Something old, something new – Weddings in Vietnam

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Walking through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, the bright pink sequins and short ruffled dresses show that Vietnamese weddings are not as traditional as they once were.

Nguyen Vu Thuy Duong has been married in Vietnam and says the wedding industry is now catering more to the bride and groom’s individual style.

“It’s not as traditional as before, the planner will create the wedding with a theme to show the couple’s individual style and how fabulous the wedding is,” Mrs Duong says.

“It’s a really big industry here; we have a lot of wedding planners these days because people want to have a very impressive wedding.”

Australian, Quentin Derrick, has lived in Vietnam for 11 years and was married in a traditional Vietnamese ceremony.

“The food is really important, if you have good food and entertainment people will say you had a good wedding,” Mr Derrick says.

“They all sing at the wedding as well; there’s always karaoke or a live band; all of the guests will get up and sing.”

A hand-made wedding dress sits in the window of photography shop 'Dept Wedding'.

A hand-made wedding dress sits in the window of photography shop ‘Dept Wedding’.

In Vietnam wedding photos are taken months before the actual ceremony and shown at the reception.

“At the wedding they have a slideshow or video showing the couple’s photos, these photos can cost between US$450 and US$1500 which is a lot for Vietnamese families.” Mr Derrick says.

“Wedding planners use a lot of props to try and differentiate themselves from their competitors; they have a lot of original and handmade pieces.

“You will see vans driving around with a whole team of photographers and assistants and they’ll have around 17 different dresses on display and props like antique violins and pushbikes.”

Props of all kinds are used in Vietnamese wedding photo shoots.

Props of all kinds are used in Vietnamese wedding photo shoots.

Nguyen Cong Huy owns ‘Dept Wedding’ – a quaint wedding photography business in Da Nang.

Mr Huy agrees that wedding photos are a vital part of any marriage in Vietnam.

“The wedding industry in Vietnam is growing rapidly and there is a lot of wedding planners in Vietnam now today,” Mr Huy says.

“Vietnamese people have a lot of choice in wedding planners.

“We have really strong competition so I have to prepare a very good result for my clients.”

Wedding photos are taken months before the ceremony is held.

Wedding photos are taken months before the ceremony is held.

According to 23 year old university student, Le Tranh Quynh Trang, some traditions remain rigid in Vietnamese culture.

“Most women in Vietnam get married at 25 to 28 – marriage is absolutely important in Vietnamese culture,” Ms Trang says.

“People who marry many times are seen in a negative way, so people tend to emphasise marriage as being a once in a lifetime event.

“Even if a husband treats his wife badly, she will not want a divorce because she is afraid of being seen in a negative way.”

Ms Trang is studying in Hue and has almost finished her degree in the English language.

“Getting married is still very important to me but I don’t think it is the most important thing in life,” Ms Trang says.

“If I am unhappy in my marriage I will fight for my rights, my freedom and my happiness.”

Weddings remain a beautiful aspect of Vietnamese culture with traditional ceremonies changing and developing over time.

Quaint wedding photography business 'Dept Wedding' in Danang

Quaint wedding photography business ‘Dept Wedding’ in Danang.

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Anna Hartley

Anna Hartley is in her third year of a dual Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in International Relations and German. Anna has a passion for travel and human interest stories and her goal is to work in print and television news and current affairs. Anna will graduate in July of 2015 and is already freelancing for local newspapers and searching for cadetships. Ultimately she has ambitions to work internationally, for the ABC or at a major national newspaper such as The Australian.

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