(PICTURE: Wedding dresses on the right, party dresses on the left.)
In America, a bride's wedding dress is a pretty big deal. Okay, yeah, that's a gigantic understatement. It's a huge -- and hugely expensive -- deal.
In Vietnam, brides want to look just as beautiful as American brides want to look. However they don't freak out about their dress nearly as much. This is what I learned when with less than 24 hours to go before the wedding, Huyen asked me if I wanted to go pick out a wedding dress with her and Hoai. Let me repeat that again: With less than 24 hours to go before the wedding we went to pick out a wedding dress!!!
I went to the shop with Huyen and Hoai and helped to choose the dresses she would wear the next day. She needed three different dresses. First she needed a traditional red Ao Dai for the morning ceremony.
(PICTURE: Hoai trying on the Ao Dai.)
Next Hoai needed her white wedding dress.
Finally, Hoai need a ballroom dress for the rest of the party after tying the knot. For this one she asked my opinion...and then thankfully went with the one she liked.
(PICTURE: Hoai in her party dress at the wedding.)
We spent about thirty minutes in the shop. Yup, ten minutes per dress.
Now if you aren't shocked already at the process of getting a wedding dress, let me blow your mind with this stat: the total cost of renting three wedding dresses, having hair and make-up done on the wedding day, AND all the pictures/album/videos costs....
...get a figure in your head...
...divide it by a lot...
...and then some more...
It costs (at least in Hue): $168.26.