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Engagement ceremony pictures?

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Hi All,

I have been reading a lot of Q&A but have not seen anyone mention the specifics of what is considered an "engagement ceremony" and what is considered an "engagement party." Traditionally, what is worn at the "engagement party" and is it similar to a wedding party? I have heard of people submitting "engagement party" pictures where the fiancee is wearing a wedding gown, would this be perceived as a wedding reception and not an engagement party? Please help. Thank you!

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We had an engagement party after getting our K-1 visa. The only pictures that we submitted for visa and interview were pictures of us together in various places, and a few from a dinner with family.

Yes sometimes an engagement party can be misinterpreted as a wedding, and in a fiancee case can bring into question if a couple are unmarried as required by the K-1 visa.


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We had an engagement party after getting our K-1 visa. The only pictures that we submitted for visa and interview were pictures of us together in various places, and a few from a dinner with family.

Yes sometimes an engagement party can be misinterpreted as a wedding, and in a fiancee case can bring into question if a couple are unmarried as required by the K-1 visa.

Thanks for your response! Yes, those are my thoughts exactly (regarding the unmarried requirement of the K-1 visa petition). I was wondering how those people got approved, but they all used a lawyer when filing their petition...

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Google "Vietnamese engagement ceremony". Here's an example of what you'll get:

http://www.tuvy.com/Countries/vietnamese/culture/engagement_ceremony.htm

The ceremony is unscripted, but it does follow a general pattern according to VN tradition. The girl usually wears a traditional Ao Dai. The boy may wear a traditional Ao Dai or other formal attire. See my avatar - that's what me and my wife wore at our engagement ceremony. The ceremony often begins with a procession by the groom's family to the bride's home carrying gifts - usually various specific kinds of food in fancy red boxes and covered with fancy red cloth.

My wife didn't want the ceremony at her mother's home in the village. Her ex-husband is a drunk, and he lives only a block away from her mother. There's no way we could have done this in the village without her ex-husband finding out and crashing the ceremony. Instead, we had the ceremony at the Buddhist temple where my wife prayed and studied. Here's the whole gang after the ceremony:

pagoda-41.jpg

The ceremony is usually held in the morning. The party is a separate event, held in the afternoon. While there may be only a handful of people at the ceremony - mostly close family - there will often be two or three hundred at the party. The bride usually wears a wedding gown, and the groom usually wears a tux.

The consular office will want to see that you've had both - the ceremony and the party. They'll be interested in who attended the ceremony - they prefer to see some members of both families there. They'll also be interested in how many people attended the party - they prefer to see at least one or two hundred.

There's no way a CO would confuse an engagement party for a wedding party. If they see the words "Le Dinh Hon" written on anything then they'll know it was an engagement party.


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Many people say that you must have an Engagement party, and not a Wedding ceremony. The facts are simple, if you do not sign paperwork then you are NOT married. Many have done the entire wedding ceremony and never signed any documents and have never had any problems. I have also NEVER heard of anyone who did the wedding ceremony while filing for a K1 visa get denied because they showed photos of what appeared to be a wedding ceremony thus making them unable to legally apply for the K1 visa. I personally know a CO at the HCMC consulate, and he clearly understands the difference and that difference is SIGNING DOCUMENTS.

I know there are many people that will try to tell you the traditional way that each party works, and the differences, but what the CO is looking for in photos is how many people were there, and if you were dressed up POINT BLANK, along with of course your name somewhere showing that it was in fact YOUR engagement ceremony, and that you did not just go to someones wedding to stage photos (which by the way my friend said he has seen before! They submitted photos of their engagement party, and in one of the photos you could clearly see that it was not their names and the date was even different!).

Jerome and Binh


小學教師 胡志明市,越南

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Google "Vietnamese engagement ceremony". Here's an example of what you'll get:

http://www.tuvy.com/...nt_ceremony.htm

The ceremony is unscripted, but it does follow a general pattern according to VN tradition. The girl usually wears a traditional Ao Dai. The boy may wear a traditional Ao Dai or other formal attire. See my avatar - that's what me and my wife wore at our engagement ceremony. The ceremony often begins with a procession by the groom's family to the bride's home carrying gifts - usually various specific kinds of food in fancy red boxes and covered with fancy red cloth.

