Vietnamese Wedding Gift Etiquette

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The Vietnamese culture regards many ceremonies and gestures as highly symbolic, and it's important to make sure your gift is given with respect and honor. A gift giver must consult certain guidelines to ensure the present is appropriate.

Symbolism

  • Do not give any gift that has sharp edges or blades, like scissors, knives and other sharp objects. This can symbolize the cutting of the relationship between the gift giver and the bride and groom. Likewise, don't give handkerchiefs. While handkerchiefs are a customary item at an American wedding, they are considered signs of a sad farewell in Vietnam.

Functionality

  • Give items that are considered useful, like something for the bride and groom's home or personal items the recipients can use on a daily basis. Some good examples are picture frames, kitchen items, perfumes or floral soaps. Do not bring flowers, as they are typically only given to women by men.

Family Gifts

  • If the wedding is being held at a relative's home, bring small gifts for family members besides the bride and groom. Giving small tokens to parents, elderly relatives and children is seen as very considerate in the Vietnamese culture.

Business Gifts

  • If you do business with anyone in the wedding party, make sure your gift cannot be seen as any kind of bribery.. If the bride or groom is your colleague or business partner, avoid giving large sums of money. Instead, consider giving a nice bottle of whiskey, which is considered an acceptable gift between co-workers.

Presentation

  • Always wrap your gift in bright, colorful paper. Avoid wrapping the gift in dark colors, and never wrap it in black paper, as this is viewed as a bad omen in the Vietnamese culture. At a Vietnamese wedding, the couple may open their gifts in public, or they may wait and open them in private.

References

  • Photo Credit gift boxes.christmas gifts. image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com
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