About two weeks ago...
The ladies are dressed in their embroidered and beaded Ao Dais by the time we reach Dung's house and some of the girls are putting the finishing touches to the bride's wedding costume. It doesn't take long before the groom's procession is delivered by mini van and they make their way inside the house to 'receive the bride'.
There a several parts to the ceremony, drinking of tea and a small glass of spirit, lighting of candles, eating small elaborately decorated cakes (that part could have just been for fun?) and the presenting of betel nuts to the parents, which I believe goes hand in hand with officially asking for permission to receive the bride.
|The happy couple between two mums.|
With the formalities over, for now, the groom (Minh) and his party depart the same way they arrived. And, we sit and wait for the van and cars to return to take us to the husband to be's home.
|The suspense must be killing her.|
And when they do, all goes well until the bridal car breaks down. The vehicles are already jammed full, but after some frantic discussions, maneuvering on a raised single lane country road and people reshuffling, we soon get on our way again. According to Dung's sister (many, many thanks for her translation skills and thoughtfullnes throughout), apparently this was a sign of bad luck.
|Mum and Dad presenting Dung with a gold necklace.|
At Minh's house we're ushered upstairs for further introductions, ceremonies and gift giving. One by one, guests who have nominated to offer presents to the happy couple, are called to do so. Wedding gifts are usually envelopes of money, gold rings or necklaces. Stray and I were positioned at a long table flanked by relatives from both families. I was mortified when I realised grandma and one Dad's sisters were sitting in the row behind me and quickly insisted that they take my place, which they refused. Ended up we could all squeeze in.
|Downstairs for more food and merriment. Thankfully, there |
weren't any sculling games at the ladies table.
|Fireworks and strawberry champagne fountain.|
|Lovely Mrs Dung in one of the three outfits she wore on the day.|
|Mum, looking very happy!|
And just like the day before, when the clock struck twelve, all of the invitees (us) were give the signal to vacate. Back at Dung's house, family and friends sat down to yet more food, which we tried not to eat...you can only eat so much! We bid farewell and Tum who had diligently waited on us yesterday (I thought the poor guy was going to pass out in the heat and mayhem), chaperoned us back to Hoi An, even overseeing a repair to Stray's bike chain, at a local mechanic shop.
|Tum and Stray on the Thu Bon River barge.|
A wedding we'll never forget!