My wife didn't want the ceremony at her mother's home in the village. Her ex-husband is a drunk, and he lives only a block away from her mother. There's no way we could have done this in the village without her ex-husband finding out and crashing the ceremony. Instead, we had the ceremony at the Buddhist temple where my wife prayed and studied. Here's the whole gang after the ceremony:

pagoda-41.jpg

The ceremony is usually held in the morning. The party is a separate event, held in the afternoon. While there may be only a handful of people at the ceremony - mostly close family - there will often be two or three hundred at the party. The bride usually wears a wedding gown, and the groom usually wears a tux.

The consular office will want to see that you've had both - the ceremony and the party. They'll be interested in who attended the ceremony - they prefer to see some members of both families there. They'll also be interested in how many people attended the party - they prefer to see at least one or two hundred.

There's no way a CO would confuse an engagement party for a wedding party. If they see the words "Le Dinh Hon" written on anything then they'll know it was an engagement party.

Jim, I know that you clearly wanted to have an engagement party, and NOT a wedding ceremony if I am not mistaken by your previous posts months back. If you did what I have highlighted above then according to my wife, you did a WEDDING ceremony, and not a typical engagement ceremony. This according to BInh is what goes along with the wedding ceremony. This is also what we did with my wedding ceremony. A traditional engagement ceremony according to my wife is just the familys getting together and meeting with a dinner, and the bride to be's family does the cooking or paying for a dinner at a restaraunt.

Jerome

Edited by jeromebinh

小學教師 胡志明市,越南

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Thats exactly what we did for our Dam Hoi... a procession to the family home with red boxes containing gifts and an elaborate tray of palm nuts, tea and cigarettes presented to everyone and a party that followed... the highlighted portion above is a common component of a Dam Hoi...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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Thats exactly what we did for our Dam Hoi... a procession to the family home with red boxes containing gifts and an elaborate tray of palm nuts, tea and cigarettes presented to everyone and a party that followed... the highlighted portion above is a common component of a Dam Hoi...

Thanks for the info! I was a bit confused because as I understand it, there is the traditional morning part at the bride's house with the red boxes of those gifts you had listed and a small lunch at the bride's house that is catered usually. But I have never heard of the "engagement party" at a restaurant in the evening part so I was getting confused when I saw posts mentioning an "engagement party." From what I have heard, it seems each region has a little difference in how the ceremony is done (even what gifts the groom's family needs to give) so it is all a bit confusing to me. Thanks for your help!

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Many people say that you must have an Engagement party, and not a Wedding ceremony. The facts are simple, if you do not sign paperwork then you are NOT married. Many have done the entire wedding ceremony and never signed any documents and have never had any problems. I have also NEVER heard of anyone who did the wedding ceremony while filing for a K1 visa get denied because they showed photos of what appeared to be a wedding ceremony thus making them unable to legally apply for the K1 visa. I personally know a CO at the HCMC consulate, and he clearly understands the difference and that difference is SIGNING DOCUMENTS.

I know there are many people that will try to tell you the traditional way that each party works, and the differences, but what the CO is looking for in photos is how many people were there, and if you were dressed up POINT BLANK, along with of course your name somewhere showing that it was in fact YOUR engagement ceremony, and that you did not just go to someones wedding to stage photos (which by the way my friend said he has seen before! They submitted photos of their engagement party, and in one of the photos you could clearly see that it was not their names and the date was even different!).

Jerome and Binh

Hello Jerome & Binh,

Thanks for your response. I am definitely with you on this, only I don't know if everyone at the Consulate feels the same way.

I think the problem is the Consulate does not clearly define what an engagement ceremony is, vs. a wedding ceremony, and/or when they consider someone to be married. In some cultures/countries, all you have to do is have the ceremony and not sign any paperwork and you are considered married (usually in less developed countries). And then there are countries where you have to sign legal documents stating that you are married to be considered "married." I work in the Dept. that oversees the Office of Vital Records for my state, and our state laws clearly define what is considered "legally married" vs. "common law marriage," which is what a ceremony as you had mentioned is (without signing any legal paperwork). From my research on Vietnam, things work the same way as they do in the US. You can have the ceremony, even the complete wedding ceremony, and you are still not married until you sign legal documents given by the govt of Vietnam stating that you are married.

