This was one of the first photos I took in Hanoi:
And boy was I excited when we went to the Botanic Gardens and saw that these dresses are used in wedding photo shoots:
The brides bring multiple costume changes in suitcases, as well as hair and make-up teams:
When it's cold, they're actually wearing jeans and sneakers under those dresses, but you'd never know:
The photo shoots take place many weeks before the actual wedding, so the photos can be displayed at the ceremony. It really all is for show.
Imagine my excitement, then, when we got invited to an actual wedding. We'd met the groom-to-be (the colleague of a friend) only once before. Never mind that!
The wedding was held on a Monday, so I went during my lunch-break at work.
The fruits of their wedding photo shoot were duly displayed at the venue. Their photographer has excellent PhotoShop skills. This photo was probably taken on a median strip:
Guests give money as a gift. We spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a special fancy envelope to put the money in (there are are whole streets of special fancy wedding invitation shops, so surely there are special fancy money envelopes, right?) only to discover that you use crappy airmail envelopes.
Look at that crappy envelope going into that special fancy heart-shaped, ruched money-box!
The names of the bride and groom were displayed on the stage in glittered, polystyrene letters (I know exactly the street in Hanoi where you can get these made if, you know, you would like some), and the tables were laden with food:
Every table had its own chicken. Every chicken was having a little sleep, while, umm, snacking on a carrot:
With all guests seated, the eight-course meal was swiftly underway. Then The Happy Couple appeared for a grand entrance, accompanied by a Miniature Happy Couple!
They were greeted by miniature jazz-ballet angels!
The bridal party gathered on the stage, where, promptly, the balloon columns were spectacularly exploded by being pulled through a kind of spiked basketball-hoop!
And then there were fireworks!
And a golden shower!
Then they immediately exchanged rings and cut the cake!
And then they poured red champagne over a pyramid of champagne saucers containing dry ice!
This all happened in impossibly quick succession, and was all over in about 60 seconds!
Then, while we continued with our lunch, we were entertained by the miniature bride, groom and angels, who performed several numbers using Britney Spears-style microphones and featuring multiple costume changes:
We finished our lunch, and, about 45 minutes after arriving, it was over. Everyone left and went back to work.
It was one of the more memorable lunch-breaks I've taken.