Posts Tagged ‘tradition’

Tea Ceremony at Bride’s Home

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

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Pro Pics: Groom’s Tea Ceremony 2

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Pictures taken by Mitch Ranger. Please be patient for them to load!

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Pro Pics: Groom’s Tea Ceremony 1

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Pictures taken by Mitch Ranger. Please be patient for them to load!

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The Groom Tea Ceremony

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Powered up from the nap on the limo bus, it was time to get the ceremony going again. We arrived at the groom’s house and started the procession to be accepted by his ancestors.

These photos were taken by Mitch Ranger.

We pulled up to his family’s home to be greeted by the guests.

Groom's home

The groom’s house has a sign that says, "tan hon" which is Vietnamese for essentially "Just married" since we were spiritually married at the bride’s home.

Vietnamese sign at Groom's residence

We got off the bus in procession as the guys hold onto the remainder of the dowry. Firecrackers go off again to let everyone know that we’re there.

Firecrackers

Bridal Party procession

Bridal Party procession

After the bridal party and the newlyweds’ parents enter the home, the family and then the guests follow suit.

Guests enter after the bride and groom

Inside the home, the representative welcomes the guests and explain the proceedings in front of the groom’s ancestors’ altars.

Everyone gathered inside the groom's home

His parents also welcomed the guests. First, his father spoke, then his mother.

Everyone gathered inside the groom's home

There was a break in the formality when his mother said thank you to the guests for coming to the marriage of "Donny and Kevin". She was so used to saying it that it rolled off her tongue. Everyone found some humor in it as he hugged his brother.

His mom cracking up because she said he was marrying his brother

I had to laugh too

Hugging his new wife

Candles were lit and I was introduced to each ancestor.

Lighting Altar candles

Introduction the the Altar

Then, tea was given to his relatives and they then gave us lucky gifts and advice.

Offering tea

Offering tea

Offering tea

Offering tea

Once all the tea was offered, we asked the judge to step forward and marry us legally.

Tea Ceremony Details

Friday, September 4th, 2009

These photos were taken by Mitch Ranger. As you can see, the main colors in the morning were red and gold for traditional luck. The Vietnamese attire, called Ao Dai, added the punches of color.

A nice little collage of the ceremony

Wedding Tea Ceremony Collage

Signs in front of the bride and groom’s homes, respectively.

Bride's Home Sign

Groom's Home Sign

My ceremony dress and the bouquet his mother made for me.

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Bride

We wore the ornate Vietnamese Ao Dai in the morning.

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Ao Dai

Traditional wedding dowries include the Betel Fruit

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Betel Fruit

Everything is wrapped in red cellophane and covered in red cloth since red is LUCKY!

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Lucky Red Items

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Lucky Red Items

Jewely offering for the dowry

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Jewelry

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Jewelry

Other fruits to share between the families

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail:Fresh Fruit

Chinese pastries

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Pastries

Tea to offer to the family

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Tea

Décor straight from Vietnam.

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Colorful lanterns

One of the Buddhist figures on the altars at my mother’s home.

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Buddhist figures

One of the altars at his parent’s home.

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Altars

A roast pig is always part of the Vietnamese dowry.

Wedding Tea Ceremony Detail: Roast pig

The Bride Tea Ceremony

Monday, August 31st, 2009

After he succesfully made it through the door game, the guys and his family piled into the house where the tea ceremony commenced. At the bride’s house, the groom’s family asks the bride’s family for permission to marry her to their son. (Full explaination of the ceremony here.)

These photos were taken by Mitch Ranger.

In a Vietnamese ceremony, the bride’s house has a sign at the front door saying "Du Quy" which essentially means "home of the bride".

Vietnamese Sign for Home of the Bride

Our ushers carried in the roast pig, a traditional dowry item.

The pig

In Asian culture, the mother of the bride is the one who takes her to her groom. My mother walked me down the stairs.

Then, my grandpa (the Bride’s representative), introduces the bride to the guests.

My family representative

Me

The guests

The guests

His parents tell my mother that they will love me as their own and wish to include me as one of their family members. At times, this was pretty emotional.

Groom's parent's asking for permission

Groom's parent's asking for permission

My mother was the tearjerker for sure, though. She said some private words and then granted him her blessing to marry me. They hugged, then I hugged =).

Groom's parent's asking for permission

Groom's parent's asking for permission

Caught little moment.