Is the US Consulate in HCMC aware of this?

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We just had a party and invited anyone in the family to meet me. Bought a lot of food and cases of beer and that was the party. We never even put a sign up announcing us or anything. Took a ####### load of pics of me interacting with guests (usually me drinking beer with someone) and culled about 10-15 pics of these for the consulate and sent them in as the engagement party.

We never even had it at a restaurant but at her families home. Maybe a hundred showed up for the free food and booze. Her brothers set up a karaoke machine and there was a lot of drunk singing.

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OP, are you involved with someone in VN right now? If you are, why not have a discussion with him/her about this culture? Shouldn't you plan IMPORTANT events with your SO?

NOONE living in Vietnam would NOT know about this traditional custom! You should "spend" more time with your SO to learn about the new country custom, behavior, so on so forth. When you have to come online to ask for such thing, I'd think your relationship is NOT genuine.

Edit to add this: unlike most typical proposals in the States, your Engagement ceremony in Vn should NOT be a surprise. In fact, the two of you and families of both sides should carefully plan out the event. When you're there for the pictures (and pull out your wallet and pay the cost for the ceremony), everything should already be ready and reserved (by your SO in advance).

Edited by Dau Que

Just remember, life over there in VN is NOT real! Your money will be worth a LOT less once you get back over here. Back to reality, cowboy!

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OP, are you involved with someone in VN right now? If you are, why not have a discussion with him/her about this culture? Shouldn't you plan IMPORTANT events with your SO?

NOONE living in Vietnam would NOT know about this traditional custom! You should "spend" more time with your SO to learn about the new country custom, behavior, so on so forth. When you have to come online to ask for such thing, I'd think your relationship is NOT genuine.

Edit to add this: unlike most typical proposals in the States, your Engagement ceremony in Vn should NOT be a surprise. In fact, the two of you and families of both sides should carefully plan out the event. When you're there for the pictures (and pull out your wallet and pay the cost for the ceremony), everything should already be ready and reserved (by your SO in advance).

Before you go making assumptions and judging, you first have to find out the facts. For your information, I AM Vietnamese. As I have stated earlier in my post, my SO and I are aware that different REGIONS of Vietnam have different traditions/customs, and there are differences in what is in a ceremony. YOU should pay attention to differences in the gifts included in the red boxes from each region and the number of boxes. There are engagements/weddings with 6, 8, 10, etc. red boxes and they have different things inside of them. Then there are those that do not do the engagement ceremony altogether and only the wedding ceremony. And then there are those that also do another ceremony at the bride's house the night before the wedding in addition to the engagement ceremony.

Also, I have never heard of "engagement parties." Usually it is only the morning part, where the groom's family comes to the bride's family with those red boxes "mam qua" and ask permission for marriage. And this ceremony is usually composed of the immediate family, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to be followed by a meal at the residence or restaurant. IF you have read other posts, people are mentioning engagement parties at restaurants with 100-300 guests in the evening, this is clearly different from "tradition." AND if you read carefully what others have written, you can even see the confusion right here on this post as there have been two others that have conflicting ideas of what a "traditional" engagement/engagement party/wedding is. HENCE, the reason for asking is there is so much variations as to what people "traditionally" do. And if you've picked up on anything, you'd see that the CO does whatever the heck they want to...there are plenty of people in legitimate, real relationships who still get denied!

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Jim, I know that you clearly wanted to have an engagement party, and NOT a wedding ceremony if I am not mistaken by your previous posts months back. If you did what I have highlighted above then according to my wife, you did a WEDDING ceremony, and not a typical engagement ceremony. This according to BInh is what goes along with the wedding ceremony. This is also what we did with my wedding ceremony. A traditional engagement ceremony according to my wife is just the familys getting together and meeting with a dinner, and the bride to be's family does the cooking or paying for a dinner at a restaraunt.

