Sacramento Wedding

I attended a big fat Vietnamese wedding this past weekend in Sacramento. It is the biggest one I have attended with 60 tables booked and the second wedding while I have lived in the US.

The church ceremony was scheduled for 11AM and it is a 90 minute drive from Berkeley so I had to be up pretty early on a Saturday morning for my standards. The drive was quite easy and we arrived a little early. There was another wedding that just ended so we waited in the car for the guests to finish taking photos.

St Roses Church

St Roses Church

Everyone got into position and the proceedings began a few minutes after the scheduled time. It was a traditional church ceremony that included communion and lasted approximately one hour. The bride and groom were off to take photos while I had 6 hours to kill before the reception.

The plan was to see some sights of Sacramento so we had a quick bite at a local “Bun Mi” bakery. It was a pretty good sandwich and for those interested the location can be found here.
We made our way to Old Town Sacramento and it is basically similar to old town in San Diego and Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Victoria. It is a historic park that has buildings and streets preserved to how it was in the past. We had some donuts, took some photos and visited the souvenir shops. You can see from the picture that it was pretty quiet for a tourist attraction and the reason being that it was 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42C). We did a quick lap of the park and had to call it quits as it was getting quite uncomfortable in the suit I was wearing.

Old Town Sacramento

Old Town Sacramento

We skipped all the other tourist attractions and headed straight to an air conditioned mall where it was much more bearable with the A/C. We did some mall hopping at a few places and then headed to the reception around 6pm.

The venue was a large Chinese restaurant that had been hired for the wedding banquet. We arrived on time and there were probably 40 of us in the restaurant mainly family members who were completing the final touches to the venue. The photographer had setup a nice backdrop for arriving guests to take photos with the bride and groom. This is something I haven’t seen for a while at weddings but ensured that the majority of guests got one professional picture with the bride and groom.

After the photos, we were told to sit somewhere up the front. Apparently in Sacramento there is no assigned seating, guests are welcomed to sit wherever they like. I thought this mite have caused seating problems for late arriving guests but the organizers said they will shift people around closer to serving time. We had a few drinks and did eventually move to another table to consolidate and fill up the tables.

Alcohol and Soda was BYO for the wedding organisers. Each table had a bottle of Remy Martin and a slab of Heineken and it was self service. All the weddings I have been  in Australia, had servers bringing us the beers. It was different here, but I liked having access to the beer and not having to wait for the servers.

Remy Martin

Remy Martin

The above photo was taken around 7pm and most of the tables were still empty. Asian weddings in California are no different to those in Australia the older generation still always arrive later. A 6pm invite normally means an 8pm serving time for the first course. This wedding banquet started a  little later as the priest travelling from San Francisco was running late. He eventually arrived and proceedings started around 8:15. The priest doubled as the MC and was also a Karaoke Idol ripping out tunes in Vietnamese. Bride was a little upset and groom’s dad was stressing out about delaying the hungry guests but we eventually had some food.

It was a 10 course banquet.

  1. Cold Pork Platter
  2. Crab & Shrimp Soup (Shark Fin is banned in California)
  3. Crab Claw – this is my favourite.
  4. Walnut Prawns
  5. Peking Duck
  6. Seabass Filet
  7. Abalone with Greens
  8. Lobster
  9. Fried rice
  10. Wedding Cake


The food was great and there was plenty to go around as 4 people on the table of 10 did not eat seafood. The food kept on coming out as there were no breaks throughout the night. The bride and groom did not do any official speeches; instead they visited every table and thanked the guests for attending. One nominated representative from each table would say some kind words about the groom and bride whom I thought was more personable.

After the Lobster was served they had the cutting of the cake and popping of the Champaign followed by the throwing of the garter and bouquet. The night ended with the bride and grooms first dance.

For me it was a great experience, I enjoyed the food, the company and saw a happy couple move onto the next stage of their lives.

By Trung Tran

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