the tea ceremony

October 19th, 2010

Year in, year out; month in, month out I get to experience so many tea ceremonies and believe it or not they are all so different!! As generations pass every family has their own take on how it should go and what is included. From what I can tell, we should do away with calling it a ‘tea ceremony’ altogether b/c these days, most don’t even revolve around serving tea. Yeah, I didn’t serve any tea at mine but my parents were prepared to in case it came up. All we did was do family introductions, open gifts, give hugs, pray, eat, and go thru the motions. So glad it was nice and short, but also glad we did it for the sake of tradition.

The bride’s parents’ home has the VU QUY sign.

We decorated my parents’ vaulted ceilings with these paper lanterns all in our wedding colors. They were fairly cheap from

Rob’s family and groomsmen lined up across the street.

Apparently everything in these red packages (from the groom’s parents) are supposed to be enough to buy me from my family. There had better be some good stuff in there! j/k!

While planning out the tea ceremony we were super confused as to what goes into these red canisters. Tradition has it that if you did not have an engagement ceremony, you have to have 8 canisters the day of the wedding. If you did then only 6 is needed. We didn’t have an engagement ceremony so there had to be 8 canisters. Everything has to be given in even numbers since the families split the items in the end. To help you guys out, here’s a list of what went into each canister:

  1. Fruits (apples, oranges, mango, plums, pears and lychee)
  2. Cognac (2 bottles of Remy 1738 wrapped in red cellophane)
  3. A rented tea set
  4. Fake batch of a green fruit (symbolic)
  5. Wedding cakes (banh xu xe & cuoi) special ordered from Van’s Bakery.
  6. Rice cake (orange in color) also from Van’s Bakery.
  7. Jewelry, money & other gifts
  8. Jasmine tea (2  cans wrapped in red cellophane)

The hanging signs VU QUY and TAN HON, the red canisters, tea set, and fake green fruit were all rented from Thai Bridal & Florist. Cheapest prices in town! The lady there was very nice and helpful.

Roasted pig is a must. We got ours from Hao Vi BBQ. Just tell them the # of people you’re serving and they’ll suggest the size pig you need.

While everyone’s getting ready to parade in I’m busy gettin’ ready.

My family lined up out front. Do you spot baby Chloe and her Dora pillow? So cute!

The procession starts! Greetings at the door.

Family introductions are made.

Rob waits patiently for me.

I’m finally presented to the family.

Exchange of flowers from the groomsmen to the bridesmaids.
Usually the bridesmaids would also wear ao dai’s, but I opted out of that.

Gifts from Robert’s mother.

Gifts from my parents.

After a quick and light lunch we head back to Rob’s mother’s home where the sign says TAN HON.

We get to walk in together since we’re now ‘married’ in a sense. He’s bringing me to my new home and to my new family.

We say our prayers.

We give respect to our elders.

We’re super stoked to be married!

Can we be any happier?

What sort of gifts did I get exactly? Pictuerd below is a diamond bracelet from my parents (the square one). Diamond earrings from Robert’s mom.

Robert’s mom also got me this oval linked diamond bracelet which matches the earrings above and goes so well with my engagement ring diamond. Traditionally the groom’s mother would buy her new daughter-in-law earrings and a necklace but I opted for a bracelet. Not too big a fan of necklaces as I am of bracelets.

I’d say all those diamonds was enough to buy me into Rob’s family, don’t cha agree? hehehe…I kid. It’s all for tradition.

Photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

8 Responses to “the tea ceremony”

  1. tdang on October 19, 2010 12:16 am

    Bling bling!

  2. mareyberry on October 19, 2010 12:26 am

    whoo hoo i’m first! it was cool reading exactly how a tea ceremony goes. lots of family and lots of love!

  3. mareyberry on October 19, 2010 12:27 am

    argh!! tdang beat me! no fair

  4. Tony on October 19, 2010 12:38 am

    LOL @ mary…

    I must agree, tea ceremonies should be called something else…henny ceremonies? Sip some cognac…

  5. yen on October 19, 2010 1:25 pm

    My wedding is in a few weeks. I’m so confused as to how you are able to fit in so much in one day. 🙂 What time did you start on your wedding day? Just trying to figure out my day of schedule. 🙂 btw, great blog…

  6. thao on October 19, 2010 2:09 pm

    @mareyberry: start following me on twitter!

    @yen: I started hair and make-up at 6:30am (bridesmaids started at 4am). The 1st tea ceremony started at 10:30am. It lasted no more than 30 minutes. We ate until 11:45am and headed over to my in-law’s home by noon. We had a quick 20 min ceremony there and I was off to get my hair redone in time for the 2:30pm church ceremony time. it really helps to have huge buffers in the timing. allocate time to take photos too! so important!

  7. mareyberry on October 19, 2010 7:49 pm

    hooray for details! oooh i have the exact cans of jasmine tea at home!

  8. Gigi nguyen on January 25, 2012 12:45 am

    Hi Thao,

    Just wondering if you are selling your ao dai. I would love to buy them from you.


    Gigi nguyen

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