The traditional Vietnamese wedding dress is very different from the style that is currently considered traditional in the United States. They are elaborate, just as the American wedding gowns are but in a very distinctive way.
After the end of the Nguyen Dynasty (the last ruling family of Vietnam), the wedding attire of Vietnam become primarily the elaborate Ao dai style. It originated from the traditional court wear of the ladies from the Nguyen Dynasty era.
The Ao dai started out as a tight fitting tunic made of colorful silk. It is worn over pantaloons made from matching silk fabrics. It was the primary dress of the Vietnamese women throughout the 18th century. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it caught the attention of French designers and was changed into a five paneled aristocratic style gown. It’s popularity in Vietnam continued to grow and in the 1950’s the Ao dai style was adopted as the national costume.
Today, most brides wear the Ao dai in brilliant reds or pinks. They are highly decorated, often using such symbols as the phoenix.The phoenix represents new life or a new rising so this may be used to mean that the wedding itself is a blessed new beginning. The groom will sometimes wear the same traditional Ao dai style in a less elaborate design and most often in the color blue. In more modern times however the grooms have begun to wear a simple matching tailored suit. Even though as previously stated the brides usually wear pink or red, there are variations and some brides choose other colors. A growing favorite is a brilliant yellow or gold that looks stunning next to a groom usually dressed in white.
The headdress of the bride is considered just as important as the gown. It is called a Khan dong. This is nothing like the traditional veil of the United States. It is a circular style of headwear that almost appears to be a hat that is made upside down. It turns up instead of down. It has an opening in the top so that it sits perfectly on the brides head. It appears to circle the brides face like a halo. It comes in many gorgeous colors and matches the dress. The groom does not wear any headdress. The day is considered the brides and she should outshine all others in attendance.
The silk fabrics used in making the traditional Vietnamese wedding attire are some of the most beautiful in the world. There are some very famous designers now using them for their own designs.