I finally got some of the wedding pictures back from my trip to Vietnam. My oldest friend (in duration, not age!) asked me to participate in his wedding to a Vietnamese woman named Tu Anh. His family were all tied up and couldn’t come so I represented him in front of over 350 guests. It was a great experience! This was my first trip to Vietnam and I’ve fallen in love with the country.

Before the wedding in Ho Chi Min (Saigon) I spent a few days just south of the notorious “China Beach” in the ancient village of . While the beach was nowhere near as nice as the ones in Thailand, the city itself was a pleasure to explore and I left feeling I’d gotten a taste of the traditional ways.

Vietnamese weddings are quite different from any I’ve yet encountered. The wedding takes place at the home of the bride. Those of us representing the groom arrived bearing gifts.

We’re recieved by the bride’s entourage wearing beautiful ao dai (pronounced “ao yai”) and big smiles.

The wedding takes place inside the house in front of the family altar. First Chris prayed to her family’s shrine. Then I read a letter to the family from Chris’s mom expressing her regrets that she was unable to attend and giving her blessing to the wedding. Chris then greeted the elders of her family and offered them water from a small pot which I poured into the cup for each of them. Once the elders accepted him Tu Anh came down. They prayed together at the family shrine.

Then they exchanged rings.

They’re not actually officially married until the bride’s mother puts an earing in her ear.

There was a huge celebration later with over 350 guests.

Wow! What an experience. They really made me feel welcome. In a sense, they’ve accepted me into their family along with Chris. Now that I have a base in Vietnam, I have a feeling I’m going to be getting to know this country much better. My business aims of consulting in energy management programs and renewable energy technologies will suit Vietnam as well as China. In fact, the place I’d like to build my research center is in Yunan, China, making it even driving distance from Ho Chi Min City, or Saigon as most of the people I met seem to call it. I’m delighted with the prospects. Maybe an eco-village in Vietnam?

[tags] vietnam, vietnamese, wedding, vietnamese wedding [/tags]

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