This content is also available in: Vietnamese
By: Nguyễn Thi Pictures by: Anhtuan85
Instead of choosing gorgeous wedding dresses and modern photography, many young couples have recently chosen to celebrate their wedding following the pre-Doi Moi (1986) style. Brides wear a simple, plain white ao dai, elegant bridal veil and hold a bouquet of gladiolus. Wedding guests feel a nostalgic, warm happiness when witnessing such a wedding.
Last November, a couple in Da Nang held a modest yet impressive wedding with no fancy decorations or complicated rituals. It may have looked simple, but it was planned down to the smallest detail.
The groom wore a white long-sleeve shirt, trousers, dress shoes and his hair was parted and combed. The bride wore a flowing white ao dai with a white veil. The couple’s friends also wore vintage clothes. The men, in a humorous gesture, wore white shirts and tied red scarfs around their necks imitating young students. The bridesmaids wore ao dai with their hair in two long braids..
The wedding space was decorated in a retro style with gladiolus, vintage dishes, furniture, and old posters that transported guests back to the days of food stamps.
Inspired by his parents’ old wedding photos, the groom noted, “Theirs was such a touching and meaningful ceremony. I wanted to revive that atmosphere on my happiest day.”
Anh Hung and Thuy Trang’s simple wedding gave their families and relatives a surprise. The groom even reserved paper fireworks for the celebration.
Many couples have decided to create a vintage wedding photo album. In 2016, a Hanoian couple produced such an album to celebrate their first anniversary. The nostalgic photo book reminded the couple of their parents’ days. The background was an empty Hanoi street with flags flying in the wind. The husband played the role of a discharged soldier coming back to town to reunite with his wife. Although their outfits and makeup was not exactly true to the past, the photos of the lovely young couple holding each other’s hands standing in front of small alleys and ancient Hanoi houses made others jealous of their sweet love.
“My husband strenuously rode an old bicycle carrying his overweight wife without any complaints. This makes me content,” the bride said. Viewers who saw the photo agreed that happiness needs no luxury.
The subsidy economy before Doi Moi ended just 30 years ago, but it seems alien to the younger generation who are only told about it by grandparents and parents.
During this period, food, goods, and services could only be purchased with coupons or food stamps at government-run stores. People could expect to spend almost a day waiting in line to buy rice and other basic commodities.
Because of many difficulties, weddings in the past were very simple. Friends would come and congratulate the couple, serving tea and some candies. Simple yet blissful.
Today, young people are reviving that humble, warm happiness.