Meet the Couple
Elements of Our Wedding:
Time and Place
A chuppah is a canopy supported over four poles. It symbolizes the
house that the couple will build together, and the roof with no walls is
a symbolic invitation for friends and family to come visit the couple.
The cloth is normally either a simple sheet or a Tallit, and they can
range from minimalist to ornate.
The kippah is the traditional Jewish head covering, the purpose of which
is to provide a separation between the wearer and God, as well as to
mask male pattern baldness. Traditionally only men wear kippot, but
nowadays anything goes. The kippot for our ceremony were made by
Michael's grandmother, Frances.
A tallit is a Jewish prayer shawl, worn by male Jews during prayer, or
by male orthodox Jews most of the time. Michael's tallit bag was made with
love by his grandmother, Annette.
Here's a joke about a Tallit: An orthodox Jew walks into a dry cleaners, and
asks him to clean
his favorite tallit. He comes back the next day, but it's not ready
yet. A week goes by without a word from the cleaners. Finally he comes
in and asks, "What's taking so long? It's only one tallit!" The
cleaner responds: "OK, it's finally finished. But don't you whine to
me! Do you have any idea how long it took to undo all those knots at
A ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract, setting out the terms and
conditions of the marriage according to Jewish law. The ketubah must be
signed by the couple and two witnesses.
Áo dài, which means 'long tunic' or 'long dress,' is Vietnam's
national costume mostly worn by women. After several redesigns throughout
history, it now consists of a form-fitting garment that emphasizes the
woman's curves. White áo dài is worn as a standard uniform for female
students. The more festive form of áo dài, as shown here, is modeled
after áo mệnh phụ worn by royal women from the Nguyen dynasty.
dài is worn by Vietnamese brides, often with a silk cloak and a crown-like
headgear. The one Marina will be wearing is provided by her family in
||The Gift of Earrings
It is a Vietnamese tradition for the mother of the groom to present the
bride with a set of earrings. The mother then puts the earrings on the
bride during the ceremony to symbolize the welcoming of her into her new
family. Some families consider the gift of earrings to be more important
than the exchange of wedding bands.
Trầu Cau is a combination of fruit from the Betel tree and leaves from the
Areca tree. Together, they play an important role in Vietnamese weddings as they
symbolize the perfect union of two individuals bound together in love. This
tradition follows from a folk tale, in which a husband is turned into an Areca
tree. His wife, in despair, becomes a Betel plant that winds itself around the
trunk of the Areca tree. There are several variations of this legend, such as
this one and
this other one.