As many of y'all know, Beta Chapter’s beautiful Yen Hoang recently got married in Hanoi, Vietnam back in March. Three sisters (including myself) made the journey to Vietnam as well to witness the most important moment of her life and stand by her side as bridesmaids. I thought I would take this opportunity to share with y'all some of our fun experiences!
I actually arrived first so Yen and her husband, Andy, spoiled me rotten by taking me around Hanoi to eat delicious food and drink yummy coffee (because they knew how obsessed with food I am). Andy even paid a man on a bike to chauffeur Yen and I around, like the princesses we are.
After Elysia and Jessica FINALLY arrived, we visited some of Hanoi’s popular tourist attractions. We walked around the Temple of Literature, which is Vietnam’s first university. Of course, no trip to Hanoi can be completed without going to the Turtle Lake! Legend says that a giant golden turtle once lived inside the lake with a magic sword and protected the city from intruders.
To comply with Asian traditions, where the groom is suppose to pick the bride up from her hometown, all of us traveled 4 hours to Tien-Yen where Yen grew up. It was fun imagining a little Yen running through the streets of the old town. Our first day there, Yen commissioned a photographer to take photos of us and while I’m a horrible model, somehow all of our photos turned out fabulous.
The last day in Tien-Yen was the engagement ceremony and traditional Vietnamese wedding ceremony! YEN IS MARRIED!!! It was my first time seeing a traditional Asian style wedding so it was such an interesting experience. Close family and guests give the bride tons of pure gold jewelry and the bride and groom pour hot tea for all their elders. My favorite part of the day was the wedding gate crash, which is when the groom has to try and get past the bridesmaids before meeting the bride. We made Andy pay us and sing to Yen outside her door as well as do exercises! Although, my feet hurt so much by the end of the day from standing and following Yen around (that girl walks fast), I still had so much fun!
The day after we came back to Hanoi from Tien-Yen was the western wedding! All of us had our hair and makeup done so everyone was looking gorgeous. The venue of the wedding was a giant event space with two impressive staircases leading up to the main hall. Seeing Yen walking down the aisle and getting married to the love of her life was bittersweet for me. I’m obviously over the moon with happiness for her, but I was a little sad at the same time because I knew there would be no more Yen and Kathleen adventures. Times were changing and we were officially growing up! I actually gave the speech during the wedding and managed to get through without crying, although I did butcher the Vietnamese language in my numerous attempts to relate to the guests.
During this trip to Vietnam, I experienced how strong the bond of sisterhood can be. Despite having her wedding thousands of miles overseas, there were still sisters that wanted to take part in Yen’s special day. We spent our time together, which is rare now by the way since I live in New York and Jessica lives in San Antonio, to reminisce all about our college days and our time being active in ASR. We’ve had so many amazing memories together and now we can add one to the list! Since moving to New York, I’ve been a little sad that I don’t have a lot of opportunity to be with my best friends and sisters and this trip definitely revived my spirit and gave me enough memories to last for a while. I want to thank Yen for inviting me to be a bridesmaid and Elysia and Jessica for being the best travel companions and for reminding me how sisterhood isn’t constrained by location, but is made stronger by memories. I miss all three of yall so much and can’t wait for our next adventure!