Post # 1
I just recently got engaged (in the American way via proposal and ring) and haven’t told my parents yet. The reason I haven’t told them is because they recently told me that when I do get engaged, they want his family to come over to my parents home and ask for my hand in marriage! His family is super shy and super reserved, so I don’t want to ask this of them.
This blows me away because I was raised in a very non-traditional Vietnamese way and was encouraged to have whatever type of wedding I wanted, until just recently, when my parents decided that they wanted all of these traditions that I don’t quite understand.
Does anyone know what is customary Vietnamese tradition for a proposal? Is the groom’s family supposed to come with feast in hand and ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage or does that just happen on the wedding day with the tea ceremony? Are there any other traditions I should know about and be prepared for?
Thanks in advance for any information! I’m so happy to finally be a legitimate weddingbee bride and not just a lurker (which I have been for over 2 years!) 🙂
Post # 3
Congrats, MM! My wedding is incorporating a lot of Chinese/Vietnamese traditions, but funny enough, I’m learning a lot of it through my mom. (My parents told me to have whatever kind of wedding we wanted….but they totally lied.)
From what I know, the engagement ceremony/party takes place a few months before the actual wedding day, but I don’t know many ppl doing this anymore. In the past (like when marriages were arranged), this was typically when the bride and groom first met. My parents are the more conservative and traditional set (fiance’s parents are totally open to doing whatever), but they were happy with how we announced our engagement, which was to tell them during one of our visits to their home over breakfast. After that, my mom kicked into what I now call “momzilla” mode and made sure that FI’s parents visited them and “talked about arrangements”. Maybe I lucked out of what you’re going through because FI’s parents live in NorCal and mine live in SoCal; my mom didn’t want to make things too complicated with travel arrangements.
Maybe you can check out some of Mrs Eggplants posts about wedding traditions?
Sorry for the long post!
Post # 4
Well first off congrats on your engagement. I’m Vietnamese as well, but I actually don’t know the tradition very much. I don’t believe that for an engagement, the groom’s family has to bring gifts to ask for your hand. However, I believe it is customary for the groom’s parents to approach your parents with the proposal. At least that’s how it was when my brother got married. He had a very traditional proposal and wedding.
My proposal is very different though. Because my fiance is white, my parents were more accepting of the fact that it is not traditional, although they did appreciate the fact that he went to them to ask them for my hands before he asked me. I think it’s great that my parents are completely opened to an Americanized proposal because that helps them accept my fiance into the family, which is the most important thing to me.
Hope everything works out.
Post # 5
Congrats on the engagement!
I’m not sure if I’m going to be much help either. I am Vietnamese, but I did not have a traditional Vietnamese wedding, since my husband is white. My sister had a traditional wedding and from what I recall, her fiance’ came over to our house and we had some sort of ceremony, etc. I found an article at the following site that may help you. http://www.waytovietnam.com/culture-detail.asp?qCLId=6
Post # 6
Well traditionally, yes, the "in laws" are supposed to come over to the bride’s family and ask for permission for you two to get married. That is when you start to plan for the engagement ceremony. The engagement ceremony is when the groom’s family brings gifts and stuff to officially ask the bride’s family for her hand in marriage. Luckily my parents are not super traditional and we are going to modernize it a little bit to incorporate our upbringing in America.
Post # 7
Congratulations on your engagement! So funny that there’s a few of us with similar experiences. My family also was not that traditional, but all of a suddent during wedding planning, they decided that they wanted to do everything very traditional.
Yes, traditionally, FI’s parents should come to your parents house to ask for permissions. I’m assuming your Fiance & family are not Vietnamese? If so,I would highly suggest a very open conversation with your parents now to determine how far they are going to take the tradition thing and feel out how they respond to the fact that you and your family are not the only ones with traditions.
His family will have their own set of traditions, too. Are they open to mixing it up, or are they going to take a hard line and insist on everything Vietnamese? I know this is easier said than done if your family is like mine and feel that it’s their way or no way without any discussion involved!
For a funny story, it was a complete struggle for me the entire process. I tried very hard to mix in as much heritage & culture as I could, but simply refused to hold a reception in a Chinese restaurant! My husband was a good sport and agreed for us to both change into ao dais for the cake cutting, which I thought was very generous of him to do.
My mom had an absolute fit because we were just planning on wearing the outfits and not the head thingys (because I would already have a tiara in my hair from my beautiful white wedding gown!). She said if we didn’t have the complete outfit, why even bother? My response…"Mom, he’s a 6’2" big white guy. I think everyone will get the point when he shows up in a shiny blue & gold dress!"
To this day, she hasn’t forgiven me for not wearing those things on our heads or having Chinese food, and I don’t regret one minute of our beautiful wedding! Good luck! PM me if you ever need any help.
Post # 8
I’m pretty late on this post but I had the same issues you ladies have discussed! We’re also not typically very traditional but I had to have a formal engagement ceremony. At first the parents said we could have our wedding however we want it but, of course that isnt true! Every time I plan something, they have a zillion reasons why it shouldn’t be that way.
Post # 9
LOL, I guess I should count myself lucky. I’m also Vietnamese and my parents always said they didn’t care what kind of ceremony I had (or whether I ever get married at all for that matter) and have been true to their word (my wedding’s in a month). My mom is wearing a traditional Vietnamese ao dai to my reception and there was a brief moment when I was in the tailor’s with her when I wanted one too. But then I remembered how much I spent on my dress and realized I need to wear it every minute possible to get the most out of it!
Post # 9
I am a guy, wanting to ask my girlfriend’s Vietnamese mum for her hand in marriage. I am not Vietnamese however I feel as though I should bring a gift or something when asking.
From reading this post, my parents are supposed to do the asking on my behalf? This won’t happen as my parent as my parents are not Vietnamese and don’t speak much English either.
Any tips on whether I should bring a gift or just turn up and ask? If I am to bring a gift, what kind of gift? Flowers? Cake? Money? Thanks.
Post # 10
ho100ho : i believe that the OP’s post is about a ceremony called dam hoi (proposal ceremony) based on how involved the groom’s family is supposed to be. This typically takes place AFTER a proposal has already happened. It’s the same as the tea ceremony and requires a good bit of collaborative planning not just from one side. Despite the translation, it’s really easier to think of it as an engagement ceremony. Feel free to let your gf’s mom in on the secret before it happens, but don’t worry about showing up with a gift. Everyone loves receiving flowers in general, but don’t feel required to bring anything. Should your gf’s mom or you want to have a tea ceremony, there should be plenty of planning with their help as you have no way of knowing what’s to be expected.