Tag Archives: Ao Dai

Dam Hoi Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony Photos

20 Aug

I can’t think of many things more exciting than receiving a gallery full of beautiful photos from a recent event or trip. When I heard Hubs e-mail ding sound the other night I knew we received the gallery from our photographer, Katarina Price. Never mind that I was already in bed, I jumped out and fired up my laptop to click through photographs of our big day.

My last post on the dam hoi didn’t go in to a lot of detail about the ceremony, tradition and blessings of the day. I wanted to let the rich photographs share the story, so here you go. This is a long one, so warm up your lunch or pour a glass of rose and enjoy!

Bride and Groom holding ceremonial sake cups. Katarina Price Photography.

Katarina Price Photography. http://www.katarinaprice.com

Many more amazing photos after the jump!

Continue reading

Officially Engaged

12 Aug

Our Dam Hoi engagement ceremony and celebrations last weekend were a resounding success. It’s taken me a week to recover. What I thought was a slight hangover turned in to actual sickness – severe allergies apparently – but I am happily medicated and on the mend. We laughed, we cried, we danced. Our families came together around tradition, stories from our childhoods and, of course, alcohol.

Preparations continued until the day before, but we pulled it all together and I was able to get out to my parent’s house for an early bedtime. It seems like we’ve been waiting for ages to get to the dam hoi. We were engaged in July 2012, so it was just over a year getting to this point. Now we’re only three weeks away from the wedding.

The day started bright and early with a dear friend who agreed to beautify me at 6 AM. There was much coffee, indeed. My ao dai fit beautifully and – bonus – was almost as comfy as my pj’s. Unfortunately the khan dong (or circular hat – like a halo) didn’t fit. Either the fabric retracted and tightened or my head shrunk massively. Either way, I couldn’t get it to sit properly on my head and there was no pinning it in place. At least I got to have a fuller up-do as a result.

Wearing the Vietnamese hat

See? We tried. There’s tons of daylight on both sides of the hat.

The weather was overcast and drizzly throughout the morning, which makes for gorgeous photos and even, muted lighting. I hope to get our professional photos back this week, which I will of course share with you here.

In the interim, here’s one of my favorites thus far spending a little quality time with my nephew who was a trooper and spent the entire day with us.

Holding my nephew before the ceremony Continue reading

Ao Dai Measurements and Alterations

17 May

As I wrote previously it was difficult to find a business or individual in Northern Virginia who would take measurements for my Dam Hoi (Engagement Ceremony) Ao Dai (long dress) without getting the actual dress made there as well. As a result, we took our own measurements and sent over to the shop who would be making my dress.

I guess I never followed up with you guys, but they wouldn’t accept our measurements and conversion from US to metric. My next step was to go to one of the shops who said they “didn’t know how to take ao dai measurements” – yet they all MADE the dresses for people I know – and have them make me a basic, cheap ao dai to wear for any occasion and get the measurements.

Fortunately a seamstress my sister in law knows at Eden Center had just returned from Vietnam and said she would take my measurements. So off we went to Eden Center and found Phuong Alterations, which is just across the hallway from Nha Trang in the Saigon East section.

The woman didn’t speak English, so my sister in law showed her the dress style I wanted and she got started with the measurements. I have no idea what transpired, but after many measurements and decisions made we were finished in less than 10 minutes. I gave her $20 for the measurements and bought a box of mangoes. Because that’s what you do in Eden Center.

So the good news is that in less than a month my ao dai is FINISHED. It will be delivered to the States later this month by my sister in law’s relative who is coming to visit and I can’t wait to try it on!

If you’re in the Northern Virginia area and are planning your own Dam Hoi or attending a formal affair, definitely look them up.

Phuong Alterations
6757 Wilson Blvd
Saigon East. Unit 6
Falls Church, Virginia 22044
Phuong 703-203-5614
Thuy 571-344-0894


When you want something done…

29 Mar

Do it yourself. We called several tailors, dressmakers and seamstresses – some whom actually made ao dai of people I know – and heard the same response. They all said they didn’t know how to take ao dai measurements. And it wasn’t me calling. My Vietnamese sister in law called, so it wasn’t a language barrier. I just think they didn’t want to take the measurements unless they would be the ones to make the dress.

No thanks.

Thankfully my Mother is a talented seamstress, so she was able to take measurements for my ao dai last weekend. So with her surprise __th birthday party raging downstairs, Mom and I slipped away to fall pray to the measuring tape. A few friends clued me in on this website that has detailed measurement guide with photos to show where and how to measure specific things – biceps, lower next to nipples, etc – these measurements and closely tailored dresses are precise. So we got that done.

If you’re in the market for an ao dai, Ao Dai Vinh has lots of dresses to choose from. I picked mine from Thai Tuan, which I thought had some really great styles I couldn’t find elsewhere. Their website is pretty awful, and it’s in Vietnamese, but it is navigable. Hover over the bộ sưu tập link off to the right and picking the different sections. Which I believe are designers and lines.

Just like my wedding dress, now that I’ve picked the style, color and have my measurements in, it’s time to stop looking.

One more thing checked off the list for our my Dam Hoi/American Wedding.



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