Le Dinh Hon – A Vietnamese Engagement

Hi Batty Life readers! Thi here, again.

It’s been a while, but I’m a friend of Liz’s and wrote a guest post about a year ago. A lot has happened in that past year…I got engaged, had some parties, showers, a bachelorette and fast, fast, fast forward…am getting married in about 10 days!

Tea, anyone?

My fiancé Cory and I were doing our video e-sesh last Friday (I know, what’s a video e-sesh?!? We’ll soon find out). Our videographer Caleb Condit asked us to talk about all the events and celebrations we’ve had during our engagement. While we’ve enjoyed so many special times with our closest friends and family, we spoke most proudly about our Vietnamese engagement tea ceremony.

As a first generation Vietnamese-American, I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to celebrate to very distinctive ceremonies. From the beginning, Cory and I knew we wanted to incorporate Vietnamese traditions into our wedding planning. For my parents, it was as important to host a tea ceremony at our home for friends and family as it is for Cory’s parents for us to get married in a church. So, while most were enjoying their Labor Day BBQs, we were enjoying some engagement TEA!

The Ceremony – Le Dinh Hon

A Vietnamese tea ceremony is typically held to announce an engagement or to celebrate a wedding – but in both cases, the rituals are the same. The day starts with the groom’s family processing their home to the bride’s home. They come bearing seven (a lucky number in Vietnamese tradition) gifts  such as jewelry, tea, alcohol for toasting, cakes, fruit and usually a roasted pig, which they offer to seven representatives of the bride’s family before asking permission to enter the home.

While I was in hiding, my parents invited Cory’s family and friends into the home and respectfully accepted their gifts.Cory’s family shared their intentions and asked for permission for Cory to propose to me. My dad, a man of little emotion, tearfully accepted Cory into our family and offered his blessing. I’m bummed I didn’t get to see this first-hand.

Afterwards, my mom walked me out to the ceremony, where Cory saw me for the first time wearing the traditional Vietnamese ao dai (which he was wearing himself). He and his family offered me gifts of jewelry and we were…tada, engaged again!

As a sign of respect and appreciation, we offered our parents and family members tea. In return, family members shared their blessings with us in support of the union.

The Reception

After the ceremony, we enjoyed a light brunch at my parent’s house. Then, in typical Vietnamese fashion, we were off to a local Chinese restaurant a short 30 minutes where we enjoyed a lovely seven course meal!

I’m feel so incredibly lucky to have shared such a special celebration with my parents and Cory’s family. It was so important to my parents and I was so touched to see how respectful, open and proud Cory and his family were to take part in such a unique tradition.

Have you ever celebrated a special wedding custom? Please share with us. I’d love to hear about it!

Seven of my favorite photos from the day:

Getting ready with my mom…

Cory’s family and friends come bearing gifts…

I come out for the first time…

Cory “re”-proposes…

Cory and I offer tea to my parents…

We took a few photos after the ceremony…

Our dads share a few speeches at the reception…

(Photos by Audra Buchanan)