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Vietnamese wedding dress: A key element to Vietnamese brides’ perfect look

10/03/2023 10.583

Vietnamese wedding dress, often made with luxurious fabrics such as silk or brocade, embellished with intricate patterns and embroidery, is the symbol of love, happiness, and good fortune.

Seeing the local wedding customs and traditions can be a unique and memorable experience during your Vietnam travel. Vietnamese people hold weddings in high regard, and the Vietnamese wedding dress worn by the bride is one of the most important things that a bride needs to prepare for her special day. Vietnamese wedding dress is not just a beautiful garment but also a symbol of family, love, and respect.

1. An overview of Vietnamese wedding traditions and customs

1.1. Proposal Ceremony (Le Dam Ngo)

The Vietnamese proposal ceremony, known as "Le Dam Ngo," is an important and traditional custom in Vietnamese culture. It is a formal announcement of the groom's intention to marry the bride and a chance for both families to meet, exchange gifts, and discuss the upcoming wedding arrangements. The proposal ceremony usually takes place several months before the wedding.

Vietnamese wedding dress

The ceremony begins with the groom's family visiting the bride's to ask for their daughter's hand in marriage. The groom's family presents betrothal gifts, including traditional foods, fruits, and jewelry, to the bride's family. The betrothal gifts symbolize the groom's sincerity, gratitude, and respect towards the bride's family.

During the proposal ceremony, the bride and groom typically wear traditional Vietnamese clothing. The bride wears a traditional ao dai dress, which is made from silk and is often brightly colored. The dress features a high collar and long sleeves, with a length that extends to the floor. The bride's ao dai may also be adorned with embroidery or other decorations, and she may also wear a traditional Vietnamese headpiece or veil.

The groom also wears a man’s variation of ao dai, a long-sleeved tunic that extends to the knees and is worn over loose-fitting pants. This ao dai is often made from silk and also adorned with intricate embroidery or patterns.

1.2. Engagement Ceremony (Le An Hoi)

The engagement ceremony, also known “Le An Hoi" in Vietnamese, is a custom that takes place after the proposal ceremony. It is the official announcement of the couple’s commitment to each other and marks the beginning of their journey to marriage. The engagement ceremony is a significant custom in Vietnamese culture, as it involves not only the couple but also their families and friends.

Vietnamese wedding dress

During the engagement ceremony, the bride and groom also wear the traditional Vietnamese ao dai. The bride’s ao dai is often more intricate and ornate than the groom’s, with intricate details such as embroidery, beading, and lace. The color of their ao dai is usually red or pink, which symbolizes luck and prosperity in Vietnamese culture. The groom’s ao dai is usually simpler and more understated, often in darker colors. In some cases, the groom may wear a Western suit instead of an ao dai.

1.3. Wedding Ceremony (Le Cuoi)

The wedding ceremony, or “Le Cuoi” in Vietnamese, is one of the most important events in the life of Vietnamese people.

In Vietnam, a wedding is not only the union between the bride and groom, it is also an opportunity for the two families to come together and establish a strong bond. The wedding ceremony is usually held in the morning or early afternoon, and it is considered auspicious if the bride and groom get married during the day.

Vietnamese wedding dress

During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom also wear ao dai, the traditional Vietnamese wedding attire. Both outfits are typically decorated with intricate embroidery and feature vibrant colors, symbolizing the joy of the occasion. In addition to their outfits, the bride and groom also wear traditional Vietnamese headwear, such as a turban or crown made of flowers, adding to the grandeur of the event.

2. TOP 3 most common traditional Vietnamese wedding dresses

2.1. Nhat Binh Ao Dai

Nhat Binh Ao Dai is a unique traditional costume that is deeply embedded in Vietnamese culture and history. Nhat Binh Ao Dai used to be worn by royal families and nobles, but over time it has become a popular Vietnamese wedding dress for women. This costume has undergone various changes and modifications over the years, but it still remains a significant symbol of Vietnamese fashion and culture.

Vietnamese wedding dress

Nhat Binh Ao Dai is a two-piece ensemble that comprises a tight-fitted tunic that is worn over flowing pants. The tunic has a high collar and long sleeves, typically made of silk or other high-quality materials. The pants are loose and comfortable, allowing the bride to move around freely. The dress has a slender silhouette that accentuates the curves of the wearer, making it a popular choice for women of all ages and sizes.

Nhat Binh Ao Dai is available in various colors, but the most common ones are red, pink, and white, which are considered auspicious colors in Vietnamese culture.

