s also about the beauty of the two families coming together through prayer and celebration. Whether you’re an active participant or an observer, attending an Indian wedding is an unforgettable journey into the heart and soul of India’s rich cultural heritage. Count. Us. In.

Meet Your Wedding Wingman!

Vanessa Mir is the lead photographer and founder of Heirloomsnaps. She loves her job—like really, really loves her job—especially capturing timeless moments with people who are in love. Her enthusiasm for the wedding industry sparked her to found Wed Mayhem, and she looks forward to being an essential planning resource for couples.

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