Jerome

With all due respect to your wife, I disagree. The link I gave is specifically about engagement ceremonies and not wedding ceremonies, and very much resembles what we did. If you wish, I can provide a dozen or more links to similar articles describing similar events. I attended two more engagement ceremonies with my wife on subsequent trips to Vietnam. Aside from the fact that those were actually held in the future bride's home, they were also very similar to ours.

As Dau Que said, an engagement in Vietnam is planned well in advance. Perhaps what your wife is describing is the meeting between the families where the arrangements are made. In addition, many Vietnamese couples have the engagement and wedding ceremonies on the same day, rather than two separate events. If this is common where your wife is from then that may explain why she believes it was a wedding ceremony rather than only an engagement ceremony.

I also had a long talk with the Su Thuc a couple of days before the ceremony. He explained a lot to me about the commitments implied by the engagement ceremony, and it was very clear we were talking about engagement only and not marriage. The signs and banners around the restaurant at the party also clearly said "Le Dinh Hon", which means "Engagement".


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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depending on the size of the family home and the number of people attending.. it may not work out to have the meal/drinking at the family home.and some do more eating and drinking and celebrating than others.... we rented a restaurant for lunch that included much drinking... other VJ members have used alternatives other than the home as well, and in some cases having the entire celebration outside of the home... for us it was important to include the family, both living and deceased in the celebration so we started at the house...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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With all due respect to your wife, I disagree. The link I gave is specifically about engagement ceremonies and not wedding ceremonies, and very much resembles what we did. If you wish, I can provide a dozen or more links to similar articles describing similar events. I attended two more engagement ceremonies with my wife on subsequent trips to Vietnam. Aside from the fact that those were actually held in the future bride's home, they were also very similar to ours.

As Dau Que said, an engagement in Vietnam is planned well in advance. Perhaps what your wife is describing is the meeting between the families where the arrangements are made. In addition, many Vietnamese couples have the engagement and wedding ceremonies on the same day, rather than two separate events. If this is common where your wife is from then that may explain why she believes it was a wedding ceremony rather than only an engagement ceremony.

I also had a long talk with the Su Thuc a couple of days before the ceremony. He explained a lot to me about the commitments implied by the engagement ceremony, and it was very clear we were talking about engagement only and not marriage. The signs and banners around the restaurant at the party also clearly said "Le Dinh Hon", which means "Engagement".

Jim, do you know what the boxes symbolize? This is the dowry that the groom pays for the bride to be's parents, this is why it is considered part of the "Wedding ceremony" Many people do in fact do this with the engagement party also, but the actual meaning what I posted earlier is that it is actually for the wedding ceremony part, and not actually part of the engagement ceremony, UNLESS you are having them on the same day which also many people do in fact do, but to be politically correct, when you are giving gifts this is actually part of a WEDDING ceremony, and NOT an engagement ceremony, when the family gets together to meet when circumstances allow for it, the engagement ceremony is actually when they do start to do in-depth detailed planning of the wedding, and where the bride and groom will live after the wedding. You can disagree with me all you want on this subject, but I have not only asked my wife, but also my wife’s mother, her brother, the land lord where we live, as well as the neighbors on both sides, AND the 96 year old woman across the alley.

Not lying on who I asked either since this is a very important part of a relationship in Vietnam, I want people that might not be so sure of what is actually going on to know. I know at our wedding/engagement party I had no clue what was going on, I was just a party doing what was asked. Since then I have done research since many people here argue NOT to have a wedding ceremony, because many say that it will hurt you at the consulate. What I have found out through my research is that most people are actually doing an untypical wedding ceremony. Many people that have done the "Engagement Party" have brought gifts in the fancy red boxes, this is part of the wedding ceremony, and usually this is where the wedding ceremony and the engagement party similarities stop. Most people do not go to the alter and pray to the ancestors. One might argue that the culture has changed and the red boxes are now more considered to be part of an engagement party, but the fact is that in the past they were used as part of a wedding ceremony and NOT an engagement party. Hence at the first family meeting the dowry is decided, and then at the wedding ceremony the groom knows how many of those red boxes he must bring and what will be inside each of them.<BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">

Jerome and Binh


小學教師 胡志明市,越南

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