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Vietnamese women

Marriage customs and traditions in Vietnam vary between areas of the country and even between villages. Most of the modern Vietnamese marriages have a blend of customs and ceremonies between Western and traditional Vietnamese.

There is typically four parts of the ceremony:

- The engagement ceremony
- The wedding ceremony at the bride's house
- The reception
- The wedding ceremony at the groom's house

In Vietnam today, the marriage age may range from 18 to 22 for women and 22 to 25 for men. These figures rise to higher age levels in the cities where the Western influence is felt. Child marriages are not common in Vietnam today.

Though many things have changed, the rituals have stayed more or less the same in traditional marriages. A description of each of the important rituals follows.

Presenting Gifts
This is often called "the crossing of the girl’s housegate." It is a time when the boy’s family brings the girl’s family gifts which must include a bunch of betel leaves and areca nuts. Tea, cakes, and candies may also be included. The day and hour must be exactly right by the horoscopic calendar.

The procedure is usually quite formal with everyone dressed in his best clothing. Led by a distinguished elder member of the boy’s family, the family walks to the girl’s home. Boys dressed in black with red sashes around their waists carry the gifts on round red trays balanced on their heads. The bridegroom and the intermediary or matchmaker are also present. The matchmaker will discuss the gifts that the bridegroom will later present to the bride’s family.

Some still follow a formal marriage proposal . The couples notify their families that they intend to get married. Technically, you do not get married until you have approval from both families to do so. Your father could cancel the whole thing if he does not approve of your boyfriend or even if there are issues with his family that may not have anything to do with him. If this goes well, the families formally meet during the engagement to discuss the wedding plans. The engagement ceremony can be a bigger event than the wedding itself. The ceremony starts at the groom’s house. His family and himself parade through town with male escorts who bring food, candies, etc. Your family will greet his family while you are in your bedroom dressed in exquisite ao dai. The family sits along a long table in accordance to family hierarchy. Elders of both families make speeches. Afterwards, your boyfriend is told to get you from your room, which formally means that you two are engaged. Afterwards, food and drinks for everyone.


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