Sep 20, 2008


Our Vietnamese & Chinese Tea Ceremony

Our tea ceremony took place a week before our legal and western style wedding at our respective family homes.  In vietnamese tradition the bride wears a traditional dress called Ao Dai.  These days they are pretty elaborate with shiny beads and very detailed embroidery, but I chose to honor my parent's wedding and wore my mother's much simpler Ao Dai from her wedding day instead.  It turned out to be a big hit and mentioned several times during the family speeches.  The bride also typically wears a hat called Khan Dong.  I must warn you the darn thing weighed nearly 5 lbs on my head!  If you could get away with wearing a tiara I absolutely recommend doing that instead.  There's also an Ao Dai the groom could wear, but these days they usually opt for a suit and it isn't seen as disrespectful in any way.

Receiving the Bride at her Family Home - My groom's family and friends brought 6 to 8 (I can't remember exactly the number, but it was important that it was an even number) boxes of traditional gifts in red tins rented from Van's Bakery in Little Saigon.  The tins were filled with traditional candles, cakes, fruit, tea, alcohol (it has to be top notched for show :( --we used Remy Martin XO's), a bridal bouquet, a huge pig, and finally jewelry.  Luckily my MIL was already planning to remake her engagement and other jewelry as gifts for me, so it wasn't too awkward telling her that this was part of our traditional ceremony.  After receiving the gifts and welcoming the groom's party the candle ceremony takes place, followed by a tea/alcohol ceremony and speeches.  Because my family is partly Buddhist we kneeled down and prayed for well wishes from our ancestors as well.

The vietnamese ceremony took less than 20 to 30 min.  The prep work was the hard part.  My mom worried for weeks about the food that was served for our small reception afterwards.  The subtle differences between vietnamese and chinese cultures are immeasurable.  At the outset I thought it would be so simple, but it turned out to be an emotionally charged event.  Luckily everything went mostly smoothly on the day of. 

Groom's House - After the ceremony, the bride is considered to be apart of the Groom's family.  At my groom's house we followed the traditional chinese tea ceremony.  The bride along with the groom serves tea to each older, immediate family member beginning with the eldest.  The bride typically hands over the tea.  After serving each person or couple they offer red envelopes filled with money gifts.   The chinese tea ceremony was so much easier!

Both ceremonies took about 3 hours combined mostly due to the eating (asian ppl love to eat many courses) and traveling from the bride's house to the groom's.

If you have any questions on either ceremonies please feel free to PM me.  Good luck! 

Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 1Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 2

My parent's wedding.. beehives and all :)

Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 3Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 4

(4) Comments

congrats to you!!! Everything looked so beautiful :D

You are so lucky to have your mom's dress ! My mom lost her during the war. And even if she were able to keep it.... I don't think I can fit in it! :). You look absolutely gorgeous!

aww thats cute you have your parents picture :D  and that you kept the tradition.

It was sweet you were your mom's dress.  I would wear my moms dress......but she has no clue where it is?? lol.

Oh wow - you look beautiful!  I'm loving the pictures of your parents' wedding :)