There was not one but two tea ceremonies at this lovely Philadelphia wedding, one from the bride’s side, honoring longstanding Vietnamese wedding traditions, and the other celebrating Korean cultural background of the groom. Though a little different in detail both ceremonies are essentially all about bridging the gap between the generations, a homage to the intricate rituals of the Far East, an opportunity for the closest members of the family to present their gifts to the bride and groom, and a formal way to “relax” during the big day.
Vietnamese wedding tea ceremony is a well-organized procession of the bridal party and family members, all carrying elaborately decorated lacquer boxes, covered in red cloth. Inside are gifts for the bride’s family which are typically betel, wine, tea, fruit, cakes, a roasted pig, and a personal gift for the bride. During the ceremony women typically wear the traditional ao dai.
Korean tea ceremony or Darye literally refers to “etiquette for tea” or “day tea rite” and has been kept among Korean people for a few thousand years. On the day of their wedding, after the church ceremony couples with their entourage typically retire to someone’s home and go through the motions of the tea ceremony, or as in this case have one at the reception hall. Each, the bride and the groom must present a cup of tea with both hands to each parent and relative, calling each person by their proper name The parents and relatives must receive the cup of tea with both hands as well. Then the elders each provide the couple with red packets filled with money.