Scenes from a Hanoi Wedding

My friend and fellow photographer cum cinematographer Ehrin Macksey got married yesterday and I was asked to be part of the traditional Le An Hoi ceremony, where the groom and his entourage roll up to the bride-to-be’s house all bearing gifts and awesomeness so that she, or maybe her parents, will agree to the betrothal. The gifts are maybe a little like bribes. I got to carry the young rice cakes, though honestly I would’ve preferred to bear the booze and cigarettes. Or the cornucopia of fruit and flowers. But it wasn’t my day.

What followed was basically a lot of ceremony that I still don’t quite understand. The groom hands over the gifts and the bride’s mother and father accept them. I think. The groomsmen trade money with their bridesmaid counterparts. Meanwhile the bride is upstairs awaiting the “all clear” to enter. The parents from both sides shake hands and make speeches. The bride comes down all radiant in white and all her maids ooh and ah and smile and push their way to the front of the crowds. Fever ensues. Cue music and photographs. Exit left down the alley to cheers and confetti and congratulations all around.

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