2.2. Ao Dai Ngu Than

Ao Dai Ngu Than, also known as the five-panel traditional dress, is a classic Vietnamese clothing item that has been worn for centuries. The dress consists of five separate panels - two front panels, two back panels, and a long skirt. The sleeves are wide and flowing, giving the dress a graceful and elegant look. The traditional fabric used to make the dress is silk, which drapes beautifully and adds to the overall sophistication of the outfit.

Vietnamese wedding dress

Ao Dai Ngu Than is often worn on formal occasions such as weddings, Lunar New Year celebrations, and other traditional Vietnamese ceremonies. It is a symbol of Vietnamese culture and heritage, and is often seen as a representation of the beauty and grace of Vietnamese women.

The dress can come in a variety of colors and patterns, but is most commonly seen in rich, vibrant shades of red, blue, and green.

2.3. Modern ao dai - The most popular traditional Vietnamese wedding dress

The modern ao dai has become the most favored Vietnamese wedding dress for brides who want to embrace the cultural heritage while also incorporating contemporary elements. The modern ao dai is a fitted combination of a tunic and pants that is typically made from silk, with a high collar and long sleeves.

Vietnamese wedding dress

Many modern ao dai wedding dresses feature intricate embroidery, beading, and lace details, adding a touch of glamor and sophistication. This elegant Vietnamese wedding dress may come in a range of colors, from soft pastels to bold jewel tones, and may also incorporate modern elements such as sheer fabric or a dramatic train. The modern ao dai flatters a range of body types, with its figure-hugging silhouette elongating the body and creating a streamlined, elegant look.

3. Modern Vietnamese wedding gown for wedding party

Modern Vietnamese wedding gowns are a blend of traditional and contemporary design, featuring traditional elements such as intricate embroidery and silk fabric combined with modern silhouettes and elegant details.

These gowns are often made from high-quality silk and adorned with delicate embroidery, beading, or lace. They come in a variety of styles, ranging from form-fitting mermaid silhouettes to flowing A-line dresses with trains. Some modern Vietnamese wedding gowns also feature intricate back designs, deep V-necklines, and off-the-shoulder sleeves, adding a touch of modern flair to the traditional dress.

Vietnamese wedding dress

Modern Vietnamese wedding gowns come in a range of colors, although white and red are the most popular. Red is a traditional color in Vietnamese culture, symbolizing luck and happiness, while white represents purity and innocence. Some brides choose to incorporate both colors into their wedding gown, with a red top and a white skirt or vice versa. Other popular colors for a modern Vietnamese wedding dress include pink, blue, and gold.

4. Price of traditional and modern Vietnamese wedding dress

  • Traditional Vietnamese wedding dress: A traditional Vietnamese wedding dress can cost anywhere, from 2,000,000 VND to 6,000,000 VND. Meanwhile, the rental fee is much lower, ranging from 1,000,000 VND to 2,000,000 VND. It is worth noting that some Vietnamese wedding dress rental shops may charge additional fees for altering or cleaning of the dress after use. The prices of buying or renting traditional Vietnamese wedding dresses vary, depending on the style, material, and design.
  • Modern Vietnamese wedding dress: The cost of modern Vietnamese wedding dresses can also vary widely, depending on the design, material, and level of customization. A modern Vietnamese wedding dress often costs from 3,000,000 VND to 10,000,000 VND. Meanwhile, renting one costs around 1,500,000 VND to 3,000,000 VND. Overall, a modern Vietnamese wedding gown can be more expensive than that of a traditional one, but there is a wider range of options for brides who want to incorporate both traditional and modern elements into their wedding attire.
Vietnamese wedding dress

5. What to wear to a Vietnamese wedding? Dos and Don’ts

Attending a wedding in Vietnam is an exciting experience that requires proper attire. It is important to dress appropriately as a sign of respect for the couple getting married and their families. 

If you are invited to a Vietnamese wedding, it is best to wear formal attire, such as a suit or dress. For men, suits and ties are appropriate, while women can wear a cocktail dress or a modern ao dai. Avoid wearing black or white as they are traditionally associated with funerals and mourning in Vietnamese culture. Red is considered a lucky and auspicious color, so it is a great option. 

Whether you choose to wear a modern ao dai or a formal Western outfit, the key is to dress modestly and avoid flashy colors that may draw attention away from the bride.

While attending a Vietnamese wedding can be a wonderful cultural experience, Vietnam has a lot more to discover and admire. Make sure you also visit Phu Quoc, Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Ha Long, and many other marvelous destinations during your trip to Vietnam.

Vietnamese wedding dress

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Vietnamese wedding dress, whether it is an ao dai or a modern wedding gown, is more than just a piece of clothing. It is a representation of the cultural and historical significance of Vietnamese weddings. Hence, it is always an honor for brides to wear such a meaningful dress, and for guests to witness such a beautiful display of tradition and love.

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