Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations


Explore the vibrant array of wedding customs in Vietnam, where age-old traditions intertwine harmoniously with contemporary celebrations. From colourful ceremonies to meaningful rituals, each tradition encapsulates the cultural essence and cherished values of Vietnamese couples as they begin their matrimonial journey. 

Here are 10 traditions that define weddings in Vietnam.

1. The Wedding Date

Choosing a wedding date marks one of the initial stages in wedding planning, particularly within Vietnamese traditions. It holds significant importance for couples, who seek a date that symbolizes prosperity and good fortune. The process often involves consulting with the couple’s parents and visiting a temple to determine an auspicious date and time.

Various factors including birthdays, Chinese zodiac signs, and elemental influences are carefully considered to select the perfect wedding date. This meticulous decision-making process ensures that the chosen date aligns harmoniously with the couple’s hopes and aspirations for their future together.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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2. Proposal Ceremony (Lễ Dạm Ngõ)

The proposal ceremony (Lễ Dạm Ngõ/ Lễ Xem Mặt/ Lễ Chạm Ngõ) serves as a formal union between two families, acting as a platform for cultural exchange and understanding. Traditionally, the groom’s family visits the bride’s family to deepen their acquaintance before deciding on marriage. Unlike in the past, there’s no need for matchmakers or elaborate offerings, with simple betel and areca nuts sufficing. While regional customs may vary, the essence remains unchanged – to honour the bride’s family with carefully selected gifts. This gesture underscores respect and signifies the beginning of a new familial bond.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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3. Engagement Ceremony (Lễ Ăn Hỏi)

The engagement ceremony (Lễ Ăn Hỏi/ Lễ Đính Hôn), a pivotal tradition in Vietnamese marriages, marks the official announcement of the couple’s betrothal. It symbolises the bride’s transition to becoming the groom’s “fiancée” and the groom’s request for acceptance as her future husband. Gifts are exchanged between the families, signifying mutual recognition of the impending union. Following the ceremony, the couple is regarded as betrothed, eagerly anticipating their wedding day when their union will be formally celebrated before both families.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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4. Tea Service and Candle Ceremony (Lễ Vu Quy)

The tea service and candle ceremony (Lễ Vu Quy) is a beautiful Vietnamese tradition marking a pivotal step in the wedding process. It’s a series of interconnected ceremonies held at the bride’s home, signifying respect, gratitude, and the official union of the two families.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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The festivities begin with the Bride-asking ceremony (Lễ Xin Dâu). During this ceremony, representatives from the groom’s family present betel leaves and traditional Vietnamese wedding gifts, symbolizing the formal request for the bride’s hand in marriage. This ritual reflects the meticulousness and reverence inherent in Vietnamese wedding customs, passed down through generations with utmost care and respect.

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The ritual ceremony (Lễ Gia Tiên), is a time-honoured tradition in Vietnamese weddings where the couple pays respects to their ancestors and seeks their blessings for a prosperous future together. Offerings of incense, fruits, and symbolic items are made at the family altar, followed by prayers and rituals led by a spiritual elder. This ceremony honors family heritage and underscores the significance of familial bonds in the couple’s shared journey.

The bride procession ceremony (Lễ Rước Dâu), is a joyful and symbolic procession where the bride is escorted from her family’s home to the groom’s house or wedding venue. Accompanied by her family and friends, the bride travels in a beautifully decorated sedan chair or car, adorned in traditional bridal attire.

5. Wedding Ceremony (Lễ Cưới)

The wedding ceremony (Lễ Cưới/ Lễ Thành Hôn) crowns the Vietnamese wedding traditions. Following family rituals, the couple throws a celebratory banquet to share their joy. Guests indulge in a sumptuous feast, exquisite wine, and betel nuts. The bride and groom personally visit each table, expressing gratitude and officially introducing themselves as a married couple. Upbeat Vietnamese wedding songs fill the air, heightening the joyous celebration.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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6. Post-Wedding Ceremony (Lễ Lại Mặt)

The post-wedding ceremony (Lễ Lại Mặt/ Lễ Nhị Hỷ), serves as the final ceremony, typically held a few days following the main wedding ceremony. This touching tradition originates from the groom’s family’s affection for their new daughter-in-law. To alleviate any feelings of homesickness, the groom accompanies his bride back to her parents’ home. 

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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7. The Wedding Gifts

In Vietnamese weddings, monetary gifts transcend mere presents. They’re heartfelt well-wishes from loved ones, tucked into small envelopes, and are usually placed in a box at the entrance for guests to drop in. It’s also believed that giving these gifts helps balance karmic debts, showing the importance of giving and receiving with gratitude for a harmonious community.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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8. Áo Dài

The traditional Vietnamese Wedding Áo Dài holds deep cultural significance. In this attire, the bride typically wears a striking red Áo Dài, while the groom opts for a handsome blue ensemble. Completing their look is the iconic Khăn Vấn, a tiered headpiece resembling an open-top turban, crafted from layers of fabric. It’s not uncommon for family members and wedding guests to also dress in Áo Dài attire, further enriching the celebration. However, nowadays, couples are embracing more modern versions, incorporating unique features that reflect their individuality and style.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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9. “Song Hỷ” Word (Double happiness)

In traditional Vietnamese weddings, the symbol of Song Hỷ is a beautiful representation of doubled joy, merging two characters symbolizing happiness. Rooted in Chinese culture, Song Hỷ reflects the shared happiness of both the bride’s and groom’s families coming together. This symbol, often depicted in Han script, holds significant presence throughout Vietnamese weddings, gracing wedding invitations, newlywed homes, and ceremonial cards with its profound meaning of unity and joy.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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10.Betel Leaves and Areca Nut (Trầu cau)

The areca nut and betel leaf hold such significance in love and marriage in Vietnam that the phrase ‘matters of betel and areca’ (Chuyện trầu cau) is synonymous with matrimony. The act of chewing the areca nut serves as the catalyst for discussions between the parents of the groom and the bride, marking the beginning of conversations about the young couple’s journey into marriage.

Top 10 Vietnamese Wedding Traditions: Cultural Insights and Celebrations
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In Vietnam, weddings are not just celebrations; they are a profound expression of familial bonds, cultural pride, and timeless traditions. As couples exchange vows amidst centuries-old customs and heartfelt rituals, they honor the past while embracing the future, creating memories that will be treasured for generations to come.

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