A Vietnamese Wedding
Yesterday I attended my first Vietnamese wedding. The events here are somewhat of a legend. Most Vietnamese spend the majority of their time dreaming of and planning their marriage. The actual event, therefore, is the culmination of years of desires, day dreams, hopes, fears and anxieties.
The invitation said to arrive at 5:30pm so we did. We sat there fairly uncomfortably for a full hour before the next guest arrived. Apparently it's considered normal to arrive an hour after the invitation says to...? Right on schedule, at 6:30pm all the guests streamed in, throwing us shocked and mystified glances and taking their seats on the plastic stools set out for the wedding.
I became the focus of conversations a few times..."so when will you be getting married?" "I'm sure you have a beautiful voice, please sing karaoke" and so forth. I even had to pose for a photo with the bride's bouquet which is said to be a sure sign of marriage in the near future.
The reception itself was tres bizarre. Guests streamed in in outfits ranging from dresses to jeans. One five year old girl had her hair crimped, her make up applied and her nipples sticking way out of her dress. Until someone mentioned it to her and made her self conscious for the rest of the event.
The waiters consistently replaced our empty beer bottles and the guests dutifully drank it, shouting "Mot, hai, Ba, YO!" (One, two, three, YO!) before every second or third swig. Six courses were served, five of them containing meat. So I sat and accepted the horrified reactions at my vegetarian preferences...
And then the wedding ended as abruptly as it had began. Seconds after our last course had been placed on the table, 400 people somehow received a signal to leave and simultaneously rose and left. Of course we were the weirdos who don't know enough to do things right. We weren't aware that we had arrived an hour early by arriving on time, we missed the signal to bolt for the door and I didn't eat the meat??????????? Those weirdo foreigners...