Sharing a moment

The representatives of each family light a candle and place it on the alter.

Lighting the candle

Jewelry, which is a significant part of the dowry, is then placed on the bride.

Placing a necklace on the Bride

Earrings are of the most significance to a Chinese bride. The groom’s mom offers the jewelry to the bride’s mom. In our family tradition, the bride’s mom then offers the groom’s mom to help her put on the earrings. (If it looks painful, it was. They were the screw-on type and they both had claws.)

Placing earrings on the Bride

Then it was our turn to light incense to my ancestors.

Lighting incense to honor my ancestors

After being accepted by the ancestors, we offered my family tea. Each family member accepted the tea and then offered us either advice or good luck wishes. The oldest couple goes first, then parents, then other immediate relatives.

Offering tea to my great aunt

If the room was dry, my mother changed that. She gave him an origami $2 heart, signifying that we were now two people with one life. In the middle of the heart was a dollar coin that my late grandmother had dipped in gold for her granddaughters’ husbands to hold safe.

Offering tea to my mom

Mom giving him the heart

More tea offerings

Offering tea to my uncle and his family[*]
Offering tea to my uncle and his family

Offering tea to my aunt

After we offered the tea, he got a dose of what it takes to be a woman. He tripped all over his traditional Ao Dai.

Ao Dais are tricky

Afterwards, the pig was cut in half to feed the guests. It is traditional to consum half of the offerings at the bride’s house and take the rest back to the groom’s house.

Cutting the pig

Guests eating

Around 11AM, everyone gathered outside to travel to the groom’s tea ceremony.

Off to Lansing

Here we go!

The Door Game II

Friday, August 28th, 2009

First, you can read about what the Chinese Wedding door game is here. Essentially, the groom has to prove to the bridesmaids that he is worthy of marrying the bride.

I think the girls enjoyed this. The only thing that went wrong was that the guys left their money on the bus so the girls did not receive any lucky money on that day. (They will later!) Donny was asked to do all kinds of things – mainly singing and dancing. We were on a time crunch because the guys arrived late due to traffic. Our auspicious time frame was between 9AM and 9:30AM. They arrived just after 9, so the games had to be rushed.

The procession, led by the family representative, starts.

Groom's procession

The representative came to the door and was rejected by my sister.

Door Game: No! You can't come in!

…and the games began. Lexi giving him instruction.

Door Game: No! You can't come in!

Kiss Your Groomsmen

He was asked to kiss all of his groomsmen. Pay attention to the beginning, he was tricked by his brother.


See it on flickr

Here are some great still shots from Mitch.

I think he liked it.
Door Game: Kiss the Groomsmen!

Oh, maybe not.
Door Game: Kiss the Groomsmen!

Ed enjoyed it!
Door Game: Kiss the Groomsmen!

Door Game: Kiss the Groomsmen!

I’m Too Sexy

Lexi said strut on the catwalk and that is what he did. Here is a video of Donny struting to "I’m too Sexy", sung by his groomsmen.


See it on flickr

More shots from Mitch.

Door Game: Strut Your Stuff!
This is obviously why I married him.

Door Game: Strut Your Stuff!

On the catwalk

Serenade the Bride

After "I’m too Sexy", the girls could not get enough of the serenades, so they asked him to sing our song to me. I was hiding upstairs, which is why he was looking up. Our song is "You and Me" by Lifehouse. I could hear him and was hysterically laughing when I heard this.


See it on flickr

Spectators

Unfortunately, I was not "allowed" to watch, but our families did…

One of the flower girls laughing from inside.
My cousin watching from inside

Peeking out the window
Peeking out the window

Definitely a memorable highlight.

Waiting for the Groom

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Our auspicious time to be married was 9AM. The girls and I got ready and arrived at my mother’s home at 8AM, along with the family members. The guys were targeting an arrival of approximately 8:30AM, but as the hour passed, they still weren’t there. Karen had to call Jake and it appeared that they hit some heavy traffic. I started stressing out because it was important to my family that we were married at the right time, since we did not pick a "lucky day". (We would have had to postpone the wedding to 2010 even though we were engaged in 2007 had we waited for a lucky day.)

I remained calm because my mother said that it was a WINDOW of time so as long as I was presented to him by 9:30AM, we would be fine. In the meantime, the girls kept me calm with laughter.

These photos were taken by Mitch Ranger.

