The Art of Vietnamese Wedding Crashing

by Sharon -- January 15, 2010

Jason and I crashed two Vietnamese weddings during our 5 week stay in the lovely country.  We were technically invited to each wedding (not by the bride or groom, of course, that would actually be legit), but no invitation is really needed to attend these festivities.

City weddings and countryside weddings are two very different animals.  Whereas city weddings last for one fairly short evening, country weddings last for two days.  Our experience with the city wedding was more similar to a wedding you would see back in the States; it was held in a venue (a hotel) that provided wedding accommodations such as tables, chairs, management, catering, decorations, etc.  The main difference was the live six-part dance crew performances on stage during the entire wedding; performing everything from traditional Vietnamese dance to what looked like lindy hop.  There was an amazing 5 course meal and unlimited beer that kept appearing in your glass thanks to the ever so attentive catering staff.

The country wedding was quite a different story.  For one thing, I only made it to the first night.  The first party was just for the “family” which ended up being about eight packed tables, in addition to a full live band and karaoke.  The Vietnamese locals were so happy to have us foreigners there that they enthusiastically wanted to drink and dance with us the entire time.  We would cheers with a different person/table/police sheriff every few minutes.  We were some hot commodities, that was for sure.  The worst part was that the only drink being served was rice wine.  I can only compare it to a very, VERY strong version of Soju, the Korean rice wine.  The next day I proceeded to experience the worst hangover of my life that actually ended up lasting two days, so unfortunately I missed the second day festivities which involved over 1,000 guests.

Interesting Facts:

-In Vietnam, when a woman gets married she moves out of her parents’ home and into the home of her husband’s family.  Here, she dutifully spends the rest of her life serving her new family.  On the day of the wedding, the woman’s parents are known to shed many tears since they are basically saying good-bye to their daughter.  The new bride does not usually get to visit their parents’ homes after they marry.

-In Vietnam, people very rarely move out of their family’s homes.  If you’re a woman, you get married and move into your husband’s family’s house.  The newest wedded couple lives at the parents’ house until another child gets married, then the newest couple moves in.  If you’re the youngest son, you live at your parents’ house forever.

-When someone gets married, their family members invite just about everyone they know, thus creating a ridiculous number of attendees.  There are no formal invitations or RSVP’s which makes it easy for our new best Vietnamese friend, Rot, to crash many weddings for free food and booze.  “I’m Aunt Linda’s cousin’s son-in-law…”

Random Thought of the Day: I am writing from Phnom Penh, Cambodia- the third country we have hit so far.  Cambodia is a country that is extremely poor.  We were expecting a significant culture shock entering this new country, but instead we found ridiculously expensive cars and higher prices in Phnom Penh.  Granted, any major city is usually more modern than the rest of the country, but this particular city looked like it had reserved all of the money in Cambodia for its own mansions and brand new apartment buildings.  We were privileged enough to meet up with a friend’s cousin in Phnom Penh who showed us around the city.  We learned some staggering facts: Car taxes are outrageous.  Our new friend’s Lexus SUV cost approximately $200K, while his girlfriend’s Toyota Camry cost $60K.  Not to mention that the town was riddled with Lexus SUV’s and Toyotas (in fact we haven’t seen so many cars in a city since back at home).    Where are we?

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One Response to “The Art of Vietnamese Wedding Crashing”

  1. interesting! Wow sharon, rice wine all night? I think I would be sick too.

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