Tag Archives: Dam Hoi

Dam Hoi Ceremony Preparations Continue

31 Jul

We are now T – 2 days until our Dam Hoi Engagement Ceremony. Things are getting done and it’s certainly a team effort.

Last night we prepared the mam or trays that will carry gifts to my parents. We hung some decorations to make the house more festive for the celebration and that even helped raise the excitement level, for me anyways.

Here are the gift trays prepped and ready to roll to my parent’s front door:

Red gift trays for the Engagement Ceremony

We will also have fireworks outside his family’s house as we return. Check out my MacGuyver work on these (formerly)hand-held fireworks:

Fireworks for the Engagement ceremony

I am told the fireworks ward off any negative energy around us as we move forward to join our families together with a clean slate and positive energy. Pretty cool tradition.

I won’t share any more photos as I don’t want to spoil what will be the finished product that will be well captured by our photographer that day.

Our Dam Hoi is starting early in the as we would normally during the work week. As such, my good friend will be at my parent’s house (with bells on, no doubt) at 6 AM to do my hair and make-up for the day. That’s 6 o’clock in the morning if you missed it when abbreviated. That means I also have to be showered and mostly dressed by that time. I may be building in a siesta later in the day until I catch a second or third wind!

I asked about the significance of the ceremony time, and Ba (dad) told me that traditionally families often consult a fortune teller to find the lucky time for the promising ceremony to take place. We didn’t go that route, so thus counting backwards from noon-ish when people are hungry, we’re starting the ceremony around 9 AM at my parent’s home.

Makes sense to me!

Having previously scoured the Internet, there doesn’t seem to be any absolute rules and customs that are followed through and through. Especially as families move away from Vietnam and relationships become more modern, it’s logical that the ceremony evolves a bit. However I do love the essence and foundation of our Dam Hoi is deeply rooted in tradition.

Can’t wait to share the traditions with my family as I join his.

Dam Hoi Countdown

29 Jul

While our American wedding is in just under two months, the Dam Hoi engagement ceremony is in five days. 5. As in less than one week.

Shocked Supernatural character animated image

Now that we have that out of the way, I can fill you in on everything that has been going on over the past couple of weeks.

First of all, there hasn’t been any cooking since Operation Happy Nurses. I may have grilled some bread and veggies from our garden, but that’s about it.

The very BEST news is that my sweet nephew went home with Mom and Dad this past Friday, so the family is finally getting settled in their own digs.

Isn’t he a handsome buddy?

Nephew chase

Snoozing on my lap. He’s already a good snuggle buddy.

AND he’s a great eater 🙂 Can’t wait to cook for him!

Feeding baby nephew

Ok, ok, ok, enough handsome nephew photos.

Last weekend was my bachelorette party in Atlantic City where I had a blast with some good friends. We had an amazing dinner at Buddakan AC – which I highly recommend – and partied down at a club in the new casino Revel.  It was a weekend to remember (mostly), and couldn’t have asked for a better celebration of my last days of single-dom.

On to the Dam Hoi. It’s this Saturday wowza.

My super photographer Katarina Price will be there bright and early to catch the first phase of the ceremony where my groom’s family lines up bearing gifts and is welcomed in to my parent’s home (where I’m supposed to still be living). They’ll arrive between 8:45 and 9am which means my hair will have to be done and guests in place by 8:30.

After my Father agrees to welcome my Mr. in to the family, Ba (his father), will unveil the gifts and explain each before our families mix and mingle for an hour or so to get to know each other.

I’m planning a mimosa bar and will make a batch of Banh Pate So to go with fresh fruit and other small bites.

Around 11am we’re going to leave my family’s home and caravan to his for the rest of the Engagement Ceremony. I won’t share all of the details here, as I’m still a tad bit fuzzy. But we will bow at his family’s worship table and offer sake to our elders for words of wisdom and thanks.

I’m super excited to wear my ao dai, made special for me in Vietnam, and really share in this meaningful tradition.

I likely won’t write before the ceremony, but hope to catch up soon with photos and recipes!

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.


Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony Planning

15 Mar

One of the things I am most excited about is the Dam Hoi, or Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony, which takes place one month before our American wedding. This is where the future-groom and his family come to my family’s house (where I’m supposed to still be living…oops), and bring gifts asking for my hand in marriage. This is the first time that our families would first meet, traditionally. Thuan has joked that I’m worth one pig. I hope it’s at least a Berkshire Heritage pig.

Although we’re blending traditions here, I am going to wear the traditional Ao Dai (ow yai), or Long Dress. This is fun because it can be in any color and style – totally up to the bride-to-be’s preference. My future mother- and sister-in-laws are helping in this process and I’m going to have my Ao Dai made in Vietnam. Unbelievably excited about this.

Vietnamese long dresses in a window

Unfortunately I’m going to get measured this weekend, less than a week after gorging on BBQ and tacos in Austin. But what can you do. Now I’m not giving away any secrets about the color, exact style, and such, but I am really excited to honor this tradition and incorporate his Vietnamese heritage to our marriage.  Continue reading

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