Anticipating…

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

The girls sat with me and told me joke. I love how my captions are extremely unimagined and predictable.

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

I had to walk around and start telling my own jokes.

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Finally, we saw the limo bus pull up, so I ran upstairs and waited there. I had to peek. [click to enlarge]

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

Killing time waiting for the guys at wedding ceremony

The procession began and the girls got ready for the door game downstairs.

The Reception Events

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

A Vietnamese wedding reception is a huge celebration. The bride and groom are very thankful to share their joy with all of their friends and family.

There are several events that occur at the reception. Usually, the bride and groom greet every single guest as they arrive at the reception. We will be practicing this in our traditional wear.

During dinner, the wedding party pauses eating and visits EVERY SINGLE TABLE at their reception. At this point, someone in the party has a collection basket for guests with cards or cash gifts in lucky red envelopes. However, our wedding party consists of 12 people plus parents, so you can imagine that it is too big of a group making the rounds. We will probably change this to just the two of us toasting everyone. At each table, the oldest person typically gives a small speech that is private to the table not to the entire reception, and wishes the new couple well in their marriage!

After they make their rounds, the bride and groom may participate in reception games similar to the bouquet and garter toss. The bridal party is responsible for preparing the short games. The games may be:

Rice Ball Game They prepare a small ball of rice at the end of a string. The bride and groom are blind-folded and challenged to face each other and try taking a bite out of the ball. Basically, the game forces the bride and groom to kiss.

A variation of a rice ball game done with a fortune cookie
A variation of a rice ball game done with a fortune cookie

Duck Game (Or some type of poultry) from dinner is separated from the server plate. (Roasted Duck is typically served at a wedding.) The bridal party place parts of the duck: head, thigh, wing, breast, or butt, on plates underneath upside-down bowls so that the groom cannot see which body part is where. The bridal party mixes up the covered parts and the groom chooses one. They reveal the part that he has chosen and he has to kiss whatever was revealed on the bride!

Challenge the Groom The bridal party blindfolds the groom. They hold a string with a cherry tied to the end and hold the cherry around the bride. As the groom moves closer to bite the cherry, the bridal party moves the string towards and around the bride so that the groom can’t get it. He ends up kissing all over her.

Who knows what's going on during THIS game!
Who knows what’s going on during THIS game!

Here is a site with other reception games that might show up during the reception.

Family Engagement Party

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Traditionally, the engagement is a formal ceremony in which jewelry and dowries are exchanged. The families can choose to have the formal ceremony right after the couple is engaged and celebrate with a banquet reception later. We chose to have the formal ceremony on the same day as the reception, so a non-traditional family engagement party was held in Warren, Michigan at the Golden Harvest Chinese Restaurant. We chose a Chinese banquet hall because Chinese/Vietnamese weddings are typically held in such places, but since we are having our wedding at a non-Asian hotel, we wanted to celebrate the engagement this way.

My (Thao) family is mainly residing in Pennsylvania, where I spent much of my childhood life. He does not have too much family in the states so close family friends came to celebrate. I have adoptive grandparents who have been a significant part of my life. They drove all the way from North Carolina to have some yummy food and to meet my in-laws.

After we have this party, we formally take each other’s family members as our own, i.e. his mother is already my mother-in-law and I call her mom. Unfortunately, Kevin is already my brother, ok jk.

Here are some pictures of that party (click to enlarge) (all pictures):

Meet Her Family

Meet His Family

Meet His Family and Family Friends

On that day, we had a huge traditional banquet dinner! The dishes included:


Seafood Soup
Duck Rolls
Spicy Fried Squid
Spicy Fried Soft Shell Crab
Fried Fish
Clams in Black Bean Sauce
Seafood Bird’s Nest
Lobster
White Noodle With Sauce
Steamed Fish
Pea Tips
Cake

Can you imagine? It was a HUGE feast. Ideally, we would have an 8-10 course dinner for the wedding, but at a hotel, that was near impossible! We had cake to celebrate my little sister’s 22nd birthday. (Note: She also made my outfit as a gift!) We had a fantastic time with everyone and want to thank you for travelling such long distances to make the occasion that much more memorable.

Here are some more pictures! (All pictures)


Donny and my adorable little cousins

Lexi cutting her birthday cake

They say that these two look like me and Lexi when we were kids.

For the rest of the pictures, please go here.