Vietnamese traditional wedding clothing hasn’t changed dramatically for several hundred years. Of course, some details, fabrics, hairstyles, footwear can be modern, but the general look is pretty much the same. And this is impressive how these people honor their traditions and love their folk attire. Despite contemporary Western-style bridal clothes widely in use throughout the planet, the Vietnamese often prefer to wear the traditional bride and groom’s costumes even in the 21st century.
Up until the mid-18th century, Vietnamese wedding clothing was rather diverse. It depended on the region, trends, social status, etc. Only around the mid-1700s, the brides and grooms in Vietnam started to wear clothing in a similar style as they do today. At first, they wore so-called “áo tấc” (an older variation of the ao dai) and then ao dai, the Vietnamese folk dress.
The traditional ao dai consists of a rather tight-fitting long robe, trousers underneath, and a headdress. Brides usually wear hip-hugging pants (so that they didn’t bulge under the robe) that become wider to the ankles. And their robe clings to the figure perfectly, which makes it look feminine. But it also looks modest at the same time because the fabric covers the chest up to the neck, with narrow long or short sleeves. Over the robe, a transparent outer cloak can be worn, a very beautiful and elaborate piece. Also, a specific headdress called “khăn vấn” is used by brides – the shape and style of it can be various. Very often, Vietnamese brides prefer their headwear to be round and fit like a crown around the head. Another characteristic feature of Vietnamese bridalwear is the red color of garments. Red is considered a lucky color in this culture, so they often wear red or pink wedding gowns, though, not always. Brides usually don’t wear jewelry at all or very simple pieces.
Bride with groomsmen in identical costumes
Vietnamese grooms wear dress pants or traditional trousers under their robes. The robe itself is made in the same style as the women’s garment but a bit looser and shorter. It reminds us of a long jacket or shirt but brightly colored. Grooms wear a khăn vấn headdress as well. The headpiece is usually round but it differs from the female one. Vietnamese men traditionally wear blue on their wedding day, though, various other colors are fine, too. Often, the outfits of the bride and the groom match in color and design, instead of sticking to the traditional color palette.
The traditional wedding clothing in Vietnam is comparatively light and thin, so if a couple wants to have a traditional marriage ceremony, they need to choose a warm season for their wedding or wear some additional layers to keep themselves warm.
Vietnamese couple with their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Everyone wears stylized ao dai
Vietnamese couples can either purchase their wedding attire, custom-make it, or rent. The traditional wedding ao dai are so popular even today that there is a wide assortment of these garments for rent.
If to talk about bridesmaids and groomsmen, they also may wear traditional outfits, identical ones for the whole crowd. The most popular colors are pink for girls and some shade of blue for boys. But their garments should contrast with the bride and groom’s clothing.
The wedding guests are allowed to wear either their own festive ao dai or formal Western-style clothes.