Aqua Expeditions’ vessels sail through some of the most romantic, exotic and beautiful riverside landscapes on earth, and for this reason many couples consider spending their wedding anniversaries and even their honeymoons on board the Aria Amazon, Aqua Amazon or on the Aqua Mekong.
We love to celebrate love wherever it blossoms so we thought this month, we’d share how couples in Peru, Cambodia or Vietnam celebrate it as they incorporate aspects of local culture and honor their heritage and rich customs into their weddings.
Peruvian Wedding Traditions
Wedding celebrations in Peruvian towns in the countryside feature color, color and more COLOR. Traditional Peruvian Peruvian wedding dress and clothing is bright and vibrant with geometric designs that have been worn for over a thousand years. Women wear many layers of colorful skirts and men wear ponchos and sandals. These vibrant outfits are worn on the wedding day, with a specially crafted skirt or poncho made for the happy bride and groom. During the ceremony, an ancestor makes a speech reminding the couple of their duties in the marriage with the elder then blessing the couple immediately afterwards.
Nowadays, all weddings in most Peruvian cities have a “western style”, with a white wedding dress, a ceremony in the church and reception. In Peru, weddings are big celebrations, sometimes with a band or orchestra that plays all night.
One of the many interesting Peruvian wedding customs and rituals, called cake pull (cintas de la torta) is similar to catching the bouquet. An inexpensive ring or charm is tied to a ribbon and attached to the base of wedding cake. Before the cake is cut, single female guests come up and pull the ribbon. The lucky lady that has the ring is (at least hypothetically) the next to get married.
Cambodian Wedding Traditions
A traditional (khmer) wedding in Cambodia is a lengthy and colorful affair which can last up to three days! There are seven different ceremonies which play out over the course of the celebration to bless the wedded couple. Examples of Cambodian wedding blessings include Soat Mun – which entails monks blessing the bride and groom; Gaat Sah – a cleansing ceremony symbolizing a fresh, new start and begins with a ritual hair cutting; and Bongvul Pbopul at which the bride and the groom are blessed by married couples at the ceremony.
Other highlights of Cambodian weddings include singing four essential songs, a color theme for each ceremony and the use of palm flowers as a token of good will and a way to bless the young couple. Wedding celebrations are lively with music, traditional feasts, and plenty of dancing.
In Vietnamese culture, the engagement party (ăn hỏi), wedding ceremony and wedding reception typically can occur 6 months up to one day before the wedding ceremony. Nowadays, they are becoming more simple.
Engagement gifts are prepared by the fiancé’s family several days before the engagement party. As the engagement day approaches, each family chooses a representative with the two representatives who control the flow of events at the ceremony. Both families choose 5, 7 or 9 people who will bring and receive the engagement gifts. These people must be young and not married. Boys represent the fiancé bearing the gifts and girls represent the fiancée receiving the gifts. The families then negotiate the dowry and choose a time for the wedding based on several factors including the lunar calendar.
After receiving their gifts, the young couple prays in front of the fiancée’s family altar to ask for the approval of fiancée ancestors after which the fiancé gives his fiancée the engagement ring. Then both representatives introduce the members of each family in the appropriate order. After enjoying the party, some of gifts are returned to the fiancé family for luck before the fiancé’s family departs.
On the chosen day for the wedding, the groom and his family will travel to the bride’s home bearing gifts of nuts, wine and cakes wrapped in red paper and served on a red platter. The vibrant color of red is believed to bring good luck to the wedding couple. During the wedding ceremony, the couple kneels and prays in front of the bride’s family asking for permission and approval from the bride’s ancestors. Once permission is granted, the couple bows to the parents as a sign of respect and then to each other, and then the lucky groom gives his bride the ring. When the ceremony is complete, the wedding parties meet their guests at the reception where it is essential for the bride, groom and their parents to visit each table and thank attending family and friends. If you are lucky enough to attend a Vietnamese wedding, make sure to come on an empty stomach – the wedding dinner is known to have six to 10 courses!