Vietnamese weddings are so damn cool.
I attended my first one, and sadly probably my last, a couple weeks ago at the Saigon Star 2 Restaurant. Mien, my grandma’s sister’s son’s daughter, got hitched to a fellow named Dung and they were nice enough to invite me to the celebration. The couple officially tied the knot in a Catholic ceremony a day earlier, so this evening was dedicated to partying.
The two hour reception was filled with great company and plenty of cold beers—Heineken was the bia of choice.
I arrived a bit on the late side and was greeted by the bride and groom on the staircase leading up to the banquet hall. I congratulated them on their big day, we snapped a picture with the professional photographer, and then I made my way into the dining room. I’m pretty bad with estimations, but I’d say there were somewhere around 200 guests at the shindig.
The evening began with dancers performing a little number in silky, all-white ensembles. I initially thought they were Mien or Dung’s friends, but my aunt informed me that they were hired by the restaurant.
Following the dancers, the bride and groom were introduced to the enthusiastic crowd.
Next, came the in-laws—here is my Uncle Hai and Aunt Phung.
Following the introductions, the bride and groom performed a champagne ritual. Ten minutes and three bottles of champagne later, the glasses were finally filled. Unfortunately, the bride, groom, and in-laws were the only ones who got to drink the bubbly. The dry ice brought about a mystical element to the ceremony don’t you think?
After the champagne came the food! The six-course feast was served family-style and was very tasty as far as wedding food goes.
Appetizers: Onion Salad (goi hai san kieu Thai), Stir Fried Vegetables with Cashews (so diep xao hat dieu), Crab Dumplings (cang cua bach hoa)
Steamed Shrimps in Young Coconut
Thit Heo Quay
Seafood Hot Pot – lau Thai hai san
Tropical Fruit Gelatin
The last wedding I attended had a buffet dishing up seven layer dip and crudités; this was definitely a giant step up. Although palatable, the food was far less memorable than the festivities. Standouts include the crab claw dumplings on the appetizer platter and the tropical fruit Jello dessert.
As guests dined, the happy couple made their rounds and greeted each table. They must have been smashed by the end of the night because every table raised their glasses.
And somewhere between all the boozing and food, the Karaoke started up and went on for the rest of the evening. My Uncle Minh sang the first song—he was completely toasted.
Saigon Star 2
Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City