An absolute must for our wedding was having everyone in our wedding party wear a Vietnamese áo dài. We wanted to incorporate our culture into our special day via Vietnamese wedding attire. Without our parents and culture, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Growing up and living in America, it can feel overwhelming planning Vietnamese aspects of a wedding. I’m excited to share everything you need to know about the custom Vietnamese wedding attire for our bridesmaids and groomsmen!
All photos by Allen Tsai
Ordering Custom Vietnamese Áo Dài Overseas
The most cost-effective and easiest way to get everyone’s custom áo dài was to order them overseas. My Mom and sister found a shop in Vietnam, Áo Dài M? H?nh with a strong e-commerce component. We focused on this because we knew it would make it easier for us to share inspiration based off what they may already have. Plus, having e-commerce meant they were familiar with communicating via viber and shipping overseas.
Start the Process Early
We officially started the process in late January. If I could give only one piece of advice it would be to start as early as possible. Being quick on her feet, my Mom actually gave the shop a fake wedding date a couple of weeks early. Thanks to her, we were able to get everyone’s áo dài on time because the shop missed the deadline. It ended up taking about two months to complete.
Ordering & Shipping
Once we knew the shop could custom make every áo dài and have it delivered on time, we put down a 50 percent deposit. Once everything was completed, the shop shipped the áo dàis via DHL and I got a tracking number via DHL. This was crucial so I could track the package and make sure it would arrive on time!
You are responsible for sending measurements of each person for the shop. This video by Thai Nguyen, who custom-created both áo dàis Johnny and I wore, is extremely helpful. Also, you’ll be taking the measurements in centimeters, not inches! We also included photos of each person and their height along with the measurements. This helps the shop really visualize what each person’s body looks like so they can create a garment fitting like a glove.
The Design Process
My Mom and I sent countless photos to the shop via viber. Since we wanted something completely custom, it required a lot of photos and videos to ensure we could clearly communicate what we were wanting. Kudos to my Mom for chatting with the shop, sometimes taking their calls at 1 or 2 am in the US since Vietnam is 12 hours ahead.
One tip is to ask for new photos and videos of swatches, fabrics, the design up close and more. We found the shop liked to send along their “stock” image, which was low quality but also didn’t ease our mind they were actually creating what we wanted.
Vietnamese Bridesmaids Dresses
For my bridesmaids, or phù dâu in Vietnamese, we picked a vibrant pink that would flatter everyone’s skin tones. I didn’t want the fabric to have any shine or shimmer to it. I wanted a matte crepe-like material that would be breathable and comfortable. My Mom loves pearls and I was already designing earrings with olive + piper for my bridesmaids to wear. Since we were doing the traditional high collar, we asked for dozens of pearls to be tightly sewn along the collar. As we got lower on the neckline, the pearls would slowly scatter out. There were also pearls sewn on the cuffs of each dress.
For a more modern touch with the bridesmaids’ Vietnamese wedding attire, we opted for the pants and the áo dài to be the same fabric. I love how this makes everything appear seamless and lets each bridesmaid’s beauty shine.
Vietnamese Groomsmen Attire
I feel like mens áo dàis can be so tricky. It can look outdated or too loud very easily. I got the idea to do a fusion of something old school and modern. I love royal blue because it’s a timeless choice and also striking. Back in the day, a lot of Vietnamese áo dàis were made of g?m, a brocade-like fabric that glistens and often has a metallic thread. They also traditionally close in the front, left over right with the buttons visible on the right side. I chose a more subdued version of the brocade fabric for the right side so it’s visible, but not too loud. After many many swatches, the shop found the exact same color fabric, but plain for the left overlay.
To keep things simple and to avoid someone forgetting something, we had each of the groomsmen wear their tuxedo pants underneath. Since we opted for midnight navy tuxedos, this created a sharp look.