I’m very fortunate to live in such a diverse area, and I’ve photographed many different types of cultural weddings. Recently, I had the privilege of shooting a fantastic Vietnamese wedding in Philadelphia. Jennifer, who is Vietnamese, began her day at her home in Cherry Hill NJ where I spent time with her and her bridesmaids prepping for the wedding. The ceremony was held at the Most Precious Blood parish in Collingswood NJ, and the reception was held at Saigon Maxim restaurant in South Philadelphia.
Many of the traditional elements from a Vietnamese wedding were involved before the ceremony. The receiving the bride at her home where the groom, his family, and his friends brought elaborately decorated boxes that were draped in red cloth. There were various gifts that represent the “wealth” the groom’s family will bring into the marriage. The gifts are fruit, cake, and different jewelry for the bride. The setting, a beautifully staged living room with religious ornaments on the wall, gave a timeless feel to the entire event.
The tea ceremony, present in most Asian weddings, was lovely, emotional, and full of joy. I’m told; however, that the tea ceremony is not as complicated or ritually important as in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean tea ceremonies. And, no Vietnamese wedding ceremony would be complete without a delicious roasted pig on the table.
Sometimes, as photographers, we get so caught up in trying to be clever (myself included, on occasion) that we may ignore the simplicity that's right in front of us. This is a portrait of Jennifer and Oscar on their wedding day in Jennifer's parent's living room. I hope this image will be relevant 100 years from now, and I'm so glad I didn't overlook it. Nikon D750 Nikkor 24-70 F2.8E ED VR 1/100th F3.2 @ ISO 1600
Location: 612 Washington Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19147.1/100; f/3.2; ISO 1600; 46.0 mm.